Alex Cunningham Portrait

Alex Cunningham

Labour - Stockton North

Shadow Minister (Justice)

(since April 2020)
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
12th May 2021 - 24th Jun 2021
Environmental Audit Committee
25th Feb 2019 - 8th May 2019
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Pensions)
14th Oct 2016 - 21st Dec 2017
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Sep 2015 - 27th Jun 2016
Education Committee
7th Nov 2011 - 30th Mar 2015
Work and Pensions Committee
2nd Nov 2010 - 27th Jun 2011
Armed Forces Bill Committee
17th Jan 2011 - 8th Mar 2011


Department Event
Tuesday 14th September 2021
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Sep 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Justice (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Thursday 10th June 2021
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (Eleventh sitting)
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 2 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 2 Noes - 7
Speeches
Tuesday 20th July 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

During an Adjournment debate earlier this year, the Minister for Trade Policy justified the deal with Cameroon on the basis …

Written Answers
Thursday 22nd July 2021
Respite Care: Finance
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has in the next Comprehensive Spending Review to deliver …
Early Day Motions
Monday 8th April 2019
COMMERCIAL PRESSURE ON OFFSHORE HELICOPTER SAFETY
That this House notes the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) review of its CAP1145 measures introduced in 2014 to improve commercial …
Bills
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Unpaid Work Experience (Prohibition) (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to prohibit unpaid work experience exceeding four weeks; and for connected purposes.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 21st December 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from Savanta ComRes, 3 Melville Street, Edinburgh EH3 7PE, for completing surveys. All fees paid direct to Stockton North …
EDM signed
Tuesday 13th April 2021
Immigration
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Alex Cunningham has voted in 280 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Alex Cunningham 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
Chris Philp (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
(168 debate interactions)
Bambos Charalambous (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Home Office)
(38 debate interactions)
Victoria Atkins (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
(27 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(389 debate contributions)
Ministry of Justice
(29 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Alex Cunningham's debates

Stockton North Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Stockton North signature proportion
Petitions with most Stockton North signatures
Alex Cunningham has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Alex Cunningham

24th March 2021
Alex Cunningham signed this EDM on Tuesday 13th April 2021

Immigration

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 184), dated 23 February 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 25 February 2021, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 40
Scottish National Party: 24
Liberal Democrat: 8
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
22nd March 2021
Alex Cunningham signed this EDM on Monday 12th April 2021

Israeli permit system: children and parents in Gaza

Tabled by: Kim Johnson (Labour - Liverpool, Riverside)
That this House condemns the inhumane practice of separation of children in Gaza who need medical treatment from outside the Strip from their parents, who are routinely denied accompanier passes by Israel; notes that since January 2018, Physicians for Human Rights Israel has assisted over 130 children including breastfed babies …
43 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 24
Scottish National Party: 11
Liberal Democrat: 3
Alba Party: 2
Independent: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
View All Alex Cunningham's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Alex Cunningham, 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.


Alex Cunningham has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Alex Cunningham has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

3 Bills introduced by Alex Cunningham



Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 2nd November 2012
Next Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Date TBA

A Bill to prohibit unpaid work experience exceeding four weeks; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 11th September 2020
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State to make provision for a ban on smoking in private vehicles where there are children present; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 22nd June 2011

Alex Cunningham has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


553 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
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what proportion of young adults aged 18-25 who are charged by the CPS have received a maturity assessment prior to charge in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The Crown Prosecution Service (‘CPS’) does not hold data on the number of young adults aged 18-25 that have received a maturity assessment prior to charge.

However, the CPS recognises the importance of considering a suspect’s age and maturity when making a decision. This is included in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and relevant legal guidance, and is included in training for specialist youth prosecutors.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
19th May 2020
To ask the Attorney General, on how many occasions the Director of Public Prosecutions was informed of a failure to comply with custody time limits in April 2020.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is only informed of a custody time limit failure if it is deemed to be the responsibility of the CPS following review of the case. In April 2020, the Director of Public Prosecutions was informed of one custody time limit failure. This failure occurred in December 2019.

The CPS has made efforts to prioritise cases with a custody time limit during the pandemic, including via the interim charging protocol effective from 1 April.

Michael Ellis
Attorney General
28th Apr 2020
What discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the use of the powers contained in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

I regularly meet ministerial colleagues to discuss important issues, including the Covid-19 outbreak. I am unable to talk about any legal content of those discussions because whether or not the Law Officers have given advice, by convention, is not disclosed outside Government.

Michael Ellis
Attorney General
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many offshore oil and gas workers were resident in (a) Teesside, (b) north east England, (c) England and (d) Scotland in (i) 2000, (ii) 2010 and (iii) 2020.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timeframe is for allowing the restarting of small weddings.

Our Plan To Rebuild, the Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, is published on gov.uk and includes details on plans for weddings. We understand the frustration couples planning a wedding must be feeling at this time. We are keeping these restrictions under review and will ease them as soon as it is safe to do so. We will continue to work closely with faith leaders and local government over the coming weeks to go through the practicalities of doing so.

Marriages and civil partnerships under the special procedure for those who are seriously ill and not expected to recover, are taking place in some cases where it is safe to do so in line with PHE guidance.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to publish its responses to the consultations on (a) Contracts for Difference (CfD): proposed amendments to the scheme 2020, (b) CfD: changes to Supply Chain Plans and the CfD contract and (c) CfD for low carbon electricity generation: new Supply Chain Plan questionnaire; whether he has discussed the findings of those consultations with representatives of the Low Carbon Contracts Company; and if he will ensure that responses to those consultations are published ahead of the start of the Contracts for Difference Fourth Allocation Round.

The Government published its response to ‘Contracts for Difference (CfD): proposed amendments to the scheme 2020’ on 24 November 2020. The Government will publish responses to ‘CfD: changes to Supply Chain Plans and the CfD contract’ and ‘CfD for low carbon electricity generation: new Supply Chain Plan questionnaire’ shortly. The Government has discussed and will continue to discuss these policy changes with representatives of the Low Carbon Contracts Company. The Government responses and guidance on supply chain plans will be published ahead of the commencement of the Contracts for Difference Fourth Allocation Round to ensure that stakeholders have time to review policy changes before submitting applications.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what methodology his Department used to set the target of 60 per cent UK content in offshore wind farm projects by 2030 contained in the (a) Offshore Wind Sector Deal and (b) Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan.

The Government did not set the 60% target, however, as part of the negotiations to agree the ambitious Offshore Wind Sector Deal in 2019, the industry conducted it’s own analysis and agreed to increase the target from 50% to 60% and published this year a Memorandum on UK Offshore Wind Supply Chain Development in February this year which sets out the strategic approach to delivering against their target.[1]

[1] https://www.owic.org.uk/documents

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last reviewed the (a) procedures and (b) methodology used by the domestic offshore wind industry to calculate local content over the lifetime of an offshore wind farm development (i) before and (ii) after the final investment decision.

The methodology for measuring the UK content of offshore wind farms was developed by industry via the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) in 2015. Under the framework, the owners of all UK offshore wind farms achieving final investment decision (FID) report their UK content through the trade association RenewableUK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last reviewed the (a) procedures and (b) methodology used by the offshore wind industry for reporting local content in offshore wind developments at the capital expenditure stage.

The methodology for measuring the UK content of offshore wind farms was developed by industry via the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) in 2015. Under the framework, the owners of all UK offshore wind farms achieving final investment decision (FID) report their UK content through the trade association RenewableUK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what advice (a) his Department and (b) predecessor Departments have provided to Crown Estate on the design of the bidding process used in the Round 4 auction of seabed leasing rights since the conclusion of Round 3 in 2010.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961. The Government has not made any assessment on the effectiveness of the bidding process used by Crown Estate to lease seabed development rights for offshore (a) wind and (b) other renewable energy projects on the UKCS. The latest Round 4 seabed leasing round has resulted in six new potential offshore wind projects totalling nearly 8GW.

BEIS was not involved in the design of the bidding process for the Round 4 seabed leasing.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the bidding process used by Crown Estate to lease seabed development rights for offshore (a) wind and (b) other renewable energy projects on the UKCS.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961. The Government has not made any assessment on the effectiveness of the bidding process used by Crown Estate to lease seabed development rights for offshore (a) wind and (b) other renewable energy projects on the UKCS. The latest Round 4 seabed leasing round has resulted in six new potential offshore wind projects totalling nearly 8GW.

BEIS was not involved in the design of the bidding process for the Round 4 seabed leasing.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that the outcome of Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process is discussed with trade union representatives on the Green Jobs Taskforce.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961.

The rate of return for the shareholders of the companies who were successful in Round 4 are a matter for the companies concerned.

The Department was not involved in the leasing process. The Crown Estate published information about criteria to be assessed at the pre-qualification and the Invitation to Tender stages, which applied to all bidders.

We will agree a transformational North Sea Transition Deal to deliver new business opportunities, high-quality jobs and skills, as well as protect the wider communities most affected by the move away from oil and gas production.

Regarding the annual options fees, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer and I are both in agreement that the results are a sign of confidence both in the UK as an attractive place to invest and in our offshore wind market.

I am aware the Crown Estate will be happy meet the Green Jobs Taskforce, on which trade unions are represented.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the annual option fees that the Crown Estate will receive from developers of six offshore wind farm sites leased in Round 4 of the Offshore Wind Leasing process.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961.

The rate of return for the shareholders of the companies who were successful in Round 4 are a matter for the companies concerned.

The Department was not involved in the leasing process. The Crown Estate published information about criteria to be assessed at the pre-qualification and the Invitation to Tender stages, which applied to all bidders.

We will agree a transformational North Sea Transition Deal to deliver new business opportunities, high-quality jobs and skills, as well as protect the wider communities most affected by the move away from oil and gas production.

Regarding the annual options fees, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer and I are both in agreement that the results are a sign of confidence both in the UK as an attractive place to invest and in our offshore wind market.

I am aware the Crown Estate will be happy meet the Green Jobs Taskforce, on which trade unions are represented.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether there are requirements in the Crown Estate offshore wind leasing process for bidders from the oil and gas sector to include workforce transition plans in their applications.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961.

The rate of return for the shareholders of the companies who were successful in Round 4 are a matter for the companies concerned.

The Department was not involved in the leasing process. The Crown Estate published information about criteria to be assessed at the pre-qualification and the Invitation to Tender stages, which applied to all bidders.

We will agree a transformational North Sea Transition Deal to deliver new business opportunities, high-quality jobs and skills, as well as protect the wider communities most affected by the move away from oil and gas production.

Regarding the annual options fees, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer and I are both in agreement that the results are a sign of confidence both in the UK as an attractive place to invest and in our offshore wind market.

I am aware the Crown Estate will be happy meet the Green Jobs Taskforce, on which trade unions are represented.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on the rate of return for shareholders in companies that were successful in Round 4 of the Crown Estate’s Offshore Wind Leasing process.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961.

The rate of return for the shareholders of the companies who were successful in Round 4 are a matter for the companies concerned.

The Department was not involved in the leasing process. The Crown Estate published information about criteria to be assessed at the pre-qualification and the Invitation to Tender stages, which applied to all bidders.

We will agree a transformational North Sea Transition Deal to deliver new business opportunities, high-quality jobs and skills, as well as protect the wider communities most affected by the move away from oil and gas production.

Regarding the annual options fees, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer and I are both in agreement that the results are a sign of confidence both in the UK as an attractive place to invest and in our offshore wind market.

I am aware the Crown Estate will be happy meet the Green Jobs Taskforce, on which trade unions are represented.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on developers’ supply chain plans.

The Government has not made any assessment of the effect of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on either the Offshore Wind Sector Deal’s target for 60 per cent UK content by 2030 or on developers’ supply chain plans.

It will be a number of years before any projects from this latest leasing round will be preparing a supply chain plan in order to bid into a Contract for Difference Allocation Round. We will work with all developers to see how we can increase UK economic benefit.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the outcome of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on the Offshore Wind Sector Deal’s target for 60 per cent UK content by 2030 in offshore wind projects on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

The Government has not made any assessment of the effect of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on either the Offshore Wind Sector Deal’s target for 60 per cent UK content by 2030 or on developers’ supply chain plans.

It will be a number of years before any projects from this latest leasing round will be preparing a supply chain plan in order to bid into a Contract for Difference Allocation Round. We will work with all developers to see how we can increase UK economic benefit.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with Ofgem on (a) the effectiveness of the new gas transmission charging regime introduced in October 2020 and (b) progress on proposals to introduce a short haul tariff.

BEIS have been in regular discussion with Ofgem regarding their assessment of the proposals to introduce a short-haul tariff to the new gas transmission charging regime introduced in October 2020. BEIS will continue to work closely with Ofgem whilst respecting its responsibility as an independent regulatory authority.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the financial effect of gas transmission network costs on the hydrogen producers required to help deliver his ten point plan for a green industrial revolution.

Hydrogen could provide a clean source of fuel and heat for our homes, transport and industry and, working with industry, we are aiming for the UK to have 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. To support this, work is on-going to consider options for policy support for hydrogen production as well as blending of hydrogen into the gas transmission grid. This is alongside additional work on the long-term future of the gas grid and potential conversion to hydrogen.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Policy paper entitled The ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, updated on 18 November 2020, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the gas transmission network costs on hydrogen production and transmission capacity.

Hydrogen could provide a clean source of fuel and heat for our homes, transport and industry and, working with industry, we are aiming for the UK to have 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. To support this, work is on-going to consider options for policy support for hydrogen production as well as blending of hydrogen into the gas transmission grid. This is alongside additional work on the long-term future of the gas grid and potential conversion to hydrogen.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to implement the recommendations of the Oil and Gas Authority’s UK Continental Shelf Energy Integration Project.

We look forward to continuing to work with the Oil and Gas Authority and other partners on this project. The recommendations and actions set out in the final report of the project are part of the wider government policy under consideration across a full range of relevant areas including electrification, carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen, which could play a significant role in achieving the UK net zero target.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of adopting the recommendations of the Oil and Gas Authority’s UK Continental Shelf Energy Integration Project on employment levels.

We welcome the Oil and Gas Authority’s UKCS Energy Integration final report from August 2020. Its recommendations are under consideration across the full range of relevant policy areas within the Department and form part of the discussions around the North Sea Transition Deal, the focus of which will be on ensuring the oil and gas sector can support the energy transition and anchor the supply chain across the UK.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to maximise employment opportunities for UK workers from the supply chain required to deliver and operate Carbon Capture Usage and Storage projects as part of the UK's transition to a net zero carbon economy.

Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) will be essential to meeting our 2050 net zero target, playing a vital role in levelling up the economy, supporting the low carbon economic transformation of our industrial regions, creating new high value jobs.

Our new CCS Infrastructure Fund will provide at least £800m to support the establishment of CCS in at least two UK sites: the first by the mid-2020s; the second by 2030.

The Government is committed to having a strong, industrialised UK supply chain. We are working with industry to understand how we can build a thriving UK supply chain, drive growth, and seize the commercial opportunities in the UK and abroad.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to increase employment opportunities for UK workers across the supply chain that will be required to provide an additional 30GW of energy from offshore wind farms on the UK Continental Shelf by 2030.

On 6 October, the Government set out new plans to make the UK the world leader in clean wind energy – creating jobs, slashing carbon emissions and boosting exports. The Government also announced a commitment to 40GW of offshore wind capacity in the UK by 2030 alongside £160 million being made available to upgrade ports and infrastructure; supporting up to 2,000 construction jobs and enabling the offshore wind sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories and the supply chains. The Government also announced a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1GW of energy by 2030, which is over 15 times the current volumes worldwide.

The Government recently sought views on strengthening Supply Chain Plan Policy for future CfD rounds, as part of the AR4 consultation. Government is considering the responses to the consultation before considering implications for policy.

These commitments are the first stage outlined as part of the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, which will be set out fully later this year. This is expected to include ambitious targets and major investment into industries, innovation and infrastructure that will accelerate the UK’s path to net zero by 2050.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect that developing (a) hydrogen and (b) ammonia production capacity in Teesside to meet increased demand for low emission fuels from the merchant shipping industry will have on employment opportunities for (i) port workers and (ii) seafarers; and what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on developing that capacity in Teeside.

Low carbon hydrogen is one of a handful of critical options needed to deliver net zero and presents an opportunity to deliver against our clean growth goals – meeting our decarbonisation needs while capturing commercial opportunities.

DfT-commissioned analysis supporting the Government’s Clean Maritime Plan set out that hydrogen and ammonia, a hydrogen carrier, are expected to play a significant role in decarbonising the maritime sector. The global market for elements of alternative fuel production technologies like hydrogen and ammonia, in which the UK has a strong competitive advantage, could rise to up to £11bn per year by 2050, generating economic benefits to the UK of up to £0.5bn per year by the middle of the century

The proximity of the local port to the Net Zero Teesside industrial project, which aims to produce and use significant quantities of low carbon hydrogen, as well as the recently announced ambition for Tees Valley to become a trailblazing Hydrogen Transport Hub, position the area well to realise significant local benefits.

BEIS ministers and officials continue to work closely with colleagues in the Department for Transport (DfT) in developing our approach to hydrogen, including in end uses such as maritime.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to maximise employment opportunities for UK workers from the supply chain required to increase the production and storage of hydrogen as part of the transition to a net zero carbon economy.

Low carbon hydrogen is one of a handful of critical options needed to deliver net zero and presents an opportunity to deliver against our clean growth goals – meeting our decarbonisation needs while capturing commercial opportunities for UK firms. In November 2019 we published the Energy Innovation Needs Assessment (EINA) for hydrogen and fuel cells which identified that the future market for all hydrogen technologies could yield around £5.3bn of GVA and create nearly 50,000 jobs by 2050. This document is under review to reflect increased ambition from our move to a net zero target.

We are developing new policy to help realise these opportunities, including investible business models to support deployment, announcing the £100 million Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund to stimulate capital investment, and investing up to £121 million (between 2015 and 2021) in hydrogen innovation across the value chain.

We intend to publish a UK hydrogen strategy the strategy early in 2021 which will set out our strategic approach to hydrogen, and how we work with industry to build a robust UK supply chain capable of delivering low carbon hydrogen at scale to meet our net zero needs.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
29th Sep 2020
What discussions he has had with Ofgem on the introduction of a short-haul tariff scheme for gas transportation.

We recognise this is an important issue. I am in regular dialogue with Ofgem and understand they are examining five industry proposals on the short-haul tariff, with varying impacts on different consumers groups.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
What discussions his Department held with the Tees Valley Mayor on Government support for Sirius Minerals before the sale of that company.

My colleagues and I are in regular contact with the Tees Valley Mayor to discuss many issues, including Sirius Minerals. The Mayor is a passionate advocate for the area and we support him.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of OFGEM’s decision not to implement a short haul tariff for gas transportation in October on energy intensive industries.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, has responsibility for matters relating to gas network charging and has made their decision in accordance with their statutory duties, including Ofgem’s principal objective to protect the interests of GB’s energy consumers. It is their responsibility to undertake this assessment independently and manage the trade-offs between different users of the National Transmission System (NTS).

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will assess of the potential benefit of energy intensive industries creating their own local pipelines, independent of the national grid; and if he will make a statement.

The National Transmission System (NTS) is designed to offer a secure gas supply, for the benefit of all users. Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, have responsibility for matters relating to gas network charging. Ofgem’s assessment of the potential bypass of the NTS by users can be found within their impact assessment carried out for Uniform Network Code (UNC) modification 0678A, which can be found here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/amendments-gas-transmission-charging-regime-decision-and-final-impact-assessment-unc678abcdefghij.

Ofgem have set out in their decision letter that they will carry out an impact assessment to further explore the impacts of four shorthaul proposals and whether the proposals address the inefficient bypass of the gas network. More information on Ofgem’s decision to carry out an impact assessment can be found here:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/uniform-network-code-728abcd-urgent-introduction-conditional-discount-avoiding-inefficient-bypass-nts.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Ofgem on the decision not to implement a short haul tariff for gas transportation in October.

BEIS have been in regular discussion with Ofgem regarding?their Gas (Transmission) Charging Review, including their decision to carry out an impact assessment to further explore the impacts of the four shorthaul proposals put forward by industry.

BEIS officials will continue to work closely and engage with Ofgem on all matters, whilst respecting Ofgem's responsibility as an independent?regulatory?authority.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he will review the merits of OFGEM's role in relation to the setting of tariffs for gas transportation.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, has responsibility for matters relating to gas network charging. Ofgem have made their decision in accordance with their statutory duties and powers provided for under the Gas Act 1986, which includes Ofgem’s principal objective to protect the interests of GB’s current and future energy consumers.

The framework which governs the relationship between BEIS and Ofgem is reviewed every three years. For more information on the framework which sets out the relationship between BEIS and Ofgem, please visit: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/framework-document-setting-out-our-relationship-beis.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Ofgem's decision to implement gas transmission charging changes with effect from 1 October 2020, if he will make representations to Ofgem on the introduction of a replacement for short haul to keep affected energy intensive industries (a) on Teesside and (b) in the UK on the national gas grid.

BEIS have been in regular discussion with Ofgem regarding the impact of its decision to implement a new charging regime. BEIS will continue to work closely and engage with Ofgem on all matters, whilst respecting Ofgem's responsibility as an independent?regulatory authority.

Ofgem have said that they will consider proposals to introduce a gas short haul charge that seeks to address inefficient bypass of the gas network when they are brought forward by industry.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on achieving a transition to a net zero carbon economy for workers in the offshore oil and gas industry.

The Government is currently in discussion with the industry about our manifesto commitment to deliver a transformational oil and gas Sector Deal. This recognises that the sector has an important role to play as the UK moves to a net zero economy and is already strongly focussed on being part of the solution to the challenges that the transition will bring. I expect this Deal to focus on supporting jobs and maintaining skills, as well as new technologies and approaches that can help us decarbonise our economy.

On 11 June, I attended the Oil and Gas Authority’s Maximising Economic Recovery Forum with industry leaders to discuss first proposals from the oil and gas industry for a Sector Deal, as well as the challenges posed by COVID-19, and the sector’s recovery.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 34978 on Offshore Industry: North Sea, on what dates since 1 March 2020 (a) Ministers and (b) Officials in his Department discussed employment matters in the offshore oil and gas industry with trade unions in that industry.

The Oil and Gas Authority as the regulatory body for the UK’s upstream oil and gas industry meets during the year with trade union leaders and are in regular contact with them outside of these meetings.

BEIS Ministers and officials have had no direct meetings with trade unions on these issues since 1 March. However, I will be attending the virtual MER UK Forum on 11 June to which trade union leaders are also invited to participate. This forum allows for an open exchange of information on the challenges facing the industry and its workforce stemming from the COVID-19 crisis and the low oil price.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on consumer costs of Ofgem's new charging regime for gas transportation.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, has responsibility for matters relating to the charging regime for gas transportation and has made their decision in accordance with its statutory duties, including Ofgem’s principal objective to protect the interests of GB’s energy consumers.

BEIS have been engaging closely with Ofgem to understand their assessments of the potential effects. Ofgem expect that overall GB consumers will benefit from lower gas and electricity bills each year when the new policy is in operation.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Ofgem on its decision to implement a new charging regime for gas transportation.

BEIS have been in regular discussion with Ofgem regarding the impact of its decision to implement a new gas charging regime. BEIS will continue to work closely with Ofgem whilst respecting its responsibility as an independent regulatory authority.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on the (a) cost of gas to consumers and (b) viability of energy intensive industries close to terminals of Ofgem's new gas transportation charging regime.

The Government is fully committed to minimising industrial energy costs in the UK to ensure our industries remain strong and competitive. We continue to progress a range of measures to deliver an efficient and effective gas system that benefits all GB consumers.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, has responsibility for matters relating to gas network charging and has made their decision in accordance with its statutory duties, including Ofgem’s principal objective to protect the interests of GB’s energy consumers.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whom Ofgem is accountable to for its decision to implement a new charging regime for gas transportation.

The introduction of a new UK charging regime for gas transportation was driven by the requirement to be compliant with EU legislation (Regulation (EU) 2017/460 (“the EU Tariff Code”). The Tariff Code places obligations on Ofgem, as the UK’s national regulatory authority, to implement changes to the arrangements governing domestic gas transmission charges to meet the Tariff Code’s objectives. Ofgem remains accountable for compliance with EU law during the transition period.

Domestically, Ofgem is an independent regulator and is accountable for the exercise of its powers to Parliament. It is subject to Treasury financial control and it is regularly called to give evidence to Parliamentary select committees, including the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the potential risk of legal disputes arising from the delays and disruption to construction work as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises concerns about the effects of Covid-19 on construction projects, and the resultant inability of some parties to perform their contracts in accordance with agreed terms. We are also aware of the potential for legal disputes to arise from this.

That is why we have published guidance on contractual behaviour, which clearly states that responsible and fair behaviour is strongly encouraged in performing and enforcing contracts where there has been a material impact from Covid-19. A copy of that guidance is attached.

The Construction Leadership Council’s Covid-19 Task Force has supplemented this, by publishing further practical guidance for all companies involved in the construction supply chain on how to minimise potential disputes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions the Government has had with professional bodies and trade groups in the built environment on planned timescales for the development and implementation of a recovery plan for the construction industry after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has welcomed the recovery plan produced by the Construction Leadership Council’s Coronavirus Task Force, which sets out a plan to ensure the sector can increase activity, work safely, and maximise its contribution to our economic recovery.

We will continue to work with the Task Force, which includes firms, business representative organisations, and representatives of the professional institutions, to support the recovery of the construction sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the availability of adequate (a) personal protective equipment and (b) hygiene and sanitary products for construction workers to (i) protect those workers and (ii) allow those workers to comply with official guidelines as they return to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

In order to ensure that workplaces are safe for workers in the construction sector, the Government has worked with Public Health England (PHE), business representatives, and trade unions to develop guidance on safer working in outdoor environments, including how to undertake risk assessments and implement social distancing.

This guidance includes advice on cleaning and sanitising the workplace, such as maintaining a good handwashing technique as well as providing signage, hand sanitiser, hand drying facilities, and waste facilities. It also states that, when managing the risk of Covid-19 on construction sites, additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) beyond that which is usually worn is not beneficial and should not be encouraged by workplaces. However, PHE is continually reviewing its guidance in line with emerging evidence.

The Safer Workplaces guidance is published at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/construction-and-other-outdoor-work.

The Government has also worked with the Construction Leadership Council to develop Site Operating Procedures, which provide practical advice to those seeking to implement PHE’s guidance.

Organisations must have effective arrangements in place to monitor and review their compliance with Government and industry guidance.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to engage with (a) trade unions, (b) Oil and Gas UK and (c) the Oil and Gas Authority to help counter the economic impact of the (i) covid-19 pandemic and (ii) collapse in the price of oil on the North Sea oil and gas industry.

The Government is closely monitoring developments related to potential impacts on the upstream oil and gas sector from the collapse in the oil price and COVID-19 and is in regular contact with industry and the Oil and Gas Authority. I have held telephone meetings with representatives from the sector including business leaders, trade associations and the Oil and Gas Authority to discuss these issues.

In response, Government has announced an unprecedented financial package to support businesses and has committed to do whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of this coronavirus pandemic. This includes a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as well as a host of measures to help businesses in this period with £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK. Additionally, responding to feedback from business, a Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme will ensure that more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support during this difficult time. It will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million.

We know that the offshore oil and gas sector and particularly its supply chain has a key role to play as we move to a net zero economy and we have committed to supporting this energy transition with a transformational Sector Deal.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking in response to the reduction in global prices of oil and gas to protect the (a) jobs and (b) skills of people working in that industry.

The Government is closely monitoring developments related to potential impacts on the upstream oil and gas sector from the collapse in the oil price and COVID-19 and is in regular contact with industry and the Oil and Gas Authority. I have held telephone meetings with representatives from the sector including business leaders, trade associations and the Oil and Gas Authority to discuss these issues.

In response, Government has announced an unprecedented financial package to support businesses and has committed to do whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of this coronavirus pandemic. This includes a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as well as a host of measures to help businesses in this period with £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK. Additionally, responding to feedback from business, a Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme will ensure that more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support during this difficult time. It will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million.

We know that the offshore oil and gas sector and particularly its supply chain has a key role to play as we move to a net zero economy and we have committed to supporting this energy transition with a transformational Sector Deal.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the provision of financial support for the installation of energy efficiency measures in homes of people with ill health.

BEIS, the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England are working in collaboration to tackle cold homes.

The Fuel Poverty Strategy for England includes a vulnerability principle and Government has consulted on updating this principle so that it focuses specifically on households that are most at risk to the impact of living in a cold home. This intends to ensure that energy efficiency schemes can support those in the greatest need.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO), the main domestic energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain, is worth £640m per year and is focused on low income and vulnerable households, including those in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Carers Allowance.

Additionally, under ECO measures can be installed in the homes of people referred by their local authority, with ill health being an eligibility criterion many use.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to (a) support over 60s who live in fuel-poor households and (b) improve the energy efficiency of existing homes.

Improving energy efficiency is the best long-term solution to tackle fuel poverty.

More than one quarter of fuel poor households in England include a resident over 60. Government is taking steps to ensure low income, vulnerable households, including older people, are protected from living in a cold home.

The Energy Company Obligation Scheme provides support for low income and vulnerable households. Since ECO launched it has delivered energy efficiency measures to more than 2 million households. ECO, or a successor scheme, will continue to drive at least £640 million investment per year in home energy efficiency until 2028.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards now require landlords spend up to £3500 improving their properties to energy efficiency Band E before renting them out. We intend to consult later this year on a long-term trajectory for improving Private Rented Sector homes to Band C.

In addition to receiving energy efficiency support, pensioners receive financial support to ensure they can keep their homes warm. Winter Fuel Payments provide pensioners with between £100 and £300 to keep their homes warm during the winter. Those on Pension Credit also receive a £140 Warm Home Discount rebate.

Our 2020 Fuel Poverty Strategy will detail our future plans to tackle fuel poverty.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the percentage of Energy Company Obligation funding that has been spent on identifying suitable homes for energy efficiency measures.

The costs for identifying suitable homes has been estimated at around £257m for the three and a half year duration of ECO3 (2018 – 2022). That would be around 11% of the total estimated cost of the scheme.

These costs include finding suitable homes whose residents are eligible and willing to have energy efficiency measures installed.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many energy efficiency measures were installed through the obligation trading route in the last 12 months.

In the Clean Growth Strategy, Government set an aspiration for as many homes as possible to be Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable. We are developing policies and measures that will help to build a sustainable market for energy efficiency.

The Energy Company Obligation Scheme provides support for low income and vulnerable households. Since ECO launched it has delivered energy efficiency measures to more than 2 million households. ECO, or a successor scheme, will continue to drive at least £640 million investment per year in home energy efficiency until 2028.

A total of 793 energy efficiency measures were installed through the Energy Company Obligation’s trading route (ECO Brokerage) from the start of January 2019 to the end of December 2019.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that energy efficiency measures are implemented in the private rented sector.

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and wales) Regulations 2015 require that, subject to certain exemptions, domestic and non-domestic private rented sector landlords improve their properties to a minimum energy efficiency rating of E by: April 2020 for domestic property; and April 2023 for non-domestic property.

The Department has published detailed guidance to assist landlords in complying with their obligations under the existing regulations, and is conducting enforcement pilots with Local Authorities to develop best practice around enforcement of the regulations. The Department has also launched a landlord exemptions register, a requirement of the Regulations, which is used by enforcement authorities to help target their enforcement activities.

On 15 October 2019, the government published a consultation on the future target for the non-domestic private rented sector regulations alongside the government’s response to the Committee on Climate Change Progress Report. The consultation, which closed on 7 January 2020, set out that the government’s preferred target was for all non-domestic rented buildings to achieve an EPC Band B by 2030, where cost-effective. A government response is due to be published later this year. The government will also consult in due course on options for tightening the standards required of domestic private rented properties over time.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what responsibilities his Department has for ensuring that homes and buildings are healthy for its occupants.

As part of the impact assessments of our policies, we include the benefits to a household’s health from improving their homes’ thermal performance.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the lead department for standards in buildings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of energy customers that do not contribute to the (a) Energy Company Obligation and (b) Warm Homes Discount as a result of being with a smaller supplier.

The current threshold for participation in the Energy Company Obligation and Warm Home Discount is 200,000 domestic customer accounts and this is changing to 150,000 customer accounts from 1 April this year.

In the final stage impact assessment for ECO3, published in October 2018, we estimated that suppliers over the 200,000 threshold covered 96% of the market and those over 150,000 covered 99%. While the number of energy suppliers in the market and their customer numbers fluctuate, we expect the current market coverage to be similar now.

How energy suppliers pass on their costs depends on their individual pricing decisions.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding has been allocated to help energy intensive industries move to low-carbon techniques.

The Government has schemes worth nearly £2 billion operating, or in development, supporting our vital energy intensive industries to decarbonise. These schemes include the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund to help companies reduce their fuel bills and transition to low carbon technologies, the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge to support industry with the deployment of low-carbon technologies in industrial clusters, and the ISCF Transformation Foundation Industries competition to improve the resource and energy efficiency of foundation industries.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many jobs were created in the offshore wind industry in each year between 2016 and 2019; and what estimate his Department has made of the number of such jobs that will be created in each year from 2020 to 2030.

The Low Carbon and Renewable Energy Economy (LCREE) Survey direct and indirect estimates of employment, UK, 2014 to 2018 can be found in the link below.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/adhocs/11120lowcarbonandrenewableenergyeconomylcreesurveydirectandindirectestimatesofemploymentuk2014to2018

In the Offshore Wind Sector Deal published last year the Offshore Wind sector estimated that it could support 27,000 jobs across the UK by 2030, covering all aspects of a wind farm; project management, construction and operations and maintenance.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when officials in his Department last met representatives of the Global Wind Organisation; and how often those meetings take place.

Officials in the Department have not met with representatives of the Global Wind Organisation.

In the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, published on 7 March 2019, the sector made a commitment to continue to collaborate in order to deliver a strong, sustainable and continually improving culture, promoting and maintaining the highest possible standards of health and safety through the life cycle of projects both in the UK and around the world.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of jobs on offshore (a) oil and (b) gas installations on the UK continental shelf in each year from 2016 to 2019; and what assessment he has made of trends in the level of those jobs in each year from 2020 to 2030.

Maintaining quality jobs benefitting from the skills and experience of the UK’s oil and gas sector will be a key focus as the UK moves to a net zero economy. The industry is already strongly focussed on its role to support net zero by using the skills and expertise developed in the North Sea to become part of the solution to the challenges that the transition to a net zero economy will bring.

The Department has not made an estimate of the number of jobs on offshore oil and gas installations on the UK Continental Shelf, but figures provided in the Oil and Gas UK Workforce Report 2019, suggest a recent stabilisation in the total number of offshore oil and gas workers (not broken down into oil and gas separately) at approximately 49,000. See the following weblink:

https://oilandgasuk.co.uk/product/workforce-report/

The Department has not made an assessment of trends in the level of those jobs in each year from 2020 to 2030, but the offshore industry skills body OPITO has published two recent reports on future trends in the level of jobs supported by the UK Continental Shelf oil and gas industry up to 2035. See the following weblinks:

https://www.opito.com/policy-and-research/research/ukcs-workforce-dynamics-review

https://www.opito.com/policy-and-research/research/the-skills-landscape

Future employment levels are subject to a wide range of factors, not least the oil price, and we are supporting the sector on several fronts, as we recognise that a successful offshore industry will continue to generate and protect jobs.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department plans to take to support offshore oil and gas workers during the transition to a low carbon economy.

The Government is currently in discussion with industry about supporting the energy transition with a transformational oil and gas Sector Deal, recognising that the offshore oil and gas sector has a key role to play as the UK moves to a net zero economy.

The UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, which supports an estimated 270,000 jobs, is already very focussed on its role to support net zero by using the skills and expertise developed in the North Sea to become part of the solution to the challenges that the transition to a net zero economy will bring.

The Government supports the measures undertaken by the sector to diversify its workforce into other areas of the economy such as offshore wind. For example, OPITO, the offshore industry skills body, is working with Government and representatives from the oil and gas, renewables and nuclear sectors to identify common qualifications for a range of technical job roles to enable workers to move more freely between energy sectors. The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board has also developed a Connected Competence programme which helps equip the oil and gas workforce with transferable engineering skills that are in demand across industry sectors. This standardises competence and training requirements and makes proof of competence, training and qualifications easily transferable.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to support the development of battery trains.

Through the Faraday Battery Challenge, run by Innovate UK and funded by the Department, we have facilitated work with a leading UK train manufacturer to develop battery technology for use on trains.

Harnessing technology to drive innovation is one of the aims of the Rail Sector Deal, launched by BEIS and the Department for Transport in December 2018. The Rail Sector Deal is a partnership between the Government and the rail industry to help address the Grand Challenges we face. This includes maximising the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth and positioning the UK as a world leader in shaping the future of mobility.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Committee on Climate Change will make an assessment of the potential merits of battery trains as part of its work on the Sixth Carbon Budget.

The Committee on Climate Change is an independent advisory body and so it is for the Committee to decide how to take into account any evidence it deems relevant in the development of its advice to Government on the sixth carbon budget.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the reform of (a) train manufacturing and (b) rolling stock procurement to promote productivity in the UK; and whether her Department has contributed to the Williams Rail Review.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy works closely with the Department for Transport regarding the current review of the UK’s railways, independently chaired by Keith Williams.

Our work with DfT, through the Rail Supply Group Council and the Rail Sector Deal, brings the industry and government together to shape investment in our railways and encourage improvements to sustainability, digitalisation, use of data, productivity, skills and diversity, and a boost to exports.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether adult gaming centres are classified as non-essential retail under covid-19 guidance; and whether those centres will reopen once the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The government has published guidance to help businesses understand how to make workplaces Covid-secure and help tackle the spread of the virus. Adult Gaming Centres should follow the shops and branches guidance in addition to Bacta’s specific guidance for FECs and AGCs to ensure they can operate as safely as possible when they are open.

The shops and branches workplace guidance was intended as guidance for those businesses on how they could operate safely when the regulations permitted them to do so after the first national lockdown and beyond. It does not have a direct bearing on the timing for reopening of the businesses included in the guidance.

As announced by the Prime Minister, we intend to publish our plan for taking the country out of lockdown in the last week of February. That plan will depend on the continued success of our vaccination programme, and on a sustained reduction in Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will allow competitive ice skaters who are over 18 and who are not elite athletes to access ice rinks to train when the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021 ends.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus.

On Monday 4 January the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions. Therefore, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, including ice rinks, must close.

Previously, outdoor skating rinks could stay open across all tiers and indoor skating rinks could open in Tiers 1 and 2. Ice rinks were closed in tier 3 and 4 as they are primarily used for the purpose of entertainment. This is consistent with other venues used for entertainment purposes across the economy which were also closed. To allow those who need to access ice rinks, in tier three, exemptions were made for sport for educational purposes, people with disabilities, supervised activity for under-18s and elite athletes.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will hold discussions with the TV Licensing Authority on the (a) the time taken to process cheque payments from people over 75 and (b) issuing reminder letters to people who have already paid for their TV licence.

The BBC and TV Licensing are responsible for the collection and enforcement of the licence fee, not the government.

The government is therefore not involved in how TV Licensing processes payments, including cheques, or how and when it issues reminder letters.

However, the government expects TV Licensing to collect the licence fee in an efficient and proportionate manner, and to ensure particularly sensitive handling for those aged 75 and over who may be affected by the BBC’s changes to the over 75 concession.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing grants to churches and other places of worship which face potential closure as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Listed places of worship represent some of the nation’s finest heritage. The Government recognises the very significant impact that Covid-19 has had on places of worship to continue to operate and on the ability of congregations to maintain them.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has announced significant cross-sector support to deal with the impacts and aid recovery. This includes a £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund announced earlier this year aimed at helping key cultural and heritage organisations, including listed places of worship. The Fund has and will continue to provide grants to cover operating costs, support organisations become financially viable again and finance stalled capital projects. In addition, many places of worship have been eligible for other Covid-19 funding schemes including the emergency grant schemes run by Historic England and the National Lottery earlier this year.

The Government is committed to supporting places of worship and will continue to monitor both the impacts of the pandemic and the wider challenges that places of worship face.


Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support the Government will provide to charities who are responding to the covid-19 outbreak but are unlikely to benefit from the support schemes announced to date.

The Government is aware that the coronavirus outbreak has caused a series of economic challenges to charities at a time where they are seeing an increased demand. The £750m funding package announced by the Chancellor is specifically aimed at supporting those who need to continue providing their services as part of the national coronavirus response.

£360 million will be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.

A further £310m will be granted to charities through the National Lottery Communities Fund (NLCF) in England and £60m via the Devolved Administrations. We expect the application system for the National Lottery Community Fund grant pot in England to be operational shortly.

Unfortunately, we cannot match every pound of funding charities expected to receive this year. Many charities will have to assess whether they can access cross-cutting support measures announced by HM Treasury. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; access to a Business Interruption Loan, and schemes to defer VAT bills to the end of June, and pay no business rates for charity shops next year.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has in the next Comprehensive Spending Review to deliver ring-fenced funding to tackle the disproportionate social isolation affecting families with disabled children.

I refer the hon. Members for the City of Durham, Bath, and Stockton North to the answer I gave on 2 June 2021 to Question 7328.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 157325, on the Academic Year and School Day, what progress his Department is making on examining a range of options to help schools use evidence-based interventions to support their pupils to make up lost learning as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and when he plans to make an announcement on those options.

The Department appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to oversee our long-term recovery plan. Sir Kevan will speak with parents, pupils, and teachers whilst developing this, and will review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact COVID-19 has had on education. We will share further details in due course.

In June 2020, we announced a £1 billion catch-up package including a National Tutoring Programme and a Catch-up Premium for this academic year, and in February 2021 we committed to further funding of £700 million to fund summer schools, the expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for the next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years, schools, and colleges.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 157325 on the Academic Year and School Day, what progress his Department is making on examining a range of options to help schools use evidence-based interventions to support their pupils to make up lost learning as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and when he plans to make an announcement on that matter.

The Department appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to oversee our long-term recovery plan. Sir Kevan will speak with parents, pupils, and teachers whilst developing this, and will review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact COVID-19 has had on education. We will share further details in due course.

In June 2020, we announced a £1 billion catch-up package including a National Tutoring Programme and a Catch-up Premium for this academic year, and in February 2021 we committed to further funding of £700 million to fund summer schools, the expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for the next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years, schools, and colleges.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to appoint a cross-Departmental Minister for Disabled Children; and if he will make a statement.

As the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families I am responsible for policy on special educational needs and disabilities and on disadvantaged children more broadly.

The government is committed to supporting disabled children and as part of this we will be publishing a new national strategy for disabled people this year. I work closely with my hon. Friend, the Member for North Swindon, as Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, and with Ministerial Disability Champions across Whitehall to ensure that our policies are joined up effectively. Our priority here is ensuring that the needs of disabled children are recognised and appropriately met, which is what the current ministerial arrangements are already working to achieve.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) employment and (b) income of supply teachers.

The Department does not hold data on the rate of employment or the income of supply teachers.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has released estimates of the number and value of claims made to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). This outlines the number of companies, and employees who have been supported by the CJRS by employment sector, including education. However, the statistical release does not provide data on specific job roles within a sector. The information is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-december-2020

If supply staff employed via employment agencies are unable to find work, their employment agency can place them on furlough and use the CJRS to claim for 80% of their wages, including during school holiday periods, provided that the eligibility criteria. are met. Information on the CJRS is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. Information on the eligibility criteria is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to provide support to parents who have to home school their children while working full time.

It is critically important to ensure that all children and young people continue to learn during the national lockdown. The Department has updated the remote education guidance for schools and colleges to clarify and strengthen expectations while on-site attendance is restricted, drawing on our evolving understanding of best practice in remote education. The guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

Schools are expected to provide a set number of hours of remote education for pupils, increased from the Government’s previous minimum expectations. This includes time for independent study and recorded or live direct teaching. The Department recognises that different expectations are appropriate for younger and older age groups when learning remotely. The minimum number of expected hours therefore vary by Key Stage: 3 hours for Key Stage 1, on average across the cohort with less for younger pupils; 4 hours for Key Stage 2; and 5 hours for Key Stages 3 and 4. Schools are also expected to provide daily check ins on pupil engagement.

The Department also recognises that younger children in Key Stage 1 or Reception often require high levels of parental involvement to support their engagement with remote education, which makes digital provision a particular challenge for this age group. We therefore do not expect that solely digital means will be used to teach these pupils remotely.

To provide further clarity for pupils, parents, and carers about what they can expect, schools are expected to publish information about their remote education provision on their website by 25 January 2021. An optional template is available to support schools with this expectation. It is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/providing-remote-education-information-to-parents-template. Colleges were also expected to publish information about their remote education provision on their websites by 18 January.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people, 800,000 of which were delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities by 17 January. All schools have been invited to order devices. Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Department has partnered with the UK’s leading mobile network operators, such as EE, Three, O2, and Vodafone, to provide free data to disadvantaged families, which will support access to education resources, including Oak National Academy, and other websites. Families will benefit from this additional data until July 2021. Schools will be able to request free mobile data uplifts via the Get Help with Technology service.

In addition, the Department has already provided 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year, and continue to provide 4G wireless routers where children need to access remote education.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of potential discrepancies in examination and test performance between children who (a) have and (b) have not missed more than 20 days of schooling.

The Department recognises the challenges faced by schools, teachers, and students, and is aware that disruption has been felt differently across the country and between schools and colleges in the same area and between students within individual institutions.

The Department collects data from early years settings, schools and colleges detailing absences related to COVID-19. We are also conducting research to understand the learning lost by school aged pupils as a result of disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department has also confirmed the launch of an expert advisory group to consider the differential impacts of the pandemic on students and recommend mitigations for these impacts. Furthermore, Primary assessments in 2021 will be focused on those most important for schools, pupils and parents. The assessments that are going ahead will help assess the impact of lost time in education and ensure pupils receive the teaching that will best enable them to address any impact.

In recognition of the challenges faced by students, the Department has announced a package of measures that will ensure students have a fair chance of showing their knowledge and understanding of a subject in exams. The announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-support-the-summer-2021-exams.

These include grading that is more generous than previous years and adaptions to exams, such as giving students advance notice of topic areas and exam support materials. These adaptations will allow students to use the remaining time before the exams more effectively, which will be of particular benefit to those most affected by learning loss.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the head of Ofsted on changes to the (a) frequency of and (b) methodology used in school inspections for the duration of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has regular discussions with Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector about a range of matters, including Ofsted’s inspection approaches and programmes. On 3 December, the Secretary of State for Education confirmed the intention that routine, graded school inspections would not resume until the summer term, and that in the meantime, Ofsted would carry out monitoring inspections in schools most in need of support.

The Department will continue to engage with Ofsted as it implements its inspections in the spring term, and prepares for the resumption of routine, graded inspections.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of experienced supply teachers in the last eight months.

?The Department does not hold live data on the number of supply teachers available to schools although officials continue to engage with suppliers on the Department and Crown Commercial Service’s supply teacher framework to monitor market capacity.

?The Department has published guidance for schools for reopening which gives advice on how they can meet their workforce challenges, including advice on engaging supply teachers. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#school-workforce.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will provide additional funding to cover the increased supply teacher costs in schools as a result of teachers self-isolating during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department appreciates the continued and significant efforts by schools and their staff to keep schools open this term. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and wellbeing, and has rightly been a national priority. The latest published figures show that, on average, 99% of schools are open on a daily basis. The Department published guidance to support schools to welcome back all children full-time. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020-21 financial year compared to 2019-20.

The Department has also announced a new Covid workforce fund to support schools that are eligible with some of the costs of covering staff absences in schools, including employing supply staff to cover these absences. Relevant information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-funding-to-support-schools-and-colleges-during-covid-pandemic.

Ministers and officials continue to engage regularly with school leaders and their representatives on a wide range of issues around COVID-19, including discussions in relation to costs faced by schools at this time. The Department will continue to review the pressures schools are facing into next term.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made on the importance of KS2 SATs results for the 2020-21 Year 7 cohort during the transition period into secondary schools.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and associated school closures, the Department made the decision to cancel key stage 2 national curriculum assessments in the 2019/20 academic year. As a result, there were no formal assessment and reporting requirements for that year. The Department recognises the gap in information this creates on pupils’ attainment for the year 7 cohort of pupils in the 2020/21 academic year. Schools must continue to share pupils’ common transfer files with secondary schools and make arrangements to share additional information as required.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made for the implications of his policies for (a) regional variations in covid-19 infection rates, and (b) the number of days of schooling lost as a result of covid-19 restrictions on school exams in 2021.

The Department works closely with relevant partners such as the Joint Bio Security Centre, Public Health England, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Office for National Statistics to understand regional trends in COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, our regional REACT teams gather information about the challenges facing individual schools and supports them to respond to their local circumstances.

The Department collects data from schools, nurseries, and colleges detailing absences related to COVID-19. We are also conducting research to understand the learning lost by school aged pupils as a result of disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department recognises that pupils, including those due to sit exams and assessments next year, will have experienced disruption to their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The measures announced on 3 December are the best way to ensure pupils have a fair chance of showing their knowledge and understanding of a subject in exams. These include grading that is more generous than previous years and adaptions to exams, such as giving pupils exam support materials and advance notice of topic areas.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the amount schools have spent on supply teaching in the last eight months by region.

Information on school spending is found in the schools financial benchmarking tool which contains local authority maintained schools’ Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) returns and academies’ accounting returns (AARs). The tool is found here: https://schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk/Help/DataSources.

The CFR and AAR results publish spending by schools on supply teachers. The latest information available is for the 2018/19 financial year for maintained schools, and 2018/19 academic year for academies.

Local authority maintained schools have submitted their 2019/20 financial year data which is due to be released shortly. This will include the period up to 31st March 2020. The Department will not have the school financial data for the last 8 months until the 2020/21 financial data is released in late 2021.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020/21 financial year compared to 2019/20.

The Department has announced a new COVID-19 workforce fund to support schools that are eligible with some of the costs of covering staff absences in schools, including employing supply staff to cover these absences. The announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-funding-to-support-schools-and-colleges-during-covid-pandemic.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the increase in expenditure by schools on public health measures during the covid-19 outbreak, by region.

The Department appreciates the continued and significant efforts by schools and their staff to keep schools open this term. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and wellbeing and has rightly been a national priority. The latest published figures show that, on average, 99% of schools are open on a daily basis. The Department published guidance to support schools to welcome back all children full-time. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise risk of transmission. The measures set out in the Department’s guidance has been endorsed by Public Health England.

Schools have also continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020/21 financial year compared to 2019-20. As stated in our guidance, schools should use their existing resources, including these funding increases, when making arrangements to support children this term, including on public health measures associated with COVID-19 where appropriate.

To further support schools with some of these costs, the Department has been providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As part of this, schools were able to claim for additional cleaning costs, over and above existing arrangements, for confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. The first window for schools to claim funding back for exceptional costs due to the COVID-19 outbreak incurred between March and July closed on 21 July. Payments against claims made within the published scope of the fund were made to schools and academies in September. Schools received £16 million for additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases. Schools now have a second opportunity to claim for any costs in the approved categories, for which they did not claim during the first window. This second claims window launched on 4 December, along with details on how to make a claim, and will remain open until 22 December.

Ministers and officials continue to engage regularly with school leaders and their representatives on a wide range of issues around COVID-19, including discussions in relation to costs faced by schools at this time. The Department will continue to review the pressures schools are facing into next term.


Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the age at which children's attitudes towards money are shaped; and if he will make a statement.

Education on financial matters helps to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions, and know where to seek further information when needed. In 2014, for the first time, financial literacy was made statutory within the National Curriculum as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year olds: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-citizenship-programmes-of-study.

We also introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides young people with the knowledge and financial skills to make important financial decisions: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-mathematics-programmes-of-study.
The Government has published statutory programmes of study for mathematics and citizenship that outline what pupils should learn about financial education from Key Stages 1 to 4.

In the primary mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the essential arithmetic that pupils should have. This knowledge is vital, as a strong understanding of numeracy and numbers will underpin the pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money, including, for example, percentages. There is also some specific content about financial education such as calculations with money.

The Department trusts schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular school, drawing on the expertise of subject associations and organisations such as Young Money.

For the longer term, the Department will continue to work closely with The Money and Pension Service and Her Majesty's Treasury, to consider how to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 24 September 2020 to Question 91162, if he will provide an update on when his Department plans to publish the independent evaluation of the 2019 Holiday Activities and Food programme.

Last year, we commissioned Ecorys to carry out an independent evaluation of our 2019 Holiday Activities and Food programme.

The report has been delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak but it is now in the final stages and is being prepared for publication. We will continue to work with Ecorys on this and we expect their report to be published in the near future.

This summer, our £9 million Holiday Activities and Food programme worked across 17 local authority areas, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, building on the success of the programme in 2018 and 2019.

Future policy and spending decisions will be set following completion of the current Spending Review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2020 to Question 91763 on Holiday Play Schemes: Free School Meals and the Treasury’s News story of 21 October 2020, Spending Review to conclude late November, whether the Government plans to make an announcement on the long-term future of his Department’s Holiday Activities and Food programme after that Spending Review on 25 November 2020.

Last year, we commissioned Ecorys to carry out an independent evaluation of our 2019 Holiday Activities and Food programme.

The report has been delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak but it is now in the final stages and is being prepared for publication. We will continue to work with Ecorys on this and we expect their report to be published in the near future.

This summer, our £9 million Holiday Activities and Food programme worked across 17 local authority areas, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, building on the success of the programme in 2018 and 2019.

Future policy and spending decisions will be set following completion of the current Spending Review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many referrals there have been to children’s social care in each month since March 2020.

The department has undertaken a new Vulnerable Children and Young People Survey which has collected data from local authorities in England since May 2020. It includes data on contact with children supported by children’s social care, workforce, cost and system pressures. The report includes the number of referrals to children’s social care and referral source. Findings from the survey are published monthly and are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vulnerable-children-and-young-people-survey.

The attached table shows the data we have collected from the survey on the number of referrals to children’s social care services between May and August. The survey collects data fortnightly and asks for the number of referrals received over a one-week period, meaning there are gaps in the data. The total number of referrals to children’s social care received over a full month is not held.

Figures on the number of referrals and referral source are also published annually in the characteristics of children in need statistical release. The latest published data relates to the period up to 31 March 2019. The statistics are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-children-in-need.

The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges that local authorities are facing, including any increases in demand, and can provide support and guidance where appropriate.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to his oral contribution of 16 June 2020, Official Report column 713, when he plans to confirm (a) how, (b) where and (c) over what period the £1 billion fund to create more high-quality childcare, after-school clubs and support during holidays will be allocated.

The department wants to give parents the freedom, support and choice to look after their children in the way that works best for them. That is why from 2021, the government will be investing up to £1 billion to help create more high-quality wraparound and holiday childcare places. We will announce further details on this new investment in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's press release of 22 June 2020 entitled Thousands of children to benefit from free meals and activities, what recent estimate he has made of the number of disadvantaged children in (a) Stockton-on-Tees, (b) the North East and (c) England who will be unable to access free holiday activity provision in summer 2020.

Our Holiday Activities and Food programme is integral to our approach to provide healthy food and activities to children over the summer. We have announced 17 local authority areas that will benefit from this programme, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, and build on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. Grant funding was allocated based on a competitive bidding process.

We have worked with our Holiday Activities and Food coordinators to ensure that the programmes will support children and families through the disruption caused by COVID-19. We will set our future plans for this area in due course.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, we fully understand that children and parents face an unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid Summer Food Fund. This will support families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period. The department’s guidance on providing free school meals during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

We have also recently announced a £1 billion Covid catch-up package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time. £650 million will be shared across state primary, secondary and special schools over the 2020-2021 academic year. Schools are best placed to decide how this money is spent, but that can include, where appropriate, running summer schools.

Following the confirmation from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that holiday clubs will now be allowed to reopen during the summer holidays, we have published guidance on community activities, holiday and after-school clubs, as well as other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's press release of 22 June 2020 entitled Thousands of children to benefit from free meals and activities, what support his Department is providing to local authorities that were not allocated funding from the £9 million Holiday Activities and Food programme to be able to offer free holiday activity provision to disadvantaged children in summer 2020.

Our Holiday Activities and Food programme is integral to our approach to provide healthy food and activities to children over the summer. We have announced 17 local authority areas that will benefit from this programme, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, and build on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. Grant funding was allocated based on a competitive bidding process.

We have worked with our Holiday Activities and Food coordinators to ensure that the programmes will support children and families through the disruption caused by COVID-19. We will set our future plans for this area in due course.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, we fully understand that children and parents face an unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid Summer Food Fund. This will support families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period. The department’s guidance on providing free school meals during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

We have also recently announced a £1 billion Covid catch-up package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time. £650 million will be shared across state primary, secondary and special schools over the 2020-2021 academic year. Schools are best placed to decide how this money is spent, but that can include, where appropriate, running summer schools.

Following the confirmation from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that holiday clubs will now be allowed to reopen during the summer holidays, we have published guidance on community activities, holiday and after-school clubs, as well as other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's press release of 22 June 2020 entitled Thousands of children to benefit from free meals and activities, by what date he plans to announce whether the Holiday and Activities and Food programme will continue beyond summer 2020.

Our Holiday Activities and Food programme is integral to our approach to provide healthy food and activities to children over the summer. We have announced 17 local authority areas that will benefit from this programme, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, and build on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. Grant funding was allocated based on a competitive bidding process.

We have worked with our Holiday Activities and Food coordinators to ensure that the programmes will support children and families through the disruption caused by COVID-19. We will set our future plans for this area in due course.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, we fully understand that children and parents face an unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid Summer Food Fund. This will support families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period. The department’s guidance on providing free school meals during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

We have also recently announced a £1 billion Covid catch-up package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time. £650 million will be shared across state primary, secondary and special schools over the 2020-2021 academic year. Schools are best placed to decide how this money is spent, but that can include, where appropriate, running summer schools.

Following the confirmation from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that holiday clubs will now be allowed to reopen during the summer holidays, we have published guidance on community activities, holiday and after-school clubs, as well as other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's publication of 1 July 2020 entitled Devices and 4G wireless routers progress data as of 30 June 2020, if he will provide that data in relation to each local authority area in the North East.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers. We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets, and allocated devices to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. The Department has invited all local authorities and academy trusts to order laptops and tablets and 4G wireless routers. As of the end of June, over 200,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers have been delivered to local authorities and academy trusts.

The Department has delivered the following number of devices to local authorities across the North East for children with a social worker, care leavers and disadvantaged year 10s. The Department continues to deliver devices as orders are received.

Local Authority

Devices Delivered or Dispatched

4G Wireless Routers Delivered or Dispatched

Gateshead

604

81

Newcastle upon Tyne

1827

260

North Tyneside

731

142

South Tyneside

711

130

Sunderland

1130

171

Hartlepool

671

105

Middlesbrough

961

138

Redcar and Cleveland

550

148

Stockton-on-Tees

755

160

County Durham

1697

248

Darlington

410

49

Northumberland

976

146

Total

11023

1778

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of pupils eligible for free school meals in (a) Stockton-on-Tees, (b) the North East and (c) England who will not have access to (i) an appropriate digital device, (ii) an internet connection and (iii) data after his Department's roll-out of devices and 4G wireless routers is complete.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing vulnerable and disadvantaged children with laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers. We have provided laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in year 10 do not have internet connections, we have provided 4G wireless routers.

The Department has provided over 200,000 laptops and tablets to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. These estimates were based on the proportion of disadvantaged children, an estimate of private devices ownership and an estimate of existing devices held by schools which could be loaned out to meet the needs of these children. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. Local authorities and academy trusts could request additional devices, if required.

As of the end of June, over 200,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers had been delivered to local authorities and academy trusts. This included 755 laptops and tablets and 160 4G wireless routers to Stockton-on-Tees local authority for children with a social worker and care leavers and year 10 pupils in local authority maintained schools.

The Department has delivered the following number of devices to local authorities for children with a social worker, care leavers and disadvantaged year 10s across the North East. The Department continues to deliver devices as orders are received.

Local Authority

Devices Delivered or Dispatched

4G Wireless Routers Delivered or Dispatched

Gateshead

604

81

Newcastle upon Tyne

1827

260

North Tyneside

731

142

South Tyneside

711

130

Sunderland

1130

171

Hartlepool

671

105

Middlesbrough

961

138

Redcar and Cleveland

550

148

Stockton-on-Tees

755

160

County Durham

1697

248

Darlington

410

49

Northumberland

976

146

Total

11023

1778

Devices have also been delivered to academy trusts which have schools in the North East for disadvantaged year 10 pupils.

The Department has launched a service to provide children and young people free access to BT wifi hotspots until the end of December. 10,000 families will initially be able to access the scheme. We are currently working with BT to expand this offer to allow more children to access the internet through their network of BT wifi hotspots.

We are working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families. For families who rely on a mobile internet connection, mobile network operators are working to provide access to free additional data while COVID-19 requires children to learn from home and more social care services are online.

For those in rural areas or without a connection, schools are able to draw on support from the BBC which is broadcasting lessons on television. Some of the BBC educational content is offline, via the red button.

Schools may also choose to draw on the many resources offers which have been made by publishers across the country. The Department has published an initial list of high quality online educational resources, which have been identified by some of the country’s leading educational experts to help pupils learn at home.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
28th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the analysis by The Children’s Society, Barnardo’s, Action for Children, NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau, published on 18 May 2020, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authority children’s services are adequately prepared for a potential spike in referrals after the covid-19 lockdown is lifted.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures including on children’s services. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months.

The department has set up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact with local authorities. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges local authorities are facing and can provide support and guidance where appropriate. To assist in this, Ofsted has suspended routine inspections of children’s care services and only urgent inspections for specific concerns will go ahead so that children’s safety is prioritised. Ofsted inspectors have been deployed to support our regional teams and local authorities to provide their expertise.

We have recently set up a fortnightly data collection from local authorities to capture timely intelligence on referrals. This will allow the department to support local authorities to respond to any changes as the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.

The department has committed over £100 million to support access to social care services and remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to vulnerable and disadvantaged children. We are also in continual discussions with charities on the support they provide and currently need. We have committed additional funding worth £26.4 million directly to support them, including £1.6 million to expand NSPCC’s helpline.

We are working closely with local authorities to ensure workforce capacity is sufficient to cope with any potential spike in referrals. This includes weekly discussions between the Chief Social Worker and practice leaders.

Through emergency legislation and with Social Work England, we have reinstated the professional registration of 8,000 former social workers so that they can re-join the profession, providing additional resource where it is required.

We have also developed The Social Work Together online tool in partnership with Social Work England and the Local Government Association, so those social workers who have registered are available to support their local community if needed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the analysis published on 18 May 2020 by The Children’s Society, Barnardo’s, Action for Children, NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau, if he will he take steps to incentivise local authority children’s services to invest in early intervention services.

Early help plays an important role in promoting safe and stable families. It is about supporting and intervening with the right families, at the right time, and, most importantly, in the right way. It is right that local authorities are free to decide how to use their children’s social care budget to manage local priorities and deliver the best services for children. The statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children is clear that local areas should have a comprehensive range of effective, evidence-based services in place to address assessed needs early.

The government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months. The government also announced at the Local Government Finance Settlement that English councils' core spending power is rising by over £2.9 billion this financial year. This includes £1 billion of new grant funding that can be used flexibly by local authorities to deliver adult and children’s social care services, including early intervention services. Longer term funding considerations are a matter for the next spending review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that local authority children’s services are adequately funded to prepare for a potential increase in referrals after lockdown restrictions are eased after the covid-19 outbreak.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures including on children’s services. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months.

The department has set up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact with local authorities. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges local authorities are facing and can provide support and guidance where appropriate. To assist in this, Ofsted has suspended routine inspections of children’s care services and only urgent inspections for specific concerns will go ahead so that children’s safety is prioritised. Ofsted inspectors have been deployed to support our regional teams and local authorities to provide their expertise.

We have recently set up a fortnightly data collection from local authorities to capture timely intelligence on referrals. This will allow the department to support local authorities to respond to any changes as the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.

The department has committed over £100 million to support access to social care services and remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to vulnerable and disadvantaged children. We are also in continual discussions with charities on the support they provide and currently need. We have committed additional funding worth £26.4 million directly to support them, including £1.6 million to expand NSPCC’s helpline.

We are working closely with local authorities to ensure workforce capacity is sufficient to cope with any potential spike in referrals. This includes weekly discussions between the Chief Social Worker and practice leaders.

Through emergency legislation and with Social Work England, we have reinstated the professional registration of 8,000 former social workers so that they can re-join the profession, providing additional resource where it is required.

We have also developed The Social Work Together online tool in partnership with Social Work England and the Local Government Association, so those social workers who have registered are available to support their local community if needed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to incentivise local authority children’s services to allocate additional funding to early intervention services.

Early help plays an important role in promoting safe and stable families. It is about supporting and intervening with the right families, at the right time, and, most importantly, in the right way. It is right that local authorities are free to decide how to use their children’s social care budget to manage local priorities and deliver the best services for children. The statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children is clear that local areas should have a comprehensive range of effective, evidence-based services in place to address assessed needs early.

The government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months. The government also announced at the Local Government Finance Settlement that English councils' core spending power is rising by over £2.9 billion this financial year. This includes £1 billion of new grant funding that can be used flexibly by local authorities to deliver adult and children’s social care services, including early intervention services. Longer term funding considerations are a matter for the next spending review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to (a) schools and (b) local authorities to ensure that parents claim e-vouchers issued by them for free school meals.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to speak to their catering team or food suppliers to arrange meals or food parcels for pupils who are eligible for free school meals while they are staying at home. Where this is not possible, the department has developed a national voucher scheme as an alternative to support schools with this provision.

We are working very closely with our national voucher scheme supplier, Edenred, to ensure schools, as administrators ordering the vouchers for families, receive regular updates and advice regarding the scheme. There are also a number of online resources specifically aimed at schools and parents, including the following:

Edenred has reported that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket e-gift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his written statement of 21 April 2020, HCWS193, on Support for Education Settings/Providers, how many (a) laptops and tablets and (b) wireless 4G routers have been (i) applied for and (ii) will be received by schools on behalf of children and young people in each local authority area in the North East region.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G routers.

We are providing laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets. Local authorities and academy trusts are best place to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. The Department is agreeing the number of devices allocated to each local authority and academy trust based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device.

The Department is working to provide these devices in the shortest possible timeframe; deliveries to schools and Local Authorities will start this month and continue in June.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing parents and carers in England with direct payments in place of the national free school meal voucher scheme.

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 will continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate free school meal (FSM) arrangements for eligible pupils during this period. In the first instance, we are asking schools to speak to their catering teams and food suppliers about making food parcel arrangements for children staying at home as we believe that this is the best way to ensure that children are continuing to receive healthy meals. Where this is not possible, schools can use our national voucher scheme or alternatively can also set up their own voucher arrangements where the national scheme is not suitable. We have not put forward an approach that would involve direct payments to parents.

Schools and local authorities continue to accept FSM applications from parents or pupils. The department provides an Eligibility Checking System to support schools and local authorities in verifying and awarding FSM and we have developed a model registration form to help schools encourage parents to sign up for FSM.

Our Holiday Activities and Food Scheme will ensure that thousands of disadvantaged children have access to healthy meals this summer. On 16 March, we wrote to all bidders to let them know whether or not they were successful in their applications for funding and offered feedback to unsuccessful bidders. We will shortly announce the successful areas publicly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provides to (a) schools and (b) local authorities to encourage newly-eligible families to apply for free school meals.

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 will continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate free school meal (FSM) arrangements for eligible pupils during this period. In the first instance, we are asking schools to speak to their catering teams and food suppliers about making food parcel arrangements for children staying at home as we believe that this is the best way to ensure that children are continuing to receive healthy meals. Where this is not possible, schools can use our national voucher scheme or alternatively can also set up their own voucher arrangements where the national scheme is not suitable. We have not put forward an approach that would involve direct payments to parents.

Schools and local authorities continue to accept FSM applications from parents or pupils. The department provides an Eligibility Checking System to support schools and local authorities in verifying and awarding FSM and we have developed a model registration form to help schools encourage parents to sign up for FSM.

Our Holiday Activities and Food Scheme will ensure that thousands of disadvantaged children have access to healthy meals this summer. On 16 March, we wrote to all bidders to let them know whether or not they were successful in their applications for funding and offered feedback to unsuccessful bidders. We will shortly announce the successful areas publicly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 1 May 2020 to Question 38875 on Academic Year and Free School Meals, by what date his Department will announce the successful bids for the summer 2020 Holiday Activities and Food scheme.

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 will continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate free school meal (FSM) arrangements for eligible pupils during this period. In the first instance, we are asking schools to speak to their catering teams and food suppliers about making food parcel arrangements for children staying at home as we believe that this is the best way to ensure that children are continuing to receive healthy meals. Where this is not possible, schools can use our national voucher scheme or alternatively can also set up their own voucher arrangements where the national scheme is not suitable. We have not put forward an approach that would involve direct payments to parents.

Schools and local authorities continue to accept FSM applications from parents or pupils. The department provides an Eligibility Checking System to support schools and local authorities in verifying and awarding FSM and we have developed a model registration form to help schools encourage parents to sign up for FSM.

Our Holiday Activities and Food Scheme will ensure that thousands of disadvantaged children have access to healthy meals this summer. On 16 March, we wrote to all bidders to let them know whether or not they were successful in their applications for funding and offered feedback to unsuccessful bidders. We will shortly announce the successful areas publicly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 9002, on Holiday Activities and Food Research Fund, of the nine bids received from the North East region how many were successful; and what the value is of those successful bids.

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 will continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate free school meal (FSM) arrangements for eligible pupils during this period. In the first instance, we are asking schools to speak to their catering teams and food suppliers about making food parcel arrangements for children staying at home as we believe that this is the best way to ensure that children are continuing to receive healthy meals. Where this is not possible, schools can use our national voucher scheme or alternatively can also set up their own voucher arrangements where the national scheme is not suitable. We have not put forward an approach that would involve direct payments to parents.

Schools and local authorities continue to accept FSM applications from parents or pupils. The department provides an Eligibility Checking System to support schools and local authorities in verifying and awarding FSM and we have developed a model registration form to help schools encourage parents to sign up for FSM.

Our Holiday Activities and Food Scheme will ensure that thousands of disadvantaged children have access to healthy meals this summer. On 16 March, we wrote to all bidders to let them know whether or not they were successful in their applications for funding and offered feedback to unsuccessful bidders. We will shortly announce the successful areas publicly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 6 May 2020 to Question 42022, what factors he plans to take into account when reviewing whether free school food schemes will continue over the Whitsun school holiday week in May 2020.

As indicated in my previous answer, the provision of free school meals is ordinarily term time only. The department met the cost of this provision for eligible pupils during the Easter holidays, and this was to reflect the immediate circumstances schools and families were facing as a result of school closures that had only recently been introduced.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that students are able to retrieve their possessions from university accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

The government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy published on 11 May sets out a cautious roadmap to ease existing measures in a safe and measured way. The strategy allows for certain necessary travel if people take precautions.

In light of this, we are developing guidance on students travelling to and from student accommodation and this will be published as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, we have made clear that we do not believe that students should be fined for failing to collect their belongings if this is the case because they are complying with the government’s travel advice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what the guidance is for students who chose to stay at university but who now wish to travel home.

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

The government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy published on 11 May sets out a cautious roadmap to ease existing measures in a safe and measured way. The strategy allows for certain necessary travel if people take precautions.

In light of this, we are developing guidance on students travelling to and from student accommodation and this will be published as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, we have made clear that we do not believe that students should be fined for failing to collect their belongings if this is the case because they are complying with the government’s travel advice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will fund the centrally-funded national voucher scheme to support free school meal provision during the covid-19 outbreak for families of pupils eligible for benefits-related free school meals in the Whitsun school holiday week in May 2020.

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.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, during the Easter holidays the department met the costs of offering free school meals to eligible pupils not attending school during term time weeks. This was in recognition of the unprecedented levels of disruption and uncertainty for schools during this time. We currently have no plans to extend the scheme into future holiday periods.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the vouchers offered to children eligible for free school meals during the school closures will cover the costs of breakfast.

While schools are closed to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, they will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops for families. The government has confirmed that the total value of vouchers offered to each eligible child per week will exceed the rate it pays to schools for free school meals.

In addition to this, we are working to consider options to support children who receive a free breakfast through our contracts with Family Action and Magic Breakfast.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of children living in poverty in Stockton-on-Tees who are unable to access the provision of free school holiday activities and food.

This government has announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays. Following the success of our previous programmes, we now understand more about how best to support disadvantaged families. We are targeting this support where it is needed during the 6-week summer holidays.

We awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly, alongside the areas that we will be working in and the number of children that we expect to benefit.

We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged eligible children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East, and which will be published in 2020.

Further funding of this programme after 2020 will be considered as part of the three-year Spending Review and we will set out our plans in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's news story of 4 January 2020, Free meals and summer holiday activities for children, what estimate he has made of the number of children that will benefit from that funding.

This government has announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays. Following the success of our previous programmes, we now understand more about how best to support disadvantaged families. We are targeting this support where it is needed during the 6-week summer holidays.

We awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly, alongside the areas that we will be working in and the number of children that we expect to benefit.

We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged eligible children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East, and which will be published in 2020.

Further funding of this programme after 2020 will be considered as part of the three-year Spending Review and we will set out our plans in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's news story of 4 January 2020, Free meals and summer holiday activities for children, what plans his Department has to extend the provision of free school holiday activities and meals to all school holidays.

This government has announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays. Following the success of our previous programmes, we now understand more about how best to support disadvantaged families. We are targeting this support where it is needed during the 6-week summer holidays.

We awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly, alongside the areas that we will be working in and the number of children that we expect to benefit.

We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged eligible children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East, and which will be published in 2020.

Further funding of this programme after 2020 will be considered as part of the three-year Spending Review and we will set out our plans in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's news story of 4 January 2020, Free meals and summer holiday activities for children, whether the Holiday Activities and Food scheme remains in a pilot phase.

This government has announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays. Following the success of our previous programmes, we now understand more about how best to support disadvantaged families. We are targeting this support where it is needed during the 6-week summer holidays.

We awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly, alongside the areas that we will be working in and the number of children that we expect to benefit.

We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged eligible children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East, and which will be published in 2020.

Further funding of this programme after 2020 will be considered as part of the three-year Spending Review and we will set out our plans in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Holiday Activities and Food scheme will operate in each year of the 2019 Parliament.

This government has announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays. Following the success of our previous programmes, we now understand more about how best to support disadvantaged families. We are targeting this support where it is needed during the 6-week summer holidays.

We awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly, alongside the areas that we will be working in and the number of children that we expect to benefit.

We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged eligible children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East, and which will be published in 2020.

Further funding of this programme after 2020 will be considered as part of the three-year Spending Review and we will set out our plans in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his oral contribution of 17 June 2021, Official Report, column 437, if he will provide details of the meeting with representatives of the ornamentals sector referred to in that oral contribution.

On 16 June 2021, as part of his sector engagement activities, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs met with stakeholders from the edible and non-edible horticulture sector, to discuss labour issues and the effectiveness of the current Seasonal Workers Pilot.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to support animal rescue organisations affected financially by the covid-19 pandemic; and whether he plans to allocate further funding to help protect the welfare of animals in their care.

Animal rescue organisations do excellent work, often on a voluntary basis, protecting animals against cruelty and ensuring that unwanted and abandoned animals in the UK are offered the opportunity of a forever home. I am acutely aware that the coronavirus pandemic, and specifically the measures put in place to control the spread of the virus, continue to affect individuals, businesses and charities caring for animals. Protecting the welfare of animals remains a priority for Defra throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The sector has kept us regularly updated of the developing situation, sharing their surveys particularly with respect to the rescue and rehoming of companion animals, and sharing information on cruelty investigations. It has been encouraging to see the sector working collaboratively and successfully to support itself and to safeguard the welfare of equines in their care in the face of financial hardship and uncertainty.

The latest figures from a survey by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) show that although the animal rescue sector has seen a drop in income during the pandemic the financial sustainability in the sector appears to be improving. This suggests that rescues have adapted to the new situation either through fundraising in different ways or taking advantage of grants made available by the ADCH and other sources. More rescues are now taking in dogs and cats and more are rehoming. In Quarter 4 of 2020 there was a 24% Year on Year reduction of cat intake and a 32% reduction in dogs entering rescues. 68% of rescues have reported more people wish to foster dogs or cats and 58% wish to rehome a dog or cat.

National equine welfare charities have also kept us closely informed of the status of the Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund established by the Pet Plan Charitable Trust together with World Horse Welfare and the National Equine Welfare Council. The current picture of equine welfare is better than feared, but we continue to keep things under review.

We have worked closely with sector groups to update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations, and other animal charities and businesses. This has enabled them to undertake core operations as far as possible, whilst maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Throughout this period, we have ensured that rescue and rehoming organisations are permitted to stay open, that staff and volunteers can continue to work and tend to the animals in their care, and that rehoming, fostering and adoption services can continue in accordance with Covid-19 secure guidance.

We take the concerns of the sector very seriously and are keeping a close watch on in-take levels and trends in animal relinquishments. Defra remains committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the financial sustainability of animal rescue organisations.

Animal rescue organisations do excellent work, often on a voluntary basis, protecting animals against cruelty and ensuring that unwanted and abandoned animals in the UK are offered the opportunity of a forever home. I am acutely aware that the coronavirus pandemic, and specifically the measures put in place to control the spread of the virus, continue to affect individuals, businesses and charities caring for animals. Protecting the welfare of animals remains a priority for Defra throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The sector has kept us regularly updated of the developing situation, sharing their surveys particularly with respect to the rescue and rehoming of companion animals, and sharing information on cruelty investigations. It has been encouraging to see the sector working collaboratively and successfully to support itself and to safeguard the welfare of equines in their care in the face of financial hardship and uncertainty.

The latest figures from a survey by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) show that although the animal rescue sector has seen a drop in income during the pandemic the financial sustainability in the sector appears to be improving. This suggests that rescues have adapted to the new situation either through fundraising in different ways or taking advantage of grants made available by the ADCH and other sources. More rescues are now taking in dogs and cats and more are rehoming. In Quarter 4 of 2020 there was a 24% Year on Year reduction of cat intake and a 32% reduction in dogs entering rescues. 68% of rescues have reported more people wish to foster dogs or cats and 58% wish to rehome a dog or cat.

National equine welfare charities have also kept us closely informed of the status of the Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund established by the Pet Plan Charitable Trust together with World Horse Welfare and the National Equine Welfare Council. The current picture of equine welfare is better than feared, but we continue to keep things under review.

We have worked closely with sector groups to update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations, and other animal charities and businesses. This has enabled them to undertake core operations as far as possible, whilst maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Throughout this period, we have ensured that rescue and rehoming organisations are permitted to stay open, that staff and volunteers can continue to work and tend to the animals in their care, and that rehoming, fostering and adoption services can continue in accordance with Covid-19 secure guidance.

We take the concerns of the sector very seriously and are keeping a close watch on in-take levels and trends in animal relinquishments. Defra remains committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support the Government has made available to kennel and cattery businesses in the context of the re-classification of those services as essential and the implications of that matter for the eligibility of those workers regarding furlough.

There has been no change in the status of kennel and cattery businesses. Under the current restrictions veterinary services, animal rescue centres, and animal boarding facilities may stay open. Continued access to animal boarding facilities at this time is important for animal welfare purposes, including where required to enable critical workers to go to work or to allow owners to attend medical or vaccination appointments.

Local authorities have been allocated £500 million in discretionary funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant to support businesses that are significantly impacted by the restrictions even though not required to close. This is in addition to £1.1 billion already allocated in November 2020. Local authorities have discretion to use this funding to support businesses in the way they see fit. For example, this could include businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, or businesses in the events sector or businesses outside the business rates system, which are effectively forced to close. Businesses which cannot maintain their workforce because operations have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) can furlough employees and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their usual monthly wage costs, more information on eligibility can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#who-can-claim.

The Government has issued advice for pet owners and livestock keepers on looking after the welfare of animals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes guidance on how to access animal boarding facilities safely and is clear that you should only access these facilities by appointment and recommends that you ask the facilities if they provide a collection and drop-off service. More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-animals

The Canine and Feline Sector Group has also issued advice for pet businesses, including animal boarding establishments, on how to operate safely within the new restrictions. This includes a protocol for the handover of pets and may be found online: https://www.cfsg.org.uk/repository/360/

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will reverse the reclassification of kennel and cattery businesses from animal welfare to non-essential.

There has been no change in the status of kennel and cattery businesses. Under the current restrictions veterinary services, animal rescue centres, and animal boarding facilities may stay open. Continued access to animal boarding facilities at this time is important for animal welfare purposes, including where required to enable critical workers to go to work or to allow owners to attend medical or vaccination appointments.

The Government has issued advice for pet owners and livestock keepers on looking after the welfare of animals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes guidance on how to access animal boarding facilities safely and is clear that you should only access these facilities by appointment and recommends that you ask the facilities if they provide a collection and drop-off service. More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-animals

The Canine and Feline Sector Group has also issued advice for pet businesses, including animal boarding establishments, on how to operate safely within the new restrictions. This includes a protocol for the handover of pets and may be found online: https://www.cfsg.org.uk/repository/360/

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's press release of 11 June 2020, entitled £63 million for local authorities to assist those struggling to afford food and other essentials, how much of that funding he plans to allocate to each local authority in the North East; and when he plans to issue guidance on the use of that funding.

We are allocating the funding according to the size of a local authority’s population and the level of deprivation. The exact amounts will be published on the GOV.UK website in due course. We issued guidance to local authorities on Friday 10 July, which is available to view at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-authority-emergency-assistance-grant-for-food-and-essential-supplies.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect on levels of noise pollution of Environment Agency proposals to allow an increase in operating hours for gas peaking plants from 1,500 to 3,500 hours per year.

At this time, no decision has been made to amend guidance on operating hours for gas peaking plants.

The Environment Agency consider noise impacts in individual environmental permit applications and will consider noise assessments for gas peaking plants based upon the operating hours agreed within the permit.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether air quality targets for enclosed train stations will be included in proposals combined in the Environment Bill.

The Government considers air pollution on the railway to be an important issue. The Department for Transport is working closely with Network Rail and industry to improve air quality for railway users, workers, and neighbours.

The Environment Bill introduces measures to improve the natural environment, including outdoor air quality. The Bill establishes a duty to set a legally binding target on fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations in outdoor air as this is the most damaging pollutant to human health. An additional legally binding air quality target will also be set through the target framework. Setting ambitious air quality targets will drive comprehensive action across all parts of Government and society to reduce emissions and will deliver health benefits in all locations including stations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will include proposals for air quality targets for train stations in the forthcoming environment Bill.

The Government considers air pollution on the railway to be an important issue. The Department for Transport is working closely with Network Rail and industry to improve air quality for railway users, workers, and neighbours.

The Environment Bill introduces measures to improve the natural environment, including outdoor air quality. The Bill establishes a duty to set a legally binding target on fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations in outdoor air as this is the most damaging pollutant to human health. An additional legally binding air quality target will also be set through the target framework. Setting ambitious air quality targets will drive comprehensive action across all parts of Government and society to reduce emissions and will deliver health benefits in all locations including stations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support the covid-19 response in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The UN assesses that although the current number of detected cases remains relatively low in Gaza and the West Bank, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an increase in COVID-19 cases is poor, including the low availability of PPE and ventilators. The situation is particularly severe in Gaza, where the health system has shortages in specialised staff, drugs and equipment.

The UK has pledged £764 million to support the global humanitarian response to COVID-19. We have delivered additional vital support in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by providing funding to the World Health Organization and UNICEF 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. I also recently announced £20 million in new funding, which will help the Palestinian Authority support its health workers who have been on the frontline battling coronavirus.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect of Israel’s blockade on Gaza’s capacity to respond to the covid-19 pandemic.

The UN assesses that although the current number of detected cases remains relatively low in?Gaza?and the West Bank, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an increase in COVID-19 cases is poor, including the low availability of PPE and ventilators. The situation is particularly severe in?Gaza, where the health system has shortages in specialised staff, drugs and equipment.

The UK remains deeply concerned about the restrictions on movement and access that affect Gaza. The restrictions impact infrastructure development, the delivery of vital humanitarian services and limit the professional development of health and humanitarian workers.

During this global crisis, cooperation is vital. The cooperation between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority towards tackling COVID-19, as well as the important part played by the United Nations, was a very welcomed response. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv and the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem are in regular contact with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities respectively. We encourage UN agencies, the PA and the Israeli Government to work together to ensure that essential medical supplies and staff are able to access Gaza.

DFID is providing £1.3 million (2018-21) to support the UN’s Access Coordination Unit (ACU), which works to ensure humanitarian access to Gaza for UN and NGO workers. The ACU has played an important role in facilitating movement of humanitarian personnel and goods during the COVID-19 crisis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
What recent steps she has taken to ensure continuity of trading relationships for UK businesses after the end of the transition period.

In under two years, HM Government has secured trade deals with 63 countries, which covered £217 billion of trade in 2019. Taken alongside our recent deal with the European Union, trade with countries worth £897 billion in 2019 is now covered. No country, anywhere in the world, at any point in history, has conducted trade negotiations concurrently on this scale nor with our ambition.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish any representations he has received from Dubai Airport in relation to the UAE's classification on the red list.

Ministers and officials have engaged extensively with the aviation and travel industries throughout the pandemic, including with representatives from Dubai Airport and the UAE. We remain committed to an open engagement with the sector and continue to work with industry partners to share information with the aim of ensuring a safe return of international travel.

The government keeps the data for countries and territories under regular review and changes to the Red, Amber and Green lists will be implemented every three weeks, unless concerning evidence means we need to act faster to protect public health.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of the Tees Freeport on existing (a) road, (b) rail and (b) ports infrastructure.

I would like to congratulate the Tees Freeport on its successful bid. My Department recognises that appropriate links will be vital to ensure the success of the UK’s newly established Freeports. My Department will consider the implications of the Freeport business cases for our transport networks and future infrastructure investment decisions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many merchant ship calls there were at the sea ports comprising the Tees Freeport in (a) 2000, (b) 2010 and (c) 2020.

Tees and Hartlepool maritime ports had 4,671 and 3,533 merchant ships calls in 2010 and 2019 respectively. My Department does not hold figures dating to 2000, and the 2019 dataset is most current.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received on the delay to planned accessibility works at Billingham Station under the Access for All scheme; and what assessment he has made of the effect of such a delay on local residents who have disabilities.

We have received no representations about Billingham since it was included in the Access for All programme. Although the deadline for completing Access for All projects is 2024, Billingham is due to finish in 2022. Development and design work are well advanced and construction is due to start early next year.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the operation of the driving test system; and if he will extend the expiry date of theory tests.

In line with national lockdown restrictions, all routine practical driving tests have been suspended until the restrictions are lifted. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has rescheduled affected tests by moving them to the next available test dates and has notified candidates accordingly.

Once it is safe for driving tests to resume, the DVSA will ensure measures are in place to increase testing availability wherever possible; this will include offering overtime and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to carry out tests (warrant card holders) to do so, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays).

The maximum duration of two years between passing the theory test and a subsequent practical test is in place to ensure a candidate’s road safety knowledge is current. This validity period is set in legislation and the Government has no current plans to lay further legislation to extend it.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Clean Maritime Plan, published 11 July 2019, whether his Department has made an estimate of the potential amount of (a) public and (b) private investment required to achieve the pathway to zero carbon emissions in the domestic maritime industry.

The Department has undertaken extensive research considering the level of investment required for the UK’s domestic maritime sector to achieve net zero by 2050. This research comprises a range of scenarios assessing different policy options, including both costs and benefits, and has been published on GOV.UK:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/clean-maritime-plan-maritime-2050-environment-route-map

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the effect of the objectives of the Clean Maritime Plan, published in July 2019, on maritime employment levels in each year to 2035.

Alongside the Clean Maritime Plan, the Department published an assessment of the potential economic opportunities from low and zero emission shipping. While this does not estimate the number of potential new jobs that could be created through the decarbonisation of the maritime sector, it identifies a large potential global market for the elements of alternative maritime fuel production technologies in which the UK has a particular competitive advantage (for example, upfront design), which could result in economic benefits to the UK of around £360–£510 million per year by the middle of the century.

More recently, Maritime UK has published its views that investment in maritime decarbonisation could in future create more than 15 thousand jobs as well as tens of thousands of jobs when considering the wider supply chain[1]. Industry research estimates that in 2017 the UK maritime sector as a whole directly supported more than 220 thousand jobs for UK employees[2].

[1] https://www.maritimeuk.org/spending-review/bid/

[2] https://www.maritimeuk.org/documents/429/Maritime_UK_-_state_of_the_maritime_nation_report_2019_D17mVSQ.pdf

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 November 2020 to Question 111511, when he plans to publish the Transport Decarbonisation Plan; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect of that Plan on the planned review of the Clean Maritime Plan in 2022.

We expect to publish the Transport Decarbonisation Plan in Spring 2021. When reviewing the Clean Maritime Plan in 2022, the Government will consider the actions set out in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and the progress made towards maritime decarbonisation.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 November 2020 to Question 111511 on Merchant Shipping: Carbon Emissions, how much the Government is investing to support the transition to zero emission vessels in the UK shipping industry; and if he will include full details of that investment in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

To date, the Department for Transport has funded a £1.5m competition for innovation in clean maritime and provided £193,897 in grant support, through the Department’s Transport Technology Research Innovation Grant Programme, to early stage research projects related to clean maritime. Details of the grant winners are available, respectively, on the MarRI-UK website[1] and on GOV.UK[2].

[1] https://www.marri-uk.org/funding-opportunities/clean-maritime-call/clean-maritime-call-winners

[2] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879162/transport-technology-research-innovation-grants-t-trig-funding-winners.csv/preview

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to use the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation to encourage the uptake of low carbon fuels in the shipping industry.

As set out in our Clean Maritime Plan, we are considering whether and how the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) could be used to encourage the uptake of low carbon fuels in maritime. We plan to consult soon on this policy as part of a wider consultation on potential changes to the RTFO scheme.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential contribution that (a) hydrogen and (b) ammonia fuel will make to the decarbonisation of the shipping industry by 2025; and what the latest advice is of the Clean Maritime Council on bridging targets in (i) 2025 and (ii) 2030 for decarbonising the maritime sector.

DfT-commissioned research supporting the Clean Maritime Plan set out that hydrogen and ammonia, a hydrogen carrier, are expected to play a significant role for decarbonising the maritime sector, with ammonia representing the most prevalent fuel for shipping by 2051. It also suggested that the global market for elements of alternative fuel production technologies like hydrogen and ammonia, in which the UK has a strong competitive advantage, could rise to up to £11bn per year by 2050, and could generate economic benefits to the UK of up to £0.5bn per year by the middle of the century.

The Clean Maritime Plan includes the Government ambitions that by 2025 all new vessels being ordered for use in UK waters are being designed with zero emission propulsion capability and that by 2035 low or zero emission marine fuel bunkering options are readily available across the UK. The Clean Maritime Plan has been developed in close partnership with the maritime industry, including the Clean Maritime Council, which advice continues to inform the implementation of the Plan. Further detail on developing trajectories for the decarbonization of the maritime sector in the UK will be set out within the forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the report of the Committee on Climate Change, Reducing UK emissions: Progress report to Parliament. published in June 2020, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on (a) port workers, (b) port infrastructure and (c) seafarers of the recommendation that the shipping industry switch to using vessels powered by (i) hydrogen and (ii) ammonia in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from merchant shipping activity.

The Department has been engaging actively with maritime stakeholders to better understand the opportunities for employment arising from the transition to net zero and will comment on the related consideration of employment issues in the forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

More broadly, following the publication of the Clean Maritime Plan and its associated research in 2019, the Department has commissioned additional research into the economic opportunities presented by maritime clusters and the role such clusters will play in delivering net zero, and expects this work to be finalised later this year.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the report commissioned by his Department, Reducing the Maritime Sector’s Contribution to Climate Change and Air Pollution - Economic Opportunities from Low and Zero Emission Shipping, published in 2019, when he plans to make an assessment of the effect on (a) port worker and (b) seafarer employment of the transition to zero emission shipping.

The Department has been engaging actively with maritime stakeholders to better understand the opportunities for employment arising from the transition to net zero and will comment on the related consideration of maritime employment issues in the forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

More broadly, following the publication of the Clean Maritime Plan and its associated research in 2019, the Department has commissioned additional research into the economic opportunities presented by maritime clusters and the role such clusters will play in delivering net zero, and expects this work to be finalised later this year.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is his policy to require the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to produce recommendations for the merchant shipping industry.

The Government is investing £2.5bn? to support the transition to zero emission vehicles on our roads. There are no plans to require the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to produce recommendations for the merchant shipping industry. The Government’s approach for decarbonising this sector is set out in the Clean Maritime Plan. Published in July 2019, the Plan outlines the UK’s pathway to zero carbon emissions in domestic maritime. Further plans on the decarbonisation of the maritime sector will be included in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, to be published later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to require the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to consult trade unions on the employment implications of different low emission technologies under consideration for each mode of public transport.

The Department is developing a bold and ambitious plan to achieve net zero emissions across all modes of transport. Thousands of people and organisations, including trade unions, have responded to our call for engagement over the past six months and we are grateful for their contributions. The Transport Decarbonisation Plan will be published later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what effect the inaugural meeting of the Hydrogen Advisory Council on 20 July 2020 has had on his Department’s Clean Maritime Plan.

Government is committed to developing hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier. The Hydrogen Advisory Council was established in July 2020 to inform the development of a hydrogen strategy, to be published early in 2021, and formalise engagement with industry. The Clean Maritime Plan was published in 2019, prior to the launch of the Hydrogen Advisory Council, but recognised the key role hydrogen may have to play in the decarbonisation of the maritime sector. Further detail on the Government’s policies on maritime decarbonisation will be set out in the forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what effect the inaugural meeting of the Hydrogen Advisory Council on 20 July 2020 has had on his policies on sea port infrastructure on the east coast of (a) England and (b) Scotland.

The Hydrogen Advisory Council was established in July 2020 to inform the development of a hydrogen strategy, to be published early in 2021, and formalise engagement with industry.

At the inaugural meeting of the council, hydrogen demand in transport sector and accompanying infrastructure requirements were discussed. No policies on sea port infrastructure on the east coast of England and Scotland, where port policy is devolved, have been changed in light of the inaugural meeting of the Hydrogen Advisory Council.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to make it compulsory to wear a helmet when cycling.

The Government considered this matter in detail as part of its cycling and walking safety review in 2018.

In summary, the Government will continue to encourage cyclists, especially children, to wear helmets, but does not intend to legislate to require it. Supporting safe cycling, including helmet use, will be a feature of many of the programmes outlined in the Prime Minister’s Cycling and Walking Plan being supported by the £2 billion of funding for active travel.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of amending the Bus Service Operator's Grant to include hydrogen.

As announced in the ‘Better Deal for Bus Users’ package, the Government remains committed to the reform of the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) in order to support the environment and improved passenger journeys.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to announce further information on his Department's policy to introduce (a) a hydrogen bus town scheme and (b) a hydrogen hub.

The Transport Secretary is exploring options for using hydrogen in transport. Further details will be announced in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with travel agents including on-line agents on their roll in issuing refunds to customers that have booked flights through those agents which have subsequently been cancelled as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the challenges businesses and consumers are experiencing regarding refunds for cancelled holidays and flights. Airlines are working hard to answer the high call volumes and to process the very large number of applications for refunds.

The Government appreciates the distress and frustration consumers may be experiencing. The Department for Transport is in regular conversation with UK airlines and wider membership bodies. The Department is working closely with the sector, the regulator and consumer groups to help ensure airlines deliver on their commitments.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with UK airlines on issuing refunds to customers whose travel arrangements were cancelled as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the challenges businesses and consumers are experiencing regarding refunds for cancelled holidays and flights. Airlines are working hard to answer the high call volumes and to process the very large number of applications for refunds.

The Government appreciates the distress and frustration consumers may be experiencing. The Department for Transport is in regular conversation with UK airlines and wider membership bodies. The Department is working closely with the sector, the regulator and consumer groups to help ensure airlines deliver on their commitments.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential economic effect on offshore helicopter operators in the North Sea of the recent fall in the price of oil.

The government is not planning to make an assessment focusing specifically on offshore helicopter operators in the North Sea. However, the government will consider the offshore helicopter sector as part of its wider work on how it can best support the aviation sector and ensure it remains resilient.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to issue guidance on covid-19 to (a) passengers, (b) crew and (c) operators in the offshore transport sector of the commercial helicopter industry.

No guidance has been issued specifically to the commercial offshore transport sector industry. However, the sector is covered by the wider guidance published by Public Health England, including on social distancing and on the use of personal protective equipment.

In addition, as is the case with other sectors, all non-essential services must stop, including training. An exception would be made if the service provider offers essential or emergency services, including search and rescue, medical, firefighting or key personnel movement – during which the usual social distancing guidelines should apply where possible.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether European Technical Standard Orders issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency after 31 December 2020 will continue to apply to commercial helicopter operators in the oil and gas industry on the UK continental shelf.

As the Prime Minister has made clear, the most important objective – in all policy areas – is for the UK to have economic and political independence. Whatever happens, we will not enter a relationship in which we do not have control of our own laws and political life. That means we will not agree to any Treaty obligations for our laws to be aligned with the EU's or for the EU's institutions, including the European Court of Justice, to have any jurisdiction in the UK. This includes the European Technical Standard Orders.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many of the commercial helicopters currently contracted to provide passenger transport in the North Sea oil and gas sector have been upgraded to comply with the recommendations issued to that industry by the Civil Aviation Authority in 2014.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is committed to making North Sea helicopter flying as safe as possible and the CAA’s Safety review of offshore public transport helicopter operations in support of the exploitation of oil and gas resulted in wide ranging recommendations and actions to improve offshore helicopter safety standards.

A number of these recommendations and actions related to the certification of new helicopter designs, which is the responsibility of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). None of the recommendations specifically required existing helicopters to be upgraded.

One action from the safety review tasked the CAA to promote and support the implementation of the results of research into helicopter terrain awareness warning systems. This led to some helicopters being retrofitted in 2019, so that existing equipment specifically offers warnings for the offshore operating environment. This work is ongoing.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of the Civil Aviation Authority’s CAP 1877 Progress Report on the recommendations in CAP 1145 Safety Review of offshore public transport helicopter operations in support of the exploitation of oil and gas.

The CAA published a comprehensive review into offshore helicopter safety in 2014, which put forward recommendations and actions to helicopter operators and the oil and gas industry. These have led to the introduction of a number of significant measures to increase the safety standards of offshore helicopter flights. The changes were welcomed by both the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers and the British Airline Pilots Association.

No recommendations were made for the Department in this report. However, the CAA and the Department will continue to monitor the safety of helicopter operations.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which criteria his Department uses to assess the socio-economic effect of public procurement of rolling stock.

The Department considers the case for the procurement of rolling stock in line with the principles set out in the Government’s Green Book guidance on appraisal and evaluation, and the Business Case Guidance for Projects (available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-green-book-appraisal-and-evaluation-in-central-governent).

The socio-economic effects of a project are assessed within the Economic Case, with the project’s impacts on individuals and the environment, for example. The Department for Transport’s Appraisal Guidance (TAG) (available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transport-analysis-guidance-webtag) sets out the guidance for producing an Economic Case.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he has made on his Department's decarbonisation plan; and whether that plan will include battery trains.

The Government has set an ambitious, legally binding target to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the UK by 2050. Rail must make a significant contribution towards achieving this target as part of our Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

In line with the recommendations of the Rail Industry Decarbonisation Taskforce, Network Rail is developing a Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy with the Department and industry partners. This work will examine which parts of the network are best suited to use of battery trains, as well as hydrogen trains and electrification, and will inform Government decisions in 2020 about the scale and pace of further rail decarbonisation.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking with Network Rail to improve air quality in train stations.

The Government is determined to reduce the impact of poor air quality on railway users, workers, and neighbours and will soon be announcing a Transport Decarbonisation Plan which looks at the environmental impact of transport. We are acting to both eliminate pollution, largely caused by diesel engines, and to reduce its negative effects.

The Government has reduced use of diesel trains on the network by delivering hundreds of miles of electrification since 2010. Of the passenger vehicle miles travelled by electric or diesel vehicles in 2018/19, about 70% were electric – up from about 63% in 2009/10.

We are supporting development of new technology to reduce pollution from diesel trains, funding air quality projects through the ongoing First of a Kind innovation programme. Network Rail have taken mitigating action in stations where air quality is particularly poor and plan to extend this to other stations.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of reforming the rolling stock procurement criteria.

Rolling stock procurement in the UK is undertaken through a competitive process by franchised or open access train operators who must act without discrimination and in a transparent manner. The Government continues to remain supportive of a competitive UK rolling stock manufacturing market that delivers benefits for both the economy and passengers.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of cancelling High Speed Two on (a) existing and (b) potential jobs in train manufacturing .

In August 2019 the government commissioned the independent Oakervee Review to provide advice on whether and how to proceed with HS2. The Government will make a decision on HS2 shortly.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Williams Rail Review will make recommendations on rolling stock procurement to (a) increase UK productivity and (b) create jobs in the North East.

The Williams Rail Review was tasked with bringing forward recommendations for root and branch change in the rail industry.

Keith Williams, its independent chair, and his team have been looking closely across the sector, including at workforce engagement and skills, to ensure it works in the best interests of passengers and taxpayers. He has not been asked to develop specific recommendations on rolling stock manufacturing. A White Paper based on his recommendations will be published soon.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support the development of battery trains in the UK.

The Government supports use of battery trains on the railway where appropriate to deliver our legally binding target to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the UK by 2050.

Our innovation programmes have supported development of battery technology and continue to provide funding opportunities for innovative environmental projects. The Government is also funding work on safety and wider issues that will have to be considered to allow the smooth entry into service on the network of battery trains.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Williams Rail Review will make recommendations to ensure there are no further job losses at Hitachi Rail’s Newton Aycliffe factory.

The Williams Rail Review was tasked with bringing forward recommendations for root and branch change in the rail industry.

Keith Williams, its independent chair, and his team have been looking closely across the sector, including at workforce engagement and skills, to ensure it works in the best interests of passengers and taxpayers. He has not been asked to develop specific recommendations on rolling stock manufacturing. A White Paper based on his recommendations will be published soon.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has met with representatives of Hitachi Rail to discuss potential job losses at its factory.

The Secretary of State for Transport has not met with representatives of Hitachi Rail to discuss any specific matters in respect of their facility at Newton Aycliffe. Officials at the Department remain fully engaged with Hitachi on a regular basis with regard to current and future projects.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the additional costs of working from home are taken into account when calculating universal credit payments for claimants who are working from home during covid-19 restrictions.

A Universal Credit award is calculated on the basis of the set benefit rate against money coming in, to ensure fairness of treatment for all claimants against the money that they have available. This is a long-standing principle of means-tested benefits.

Universal Credit rules align closely to tax legislation (Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA)). Amounts that are taken into account for a Universal Credit award include those that are general earnings, as defined in section 7(3) of ITEPA. Amounts paid as expenses that are exempt from Income tax under Part 4 of ITEPA are not taken into account for a Universal Credit award.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the (a) number of people who had debt deductions from their legacy benefits in each of the last 12 months and (b) total amount recovered in each of those months.

The number of people who had debt deductions from their legacy benefits and the value of those deductions for the last twelve months, are detailed in the table below.

Month

Number of people who had deductions from Legacy Benefits

Value of those deductions

Jan-20

205,700

£11.300m

Feb-20

199,200

£10.331m

Mar-20

200,100

£11.849m

Apr-20

181,100

£10.083m

May-20

162,300

£8.454m

Jun-20

95,700

£3.030m

Jul-20

9,000

£0.370m

Aug-20

66,800

£4.326m

Sep-20

70,200

£4.900m

Oct-20

70,200

£5.029m

Nov-20

72,500

£5.361m

Dec-20

75,800

£5.982m

We recognise that there will be some claimants who may be experiencing financial difficulty, and anyone unable to afford the rate of recovery proposed is encouraged to contact DWP Debt Management to review the proposed rate of recovery.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will raise Local Housing Allowance to ensure it covers housing costs.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased in April 2020, costing almost £1 billion and providing 1.5 million claimants with on average an extra £600 more housing support per year than they would otherwise have received.

In 2021/22 all LHA rates will be maintained at their increased level, meaning claimants renting in the private rented sector will continue to benefit from the significant increase in the rates applied this year.

For those who require additional support with housing costs Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in DHP funding.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to reduce child poverty in (a) Stockton North constituency and (b) the Tees Valley Combined Authority area.

Tackling child poverty is a priority for this Government. Our recent focus has been on supporting people financially during these unprecedented times. The Department for Work and Pensions quickly introduced a package of support, including welfare changes worth £9.3 billion this year to help people with the financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our long-term ambition remains to level up across the country and continue to tackle child poverty through our reformed welfare system that works with the labour market to encourage parents to move into and progress in work wherever possible.

Our £30bn Plan for Jobs is the first step on the ladder to achieving this and will support economic recovery through new schemes including Kickstart and Job Entry Targeted Support. We are also doubling the number of work coaches who, through our Jobcentre network, will provide more people with the tailored support they need to move back into work and towards financial independence.

The Government launched its Plan for Jobs in response the impact of the pandemic. Progress can be seen in the recent launch of Kickstart, the new Job Entry Target Support (JETS), an extension of the Work and Health Programme and the expansion of the Sector-based Work Academy Programme. A New Job Finding Support Service, involving the private sector recruiters, will also be introduced.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many children lived in (a) poverty and (b) extreme poverty in (i) Stockton North constituency and (ii) the Tees Valley in each of the last 10 years.

Protecting families with low incomes during the COVID-19 outbreak is of upmost importance to this government. The policies implemented in response to the outbreak, such as the Job Retention Schemes and the increases to the welfare budget have made a huge difference, particularly to those with low incomes. This was shown in HMT’s recently published distributional analysis about the Impact of COVID-19 on working household incomes. This publication shows that the lowest income decile of working households has seen no fall in income due to Government measures that have been put in place. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/impact-of-covid-19-on-working-household-incomes-distributional-analysis-as-of-may-2020

The Government launched its Plan for Jobs in response the impact of the pandemic. Progress can be seen in the recent launch of Kickstart, the new Job Entry Target Support (JETS), an extension of the Work and Health Programme and the expansion of the Sector-based Work Academy Programme. A New Job Finding Support Service, involving the private sector recruiters, will also be introduced.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. The rates of children in absolute poverty in the North East region in the three years to 18/19 has decreased, both before and after housing costs, compared to the three years to 09/10.

These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201819

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.

The latest figures from 2014/15 to 2018/19 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-201415-to-201819

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many children were living in poverty in (a) Stockton North constituency and (b) the Tees Valley Combined Authority area in (i) May 2017, (ii) May 2020 and (iii) October 2020.

Protecting families with low incomes during the COVID-19 outbreak is of upmost importance to this government. The policies implemented in response to the outbreak, such as the Job Retention Schemes and the increases to the welfare budget have made a huge difference, particularly to those with low incomes. This was shown in HMT’s recently published distributional analysis about the Impact of COVID-19 on working household incomes. This publication shows that the lowest income decile of working households has seen no fall in income due to Government measures that have been put in place. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/impact-of-covid-19-on-working-household-incomes-distributional-analysis-as-of-may-2020

The Government launched its Plan for Jobs in response the impact of the pandemic. Progress can be seen in the recent launch of Kickstart, the new Job Entry Target Support (JETS), an extension of the Work and Health Programme and the expansion of the Sector-based Work Academy Programme. A New Job Finding Support Service, involving the private sector recruiters, will also be introduced.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. The rates of children in absolute poverty in the North East region in the three years to 18/19 has decreased, both before and after housing costs, compared to the three years to 09/10.

These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201819

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.

The latest figures from 2014/15 to 2018/19 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-201415-to-201819

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate the Government has made of the number of families that will be affected by the reduction in (a) universal credit and (b) working tax credit by £20 a week in April 2021 in (i) Stockton North constituency and (ii) the Tees Valley Combined Authority area.

No estimate has been made. Volumes will be dependent on the Universal Credit caseload during the period to March 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the effect of job losses in (a) Stockton North, (b) the Tees Valley Combined Authority area and (c) the North East on levels of child poverty in each respective area.

Protecting families with low incomes during the COVID-19 outbreak is of upmost importance to this government. The policies implemented in response to the outbreak, such as the Job Retention Schemes and the increases to the welfare budget have made a huge difference, particularly to those with low incomes. This was shown in HMT’s recently published distributional analysis about the Impact of COVID-19 on working household incomes. This publication shows that the lowest income decile of working households has seen no fall in income due to Government measures that have been put in place. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/impact-of-covid-19-on-working-household-incomes-distributional-analysis-as-of-may-2020

The Government launched its Plan for Jobs in response the impact of the pandemic. Progress can be seen in the recent launch of Kickstart, the new Job Entry Target Support (JETS), an extension of the Work and Health Programme and the expansion of the Sector-based Work Academy Programme. A New Job Finding Support Service, involving the private sector recruiters, will also be introduced.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. The rates of children in absolute poverty in the North East region in the three years to 18/19 has decreased, both before and after housing costs, compared to the three years to 09/10.

These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201819

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.

The latest figures from 2014/15 to 2018/19 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-201415-to-201819

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2020
What assessment she has made of the potential effect of reducing universal credit and working tax credit by £20 a week in April 2021 on (a) average working age and (b) levels of child poverty.

DWP is continuing to work with HMT and other Government Departments to monitor the evolving economic situation and identify the most effective ways to help people. There is a lot of uncertainty involved in projecting incomes and levels of poverty.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families with children are affected by the benefit cap in Stockton North constituency.

The available information on the number of households, receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, who are subject to the Benefit Cap, by Family Type and Parliamentary Constituency, is published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families are affected by the two-child limit on social security benefits in Stockton North in the most recent period for which figures are available.

In Stockton North 240 families (or 7% of all households on Universal Credit with at least one child) were affected by the policy in April 2020.

Notes:

1. Families affected means households on Universal Credit reporting a third or subsequent child on or after 6 April 2017 and not receiving a child element/amount.

2. This data is for households that had an open Universal Credit claim in April 2020, as included in this year’s Two Child Policy Publication.

3. Percentages rounded to nearest percent and number of families rounded to nearest 10

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families with children have received the £20 per week uplift in universal credit standard allowance payments in Stockton North in each month since that uplift was introduced.

The available information on the number of households with children on Universal Credit, by parliamentary constituency, is published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the right for unmarried couples to claim bereavement benefits will extend to people who do not live together but do have a child.

Bereavement Support Payment is intended to help with the immediate costs of bereavement following the premature death of a spouse or civil partner. Whilst we intend to take forward a Remedial Order to extend this benefit to cohabitees with children, we have no plans to extend eligibility any further.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Health and Safety Executive on the provision of covid-19 guidance in the workplace for (a) employers and (b) staff in the offshore oil and gas industry.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a contributing member of the Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) Pandemic Steering Group (PSG), which also includes members from OGUK, helicopter operators, oil and gas companies, industry associations, medical professionals, Step Change in Safety (SCiS), Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and trade unions, including Unite and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers.

The PSG has developed and published a range of guidance for offshore oil and gas companies on measures required to manage the risks of COVID-19 infection. The PSG has also produced guidance specifically for the offshore workforce on the measures oil and gas companies should have in place to manage the risks of COVID-19 offshore: https://oilandgasuk.co.uk/covid-19/ and https://www.stepchangeinsafety.net/workgroups/covid-19/. HSE has also supported the PSG in formulating Scottish Government sector guidance which supports working safely offshore during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/web-resources-container/guidance-for-prevention-and-management-of-cases-of-covid-19-on-offshore-installations/.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the (a) Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and (b) Scottish Government on the (i) provision and (ii) uptake of public covid-19 test facilities for offshore oil and gas workers.

The Secretary of State and I engage with a wide variety of stakeholders on a regular basis.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) supports the testing of offshore workers to identify and manage the risks from COVID-19. HSE has given its full support to the Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) Pandemic Steering Group (PSG) to help deliver testing for all offshore workers. HSE is in regular communication with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to further support the availability of testing for all offshore workers, including those who are asymptomatic.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the (a) content and (b) availability of covid-19 workplace safety guidance for (i) employers and (ii) staff in the offshore wind industry; and when she last discussed that matter with that industry's representatives.

On 24th March 2020, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) wrote to the offshore wind industry reminding employers of their legal duty to ensure the health and safety of their workforce. The letter also directed duty holders to the more detailed social distancing guidelines on the Public Health England, Health Protection Scotland and Public Health Wales websites.

On 26th March 2020, HSE met virtually with representatives of major industry duty holders and trade associations to discuss how the industry would comply with social distancing requirements. On 1st April 2020 the Renewable Energy Emergency Response Forum (“REEF”) held a meeting at which HSE, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Police and industry representatives agreed that each duty holder would develop their own arrangements to comply with their duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, based on the above mentioned social distancing guidelines.

Since then, HSE continues to contact offshore wind farm duty holders to check that they have suitable COVID-19 risk control measures in place.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new universal credit claimants there were in each of the five local authority areas within the Tees Valley in each of the last three months.

Information on new Universal Credit claims is not available by local authority. However, data surrounding starts to UC by postcode area is published online and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

This includes data on the number of new Universal Credit claims in the postcode areas of Cleveland and Darlington up to 9th April 2020.

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department has provided to staff processing claims for universal credit on using a better off calculation when a new claim is received.

DWP staff will signpost people to independent benefit calculators where they can check their eligibility for Universal Credit before applying.

The independent benefits calculators we endorse are intended to provide useful estimations of what people can get in certain circumstances, based on what information is entered on the calculators themselves. This is to allow people to safely explore what help they may receive from Universal Credit before they apply, or based on potential changes of circumstances.

For people considering claiming Universal Credit, we have updated our information on gov.uk and on understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk, where links to independent benefit calculators are published.

https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/new-to-universal-credit/how-much-youll-get/

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Health and Safety Executive is taking to ensure that (a) social distancing and (b) other measures to help prevent increasing covid-19 infection rates are enforced among offshore oil and gas workers.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a contributing member of the Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) Pandemic Steering Group, which also contains members from OGUK, helicopter operators, oil and gas companies, Step Change in Safety and Health Protection Scotland. The Pandemic Steering Group has developed a protocol and range of measures to give guidance to offshore oil and gas companies on social distancing and other measures to prevent the COVID-19 infection of offshore workers. This has been disseminated to the industry via the OGUK working groups and online communication channels where appropriate and will be supported by the published full guidance document on OGUK’s website early next week.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the names of the training providers in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales that offer courses in (i) basic safety training and (ii) basic technical training that are required for employment in the offshore wind industry.

It is a legal duty on all employers within the offshore wind industry to provide sufficient information, instruction and training to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of people in their employment and others who may be affected. It is a matter for each individual employer to decide on how that information, instruction and training is provided, commensurate to the risks. Therefore, HSE does not approve the industry training standards.

HSE is aware of the Global Wind Organisation’s (GWO) training standards and that training providers are audited on a regular basis by the GWO to ensure that training is delivered to those standards. Further information can be found at:

https://www.globalwindsafety.org/trainingproviders/findttraningprovider?d19e55cf_page=5.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Health and Safety Executive has taken since 2016 to assess the compliance of (a) basic safety training and (b) basic technical training standards required by employers in the offshore wind industry with domestic health and safety regulations.

In 2012, in response to the emergence of the offshore wind industry, HSE created a dedicated team to regulate the offshore renewable energy industry. In addition to carrying out planned inspection and investigation of injuries and incidents, HSE’s dedicated team has worked with a range of stakeholders to encourage the development of good standards for health and safety. This has included working with industry bodies including the Global Wind Organisation (GWO), G+ Global Offshore Wind Health and Safety Organisation (G+) and RenewableUK (RUK).

In November 2015, HSE hosted an industry leaders’ event where a commitment was made by those organisations to further improve industry leadership, increase engagement across the supply chain, develop a common risk reduction programme for the industry and develop and deliver good practice. The industry created a steering group to ensure the effective delivery of improvement. In April 2018, HSE and the industry reviewed progress and were broadly satisfied that progress had been made with a desire to do more.

Since 2012, one of HSE’s priorities has been worker competence to ensure that people work safely. Although HSE does not approve training standards, it has been involved in discussions about the GWO training standards for basic safety. HSE sees the benefit in industry minimum standards of training as it facilitates worker mobility, reduces unnecessary bureaucracy and costs without reducing health and safety standards. However, they make clear to industry that this should be supplemented with an individual training needs analysis to determine the additional training needs for specific tasks required to be carried out safely.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of employees in the offshore wind industry that hold (a) basic safety training and (b) a basic technical training certification in line with the minimum safety training standards for the industry set by the Global Wind Organisation.

It is a legal duty on all employers within the offshore wind industry to provide sufficient information, instruction and training to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of people in their employment and others who may be affected. It is a matter for each individual employer to decide on how that information, instruction and training is provided, commensurate with the risks. Therefore, HSE does not approve the industry training standards nor keep records of the numbers trained under any individual training scheme.

At inspections and during investigations, HSE does make thorough inquiries to ensure that workers who go offshore have received basic safety training prior to going offshore and that this is refreshed on a regular basis. That basic safety training covers the following topics: Marine Safety; Work at Height and Escape and Evacuation; First Aid; Fire Awareness; and Manual Handling. In addition, HSE does make inquiries into ensuring job specific training is provided.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department his made of the adequacy of health and safety training standards required by employers for (a) commercial divers, (b) seafarers and (c) technicians for employment the offshore wind industry.

It is a legal duty on all employers within the offshore wind industry to provide sufficient information, instruction and training to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of people in their employment and others who may be affected. It is a matter for each individual employer to decide on how that information, instruction and training is provided, commensurate to the risks.

HSE does not have a statutory responsibility to approve training courses or standards for the sector. In 2012, HSE created a dedicated team to regulate the sector and that team has conducted inspections and investigations at offshore wind farms, enforcing health and safety legislation in accordance with HSE’s policies and procedures. Where HSE has identified that a duty holder has not provided suitable information, instruction and training, then it has taken action in accordance with its Enforcement Policy Statement (https://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/enforcepolicy.htm).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with (a) ministerial colleagues in the Department for Transport and (b) the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation on changes to the basic offshore safety induction and emergency training standard since the Civil Aviation Authority’s most recent recommendations on improving passenger safety and survivability in the helicopter transport sector of the offshore oil and gas industry.

Offshore helicopter safety falls within the remit of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). There have been no recent discussions between the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (OPITO) on changes to the basic offshore safety induction training (BOSIET) syllabus with respect to helicopter transport. Although HSE has no direct influence on the content of OPITO training syllabuses (it is a matter for OPITO and the offshore Oil and Gas Industry), HSE actively engaged with OPITO/Oil & Gas UK Ltd in September 2015 following the CAA’s decision to introduce the new Category A Emergency Breathing System (EBS) of a compressed-air underwater escape system for offshore helicopter transport.

HSE had no direct involvement in the CAA decision. However, because this system uses compressed air as part of basic offshore survival training it is subject to the Diving at Work Regulations 1997 (DAWR). These regulations require anyone diving as part of a work activity to pass a medical carried out by an HSE approved medical Examiner. However, this medical sets an unnecessarily high standard for the type of training undertaken. HSE worked out a balance between allowing realistic OPITO training and the risk of barotrauma to participants. Consequently, in 2015 HSE issued an Exemption Certificate from DAWR to allow training “in pool” to proceed to max depth of 1.5m, provided participants had been passed fit following an examination to a set standard by a registered medical practitioner. Following further consultation with industry, a new exemption certificate was issued in April 2017. This incorporated the medical requirements of the original certificate issued in 2015 for helicopter escape training but allowed for unrestricted medical certificate of fitness for offshore work to be acceptable for shallow water training. A further exemption was issued in 2018 to allow a similar provision for the acceptability of unrestricted medical certificates of fitness to work at sea. All exemptions followed consultation with the industry and allow for the required training to be undertaken whilst still providing a level of protection to those taking part.

There is an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between HSE and the CAA that includes arrangements for the regulation of offshore helicopter transport. As part of this MoU, there are regular meetings held between HSE and CAA to discuss offshore helicopter safety-related issues.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding by the Disabled Children’s Partnership’s in their report, Left Behind, published 16 July 2021, that nearly three quarters of disabled children have seen their progress managing their conditions reversed in the covid-19 outbreak, what plans he has to ensure that disabled children can (a) regain lost progress and (b) improve their ability in managing their condition.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the quality of mental health support that young people can access through their GP.

Under the Primary Care Network (PCN) Direct Enhanced Services, networks are able to recruit new roles to expand their care team with 100% reimbursement through the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme. From April 2021, PCNs have been able to recruit mental health practitioners through the Scheme.

The Mental Health Recovery Action Plan aims to respond to the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the public, specifically targeting groups which have been most impacted including those with severe mental illness, including young people. This is in addition to the £2.3 billion invested in mental health services by 2023-24.

General practitioners are responsible for ensuring their own clinical knowledge remains up-to-date and for identifying learning needs as part of their continuing professional development. This activity should include taking account of new research and developments in guidance, to ensure that they can continue to provide high quality care to all patients.

All United Kingdom registered doctors are expected to meet the professional standards set out in the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Good Medical Practice.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the (a) knowledge and (b) confidence of GPs on responding effectively to the mental health concerns of children and young people.

Under the Primary Care Network (PCN) Direct Enhanced Services, networks are able to recruit new roles to expand their care team with 100% reimbursement through the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme. From April 2021, PCNs have been able to recruit mental health practitioners through the Scheme.

The Mental Health Recovery Action Plan aims to respond to the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the public, specifically targeting groups which have been most impacted including those with severe mental illness, including young people. This is in addition to the £2.3 billion invested in mental health services by 2023-24.

General practitioners are responsible for ensuring their own clinical knowledge remains up-to-date and for identifying learning needs as part of their continuing professional development. This activity should include taking account of new research and developments in guidance, to ensure that they can continue to provide high quality care to all patients.

All United Kingdom registered doctors are expected to meet the professional standards set out in the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Good Medical Practice.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 December 2020 to Question 106995 on Dental Health: Children, when his Department plans to hold a public consultation on a national early years supervised toothbrushing scheme for England.

We are currently reviewing plans for a consultation, subject to current funding considerations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government before the decision was taken to withdraw the health, care and volunteer workers parking pass.

Departmental officials have had regular discussions with officials at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

No impact assessment has been undertaken. Local authorities are responsible for their own parking criteria and make decisions on providing this free parking locally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan for England, if he will make it his policy to increase funding for related mass media campaigns to at least 2008 levels.

The Government remains committed to funding a programme of targeted evidence-based marketing campaigns to help people quit the use of tobacco. We will publish a new Tobacco Control Plan later this year to outline our proposals to deliver a smoke free country by 2030.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan for England, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing financial incentives in maternal smoking cessation pathways.

The Department is currently assessing the potential merits of providing financial incentives for pregnant women as part of the proposals for a new Tobacco Control Plan, due to be published later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of the Disabled Children’s Partnership’s report entitled No End In Sight Report, published on 14 May 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing support for specific therapies catch-up plans for disabled children as part of the covid-19 recovery.

We have no plans to make a specific assessment. However, as part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of therapies to disabled children. NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance which makes clear that essential community services, including therapies such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, must be prioritised for children and young people aged up to 25 years old with special educational needs and disabilities and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or who are going through an assessment for one.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the Government placed the UAE on the red list for travel.

Decisions to place countries, including UAE, on the ‘red list’ are taken by the Government to protect public health. They are informed by evidence including the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s risks assessments alongside wider public health factors.

The advice, evidence and methodology which informs these decisions relates to on-going development of Government policy and we are unable to provide this specific information at this time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether every local authority area has a Transforming Care Lead; and whether that information is publicly available.

We do not hold this information centrally.

A Transforming Care Partnership may include several local authorities, as well as being made up of National Health Service clinical commissioning groups and NHS England’s specialised commissioners.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of covid-19 lockdown restrictions on people in Assessment and Treatment Units and other closed culture environments.

We have not made a specific assessment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of appointing a Lead Commissioner to oversee the implementation of the Transforming Care Programme and the discharge of autistic people and people with learning disabilities from Assessment and Treatment Units.

We have made no such assessment.

The Department is responsible for driving forward the programme with delivery partners across health and social care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 April 2021 to Question 168907 on Health Services: Inspections, what steps his Department plans to take to monitor compliance with the new Care Quality Commission guidelines on closed cultures.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an independent body with statutory responsibility for monitoring, inspecting and regulating services that provide regulated activities within health and social care, to ensure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety. The CQC will therefore monitor compliance by providers of its guidelines on closed cultures.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason visitors to the UK from red list countries who are fully vaccinated against covid-19 are not able to quarantine at home.

The ‘red list’ is used for those countries that have been assessed as particularly high risk in respect of transmission of new variants of COVID-19. The Government is prioritising the prevention of new variants entering the country and the possibility of these being spread in the wider community. Individuals who have been vaccinated might nonetheless contract another variant, particularly while in ‘red list’ countries and spread it even if quarantining at home. This means it is vital to continue to follow the public health guidance and rules including the necessity of quarantining in hotels.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the UK placed Qatar on the red list for travel.

Decisions to place on countries, including Qatar, on the ‘red list’ are taken by Ministers informed by evidence including the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s analysis as well as other relevant information about the risk of the spread of variant. The advice, evidence and methodology which informs these decisions relates to on-going development of Government policy and therefore cannot be published at this time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to to prioritise covid-19 vaccinations for workers in the industries producing covid-19 vaccines.

In January 2021, to 2,000 people working in roles crucial to the continuity of the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain were offered vaccinations. Workers identified by the Government as being crucial to the delivery of vaccine supply included staff working for Pfizer and AstraZeneca involved in specialist, highly trained roles.

Eligible workers were identified by their employer against clear criteria and the most appropriate location for vaccination were agreed between the National Health Service, local providers and employer.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department undertake a national review of existing commissioning arrangements for (a) autistic people and (b) people with learning disabilities.

While we have no current plans to review the existing commissioning arrangements, as part of work on the upcoming Health and Care Bill, we are supporting the National Health Service’s efforts to develop more integrated services and remove barriers and bureaucracy.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what meetings he has had with the Care Quality Commission on the implementation of its new inspection regime in relation to closed cultures; and how that new inspection regime relates to the Transforming Care agenda.

We are not aware of any specific meetings that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has had with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that focussed on its new inspection regime in relation to closed cultures.

The Minister of State for Care has regular meetings with the CQC including discussions on closed cultures, as well as on Transforming Care more widely. I met with the CQC on the 29 June 2020 which included discussions around closed cultures.

CQC have been making significant improvements in how they understand and identify closed culture services, prioritising these services for monitoring. This supports improvements in the quality of care provided to people with a learning disability and autistic people, in line with the Transforming Care objectives.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether funding under the Community Discharge Fund is allocated to the local authority in which the person is ordinarily resident or the local authority where they are in hospital.

Allocations of funding through the Community Discharge Grant are made on the basis of forecast future discharges of people for whom a Transforming Care Partnership has a commissioning responsibility.

In order to calculate the 2020-21 allocations for each Transforming Care Partnership in England under the Community Discharge Grant we have estimated the double running costs that each Transforming Care Partnership could face for the coming year. Double running costs occur in the period before a formal discharge when a person is still an inpatient requiring a bed and a community care package is also put in place.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 157099, which local authorities have been awarded funds from the Community Discharge Fund to date; and how much money each such authority received.

For the financial year 2020-21, Community Discharge Grant allocations were made to individual Transforming Care Partnerships in England. Each Transforming Care Partnership nominated a lead local authority to receive funds on their behalf.

A table showing the lead local authorities that have received the Community Discharge Grant to date and the amount each lead local authority was awarded on behalf of their wider Transforming Care Partnership is attached.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Liaison and Diversion services routinely assess the maturity of defendants aged between 18 and 24 for pre-sentence reports.

Liaison and Diversion services screen and assess individuals of any age who are referred to the service for a wide range of vulnerabilities, including mental health, substance misuse, learning disabilities and difficulties, autism, acquired brain injury, speech language and communications needs. This helps inform an indication of maturity and ability to comprehend or engage with services. There are no currently known assessment tools designed specifically to assess maturity.

If concerns regarding maturity are identified, these will be shared, with the individual’s consent, with key decision-makers in criminal justice agencies and Liaison and Diversion outreach workers will design an holistic package of support, making referrals to relevant health, social care and voluntary sector services.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department will use to assess the effectiveness of the Community Discharge Fund.

We will review the allocation methodology for the second year of the Grant and expect to consult with local government on how best to apportion funds in future so the funds have maximum impact in facilitating timely discharges of people with a learning disability and/or autism into the community.

The Department may undertake a formal evaluation of the effectiveness of the Community Discharge Grant. Any evaluation will focus on how effective funding has been to meet the purpose of the grant, which is to support discharges and would engage with local authorities and Transforming Care Partnerships.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on the vaccination of workers who are currently in the UK but employed overseas and need to have the covid-19 vaccine before they are allowed to return.

Those ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine according to the priority cohorts defined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Currently all those aged over 50 years old and those who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 can book their vaccination, including those who work overseas and are in the UK now. Wherever possible, British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. Foreign nationals living overseas should obtain the vaccine in their country of residence.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make foster parents a priority group to receive the covid-19 vaccine.

Based on the clinical assessment that most children are not considered to be at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality, being a foster carer alone is not cause for prioritisation for a COVID-19 vaccination. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities within residential care, should be offered vaccination as part of phase one. There are currently no plans to prioritise foster parents not in the first nine priority groups in the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Unpaid carers are included in the JCVI’s priority group six, which includes individuals who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable. This means that if a foster parent or carer is the sole or primary carer of a child who was prioritised for vaccination in cohorts four or six, they will be offered the vaccination in cohort six.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish a daily total of the number and proportion of people vaccinated in each of the priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Currently daily and weekly data for those who have received a first and second dose is available for each of the four nations with daily data for vaccinations in England by region. NHS England and NHS Improvement also publish weekly data for vaccinations with data on vaccinations by more granular localities, some patient groups and by ethnicity. Each month further data will be provided on vaccinations by patient subgroup. This is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's policy is on (a) whether frontline police officers will be prioritised for the covid-19 vaccine and (b) when that group will be offered the covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that the priority for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

The Government will set out plans for phase two of the vaccination programme in due course, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase capacity within the contact tracing policy team responsible for answering enquiries from hon. Members; and if he will introduce a telephone helpline for hon. Members and their staff to contact that team.

The NHS Test and Trace service seeks to respond to enquiries from hon. Members as quickly and efficiently as possible. NHS Test and Trace is currently developing an enhanced response service, which will be fully operational in February 2021. This will provide a faster and more efficient service for hon. Members to get answers to questions on behalf of their constituents.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the time taken to respond to enquiries by hon. Members on behalf of constituents by his contact tracing policy team.

The NHS Test and Trace service seeks to respond to enquiries from hon. Members as quickly and efficiently as possible. NHS Test and Trace is currently developing an enhanced response service, which will be fully operational in February 2021. This will provide a faster and more efficient service for hon. Members to get answers to questions on behalf of their constituents.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide a bonus to care workers in recognition of their work throughout the covid-19 outbreak.

The social care workforce more than ever demonstrates unwavering compassion and dedication. We are proud of them and immensely grateful to them. We want to celebrate their work and give them the acknowledgement and appreciation that they deserve.

The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay?and remuneration, independent of central government. We are exploring ways to further develop recognition of the social care sector, to empower staff?and?reinforce appreciation across the sector. However, we are not currently planning to pay social care staff a bonus as a part of this.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of autistic people and people with learning disabilities in care and health settings.

People with a learning disability and autistic people should have access to the same, high quality health and care that we all expect. The Government is implementing Building the Right Support national plan, which aims to reduce the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people in specialist inpatient settings by ensuring more people get the support they need in the community.

As part of this, we will provide £74 million (£62 million in England) over the three years from 2020/21 to support discharge for people with a learning disability and autistic people from hospital into the community. In England, the first year of funding (£20m) of has already been paid through the Community Discharge Grant to all nominated lead Local Authorities.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people with (a) learning disabilities and (b) autism have the right care and support available and in place to prevent the need for hospital admissions.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to an extra £4.5 billion a year for primary care and community health services by 2023/24 to enable more people to receive personalised care in the community and reduce preventable admissions to inpatient services. This will include developing seven-day specialist multidisciplinary services and crisis care.

In the Reforming the Mental Health Act white paper, published in January 2021, we propose reducing the number of circumstances in which someone with a learning disability or an autistic person could be detained under the Act. We also propose creating new duties on commissioners to ensure that there are sufficient community-based services to support people with a learning disability and autistic people.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to end the use of restraint, segregation and seclusion for people with (a) learning disabilities and (b) autism.

We are clear that restrictive interventions should only ever be used as a last resort. In 2018, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care commissioned the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to undertake a review into the use of restraint, segregation and seclusion for people with a learning disability and autistic people. The CQC’s final report was published on 22 October 2020, and we will take further action drawing on its recommendations.

We remain committed to implementing The Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act. This makes clear that staff should be appropriately trained and that the Secretary of State must ensure that at the end of each year statistics are published regarding the use of force by staff in mental health units. We are developing statutory guidance to support the implementation of the Act.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to meet targets to discharge people with (a) learning disabilities and (b) autism from health and care settings.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to implement the Building the Right Support national plan to achieve at least a 50% reduction in the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people who are inpatients in mental health hospitals by 2023/24. The Long Term Plan commits to an extra £4.5 billion a year for primary care and community health services by 2023/24 to reduce preventable admissions to inpatient services. This includes developing seven-day specialist multidisciplinary services and crisis care.

We will provide £74 million, £62 million in England, over three years from 2020/21 to support discharge for people with a learning disability and autistic people from hospital into the community. In England, the first year of funding of £20 million has already been paid through the Community Discharge Grant to all nominated lead local authorities.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will lift the tier three covid-19 restriction on competitive ice skaters aged 18 and over training at ice rinks.

National restrictions ended on Wednesday 2 December and gyms and sport facilities are reopening across all tiers. Outdoor skating rinks can stay open across all tiers and indoor skating rinks can open in Tiers 1 and 2.

Under Tier 3, ice rinks are able to open for disability sport, sports as part of the curriculum in education and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18 year olds, including those who were under 18 years old on 31 August 2020. Elite and professional athletes may continue to use facilities including ice rinks to train and to compete behind closed doors.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to prioritise funeral directors and staff for the covid-19 vaccine alongside health and care home staff.

The Green Book Immunisation Against Infections Disease chapter on COVID-19, states that hospital-based laboratory and mortuary staff who frequently handle COVID-19 or collect or handle potentially infected specimens, including respiratory, gastrointestinal and blood specimens should be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination as they may also have social contact with patients. This may also include cleaners, porters, secretaries and receptionists in laboratories. Frontline funeral operatives and mortuary technicians/embalmers are both at risk of exposure and likely to spend a considerable amount of time in care homes and hospital settings where they may also expose multiple patients, therefore they should also be eligible for vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on children’s (a) mental health and (b) emotional resilience by region.

‘Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2020: Wave 1 follow up to the 2017 survey’ was published on 22 October 2020 by NHS Digital and is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-of-children-and-young-people-in-england/2020-wave-1-follow-up

The survey states that, in 2020, rates of probable mental disorder in children aged 5 to 16 years old ranged from 10% in London to 20.5% in the West Midlands. The increased rates of probable mental disorder in most regions between 2017 and 2020 were not found to be statistically significant.

The sample size in this survey was sufficiently big to detect differences in England between 2017 and 2020 but when divided across regions, the samples sizes will be smaller at regional level, and these smaller sizes may not have been sufficient to detect a statistically significant difference.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to implement the ban on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s.

In July 2019, following public consultation, the Government confirmed it will end the sale of energy drinks to children under the age of 16. We will be setting out our full response to the consultation as soon as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will reconsider the decision to close specialist shops selling vaping products during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

Hygiene and social distancing measures are vitally important for reducing the transmission risk of COVID-19. We know that the virus spreads readily in any indoor environment where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together, so the transmission risk in indoor settings, such as specialist shops selling vaping products, remains high.  On this basis the decision was made to close non-essential shops during the November 2020 national restrictions.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of dentists and dental staff being ineligible for a free flu vaccination on the ability of patients to access dental services; and if he will make a statement.

Provision of flu vaccination for frontline health care workers, including National Health Service independent contractors such as dentists, is the responsibility of the employer, as part of their occupational health responsibility.

Some dentists and other dental staff who are in an ‘at-risk’ group will continue to be eligible for a free flu vaccine under the flu programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to provide NHS dental teams with priority access to a covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI published interim advice on 25 September 2020 stating the vaccine should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk.

The JCVI has prioritised health and care workers, which would include National Health Service dental teams, in the initial recommendations. The final recommendations may further refine these recommendations taking into account the different levels of exposure, vaccine characteristics and other factors such as age and clinical risk. We will consider the Committee’s advice carefully as we continue to plan for a vaccination campaign.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to hold a public consultation on a national early years supervised toothbrushing scheme for England.

No date has yet been set for a consultation on a national early years toothbrushing scheme for England.

We estimate the cost of rolling out a supervised toothbrushing scheme for 30% of the most deprived 3-5 year-olds would cost approximately £9 million per annum. The Public Health England Return on Investment tool estimates that supervised toothbrushing provides a five-year return of £3.06 for every £1 invested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the (a) cost and (b) return on investment of rolling out supervised toothbrushing in early years settings for the 30 per cent most deprived children in England.

No date has yet been set for a consultation on a national early years toothbrushing scheme for England.

We estimate the cost of rolling out a supervised toothbrushing scheme for 30% of the most deprived 3-5 year-olds would cost approximately £9 million per annum. The Public Health England Return on Investment tool estimates that supervised toothbrushing provides a five-year return of £3.06 for every £1 invested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will implement a policy similar to that of the Scottish Government on visits to care homes in England.

We keep our policies under continuous review, based on the emerging international and domestic evidence. As the pandemic progresses, we will continue to update our guidance in line with this to ensure that best practice is reviewed and can be applied.

On 5 November, we published updated visiting guidance for care homes which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

We are working to further update guidance as we come out of the current period of national restrictions. We want to bring an end to the pain of separation and help care homes bring families and loved ones together. The launch of visitor testing is a crucial step to making that happen. We aim to rollout visitor testing nationwide by Christmas.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has he made of the implications for his policies of the Scottish Government’s policy to relax visiting restrictions to care homes.

We keep our policies under continuous review, based on the emerging international and domestic evidence. As the pandemic progresses, we will continue to update our guidance in line with this to ensure that best practice is reviewed and can be applied.

On 5 November, we published updated visiting guidance for care homes which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

We are working to further update guidance as we come out of the current period of national restrictions. We want to bring an end to the pain of separation and help care homes bring families and loved ones together. The launch of visitor testing is a crucial step to making that happen. We aim to rollout visitor testing nationwide by Christmas.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy to permit a person in a tier two covid-19 area to travel to a family wedding in a tier one area and stay overnight in a hotel.

If you live in an area where the local COVID-19 alert level is high you can stay in a hotel outside of your area, but you must only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

Similarly, you are able to attend a wedding service and attend a wedding reception provided it takes place at a COVID-secure venue or in public outdoor space, unless specific exemptions apply. Up to 15 people can attend a wedding, or a wedding reception in a medium risk area. However, you should not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble while you are there.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) dentists and (b) dental health staff has the same access to covid-19 tests as other NHS staff.

We have made it our priority to provide testing for National Health Service front line staff, including dentists and dental health staff, when symptomatic. A number of tests are reserved for essential workers and all symptomatic frontline staff can request a test as an essential worker via GOV.UK or 119. Essential workers can order five test kits for themselves and other symptomatic members of their households. However, for households of more than five, 119 can raise an order on their behalf.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what impact assessment his Department has undertaken on the effect of regional health inequality on the covid-19 death rate in the North East.

Public Health England’s (PHE) review into factors impacting health outcomes from COVID-19 confirms that the impact of COVID-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them. Building on the PHE reviews, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP), is undertaking vital work that will contribute to reducing these disparities to protect our most vulnerable communities.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the North East had the third highest mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19. The ONS will continue to review deaths involving COVID-19 and will release an update when appropriate.

Local authorities will be working with other local partners including clinical commissioning groups, voluntary sector partners and community leaders to identify the way in which COVID-19 has widened health inequalities and will already be taking mitigating actions factoring it into their local recovery plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of regional health inequalities on covid-19 death rates in the North East.

Public Health England’s (PHE) review into factors impacting health outcomes from COVID-19 confirms that the impact of COVID-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them. Building on the PHE reviews, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP), is undertaking vital work that will contribute to reducing these disparities to protect our most vulnerable communities.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the North East had the third highest mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19. The ONS will continue to review deaths involving COVID-19 and will release an update when appropriate.

Local authorities will be working with other local partners including clinical commissioning groups, voluntary sector partners and community leaders to identify the way in which COVID-19 has widened health inequalities and will already be taking mitigating actions factoring it into their local recovery plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce covid-19 death rates through tackling health inequalities in the North East.

Public Health England’s (PHE) review into factors impacting health outcomes from COVID-19 confirms that the impact of COVID-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them. Building on the PHE reviews, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP), is undertaking vital work that will contribute to reducing these disparities to protect our most vulnerable communities.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the North East had the third highest mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19. The ONS will continue to review deaths involving COVID-19 and will release an update when appropriate.

Local authorities will be working with other local partners including clinical commissioning groups, voluntary sector partners and community leaders to identify the way in which COVID-19 has widened health inequalities and will already be taking mitigating actions factoring it into their local recovery plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2020 to Question 81878, if he will make an assessment of the potential link between (a) covid-19 death rates and (b) regional health inequalities in the North East; and if she will take steps to collect more data on regional health inequalities.

Public Health England’s (PHE) review into factors impacting health outcomes from COVID-19 confirms that the impact of COVID-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them. Building on the PHE reviews, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP), is undertaking vital work that will contribute to reducing these disparities to protect our most vulnerable communities.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the North East had the third highest mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19. The ONS will continue to review deaths involving COVID-19 and will release an update when appropriate.

Local authorities will be working with other local partners including clinical commissioning groups, voluntary sector partners and community leaders to identify the way in which COVID-19 has widened health inequalities and will already be taking mitigating actions factoring it into their local recovery plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on where to publish the list of authorities using the powers in section 10 of Schedule 8 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 relating to temporary modification of mental health and mental capacity legislation in the event that the Government activated those powers.

These powers have not been commenced in England and therefore no authorities have used them. Throughout the pandemic, the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working very closely with National Health Service trusts and local systems to monitor pressure on services and any consequent need to commence these powers. On 30 September 2020, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced during the motion on the Coronavirus Act 2020, Official Report, 30 September, columns 392-393, that these provisions will be removed from the Act for England.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Coronavirus Act 2020 analysis which states that local authorities have used Part 1 of Schedule 12 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 responsibly and complied with guidance, if he will publish the work undertaken by Chief Social Workers on which that analysis is based.

The Department has used a number of routes to gather evidence on the use and impact of temporary easements to the Care Act 2014. Departmental officials, including the Chief Social Workers, have been working with the Principal Social Worker Network and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to gather local intelligence. These conversations have shown that local authorities have used provisions responsibly and complied with guidance.

ADASS and Think Local, Act Personal (TLAP) have been engaging with local authorities operating under easements, and those that did not, to understand lessons learned from this period. A TLAP Insight Group has been meeting regularly to coordinate intelligence of TLAP partners on the impact and views of people accessing care and support and unpaid carers. Both organisations aim to publish their findings as soon as it is feasible.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on producing impact assessments on health inequalities in policy development.

We are determined to address the long-standing inequalities that exist and level up across society, which requires a whole of Government approach. The Department works closely with other Government departments to raise awareness of health inequalities and departments in turn are responsible for carrying out equalities impact assessments under the Public Sector Equality Duty for all key Government policy and legislation. Recent examples of this include impact assessments for the Coronavirus Act 2020 and COVID-19 policies which considered, where relevant, the potential impact on ethnic minorities and factors such as deprivation and intergenerational housing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to tackle regional health inequalities.

The recent reviews published by Public Health England and data published by the Office for National Statistics emphasise that we must do more to level up health across the country and reduce health inequalities.

The Government is determined to address long-standing inequalities by progressing work under the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) and through the Prime Minister’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the potential link between higher covid-19 death rates and regional health inequalities in the North East.

The recent reviews published by Public Health England and data published by the Office for National Statistics emphasise that we must do more to level up health across the country and reduce health inequalities.

The Government is determined to address long-standing inequalities by progressing work under the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) and through the Prime Minister’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Social Workers Union's (SWU) Social Work’s Six-Point Urgent Action Plan published on 9 July 2020, what assessment he has made of the SWU finding that social workers have faced traumatic experiences during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We are committed to providing ongoing support to make sure social workers feel safe, supported, valued and able to continue the exceptional work they do to support people who need care and support. We have provided a £5 million grant for leading mental health charities to fund additional services to promote people’s positive mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The Chief Social Workers for Adults are in regular conversations with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the British Association of Social Workers, Social Work England and Principal Social Workers across the country to ensure concerns are responded to as soon as they arise. In partnership with The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, they have developed dedicated guidance for the support and wellbeing of adult social workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the effect on the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people living in abusive households during the covid-19 outbreak.

Mental health services have remained open for business throughout, and NHS England and NHS Improvement has asked mental health trusts to ensure they have 24 hours a day, seven days a week open access telephone lines in place for urgent National Health Service mental health support, advice and triage.

We provided £5 million to Mind and the Mental Health Consortia to administer a Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. It complements NHS services and support for those struggling with their mental health, including vulnerable people such as survivors of domestic abuse. We also announced a further £4.2 million to support mental health charities as part of our United Kingdom-wide £750 million package of support for the voluntary sector. This package also includes £76 million of funding to support survivors of?domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery?as well as ensuring that vulnerable children and young people continue to get the help they need.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effects on the (a) mental health and (b) social isolation of those who have been designated as clinically vulnerable during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise the effect that social distancing and self-isolation may have on a person’s mental wellbeing, including those who are clinically vulnerable and self-isolating. We have published official guidance on mental health and wellbeing on GOV.UK and are promoting this through Every Mind Matters.

We are working with the National Health Service and Public Health England, service users, academics and the voluntary sector to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 and plan for how to support the public’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will increase the tariff for dentists to allow them to meet the increased costs of personal protective equipment.

The Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) is responsible for recommendations on doctors’ and dentists’ remuneration, both the pay element and, for those working as independent contractors, expenses. It would be for the DDRB to consider expenses created by the additional personal protective equipment (PPE) required due to COVID-19. DDRB recommendations apply to dentists’ National Health Service remuneration. Any private earnings and costs are a matter for the individual dentist.

Urgent face to face treatment has been delivered through more than 550 urgent care centres to patients during the Covid crisis.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dental practices will be able to begin to see patients again, outside of urgent care centres, from 8 June, with the aim of increasing levels of service, as fast as is compatible with maximizing safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the increase in cost of personal protective equipment for dentists; and if he will make a statement.

The Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) is responsible for recommendations on doctors’ and dentists’ remuneration, both the pay element and, for those working as independent contractors, expenses. It would be for the DDRB to consider expenses created by the additional personal protective equipment (PPE) required due to COVID-19. DDRB recommendations apply to dentists’ National Health Service remuneration. Any private earnings and costs are a matter for the individual dentist.

Urgent face to face treatment has been delivered through more than 550 urgent care centres to patients during the Covid crisis.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dental practices will be able to begin to see patients again, outside of urgent care centres, from 8 June, with the aim of increasing levels of service, as fast as is compatible with maximizing safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the public seek care and treatment in the event of (a) a heart attack and (b) other urgent conditions during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service is running an ‘Open for Business’ media campaign, encouraging all patients in need of urgent or emergency medical care to seek appropriate treatment including, where appropriate, attendance at accident and emergency.

This media campaign specifically targets cancer, heart attack and stroke patients, as well as anyone else with a potentially serious health condition.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance he has issued to dental health professionals on protecting themselves at work from covid-19.

The latest guidance for dental health professionals is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/issue-3-preparedness-letter-for-primary-dental-care-25-march-2020.pdf

This guidance includes information on how dental health professionals should protect themselves at work from COVID-19.

Previous guidance was issued on 20 March which also has information on how to access personal protection equipment and is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Issue-2-Preparedness-letter-for-primary-dental-care-20-March-2020.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on meeting the objective in the Ageing Society Grand Challenge to ensure that people can enjoy at least 5 extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035.

Delivering the Ageing Society Grand Challenge (ASGC) mission will require complex systems thinking across a number of areas and we are already working closely across Government, industry, academia and the voluntary sector to do this.

We have invested £98 million through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Healthy Ageing programme to enable businesses, including social enterprises, to develop and deliver services and products to support people as they age. We have also announced Andy Briggs as the ASGC Business Champion and our plans to establish the UK Longevity Council.

In 2019, the Department published the consultation document ‘Advancing our Health: Prevention in the 2020s’, which has the ASGC mission at its core and sets out the commitments to contribute towards achieving it.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has responsibilities for ensuring that homes and buildings are healthy places for their occupants; and if he will make a statement.

A high-quality, safe, and suitable home can help people stay independent and healthy for longer, whilst reducing health and social care costs.

The Department funds the Disabled Facilities Grant to support older and disabled people on low-incomes to adapt their homes to make them suitable for their needs. It was recently announced that funding for 2020-21 will be maintained at £505 million.

We also provide funding to build specialised housing - through the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, with up to £76 million available in 2019-20.

With reference to new mainstream housing, the Home of 2030 is a cross-government initiative between Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department of Health and Social Care to bring forward the design and delivery of high-quality homes which are energy efficient, inclusively designed, and suitable for all generations. The design and delivery competition launched in March 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the cost to the NHS of (a) cold and energy inefficient homes and (b) unhealthy housing.

In a 2016 report, the Building Research Establishment (BRE) estimated that the cost to the National Health Service of excess cold in the poorest 15% of housing stock in England is approximately £848 million per year. It estimated that investment to improve the thermal performance of these homes would cost £6 billion. They also estimated that poor housing in England generated first year NHS treatment costs of £1.4 billion annually. The wider cost to society (including medical costs, lost education and employment opportunities) of poor housing was £18.6 billion.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is leading a project looking at the health impacts of living in cold homes.

The Fuel Poverty Strategy for England includes a vulnerability principle and Government has consulted on updating this principle so that it focuses specifically on households that are most at risk to the impact of living in a cold home. This intends to ensure that energy efficiency schemes can support those in the greatest need.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued guidance which covers reducing the health risks, including preventable deaths, associated with living in a cold home, available to view at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng6

Public Health England has produced online training for frontline health and social care practitioners to help them direct people living in a cold home that may be affecting their health to local sources of assistance, available at the following link:

https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/cold-homes/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has conducted research on the effect of cold and energy inefficient homes on the NHS.

In a 2016 report, the Building Research Establishment (BRE) estimated that the cost to the National Health Service of excess cold in the poorest 15% of housing stock in England is approximately £848 million per year. It estimated that investment to improve the thermal performance of these homes would cost £6 billion. They also estimated that poor housing in England generated first year NHS treatment costs of £1.4 billion annually. The wider cost to society (including medical costs, lost education and employment opportunities) of poor housing was £18.6 billion.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is leading a project looking at the health impacts of living in cold homes.

The Fuel Poverty Strategy for England includes a vulnerability principle and Government has consulted on updating this principle so that it focuses specifically on households that are most at risk to the impact of living in a cold home. This intends to ensure that energy efficiency schemes can support those in the greatest need.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued guidance which covers reducing the health risks, including preventable deaths, associated with living in a cold home, available to view at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng6

Public Health England has produced online training for frontline health and social care practitioners to help them direct people living in a cold home that may be affecting their health to local sources of assistance, available at the following link:

https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/cold-homes/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces to include vaping.

Currently, there are no plans to do so. Public Health England’s 2018 evidence review found that to date, there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders. The report can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-and-heated-tobacco-products-evidence-review

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2020 to Question 8275 on urology: vacancies, what recent estimate his Department has made of consultant vacancies in urology.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the shortage of clinicians in urology.

It is the responsibility of National Health Service trusts to have staffing arrangements in place that deliver safe and effective care. This includes recruiting the appropriate professionals needed to support these levels and meet local needs.

Nationally, the number of training posts for each specialty is determined by Health Education England in the context of competing priorities, with reference to the NHS Long Term Plan.

There are 942 full time equivalent (FTE) consultants in the urology group, up by 19% (307 FTE) since 2010.

The NHS Long Term Plan set out the need to ensure a sustainable overall balance between supply and demand across all staff groups. For doctors, it will focus on reducing geographical and specialty imbalances.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on (a) ending violence against trans people around the world and (b) tackling discrimination against trans and non-binary people in national and international sporting events.

The UK Government is clear that all crimes directed towards LGBT+ people are completely unacceptable, and have no place in society.

On the participation of transgender and non-binary players in sport, the Government's overriding sporting objective remains the guarantee of fair and safe competition. It is therefore right that sports bodies have their own rules on trans issues, and can determine the right position for their own sport.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jan 2021
What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on poverty rates in the Global South.

COVID-19 is likely to have resulted in over 140 million additional people living in extreme poverty – around 2% of the global population – and many more will have temporarily fallen below the poverty line. This is a seven-year reversal in progress to reduce poverty.

The UK is one of the largest donors to the COVID-19 international response, committing up to £1.3bn of new ODA to counter the health, economic, humanitarian impacts, and to support the global effort to find and equitably distribute a vaccine.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of Israel’s refusal to grant visas for officials of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the monitoring of human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

We are aware of the difficulties officials of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have faced in renewal of the visas necessary to remain in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). The UK, alongside international partners, raised our concern with the Government of Israel on 26 October. The UK also raised this issue with the Mission of Israel to the UN in Geneva on 8 September. We call upon the Government of Israel to fully respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of human rights defenders and organisations and to allow them to freely operate in Israel and the OPTs. We continue to make clear that a strong, vibrant civil society is in Israel's own interest. As a friend of Israel, we would be concerned by any developments that may undermine this commitment.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Israeli counterpart on Israel's refusal to grant visas for officials of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights wishing to enter the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

We are aware of the difficulties officials of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have faced in renewal of the visas necessary to remain in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). The UK, alongside international partners, raised our concern with the Government of Israel on 26 October. The UK also raised this issue with the Mission of Israel to the UN in Geneva on 8 September. We call upon the Government of Israel to fully respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of human rights defenders and organisations and to allow them to freely operate in Israel and the OPTs. We continue to make clear that a strong, vibrant civil society is in Israel's own interest. As a friend of Israel, we would be concerned by any developments that may undermine this commitment.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of changes in the level of (a) attacks by settlers and (b) demolitions of Palestinian structures in the occupied Palestinian territory since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.

As we made clear at the UN Security Council remote meeting on the Middle East Peace Process on 20 May, the UK is concerned by the continued demolition of Palestinian property by Israeli authorities, and repeated incidents of settler violence at this time. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians and weakens the capacity of Palestinians to withstand the impact of COVID-19. We condemn any incidence of violence by settlers against Palestinians. We welcome the efforts of Israeli authorities to address settler violence, and urge them to thoroughly investigate every instance to bring those responsible to justice and end the culture of impunity. During this fragile period, we call on both parties to avoid any provocative action which might undermine the cooperation that is so critical. We have also stressed the importance of the Israel security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his policy objectives are in extending IR35 to offshore energy workers in the (a) oil and gas and (b) renewables sector.

The off-payroll working rules (commonly known as IR35) have been in place for over twenty years and are designed to ensure that individuals working like employees but through their own company, usually a personal service company (PSC), pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) as those who are directly employed.

However, non-compliance with these rules was widespread. It is estimated that this non-compliance in the private and voluntary sectors would cost the Exchequer £1.3 billion per year by 2023/24 if not addressed, denying the taxpayer significant funding for public services. This is not a new tax; the reform will improve compliance with existing rules by moving the responsibility for determining whether the off-payroll working rules apply from the individual's company to the client engaging them.

The Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) published at Spring Budget 2021 sets out that nationally, the reform of the off-payroll working rules is expected to affect about 180,000 individuals across all sectors outside the public sector who are working through their own companies, and who would be employed if engaged directly. No specific assessment has been made of the potential impact on offshore energy workers.

The TIIN can be found on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/off-payroll-working-rules-from-april-2021/off-payroll-working-rules-from-april-2021.

Falling within the off-payroll working tax rules does not change an individual's status for employment rights; there are separate legal frameworks for determining employment status for tax and for rights, with no direct link between the two.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the introduction of IR35 on the employment (a) status and (b) rights of offshore energy workers in the (i) oil and gas and (ii) renewables sector.

The off-payroll working rules (commonly known as IR35) have been in place for over twenty years and are designed to ensure that individuals working like employees but through their own company, usually a personal service company (PSC), pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) as those who are directly employed.

However, non-compliance with these rules was widespread. It is estimated that this non-compliance in the private and voluntary sectors would cost the Exchequer £1.3 billion per year by 2023/24 if not addressed, denying the taxpayer significant funding for public services. This is not a new tax; the reform will improve compliance with existing rules by moving the responsibility for determining whether the off-payroll working rules apply from the individual's company to the client engaging them.

The Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) published at Spring Budget 2021 sets out that nationally, the reform of the off-payroll working rules is expected to affect about 180,000 individuals across all sectors outside the public sector who are working through their own companies, and who would be employed if engaged directly. No specific assessment has been made of the potential impact on offshore energy workers.

The TIIN can be found on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/off-payroll-working-rules-from-april-2021/off-payroll-working-rules-from-april-2021.

Falling within the off-payroll working tax rules does not change an individual's status for employment rights; there are separate legal frameworks for determining employment status for tax and for rights, with no direct link between the two.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he last discussed with HMRC the tax codes for income earned by commercial divers in the (a) inshore and (b) offshore sectors.


All parts of the tax system are kept under review. It would be inappropriate to divulge specific topics of conversation between Ministers and officials.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what additional resources the Government will provide to the debt advice sector to ensure it can respond effectively to the 60 per cent increase in demand for debt advice forecast by The Money and Pensions Service.

The Government recognises the importance of providing a strong financial footing for the debt advice sector and is committed to helping people access the support they need to get their finances back on track.

This is why the Government has agreed to maintain record levels of debt advice funding for the Money and Pension Service in 2021-22, bringing the budget for free debt advice in England to £94.6 million. This is more than a 70% increase since 2019-20 and reflects the Government’s commitment to ensure that appropriate support is available for people in problem debt.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Department for International Trade’s announcement of 24 March 2021 on the Sovereign Investment Partnership between the UK and the United Arab Emirates, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of that partnership on tax incentives for (a) businesses and (b) investors in the Tees Freeport.

The Government has developed an attractive and ambitious policy offer for freeports, including tax reliefs, which it is working to introduce as soon as possible.

The Treasury welcomes the Sovereign Investment Partnership announced by DIT and the benefits it will bring to places like Tees.

The precise impacts in freeports will ultimately depend on individual businesses and investors, and MHCLG are currently working with each of the announced freeports to agree their plans.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme intended to apply within Freeport tax sites is planned to be claimable on qualifying new plant and machinery purchased outside the UK.

This Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme is designed to incentivise companies to invest in plant and machinery in freeport tax sites. There is no restriction specific to this scheme in respect of purchasing assets abroad. Qualifying plant and machinery purchased outside of the UK will be eligible for the Enhanced Capital Allowance for freeport tax sites. The main requirements in order to qualify for this relief are that such plant and machinery must be new, it must be primarily for use in a freeport tax site, and the relief is only available to companies within the charge to corporation tax with trading businesses or carrying on certain other activities. This Enhanced Capital Allowance will be available for qualifying expenditure incurred during the period from when the relevant freeport tax site is designated until 30 September 2026. As for other capital allowances for plant and machinery, the expenditure must be incurred by the business carrying out the qualifying activity and the plant or machinery must be owned by that company or deemed to be owned by that company under the capital allowance rules.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to encourage renewable energy employers in freeports to commit to (a) re-training and (b) employment programmes for workers from the offshore oil and gas sector.

Our focus has been on getting places to send us their bids and proposals, rather than second-guessing what they will do. The government will continue to work with successful bidders to help them achieve their objectives, across a variety of sectors.

The government is currently engaging with the oil and gas industry on the North Sea Transition Deal. The Deal is a manifesto commitment and will support jobs and net zero as the industry decarbonises and diversifies to cleaner energies.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Net Zero Review will forecast the effect on the (a) labour market and (b) households following the recent outcome of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process.

HM Treasury’s Net Zero Review will explore how the transition to a net zero economy could be funded and where the costs could fall. It will look at options for a balance of contributions between households, businesses and the taxpayer, and how to maximise economic growth opportunities from the transition.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will list the annual fees to date paid to the Crown Estate by developers granted leasing rights during Round 3 of the Offshore Wind Leasing process in 2010.

The Treasury has asked for this information from The Crown Estate, who have provided the following figures for total cash receipts from Round 3, for each year since 2010. More information on the revenues generated from offshore wind, including details of co-investment made by The Crown Estate into Round 3 projects, is published in The Crown Estate’s annual report and accounts.

Calendar Year

Total R3 related Cash Receipts

2010

-

2011

£1.9m

2012

£3.0m

2013

-

2014

-

2015

£23.0m

2016

£21.8m

2017

£8.1m

2018

£2.9m

2019

£14.3m

2020

£47.8m

Total

£122.9m

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of making use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme compulsory for education supply staff.

Agency workers, including supply teachers, are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) in the same way as other employees and can continue to be claimed for during periods of school closure provided that the usual eligibility criteria are met. However, the furloughing of staff through the CJRS is a voluntary arrangement, entered at the employers’ discretion and agreed by employees.

Functions given to HMRC under the Coronavirus Act 2020 to implement the CJRS do not enable Government to require employers to furlough their staff or alternatively require employees to agree to be furloughed. It is not for the Government to decide whether an individual firm should put its staff on furlough.

The Department for Education has published detailed guidance on the application of financial support schemes for the education sector, including for supply staff with various different employment arrangements, on GOV.UK.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of paying childcare tax credits directly to childcare providers.

The childcare element of Working Tax Credit is intended to facilitate parental employment and is considered to be most effective when paid directly as part of a tax credits award, so that parents are afforded more of the choice and flexibility they need in order to work.

As well as giving families flexibility and responsibility in managing their financial affairs, the current approach avoids increasing the administrative burden on providers. Given that the childcare element covers a proportion of costs, paying providers directly would add an unnecessary layer of complexity, as providers would still have to obtain the remaining costs directly from parents.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January to Question 135918 on Stamp Duty Land Tax: Coronavirus, if he will extend the stamp duty holiday for the purchase of new property due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The temporary increase in the Stamp Duty Land Tax nil rate band was designed to create immediate momentum within the property market, where property transactions fell by as much as 50 per cent during the COVID-19 lockdown in March.

The Government is closely monitoring delays in the building process. As the relief was designed to provide an immediate stimulus to the property market, the Government does not plan to extend this relief.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to extend the stamp duty holiday on new homes in response to delays to building work due to the covid-19 lockdown.

The temporary increase in the Stamp Duty Land Tax nil rate band was designed to create immediate momentum within the property market, where property transactions fell by as much as 50 per cent during the COVID-19 lockdown in March.

The Government is closely monitoring delays in the building process. As the relief was designed to provide an immediate stimulus to the property market, the Government does not plan to extend this relief.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when purchasing a property that is under construction whether the stamp duty holiday applies at the point of purchase of the property or at the point of completion of the construction.

When a property is under construction, Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) applies at the point of purchase of the property. This means that SDLT would apply either at the completion of the contract or when it is substantially performed. A contract is substantially performed when the purchaser has taken possession of the property or when the purchaser has paid 90 percent of the price due under the contract.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to provide a Corporation Tax payment break or exemption to small businesses for the next 12 months.

The Government has established an unprecedented package of support for businesses to help them get through the pandemic, including support for businesses in difficulty with their Corporation Tax (CT) payments. HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay service where any taxpayer with outstanding debts to HMRC may be able to agree tailored plans to defer certain tax payments owed, including CT, and repay them over an agreed period of time.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many families with children have received the £20 per week uplift in Working Tax Credit basic element payments in Stockton North in each month since that uplift was introduced.

This information is not currently available.

Provisional information on the number of families with children receiving Working Tax Credit at the parliamentary constituency level is published twice a year. In April 2020, the number of families with children receiving Working Tax Credit in Stockton North was 1,700: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-and-working-tax-credits-statistics-provisional-awards-geographical-analyses-december-2013.

The next update to this publication will be available in January 2021 with statistics relating to December 2020.

Finalised annual information on families with children receiving Working Tax Credits is published once a year and is updated each July: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-and-working-tax-credits-statistics-finalised-annual-awards-2018-to-2019.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that businesses invoice consumers with the appropriate VAT.

The law requires that VAT-registered businesses provide a VAT invoice when they make taxable supplies to other VAT-registered businesses.

Through compliance activity HMRC are able to visit businesses and ensure they are fulfilling their obligations to issue VAT invoices. VAT-registered businesses are required to keep their records for six years.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Jul 2020
What fiscal steps he is taking to tackle poverty.

We are committed to tackling poverty through a long-term, sustainable approach that focuses on employment, whilst ensuring everyone is supported by the welfare system in their time of need. Today we are rightly focused on how we can support families through Covid-19. We have announced a £6.5bn package of temporary welfare measures, including a £20 increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance, and an increase in Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of market rents.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many complaints were referred to HMRC from (a) ACAS, (b) Citizens Advice and (c) individuals relating to workers being unpaid or paid less than the National Minimum Wage for internship roles in each year since 2015; how many of those complaints were investigated by HMRC; and how many of those complaints resulted in a prosecution against an employer.

Everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) should receive it. All businesses, irrespective of size or business sector, are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff.

HMRC investigate all complaints from workers; and if anyone thinks they are not receiving at least the minimum wage they can contact Acas, in confidence, on 0300 123 1100 or via the online complaints form using the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pay-and-work-rights-complaints .

HMRC also promote NMW compliance by engaging workers and employers to raise awareness of their rights and obligations. For internships, HMRC routinely contact employers who advertise these roles, signposting them to NMW guidance to help ensure they are compliant at the outset.

Since 2015-16, HMRC has received 152 National Minimum Wage complaints from workers undertaking internships.

Year

ACAS

Other Direct*

Citizens Advice

Total intern complaints

2015-2016**

11

0

0

11

2016-2017

17

13

0

30

2017-2018

12

23

0

35

2018-2019

11

24

0

35

2019-2020

16

25

0

41

*Other Direct complaints are all those which have come through a route other than ACAS, i.e. the online complaints form, email or letter

**Data is not held to allow the complaint channel to be identified for 2015/16, and all have been recorded as ACAS.

Prosecution applies to the most serious non-compliance, and since 2007 HMRC investigations have led to 15 successful prosecutions of employers for NMW related offences. There have been no prosecutions relating to internship cases.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that contractors in the offshore oil and gas industry receive support payments to cover income lost as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has put in place an unprecedented range of measures to support those whose incomes have fallen as a result of Covid-19.

Depending on their circumstances, contractors in the oil and gas industry may be eligible for one or more of the Government's support packages. These include (but are not limited to) the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, VAT deferrals, or the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Further information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of removing VAT on energy efficiency products on encouraging the take up of those products.

Although the standard rate of VAT of 20% applies on energy saving materials, the Government allows a reduced rate of 5% of VAT on:

- all installations of energy saving materials for recipients who are aged 60 or over or on certain benefits, for housing associations, and where the installations are in buildings used for relevant residential purposes, and;

- on all other installations of energy saving materials in residential accommodation where the cost of the materials does not exceed 60% of the total cost of the installation.

It should be noted that if the value of the energy-saving materials exceeds 60%, then only the labour cost element will qualify for the reduced rate (with the supply of the materials being taxed at the standard rate).

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will (a) publish and (b) take steps to review the items against which self-employed commercial divers can claim tax relief.

HMRC do not publish guidance on specific items that can be claimed as deductions for self-employed commercial divers; nor are there plans to publish such guidance. HMRC’s Business Income Manual, available on GOV.UK, explains the general rules for allowing deductions to help people decide whether their particular expenses qualify for deduction or not. GOV.UK also gives advice to the self-employed on common expenses types that are claimed and on how to claim simplified expenses at fixed rates.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent representations he has received on HMRC guidance to self-employed commercial divers on claiming tax relief when working in the offshore energy sector.

HMRC have been approached by a representative body asking for a review of the guidance on the requirements under Section 15 of Income Tax Trading and Other Income Act 2015. This legislation provides that the income of divers and diving supervisors employed on seabed diving activities should be treated for income tax purposes as the carrying on of a trade.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the loan charge on the physical and mental wellbeing of people subject to it.

The Government published a tax information and impact note (TIIN) for the Loan Charge, in common with all new tax legislation, and has since published a TIIN on the reform measures recommended in the independent review led by Sir Amyas Morse. These provide a clear explanation of the policy objective, together with details of the effect on the Exchequer, the economy, individuals, businesses, civil society organisations, as well as any equality or other specific area of impact.

As a result of these reforms, it is estimated that more than 30,000 people will benefit from reduced bills. The Government takes very seriously concerns over the physical and mental wellbeing of those subject to the Loan Charge and over the last year HMRC have significantly increased the support offered to customers undergoing compliance checks.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of people who were entitled to receive asylum support that did not have a functioning Aspen card in each week since the Aspen card transition.

Our systems do not allow us to provide the data requested. However, we can confirm fully functioning Aspen cards, including translated instructions on how to activate them, were distributed to all service users via first class post prior to the transition date of 24 May. The vast majority of service users who held a previous Sodexo Aspen card on 24th May - the date the new service went live - have now activated their new PFS Aspen card.

Those who have issues or are unsure how they can activate their cards are able to contact the 24/7 Migrant Help helpline. Where service users do not have active cards, Emergency Cash Payments (ECP) are being requested (accommodation providers can facilitate these) to ensure service user’s critical needs are met.

Our latest available management information proposes the following approximations for the activation of cards amongst those who previously held a Sodexo card prior to 24 May:

  • As of 28/05 – approximately 73% of service users has activated their card
  • As of 04/06 – this figure rose to approximately 83%
  • As of 22/06 –over 93% of service users had activated their new Aspen card
  • As of 09/07 – over 95% had activated their card

[These figures have been taken from a live operational database and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard].

We continue to work with strategic delivery partners to ensure all cards are successfully received and activated with the appropriate service users being targeted for assistance.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will undertake an audit to ensure that accurate and up-to-date addresses are held for asylum seekers by (a) her Department and (b) accommodation providers.

The Home Office asylum accommodation providers maintain accurate and up to date addresses for all supported asylum seekers and systems and processes are in place to ensure that the department records are updated in advance of any change of address. As part of the lessons learnt and project closure, we will review how such address data was used during the transition of the new ASPEN card provider

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many calls the Migrant Help service received about Aspen cards on each day from 21 May and 4 June 2021.

We have been working with Migrant Help to reduce call volumes and monitor waiting times, which included increases of resources prior to and after the card service change.

Whilst we saw a significant increase in call volumes over the period 21st May until 4th June we are not able to categorise the nature of the calls at this point.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will undertake an urgent and full review of the ASPEN card contract transition; and if she will make a statement.

The PrePaid Financial Services (PFS) solution is a well-established Mastercard pre-paid card which is used by organisations across the UK as well as abroad and has undergone over 5 months of rigorous testing to integrate with Home Office systems. A significant majority of service users have received their new Aspen card, have successfully activated it and are using it.

The relevant Home Office teams continue to proactively work with all appropriate delivery partners to provide resolutions for any issues faced since the new service went live on Monday 24th May 2021.

Cash payments were made available in emergencies. This was in place to happen well before the transition took place.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the availability and accessibility of voluntary sector organisations and foodbanks to people in receipt of asylum support during the ASPEN card transition period.

A necessary period of disruption to the outgoing provider’s service from 5pm on Friday 21st May 2021 is required to enable the process of transferring card balances to the new provider ready for use on Monday 24th May 2021 at 9am. Throughout this period of service disruption over this weekend, service users will be unable to use their ASPEN card.

c43,000 new payment cards have been dispatched to date. Comprehensive, translated advice has accompanied the cards including guidance in relation to the weekend of 21st May. To prepare for this period of service disruption, we have advised service users to withdraw funds or make purchases needed for the weekend prior to its commencement.

We have been communicating with service users directly, indirectly via our strategic delivery partners and numerous stakeholder representatives to alert them of the forthcoming period of disruption. We are also working with the voluntary sector to minimise disruption to the people we support during the period of service disruption.

Longstanding arrangements for the provision of Emergency Cash Payments (ECPs) will not be affected by the period of transition and will remain available throughout. We have also planned to manage any increased need for ECPs should this be required.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to extend the provision of biometric enrolment services to the Tees Valley.

UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) centres are run by Sopra Steria Ltd (SSL) on behalf of UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI).

To determine the service points network when this service was incepted, SSL undertook market research to identify service locations; their research included the impact on customer travel time, cost and accessibility.

When Sopra Steria undertook this research, they found c.88% of customers would be within 25 miles of a service point. These locations are not fixed and are designed to evolve with demand through the contract term.

Where UKVCAS find there is excess demand for appointments they work to increase capacity at existing sites and open new sites in the region to ensure all customers are able to book an appointment.

Since the start of the contract, several new sites have opened to meet customer demand, including a new enhanced service point in Sunderland in July 2020 to improve appointment availability in the North East overall.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 7 December 2020 to Question 122689 on HMCTS: Weapons, how many (a) arrests have been made made and (b) prosecutions commenced as a result of weapon confiscations in courts in the last five years.

The Home Office collects and publishes data on arrests for possession of weapons offences. These figures are published annually in the ‘Police Powers and Procedures, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin. The latest bulletin, covering arrests from 2006/07 to 2019/20, can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales-year-ending-31-march-2020

In the last five years, there have been 92,991 arrests for possession of weapons offences in England and Wales (excluding Greater Manchester Police and Lancashire Police).

Data on prosecutions resulting from weapons confiscations is not held by the Home Office or by HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylums seekers have been waiting for a decision on their case for more than (a) six months and (b) twelve months within (i) Stockton Borough Council area and (ii) Tees Valley Combined Authority area.

The Home Office does not publish data on the number of asylum seekers who have been waiting for a decision on their case for more than (a) six months and (b) twelve months within (i) Stockton Borough Council area and (ii) Tees Valley Combined Authority area.

However, the Home Office does publish data on the number asylum applications awaiting an initial decision by duration, for main applicants only. This data can be found at Asy_04 of the published Immigration Statistics:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-september-2020/list-of-tables

The Home Office are committed to ensuring asylum claims are considered without unnecessary delay, individuals who need protection are granted asylum as soon as possible and can start to integrate and rebuild their lives, including those granted at appeal.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the amount of additional office accommodation in square metres that will be required to provide a covid-19 secure workplace for UK Visas and Immigration staff to enable them to address the backlog of immigration documents.

It is unclear which application route the Hon. Member is referring to.

If in relation to the issuing of Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs), the Home Office works closely with the DVLA, which produces BRPs, and TNT/Fedex, which delivers them, to ensure service level agreements are met and performance is improved, through improved reconciliation reporting and clearer escalation processes.

More generally, we publish information on the proportion of applications processed within service standard, where a service standard applies, at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration/about-our-services and have worked carefully, and at pace to use available resource to best effect to maintain service standards against the backdrop of the pandemic.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what number and proportion of suspects in criminal cases have been bailed to return in each of the last five years.

Since April 2017 the Home Office has collected information on the numbers of individuals released on pre-charge bail by police forces in England and Wales. These data are published as part of the annual ‘Police Powers and Procedures’ statistical release, available in Annex B here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/935355/police-powers-procedures-mar20-hosb3120.pdf

Data are not available on the proportion of suspects in criminal cases that have been bailed to return.

The police retain the ability to use pre-charge bail where necessary and proportionate, including to protect witnesses and victims.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much police forces have spent on equipping custody suites with video technology equipment.

The Home Office does not collect data relating to police force spending on video equipment in custody suites. This is an operational matter for police forces.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that children and young people at risk of sexual abuse and exploitation, who may have gone unnoticed during the covid-19 lockdown, are identified and supported as soon as possible.

Protecting those at risk from abuse and exploitation is a priority for this Government. We are acutely aware that for some children and young people, the Coronavirus pandemic may have brought with it additional risks and dangers, as well as reducing contact with professionals and trusted adults. This Government is committed to doing everything we can to support and protect those at risk of harm.

That is why, following the Chancellor’s announcement of £750m funding for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, the Home Office and Department for Education (DfE) launched a £7.6m joint fund to provide financial hardship relief for national VCSE organisations that support vulnerable children across England and Wales. Further funding will also be dispersed through direct awards due to be finalised imminently, and recipients include organisations working to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse.

DfE are also funding a £7 million new See, Hear, Respond service led by Barnardo’s. This will support children who are hidden from view, not currently receiving support from statutory agencies and at risk of harm and/or experiencing adverse impacts on their health and wellbeing. The service will develop a dynamic sector response that intervenes early, supports and safeguards these children, mitigating against escalation of need and long-lasting harm to children and families.

As part of this the Government made £1.6 million available immediately for the NSPCC to expand and promote its national helpline for adults concerned about the safety of children, alongside disseminating safeguarding messaging to key community partners to raise awareness of how and where they can raise concerns and seek advice about the safety and wellbeing of children.

Existing programmes, such as our £13.2m Trusted Relationships Fund, have also pivoted their response to sustain support to vulnerable children and young people during the restrictions. Our 11 local authority-led projects working with 10-17 year olds at risk of sexual exploitation and other harms, have adapted their support by: moving this to virtual platforms; creating 24 hour support helplines; engaging in schools where vulnerable children are still attending; planning diversionary activities to engage young people over the summer; and resuming detached youth work where this can be delivered safely.

Building on the Government’s intensive efforts to protect vulnerable people from hidden crimes such as domestic abuse and child sexual abuse during this period, the Prime Minister’s Hidden Harm Summit on 21 May was an opportunity to share emerging best practice at the local and national level and identify areas to go further over the coming months. The Home Office will continue champion and support collaboration across partners, including by continuing to promote a child-centred and trauma-informed policing approach.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what support her Department is providing to LGBTQ+ people who have experienced parental abuse during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Home Office has taken considerable action during the pandemic to assess and combat the impact of COVID-19 on all victims of domestic abuse. This includes LGBT+ individuals and the guidance we have published on gov.uk provides specific advice for members of the LGBT+ community.

We also continue to support the National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse helpline, providing £120,000 of funding each year since 2016. The helpline provides a vital service for LGBT+ individuals who are or have been victims of domestic abuse, including parental abuse. This important service has remained available to victims throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to our regular funding, the Home Office has announced £2 million in funding to alleviate the increased pressures of COVID-19. This money ensures that helplines and online services continue to be readily available to victims. £1.2 million of this has already been allocated, including funding for the charity Galop, the organisation that runs the LGBT+ helpline.

This funding is on top of the Treasury’s £750 million package to bolster charities, £76 million of which will support survivors of?domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery, whilst also ensuring that vulnerable children and young people continue to get the help they need.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications for Section 4 support have been (a) granted and (b) refused since 23 March 2020.

Published stats will be available on gov.uk in due course, recent statistics since March 2020 are not yet ready for release.? We can confirm that we have seen an increase in Section 4 application and we have moved people who would no longer be eligible for Section 95 support onto Section 4.? We are working to ensure that applications are dealt with efficiently, and that no one should be left destitute.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers have been transferred from Section 95 to Section 4 support since 23 March 2020.

Published stats will be available on gov.uk in due course, recent statistics since March 2020 are not yet ready for release. We can confirm that we have seen an increase in Section 4 application and we continue to move people who would no longer be eligible for Section 95 support onto Section 4. We are working to ensure that applications are dealt with efficiently, and that no one should be left destitute.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that people are not evicted from asylum accommodation into homelessness when the lockdown restrictions are eased; and what discussions she has had with representatives of (a) local authorities and (b) Public Health England on that matter.

The Government has put in a range of measures to support asylum seekers who are affected by the coronavirus outbreak and continue to monitor the situation closely. Our current policy temporarily allows those granted refugee or other immigration status, and those who have been refused asylum and exhausted their appeal rights, to remain in their asylum accommodation. This policy will be reviewed before the end of June.

When normal arrangements resume, we will ensure our procedures are consistent with PHE guidance and that the impact on local authorities is carefully considered, as some of those granted refugee or other immigration status may require assistance to find alternative accommodation.

Failed asylum seekers who have exhausted their appeal right will continue to be provided with asylum accommodation provided they take reasonable steps to leave the UK or where there is a practical or legal obstacle that prevents their departure.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether Section 4 asylum dispersals are continuing during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise the challenge of managing COVID 19 within our accommodation estate and are working closely with Public Health England (PHE) on how their guidance on social distancing and self-isolation is properly applied, while ensuring that people can continue to access essential services. We have reduced movement around our accommodation in line with wider guidance, moves can still take place where there is a critical or need or to ensure social distancing and isolation. There are currently no cases of Covid-19 in the immigration detention estate

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many negative decisions on asylum claims have been made but not served since 23 March 2020.

The Home Office publishes data on initial decisions on asylum applications by outcome. This data can be found at Asy_02a, of the published Immigration Statistics December 2019 www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-december-2019/list-of-tables#asylum-and-resettlement. However, this data is not yet published for the period from March 2020.

During COVID-19, Asylum Operations continue to make and serve decisions on cases where there is enough information to do so. In terms of decisions on negative claims ‘made but not served’, the Home Office does not publish data on what is usually a brief interregnum between a decision being written and then served.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to enable subsistence only payments that are not connected to the provision of accommodation for Section 4 asylum seekers.

There are no plans to provide failed asylum seekers supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 with support in the form of subsistence payments only. If failed asylum seekers wish to receive the support they are required to move to accommodation provided by the Home Office.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) asylum seekers and (b) refugees with no recourse to public funds have been provided with (i) accommodation and (ii) other support by the Government during the covid-19 outbreak.

Asylum seekers continue to be provided with accommodation and other support by the Home Office if they would otherwise be destitute. Data on the numbers receiving this assistance is published at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support

People granted refugee status in the United Kingdom are able to access the mainstream benefits in the same way as a British Citizen. No data is available on the number receiving that assistance.

As a temporary measure in light of Covid-19, any asylum seeker in Home Office accommodation who is granted refugee status is being allowed to remain where they are until the end of June. The arrangement will be reviewed at that point.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the adequacy of asylum support rates.

We are currently reviewing the level of the cash allowances, as we do each year, to ensure that they remain capable of meeting the essential living needs of asylum seekers.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to increase asylum support rates.

We are currently reviewing the level of the cash allowances, as we do each year, to ensure that they remain capable of meeting the essential living needs of asylum seekers.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has had discussions with the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner on the evaluation of the Home Office funded video enabled justice programme; and if she will make a statement.

The Video Enabled Justice programme was funded through Police Transformation Fund as part of the Police Funding Settlement. It is a police-led pilot to explore the use of live-link video in first appearance remand hearings and for police witnesses.

The independent evaluation of the pilot will be published by the Office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (OSPCC), imminently.

My officials have read the evaluation ahead of publication in line with the grant conditions. We have encouraged OSPCC to share the evaluation with Criminal Justice and policing partners to inform decisions on the roll-out of a Criminal Justice System wide solution and too consider whether there are lessons that can help ensure an effective criminal justice system can be maintained during the current Covid-19 crisis.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish a response to her Department's call for evidence on abuse and violence towards shop staff; and if she will bring forward legislative proposals to make assaults against retail workers aggravated.

The Government recognises the damaging impact that violence and abuse can have on victims, businesses, and the wider community; and we are committed to tackling this issue. Any incident of violent or abusive behaviour towards retail workers is completely unacceptable and especially so in current circumstances during the covid-19 outbreak. Everyone has the right to feel safe at work.

The Government does not hold data on the number of incidents of abusive or violent behaviour towards retail workers during the covid-19 outbreak period, however the Home Office is working closely with police and retail industry to monitor and understand these types of incidents during the current period.

We launched a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to help strengthen our understanding of the scale and extent of the issue. The call for evidence has now closed and my intention had been to publish the Government response before the end of March. As the Government must focus its communications on tackling covid-19, the publication of the Government response has been delayed and will be published in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of retail crime.

The Government recognises the damaging impact that retail crime can have on victims, businesses, and the wider community. Shops are the lifeblood of our communities and neighbourhoods, and it is important that businesses should be free to trade without fear of crime or disorder, particularly in these unprecedented times.

Following Government announcements on 23rd March, much of the retail sector has closed outlets to customers and those that have remained open have implemented social distancing measures. Together these were expected to lead to a reduction in the level of retail crime. Provisional figures published by the NPCC have indicated that shoplifting reported to and recorded by the police has fallen by 54% in the 4 weeks ending 12th April.

I am working closely with the police and industry to continue to monitor these types of incidents during this challenging period.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of incidents of abusive or violent behaviour towards retail workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the damaging impact that violence and abuse can have on victims, businesses, and the wider community; and we are committed to tackling this issue. Any incident of violent or abusive behaviour towards retail workers is completely unacceptable and especially so in current circumstances during the covid-19 outbreak. Everyone has the right to feel safe at work.

The Government does not hold data on the number of incidents of abusive or violent behaviour towards retail workers during the covid-19 outbreak period, however the Home Office is working closely with police and retail industry to monitor and understand these types of incidents during the current period.

We launched a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to help strengthen our understanding of the scale and extent of the issue. The call for evidence has now closed and my intention had been to publish the Government response before the end of March. As the Government must focus its communications on tackling covid-19, the publication of the Government response has been delayed and will be published in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to protect retail workers from abusive or violent behaviour during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the damaging impact that violence and abuse can have on victims, businesses, and the wider community; and we are committed to tackling this issue. Any incident of violent or abusive behaviour towards retail workers is completely unacceptable and especially so in current circumstances during the covid-19 outbreak. Everyone has the right to feel safe at work.

The Government does not hold data on the number of incidents of abusive or violent behaviour towards retail workers during the covid-19 outbreak period, however the Home Office is working closely with police and retail industry to monitor and understand these types of incidents during the current period.

We launched a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to help strengthen our understanding of the scale and extent of the issue. The call for evidence has now closed and my intention had been to publish the Government response before the end of March. As the Government must focus its communications on tackling covid-19, the publication of the Government response has been delayed and will be published in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many officials were responsible for examining and making decisions on asylum applications at the end of 2019.

The number of officials across the department who were responsible for examining and making decisions on asylum applications at the end of 2019 is not held in a reportable format. To obtain this information would require detailed reporting against multiple cost centres and could only be obtained at disproportionate costs.

Decisions on asylum claims are made by decision makers in Asylum Operations. All staff are maintained at a level that allows the Home Office to progress cases and make timely decisions.

All asylum claims lodged in the UK are carefully considered on their individual merits against a background of relevant case law and up to date country information.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
What steps he is taking to help ensure that homelessness levels do not increase as a result of the end of the covid-19 evictions moratorium.

The Government has put in place an unprecedented package of support for renters during the pandemic. As national restrictions continue to ease, it is appropriate that these emergency measures also lift but we are doing so gradually.

The pause on bailiff enforcement has ended; however, measures to protect renters and prevent homelessness are still in place.

Significant financial support remains, and the vast majority of renters are up to date with their rent.

We are also providing local authorities with £310 million through the Homelessness Prevention Grant, an uplift of £47 million on the previous years’ funding, which can be used to prevent homelessness or to provide temporary accommodation to ensure families have a roof over their head.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will extend the deadline for withdrawal of the health, care and volunteer workers parking pass in the event that the planned easing of covid-19 restrictions on 21 June 2021 is postponed.

At the end of March 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government reached an agreement with the Local Government Association that local councils in England would voluntarily offer free car parking to all NHS workers, social care staff and NHS volunteer responders during the emergency response period.

With the national lockdown drawing to a close, challenges in managing pass fraud and an increasing number of councils moving toward local concessions for health workers and other groups, it was agreed that the national pass guidance should be withdrawn.

This is reflected in new joint parking enforcement advice provided in April to local authorities by the Local Government Association, British Parking Association and London Councils. In May, further updates were shared with NHS Trusts, the Royal Voluntary Service and local authorities, and the guidance page was updated on gov.uk.

Councils are responsible for setting their own local policy and are already acting on this advice, with some deciding to offer their own concessions. Those interested in local parking concessions can check their local councils' website for further details of any local schemes.

NHS staff continue to be eligible for free parking in hospital car parks and funding for this has been provided to NHS Trusts by government.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussion he has had with local authorities to understand the impact of withdrawing the health, care and volunteer workers parking pass.

At the end of March 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government reached an agreement with the Local Government Association that local councils in England would voluntarily offer free car parking to all NHS workers, social care staff and NHS volunteer responders during the emergency response period.

With the national lockdown drawing to a close, challenges in managing pass fraud and an increasing number of councils moving toward local concessions for health workers and other groups, it was agreed that the national pass guidance should be withdrawn.

This is reflected in new joint parking enforcement advice provided in April to local authorities by the Local Government Association, British Parking Association and London Councils. In May, further updates were shared with NHS Trusts, the Royal Voluntary Service and local authorities, and the guidance page was updated on gov.uk.

Councils are responsible for setting their own local policy and are already acting on this advice, with some deciding to offer their own concessions. Those interested in local parking concessions can check their local councils' website for further details of any local schemes.

NHS staff continue to be eligible for free parking in hospital car parks and funding for this has been provided to NHS Trusts by government.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many local authorities offered emergency parking provision to NHS key workers following the issuing of health, care and volunteer workers parking pass guidance.

At the end of March 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government reached an agreement with the Local Government Association that local councils in England would voluntarily offer free car parking to all NHS workers, social care staff and NHS volunteer responders during the emergency response period.

With the national lockdown drawing to a close, challenges in managing pass fraud and an increasing number of councils moving toward local concessions for health workers and other groups, it was agreed that the national pass guidance should be withdrawn.

This is reflected in new joint parking enforcement advice provided in April to local authorities by the Local Government Association, British Parking Association and London Councils. In May, further updates were shared with NHS Trusts, the Royal Voluntary Service and local authorities, and the guidance page was updated on gov.uk.

Councils are responsible for setting their own local policy and are already acting on this advice, with some deciding to offer their own concessions. Those interested in local parking concessions can check their local councils' website for further details of any local schemes.

NHS staff continue to be eligible for free parking in hospital car parks and funding for this has been provided to NHS Trusts by government.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what communications his Department has issued to ensure that NHS staff members, health and social workers and NHS volunteer responders are aware of the withdrawal of the health, care and volunteer workers parking pass by 21 June 2021.

At the end of March 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government reached an agreement with the Local Government Association that local councils in England would voluntarily offer free car parking to all NHS workers, social care staff and NHS volunteer responders during the emergency response period.

With the national lockdown drawing to a close, challenges in managing pass fraud and an increasing number of councils moving toward local concessions for health workers and other groups, it was agreed that the national pass guidance should be withdrawn.

This is reflected in new joint parking enforcement advice provided in April to local authorities by the Local Government Association, British Parking Association and London Councils. In May, further updates were shared with NHS Trusts, the Royal Voluntary Service and local authorities, and the guidance page was updated on gov.uk.

Councils are responsible for setting their own local policy and are already acting on this advice, with some deciding to offer their own concessions. Those interested in local parking concessions can check their local councils' website for further details of any local schemes.

NHS staff continue to be eligible for free parking in hospital car parks and funding for this has been provided to NHS Trusts by government.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions his Department has had with trade unions on the decision to withdraw the health, care and volunteer workers parking pass by 21 June 2021.

At the end of March 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government reached an agreement with the Local Government Association that local councils in England would voluntarily offer free car parking to all NHS workers, social care staff and NHS volunteer responders during the emergency response period.

With the national lockdown drawing to a close, challenges in managing pass fraud and an increasing number of councils moving toward local concessions for health workers and other groups, it was agreed that the national pass guidance should be withdrawn.

This is reflected in new joint parking enforcement advice provided in April to local authorities by the Local Government Association, British Parking Association and London Councils. In May, further updates were shared with NHS Trusts, the Royal Voluntary Service and local authorities, and the guidance page was updated on gov.uk.

Councils are responsible for setting their own local policy and are already acting on this advice, with some deciding to offer their own concessions. Those interested in local parking concessions can check their local councils' website for further details of any local schemes.

NHS staff continue to be eligible for free parking in hospital car parks and funding for this has been provided to NHS Trusts by government.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had on freeport policy with representatives from (a) PD Ports and (b) the Mubadala Investment Company since September 2020.

Ministerial meetings with external organisations are regularly published on Gov.uk.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Department for Transport on the discharge of statutory harbour authority duties in Tees Freeport.

At present, we do not foresee impacts on discharge of statutory harbour authority duties. Should such an issue arise, my Department will work closely with colleagues in the Department for Transport, with whom there are close links on Freeports implementation.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Department of International Trade's press release, UAE and UK launch sovereign investment partnership with initial £1 billion in life sciences , published on 24 March 2021, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Sovereign Investment Partnership between the UK and the United Arab Emirates on (a) ownership and (b) trade union recognition within the Teeside Freeport to 2026.

We were clear in the Freeports Bidding Prospectus that the Government remains committed to ensuring its Freeport model maintains the UK’s high standards with respect to security, safety, workers’ rights, data protection, biosecurity and the environment, while ensuring fair and open competition between businesses.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of automation on (a) employment and (b) operations within the Tees Freeport over the next five years.

Government made clear in the Freeports Bidding Prospects that the lead policy objective for Freeports policy is to promote regeneration and job creation. In pursuit of this objective, we were clear that bidders would be assessed against two key outcomes: a) an increased number of jobs and average wages in deprived areas in and around the Freeport, and b) an increase in economic specialisation in activities high in Gross Value Added (GVA) relative to the current makeup of the local economy. In order to make the list of appointable bids, bids were, amongst other criteria, required to have scored at least a medium on the Regeneration and Levelling Up criterion demonstrating clearly how they will be a catalyst for job creation and regeneration in the wider area.

On automation specifically, Government believes there are many benefits, including job creation and improved productivity, but will continue to monitor its impact on the labour market.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make it his policy to allow singing in churches in step three of the covid-19 road map.

We understand the importance of singing to all of our faith communities but, due to the transmission of COVID-19 through droplets and airborne particles, it has been essential to limit this to control the spread of the virus. We have been working closely with the Places of Worship Taskforce and faith communities to facilitate this and are grateful for their support.

Currently singing can take place outdoors on the grounds of a place of worship and this can include the congregation taking part. Indoors it is currently only possible for small groups of singers to perform, and the congregation cannot join in. It is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions, so that we can see the impact of the steps we are taking before moving to the next step. For that reason, we will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation. As soon as we are able, we will update our advice further. We do not wish to keep restrictions in place for any longer than we have to. This is in line with wider guidance for performing arts across all sectors.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the expected timescale for Phase 2 of the Levelling Up Fund; and if he will make a statement.

The prospectus published at Budget provides guidance for local areas on how to submit bids for the first round of funding for projects starting in 2021-22. There will be future opportunities to bid in subsequent rounds. Further detail on how the Levelling Up Fund will operate from 2022-23 onwards will be set out later this year.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will extend the provisions of the Local Authorities (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority Meetings) (England) Regulations 2020 to allow local authorities to conduct meetings remotely beyond May 2021.

To extend the facility for councils to continue to meet remotely, or in hybrid form after 7 May 2021 would require primary legislation.

There is no option to extend the current regulations under the Coronavirus Act 2020 as section 78 (2) contains the sunset date of 7 May 2021.

There is considerable pressure on the Government’s legislative programme, but the Government is carefully considering next steps in this area.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reason (a) humanist wedding ceremonies and (b) religious marriages are treated differently under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020.

One is not a ceremony that has legal force; the other does have legal force. Humanist weddings can take place with 15 people present under these Regulations, as is the case for religious ceremonies and civil ceremonies.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if the Government will allow people to gather in groups of up to 15 when attending a humanist wedding ceremony during the covid-19 outbreak.

Humanist wedding ceremonies can take place at this time with 15 people present.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the (a) public inquiry planning decisions he has yet to make where a planning inspector’s report has been submitted to his office and (b) the date on which each of those planning inspectors’ reports were submitted to his office.

Of the 12 cases listed in the Answer of 20 July 2020 to Question UIN 72897, six have since been determined, and one addendum report received. Those cases remaining to be determined are set out below:

Case (local planning authority)

Date Inspector’s Report submitted to MHCLG

Broad Lane Essington & Holyhead Rd Wergs (South Staffs)

13/5/19

Land north of Barleycastle Lane, Appleton Thorn (Warrington)

11/12/19, plus addendum report received 09/09/20

Land Adjacent Dinnington Road, Woodsetts (Rotherham)

6/1/20

Ellesmere Port Wellsite, Portside One (Cheshire West and Chester)

6/1/20

South-west Sittingbourne/Wises Lane (Swale)

13/2/20

Anglia Square (Norwich)

8/6/20

There are a variety of reasons why decisions may be delayed including policy complexities, and changes in local or national policy which require further correspondence with parties.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2020 to Question 72897 on Planning Permission, what progress he has been made on those public inquiry planning decisions.

Of the 12 cases listed in the Answer of 20 July 2020 to Question UIN 72897, six have since been determined, and one addendum report received. Those cases remaining to be determined are set out below:

Case (local planning authority)

Date Inspector’s Report submitted to MHCLG

Broad Lane Essington & Holyhead Rd Wergs (South Staffs)

13/5/19

Land north of Barleycastle Lane, Appleton Thorn (Warrington)

11/12/19, plus addendum report received 09/09/20

Land Adjacent Dinnington Road, Woodsetts (Rotherham)

6/1/20

Ellesmere Port Wellsite, Portside One (Cheshire West and Chester)

6/1/20

South-west Sittingbourne/Wises Lane (Swale)

13/2/20

Anglia Square (Norwich)

8/6/20

There are a variety of reasons why decisions may be delayed including policy complexities, and changes in local or national policy which require further correspondence with parties.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the public inquiry planning decisions he has yet to make where a planning inspector’s report has already been submitted to his office; and if he will publish the date on which each of those planning inspectors’ reports were submitted to his office.

The requested information is in the table below:

Case (local planning authority)

Date Inspector’s Report submitted to Department

Highthorn (Northumberland)

29/11/17

Whitehouse Farm Belper (Amber Valley) (2 cases)

12/9/18

Crich Lane, Belper (Amber Valley)

4/4/19

Broad Lane Essington & Holyhead Rd Wergs (South Staffs)

13/5/19

Land north of Barleycastle Lane, Appleton Thorn (Warrington)

11/12/19

Land Adjacent Dinnington Road, Woodsetts (Rotherham)

6/1/20

Ellesmere Port Wellsite, Portside One (Cheshire West and Chester)

6/1/20

South-west Sittingbourne/Wises Lane (Swale)

13/2/20

Hulton Park (Bolton)

4/5/20

Anglia Square (Norwich)

8/6/20

Citroen site, Brentford (GLA)

11/6/20

There are a variety of reasons why decisions may be delayed including policy complexities, and changes in local or national policy which require further correspondence with parties.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2020 to Question 64913 on Homelessness: LGBT People, how many frontline homelessness workers took part in the training on issues facing vulnerable groups in the 2019-20; and whether the Government plans to provide that training in 2020-21.

A skilled frontline workforce, capable of supporting an individual who may have a range of complex needs, is essential to delivering good services and ultimately reducing homelessness and meeting the Government’s commitment to end rough sleeping. That is why, as part of the Rough Sleeping Strategy, the Government committed to provide support for frontline staff working with those who are homeless.

The Key Groups Training has been operating since Summer 2019. To date over 2,500 frontline homelessness staff have been trained across the five courses that make up the programme, including a package focused on LGBT homelessness. This includes staff in local authorities, voluntary organisations, commissioned and non-commissioned services and staff in homeless hostels.

The training will continue to be offered free of charge to frontline homelessness workers until December 2020. We are currently working with training suppliers to determine the legacy of this project beyond this date.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid- 19 outbreak on homeless (a) trans LGBTQ+ and (b) BAME LGBTQ+ young people.

We recognise that?LGBTQ+?homelessness is an important issue, particularly among young people, and that?LGBTQ+?people who find themselves homeless may have a different experience of homelessness. This department has provided funds to both charities and local authorities which will enable to them to support their communities, including LGBTQ+ people, whether they have been homeless, are at risk of homelessness or are rough sleeping.

At the beginning of the crisis, our priority was to urgently bring vulnerable people inside so they could self-isolate and stop the virus spreading. We backed this with £3.2 million in emergency funding for local authorities to support vulnerable rough sleepers, and a further £3.2 billion to help councils to manage the impacts of COVID-19, including supporting homeless people. This may include people identifying as LGBTQ+. This has had a huge impact - thanks to the hard work of local authorities, agencies and the homelessness sector around the country – as nearly 15,000 vulnerable people have been housed in emergency accommodation, including hotels, since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown period.? On 24 June we announced that we are providing local authorities with a further £105 million to enable them to best support the nearly 15,000 people placed into emergency accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 14 May MHCLG announced £6 million of emergency funding to provide relief for frontline homelessness charitable organisations who are directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Following a successful bidding process, over 130 charities across England are set to benefit from the £6 million emergency fund. Successful bids included Stonewall Housing which provides housing advice and support for LGBTQ people whether they are homeless, at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping.

Announced on 2 May, the Rough Sleeping Taskforce has one overriding objective: to ensure that as few people as possible who have been brought in off the streets in this pandemic return to the streets. Supporting the Taskforce are our Homelessness Advice and Support Team, which includes dedicated?youth?homelessness advisor roles that have a commitment to work with local authorities to proactively promote positive joint working across housing authorities and children’s services, offering training, advice and support to all local authorities.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the level of homelessness among LGBTQ+ young people.

We recognise that many LGBT people who find themselves homeless may have a different experience of homelessness. However, data on this issue is limited. Sexual orientation is not a mandatory field collected through the Homelessness Case Level Information Collection. We therefore do not hold robust or consistent data across local authorities on LGBT homeless households.

In the Rough Sleeping Strategy, we announced a range of measures, including undertaking research with the Government Equalities Office into the nature of LGBT homelessness.

The Department is providing local authorities with training free of charge on Key Groups to help tackle issues facing vulnerable groups, including LGBT people. Delivered by Stonewall Housing, the training package develops an awareness as to why LGBT people may be at greater risk of homelessness, and the barriers LGBT people face when seeking homelessness support. Additionally, the training seeks to outline the statutory and non-statutory options available to support clients. The training programme is expected to cater for 600 members of the frontline homelessness workforce over the course of 2019/20.

We have also put in place bespoke support for local authorities through our Homelessness Advice and Support Team, which includes dedicated youth homelessness advisor roles that have a commitment to work with local authorities to proactively promote positive joint working across housing authorities and children’s services, offering training, advice and support to all local authorities.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with the Minister for Women and Equalities on the effects of the covid 19 outbreak on LGBTQ+ homeless youth.

This is a public health crisis more than anything and so requires a health response. We have worked across the public sector in order to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping for all throughout the crisis.

To enable this, our priority is to bring people inside so they can self-isolate and stop the virus spreading. This Government has provided funding to assist local authorities to provide accommodation and support to vulnerable people who are at risk of, or who have been diagnosed with, coronavirus. This may include people identifying as LGBT, as well as those who identify as having another protected characteristic. We will continue to work closely with local authorities to ensure that they have the resources and guidance they need to protect all people who are currently, or at risk of, sleeping rough or becoming homeless. It is the responsibility of individual local authorities to make their own decisions about vulnerability when providing services.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, charities across the country including LGBT charities were able to bid for funding through the VCSE fund which is £6 million of emergency funding as part of a £750 million package of government support for UK charities who may have been impacted by the pandemic. This Coronavirus (COVID-19) Homelessness Response Fund was delivered by Homeless Link and applications closed on Wednesday 27 May. This work is to support rough sleepers into long-term accommodation, with more than 15,000 helped off the streets during the pandemic.

We have also put in place bespoke support for local authorities through our Homelessness Advice and Support Team, which includes dedicated youth homelessness advisor roles that have a commitment to work with local authorities to proactively promote positive joint working across housing authorities and children’s services, offering training, advice and support to all local authorities.

£3.2 billion of additional funding?was provided to local authorities to enable them to respond to other COVID-19 pressures across all the services they deliver. This is in addition to £3.2 million in targeted funding to ensure that we minimise the risk to those rough sleepers unable to self-isolate. On 24 June we?announced that we are?providing local authorities with?a further?£105 million?to enable them?to?best?support the 15,000 people placed into emergency accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what housing support his Department will provide to homeless LGBTQ+ youth who have not been rough sleeping during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that?LGBTQ+?homelessness is an important issue, particularly among young people, and that?LGBTQ+?people who find themselves homeless may have a different experience of homelessness. This department has provided funds to both charities and local authorities which will enable to them to support their communities, including LGBTQ+ people, whether they have been homeless, are at risk of homelessness or are rough sleeping.

At the beginning of the crisis, our priority was to urgently bring vulnerable people inside so they could self-isolate and stop the virus spreading. We backed this with £3.2 million in emergency funding for local authorities to support vulnerable rough sleepers, and a further £3.2 billion to help councils to manage the impacts of COVID-19, including supporting homeless people. This may include people identifying as LGBTQ+. This has had a huge impact - thanks to the hard work of local authorities, agencies and the homelessness sector around the country – as nearly 15,000 vulnerable people have been housed in emergency accommodation, including hotels, since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown period.? On 24 June we announced that we are providing local authorities with a further £105 million to enable them to best support the nearly 15,000 people placed into emergency accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 14 May MHCLG announced £6 million of emergency funding to provide relief for frontline homelessness charitable organisations who are directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Following a successful bidding process, over 130 charities across England are set to benefit from the £6 million emergency fund. Successful bids included Stonewall Housing which provides housing advice and support for LGBTQ people whether they are homeless, at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping.

Announced on 2 May, the Rough Sleeping Taskforce has one overriding objective: to ensure that as few people as possible who have been brought in off the streets in this pandemic return to the streets. Supporting the Taskforce are our Homelessness Advice and Support Team, which includes dedicated?youth?homelessness advisor roles that have a commitment to work with local authorities to proactively promote positive joint working across housing authorities and children’s services, offering training, advice and support to all local authorities.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Covid-19 Rough Sleepers Taskforce is taking to address the specific housing needs of (a) homeless LGBTQ+ young people and (b) LGBTQ+ young people who are at risk of homelessness.

We recognise that?LGBTQ+?homelessness is an important issue, particularly among young people, and that?LGBTQ+?people who find themselves homeless may have a different experience of homelessness. This department has provided funds to both charities and local authorities which will enable to them to support their communities, including LGBTQ+ people, whether they have been homeless, are at risk of homelessness or are rough sleeping.

At the beginning of the crisis, our priority was to urgently bring vulnerable people inside so they could self-isolate and stop the virus spreading. We backed this with £3.2 million in emergency funding for local authorities to support vulnerable rough sleepers, and a further £3.2 billion to help councils to manage the impacts of COVID-19, including supporting homeless people. This may include people identifying as LGBTQ+. This has had a huge impact - thanks to the hard work of local authorities, agencies and the homelessness sector around the country – as nearly 15,000 vulnerable people have been housed in emergency accommodation, including hotels, since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown period.? On 24 June we announced that we are providing local authorities with a further £105 million to enable them to best support the nearly 15,000 people placed into emergency accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 14 May MHCLG announced £6 million of emergency funding to provide relief for frontline homelessness charitable organisations who are directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Following a successful bidding process, over 130 charities across England are set to benefit from the £6 million emergency fund. Successful bids included Stonewall Housing which provides housing advice and support for LGBTQ people whether they are homeless, at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping.

Announced on 2 May, the Rough Sleeping Taskforce has one overriding objective: to ensure that as few people as possible who have been brought in off the streets in this pandemic return to the streets. Supporting the Taskforce are our Homelessness Advice and Support Team, which includes dedicated?youth?homelessness advisor roles that have a commitment to work with local authorities to proactively promote positive joint working across housing authorities and children’s services, offering training, advice and support to all local authorities.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) nature and (b) scale of LGBTQ+ homelessness using Homelessness Case Level Information Collection data.

We recognise that?LGBT?homelessness is an important issue, particularly among young people, and that?LGBT?people who find themselves homeless may have a different experience of homelessness. However, data on this issue is limited.?Sexual orientation is not a mandatory field collected through the Homelessness Case Level Information Collection. We therefore do not hold robust or consistent data across local authorities on LGBT homeless households.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of support provided to LGBTQ+ homeless people using Homelessness Case Level Information Collection data.

We recognise that?LGBT?homelessness is an important issue, particularly among young people, and that?LGBT?people who find themselves homeless may have a different experience of homelessness. However, data on this issue is limited.?Sexual orientation is not a mandatory field collected through the Homelessness Case Level Information Collection. We therefore do not hold robust or consistent data across local authorities on LGBT homeless households.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support his Department provides to local authorities in relation to support for people with no recourse to public funds that have been placed in temporary accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak; and whether officials in his Department have held discussions with representatives of Public Health England on that matter.

The Government is aware of concerns about those with no recourse to public funds experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis.

We are ensuring local authorities are supported, with £3.2 million in targeted funding to help support individuals who are sleeping rough off the streets, and an additional £3.2 billion provided to local authorities as part of the wider government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This funding has been provided to help local authorities to reduce risks to public health and to support individuals on the basis of need.

The legal position on those with no recourse to public funds has not been amended.

The Government recognises that these are unprecedented times, and expects local authorities to support people who are sleeping rough, and also to minimise unnecessary risks to public health, acting within the law.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with no recourse to public funds do not return to homelessness when the covid-19 lockdown is lifted.

The Government is aware of concerns about those with no recourse to public funds experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis.

We are ensuring local authorities are supported, with £3.2 million in targeted funding to help support individuals who are sleeping rough off the streets, and an additional £3.2 billion provided to local authorities as part of the wider government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This funding has been provided to help local authorities to reduce risks to public health and to support individuals on the basis of need.

The legal position on those with no recourse to public funds has not been amended.

The Government recognises that these are unprecedented times, and expects local authorities to support people who are sleeping rough, and also to minimise unnecessary risks to public health, acting within the law.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 27 April 2020 to Question 34975 on Homelessness: Coronavirus, what proportion of rough sleepers known to local authorities have accepted the offer of accommodation.

Over 90% of those on the streets and in communal night shelters known to local authorities at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis have now been made offers of safe accommodation – ensuring some of the most vulnerable in society are protected from the pandemic.

This data is based on information provided to MHCLG by local authorities. We do not currently hold information on how many accepted these offers.

We announced that councils across England will receive another £1.6 billion in additional funding to?enable them to respond to Covid-19 pressures across the services they deliver,?stepping up support for services helping the most vulnerable, including homeless people.?This takes the total funding to support councils to respond to the pandemic to £3.2 billion.??This is in addition to £3.2 million in targeted funding to ensure that we minimise the risk to those currently unable to self-isolate.?With this funding councils can provide support to those who need it most, including getting rough sleepers off the street.

The Government has made clear that no one should be without a roof over their head, and this funding further demonstrates our commitment to assist the most vulnerable in society.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to provide (a) support and (b) accommodation for people experiencing homelessness with no recourse to public funds during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is aware of concerns about those with no recourse to public funds experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis.

We are ensuring local authorities are supported, with £3.2 million in targeted funding to help support individuals who are sleeping rough off the streets, and an additional £3.2 billion provided to local authorities as part of the wider government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This funding has been provided to help local authorities to reduce risks to public health and to support individuals on the basis of need.

The legal position on those with no recourse to public funds has not been amended.

The Government recognises that these are unprecedented times, and expects local authorities to support people who are sleeping rough, and also to minimise unnecessary risks to public health, acting within the law.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps they are taking to provide people experiencing homelessness with units to self-isolate during the covid-19 outbreak.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has been working at pace with the GLA and a number of hotel chains across the country to secure accommodation for rough sleepers and we have now introduced a centrally coordinated booking process.

The vast majority of rough sleepers known to local authorities have now been made offers of safe accommodation – ensuring some of the most vulnerable in society are protected from the pandemic. This includes those rough sleeping or who have been living in accommodation with communal sleeping spaces such as night shelters.

This response is backed by £3.2 billion of additional funding for local authorities to enable them to respond to other COVID-19 pressures, including stepping up support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable, such as those who find themselves experiencing homelessness during this time. This is in addition to £3.2 million in targeted funding to ensure that we minimise the risk to those currently unable to self-isolate.

This funding will assist local authorities with providing accommodation and support to vulnerable people who are at risk of, or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. We will continue to work closely with local authorities to help ensure that they have the resources they need to protect people who are currently, or at risk of, sleeping rough.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to ensure that personal protective equipment is provided to people working in homelessness services during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to provide?personal protective equipment (PPE) to all those that need it, including those working in homelessness services.

To ensure that those facing supply issues and conducting essential work receive the PPE they need, DHSC have set up a cross-government PPE board, that includes the Devolved Administrations, to prioritise requests for PPE. They are using a clinical framework based on the UK guidance to help make these prioritisation decisions and we are distributing this supply as quickly as possible.

This guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control.

The Government has arranged a priority drop of millions of items of PPE to Local Resilience Forums (LRFs): local partnerships that bring together the NHS, councils and the police to coordinate the emergency response locally and plug local gaps. The LRFs are prioritising delivery to key frontline workers according to local need.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all new homes are built to the Lifetime Homes Standard.

We will consult shortly on various options to raise accessibility standards in new homes. This will include considering the use of M4(2), the standard in building regulations for accessible and adaptable homes, which is broadly equivalent to the Lifetime Homes standard.

We also published planning guidance, in June 2019, to help councils meet accessible housing standards in England. This sets an expectation that planning policies on housing should make use of the optional technical standards in the Building Regulations for accessible and adaptable homes.

The Government is also currently undertaking a full review of Part M, the regulation which now includes much of Lifetime Homes.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the Disabled Facilities Grant is more easily accessible for (a) older tenants and (b) landlords of those tenants in the private rented sector.

Anyone can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant, including older tenants living in private rented accommodation, subject to a means test and an assessment of need.

Tenure should not impact a person’s ability to access the home adaptations they need. The Government also funds Foundations, the national body for home improvement agencies.

Foundations works closely with local authorities to promote best practice in the delivery of home adaptations, including providing information and advice to older people living in private rented accommodation and their landlords.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure that new homes are being built to high EPC standards.

The Government is fully committed to meeting its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and recognises the important contribution that the energy efficiency of buildings has to make in meeting it.

We have committed to introduce a Future Homes Standard from 2025 which means that new homes will be fit for the future, with low carbon heating and lower energy use through high levels of energy efficiency. In October 2019 we published a consultation on the Future Homes Standard which proposed that new homes built to this standard should have carbon dioxide emissions 75-80 per cent lower than those built to current building regulations standards.

As a stepping stone to the Future Homes Standard, we have also consulted on a meaningful and achievable increase to the energy efficiency standards for new homes to be introduced through the Building Regulations in 2020, with a further strengthening by 2025.

The Future Homes Standard consultation closed on 7 February 2020. The responses we have received will be considered carefully and a Government response will be published in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what proportion of homes were built to EPC A or B standards last year.

In 2019, 83 per cent of newly constructed homes in England and Wales had an EPC rating of A or B.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many new homes were built in the last 12 months to EPC C or D standards.

In 2019, 15 per cent of newly constructed homes in England and Wales had an EPC rating of C or D.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of low carbon heating technologies on new build homes; and what funding from the public purse is being made available to those technologies.

The Government remains fully committed to meeting its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and recognises the important contribution that the energy efficiency of buildings has to make in meeting it. We have committed to introduce a Future Homes Standard by 2025. This means new homes will be fit for the future, with low carbon heating and lower energy use through high levels of energy efficiency.

As a stepping stone towards the Future Homes Standard we are proposing a strengthening of these requirements in 2020 and then a further strengthening by 2025. We have consulted on a meaningful and achievable increase to the energy efficiency standards for new homes to be introduced through the Building Regulations in 2020. The analysis that underpinned this consultation considered the effect of low carbon heating technologies on the cost of building new homes, the cost of bills for consumers and of the carbon emissions of these new homes.

There are no current plans for any additional funding to be made available to support low carbon heating in new homes.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what powers do local authorities have to ensure compliance of developments with regulations on energy efficiency.

Minimum energy efficiency requirements for new buildings are set through the Building Regulations. Local authorities have formal enforcement powers for dealing with breaches of the Building Regulations.

Section 35 of the Building Act 1984 allows a local authority to bring a prosecution in the Magistrates' Court for a breach of the Building Regulations, where an unlimited fine may be imposed.

Through Section 36 of the Building Act, local authorities have the power to require work to be rectified if it does not meet Building Regulations’ requirements.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress has been made on the consultation on mandatory accessible housing standards for disabled people announced on 4 September 2019.

We will consult shortly on various options to raise accessibility standards in all new homes.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to improve the provision of wheelchair accessible housing.

We will consult shortly on various options to raise accessibility standards in new homes, including ways to improve wheelchair accessible housing provision.

Government also published planning guidance, in June 2019, to help councils meet current standards for wheelchair accessible housing in England.

This sets an expectation that planning policies on housing should make use of the Government’s optional technical standard for wheelchair user dwellings.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to improve the availability of housing for older and disabled people.

The Government is currently doing a full review of Part M of Building Regulations and we will consult shortly on various options to raise accessibility standards in new homes

Government’s planning guidance on housing for older and disabled people was published on 26 June 2019.

Our competition to deliver homes fit for the future was launched on 2 March 2020, intending to deliver new low carbon, age-friendly homes.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether there will be a consultation process as part of his review of the national model tenancy agreement.

I refer the Hon Member to my answer of 22 January to Question UIN 3196.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to include a consultation process in his review of the national model tenancy agreement.

We intend to seek feedback from a small group of key partners on our proposed changes to the national Model Tenancy Agreement ahead of publication.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to (a) review the national model tenancy agreement and (b) publish the reviewed national model tenancy agreement.

We will shortly publish a revised and updated Model Tenancy Agreement on the Gov.uk website to assist tenants and landlords of assured shorthold tenancies in the private rented sector. While we will continue to update this document as required, we do not intend to conduct a fuller review, as the Government is planning a fuller overhaul of the assured shorthold tenancy framework through the Renters’ Reform Bill.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he plans to re-open Hartlepool Magistrates Court.

There are no plans to re-open this court and we are working with the local council to find an alternative use for the former court property.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ and County Court closed in 2017 following a full public consultation and workloads were successfully transferred to Teesside Magistrates’ Court and Middlesbrough County Court.

We will continue to keep our court and tribunal estate under close review to make sure it meets our operational requirements.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have been prosecuted under Schedule 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on prosecutions under the Coronavirus Act 2020, in England and Wales, up to December 2020, in the ‘Principal Offence Proceedings and Outcomes by Home Office Offence Code’ data tool, available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987731/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2020.xlsx

In order to isolate defendants prosecuted under Schedule 22 of the Act, use the ‘Offence Code’ filter in the above data tool to select the following offence:

  • 168/61 - Offences in relation to events and gatherings (coronavirus)

The number of individuals prosecuted will populate Row 32.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people were prosecuted under the single justice procedure in each month of 2021 to date by type of offence; and what the plea rates were for offences charged under the single justice procedure in each of those months.

Data showing the number of defendants dealt with via single justice procedures (SJP) notices at the magistrates’ courts by plea and offence in England and Wales from January to March 2021 (latest available) can be found in the attached table.

The data supplied is a subset of published information relating to the timeliness of defendants dealt with by SJP notice which is available in Table 1 of the Criminal Court Statistics Quarterly, latest to March 2021.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he plans to extend beyond the 28 June the provision enabling custody time limits to be extended to eight months.

In September 2020 the Ministry of Justice legislated to extend temporarily the maximum amount of time a defendant can be held in custody pre-trial – the custody time limit (CTL) – from six months to eight months due to the effect that Covid-19 was having on the courts. The legislation was intended to be temporary; it included a sunset clause to ensure that the measure was not in force for any longer than necessary, and this clause states that on 28 June 2021 CTLs will revert to six months. There is no plan to extend this date. Anyone remanded into custody after 28 June will be given a CTL of six months.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people were prosecuted under the single justice procedure in each month of 2020 and 2021 by type of offence; and what the plea rates were for offences charged under the single justice procedure in each of those months.

Data showing the number of defendants dealt with via single justice procedures (SJP) notices at the magistrates’ courts by plea and offence in England and Wales from January – December 2020 (latest available) can be found in the attached table.

The data supplied is a subset of published information relating to the timeliness of defendants dealt with by SJP notice which is available in Table 1 of the Criminal Court Statistics Quarterly, latest to December 2020.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, in what proportion of video remand hearings is a decision about remand or bail made.

All remand hearings, whether conducted via video or in person, will seek to take a decision about whether the individual is remanded in custody or granted bail, apart from those instances where the hearing is concluded by way of a sentence.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of defendants who are detained post-charge by the police are not required to appear on video for remand hearings as a result of their disabilities.

We do not hold the information requested. Video Remand Hearings (VRH) were rolled out at scale over Spring/Summer 2020 to help reduce footfall in courts and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The data regarding the proportion of defendants not required to appear on video for remand hearings due to disability was not collected during the COVID-19 period.

Prior to its use during the pandemic, VRH was in operation across a 5-force model in the South East as part of a Video Enabled Justice Programme sponsored by the Home Office. The requested information was not collected.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of detained individuals appearing in magistrates' courts for remand hearings (a) by video and (b) in person have pleaded not guilty in the last three years.

The information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of detained individuals who appear in video remand hearings are screened by a health practitioner for mental health needs, neuro-diverse conditions and other disabilities.

The information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of court staff availability for (a) existing courts, (b) courts operating extended hours including Saturday working, and (c) Nightingale courts.

In the last 12 months we have recruited 1,600 additional members of staff to ensure that we have the resources required to respond to the challenges of the pandemic.

We currently have the levels of resource necessary to support our existing court and tribunal operations, including Nightingale sites and Saturday courts in the Magistrates Courts, and we continue to recruit to ensure that staffing levels do not become a constraint on our recovery efforts.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of the effect of over-listing of cases by courts on (a) victims, (b) witnesses, (c) defendants, (d) lawyers and (e) the effective delivery of justice.

Decisions on listings are taken by the judiciary, often after detailed case management hearings that include representations from all parties. When listing a trial the judiciary consider many factors including the impact on victims, witnesses, defendants, lawyers and most importantly the overall interests of justice. All agencies work together to ensure a balance between the best use of Criminal Justice System resources and the listing of trials. The judiciary works closely with agencies to prepare for trials, in order to ensure trials are both fair and effective.

As a result of adhering to the principles of better case management (BCM), additional case management hearings are now taking place to ensure more efficient case progression. This encourages those cases that are likely to conclude without the need for a trial, to do so at an earlier stage, and in any event before the day of trial.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the safety of court cells for lawyers to meet clients during the covid-19 outbreak.

HMCTS buildings are COVID-secure and we continuously monitor and review our guidance and practices to ensure that we are complying with the latest public health advice. There is an ongoing dialogue with legal professionals at all levels to allow them to feed into this process. Where there are concerns about capacity legal professionals can raise this locally, regionally or nationally. For staff and agency staff in HMCTS as a whole (including tribunals), positive test rates are falling in line with national numbers. The incident rate amongst staff is trending around the national average.

The HMCTS Organisational Risk Assessment sets out the suite of measures put in place to ensure our buildings remain safe for those who use them, and these measures have been developed with the endorsement of public health agencies. All court and tribunal buildings are individually risk assessed – at least weekly – to make sure they continue to meet public health guidelines. These assessments include the spaces for lawyers to safely see their clients. A copy of the court assessment can be obtained from the senior person on site.

Where it has been assessed as safe to do so, rooms within a court building suitable for private consultations are open. These rooms can be identified by posters on the doors, which confirm the maximum capacity and safety measures to be followed. More rooms will open once the Government’s review on social distancing measures and public health advice allows this to happen safely.

In relation to mobile units, HMCTS has prioritised the available space on its estate to house portable cabins to increase the ability to conduct more jury trials. The cabins are used by jurors who are safely marshalled, to limit transmission risk, between the cabin and court room. HMCTS will continue to prioritise the use of cabins in this way as part of a wider package of recovery measures, such as the use of Nightingale courts, that form its overall response to the pandemic.

Both HMCTS and HMPPS have taken action to provide measures to keep consolations with defendants in custody as safe as possible. Since the start of the pandemic, HMPPS took urgent action to enable the criminal justice system (CJS) to continue running by enabling CJS professionals to consult defendants in custody by video. First, it enabled secure remote access to the previously closed prison–to–court video links by deploying over 900 cloud video platform video meeting rooms. HMPPS then increased physical video capacity by over 50% in prisons with a remand function and by over 77% across the wider custodial estate. To date, 371 new video points have been installed, with further installations planned in the coming weeks. In addition, prisons with a remand function were asked to extend their video operating hours.

There will be occasions when lawyers must meet their clients in the court cells. HMCTS works closely with the Prisoner Escort and Custody Services (PECS), who have the responsibility to risk assess the custody areas, to keep the same level of safety maintained throughout the court building. As public health advice changes, PECS review, assess and adapt their risk assessments accordingly to ensure that the custody suite remains safe. This ensures transmission risk is kept to a minimum during client consultations and the transfer of prisoners from cells to the court room. HMCTS will record, on its site-specific risk assessment, any safety concern identified by PECS and the action taken to resolve.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has considered the potential merits of using mobile units at courts to allow lawyers to meet their clients in a safe environment during the covid-19 outbreak.

HMCTS buildings are COVID-secure and we continuously monitor and review our guidance and practices to ensure that we are complying with the latest public health advice. There is an ongoing dialogue with legal professionals at all levels to allow them to feed into this process. Where there are concerns about capacity legal professionals can raise this locally, regionally or nationally. For staff and agency staff in HMCTS as a whole (including tribunals), positive test rates are falling in line with national numbers. The incident rate amongst staff is trending around the national average.

The HMCTS Organisational Risk Assessment sets out the suite of measures put in place to ensure our buildings remain safe for those who use them, and these measures have been developed with the endorsement of public health agencies. All court and tribunal buildings are individually risk assessed – at least weekly – to make sure they continue to meet public health guidelines. These assessments include the spaces for lawyers to safely see their clients. A copy of the court assessment can be obtained from the senior person on site.

Where it has been assessed as safe to do so, rooms within a court building suitable for private consultations are open. These rooms can be identified by posters on the doors, which confirm the maximum capacity and safety measures to be followed. More rooms will open once the Government’s review on social distancing measures and public health advice allows this to happen safely.

In relation to mobile units, HMCTS has prioritised the available space on its estate to house portable cabins to increase the ability to conduct more jury trials. The cabins are used by jurors who are safely marshalled, to limit transmission risk, between the cabin and court room. HMCTS will continue to prioritise the use of cabins in this way as part of a wider package of recovery measures, such as the use of Nightingale courts, that form its overall response to the pandemic.

Both HMCTS and HMPPS have taken action to provide measures to keep consolations with defendants in custody as safe as possible. Since the start of the pandemic, HMPPS took urgent action to enable the criminal justice system (CJS) to continue running by enabling CJS professionals to consult defendants in custody by video. First, it enabled secure remote access to the previously closed prison–to–court video links by deploying over 900 cloud video platform video meeting rooms. HMPPS then increased physical video capacity by over 50% in prisons with a remand function and by over 77% across the wider custodial estate. To date, 371 new video points have been installed, with further installations planned in the coming weeks. In addition, prisons with a remand function were asked to extend their video operating hours.

There will be occasions when lawyers must meet their clients in the court cells. HMCTS works closely with the Prisoner Escort and Custody Services (PECS), who have the responsibility to risk assess the custody areas, to keep the same level of safety maintained throughout the court building. As public health advice changes, PECS review, assess and adapt their risk assessments accordingly to ensure that the custody suite remains safe. This ensures transmission risk is kept to a minimum during client consultations and the transfer of prisoners from cells to the court room. HMCTS will record, on its site-specific risk assessment, any safety concern identified by PECS and the action taken to resolve.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of facilities for lawyers to safely see their clients at courts during the covid-19 outbreak.

HMCTS buildings are COVID-secure and we continuously monitor and review our guidance and practices to ensure that we are complying with the latest public health advice. There is an ongoing dialogue with legal professionals at all levels to allow them to feed into this process. Where there are concerns about capacity legal professionals can raise this locally, regionally or nationally. For staff and agency staff in HMCTS as a whole (including tribunals), positive test rates are falling in line with national numbers. The incident rate amongst staff is trending around the national average.

The HMCTS Organisational Risk Assessment