Alex Norris Portrait

Alex Norris

Labour (Co-op) - Nottingham North

First elected: 8th June 2017

Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing)

(since September 2023)

Shadow Minister (Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Dec 2021 - 5th Sep 2023
Ballot Secrecy Bill [HL]
1st Mar 2023 - 7th Mar 2023
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill
15th Jun 2022 - 20th Oct 2022
Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)
10th Apr 2020 - 4th Dec 2021
Health and Care Bill
7th Sep 2021 - 2nd Nov 2021
Procedure Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 15th Jun 2020
Opposition Whip (Commons)
12th Feb 2020 - 10th Apr 2020
Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (Joint)
27th Feb 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Home Affairs Committee
18th Jun 2018 - 8th May 2019


Department Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
14:30
Home Office
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
5 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft General Aviation (Persons on Board, Flight Information and Civil Penalties) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
14:30
Home Office
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
5 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft General Aviation (Persons on Board, Flight Information and Civil Penalties) Regulations 2024
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Wednesday 6th March 2024
16:30
Home Office
Seventh Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
6 Mar 2024, 4:30 p.m.
The draft South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (Election of Mayor and Transfer of Police and Crime Commissioner Functions) Order 2024
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Department Event
Wednesday 6th March 2024
16:30
Home Office
Seventh Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
6 Mar 2024, 4:30 p.m.
The draft South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (Election of Mayor and Transfer of Police and Crime Commissioner Functions) Order 2024
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 26th March 2024
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral questions - Main Chamber
26 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Justice (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 15th April 2024
14:30
Home Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
15 Apr 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Home Office (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Ceasefire in Gaza
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 173 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 20 Noes - 212
Speeches
Wednesday 28th February 2024
Draft Data Protection Act 2018 (Amendment of Schedule 2 Exemptions) Regulations 2024
It is a pleasure to serve with you in the Chair, Ms Vaz. This statutory instrument comes at the end …
Written Answers
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Local Broadcasting
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 16th November 2022
Teenagers (Safety and Wellbeing) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to place a duty on the Secretary of State to promote the safety and wellbeing of teenagers; to …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Betting and Gaming Council
Address of donor: Kings Buildings, 16 Smith Square, London SW1P 3HQ
Amount of …
EDM signed
Monday 11th July 2022
Maximum temperature in the workplace
That this House notes that recent surveys of workplace health and safety representatives show that high temperatures are one of …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 30th March 2022
Breast Screening Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision for the purposes of increasing uptake of NHS Breast Screening Programme appointments, including in groups …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Alex Norris has voted in 783 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Alex Norris 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)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(87 debate interactions)
Neil O'Brien (Conservative)
(78 debate interactions)
Edward Argar (Conservative)
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
(68 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(302 debate contributions)
Home Office
(179 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(29 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023
(78,032 words contributed)
Health and Care Act 2022
(64,879 words contributed)
Criminal Justice Bill 2023-24
(38,963 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Alex Norris's debates

Nottingham 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 Nottingham North signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

In 2014 the Human Medicines Act was amended so that schools could keep emergency stocks of salbutamol inhalers without prescription. Asthma is increasing in the UK and we believe that adult sufferers of Asthma working in high-risk commercial kitchens should have similar life-saving support.

Endometriosis and PCOS are two gynaecological conditions which both affect 10% of women worldwide, but both are, in terms of research and funding, incredibly under prioritised. This petition is calling for more funding, to enable for new, extensive and thorough research into female health issues.

Cervical screening needs to be every year.

This is because women are dying, mothers, wives, daughters, granddaughters and sisters are dying.

Enact legislation to protect retail workers. This legislation must create a specific offence of abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker. The offence must carry a penalty that acts as a deterrent and makes clear that abuse of retail workers is unacceptable.

The air ambulances that operate around the UK cost around £12,000 per day to run and maintain, and are mainly funded through charity organisations. This petition is to ask the Government to fully fund the air ambulances through the emergency services.

I want the Government to prevent any restrictions being placed on those who refuse to have any potential Covid-19 vaccine. This includes restrictions on travel, social events, such as concerts or sports. No restrictions whatsoever.

12 kids in the UK are diagnosed with cancer daily. 1 in 5 will die within 5 years, often of the deadliest types like DIPG (brainstem cancer) - fatal on diagnosis & other cancers on relapse. Yet there has been little, or no, funding for research into these cancers and little, or no, progress.


Latest EDMs signed by Alex Norris

11th July 2022
Alex Norris signed this EDM on Monday 11th July 2022

Maximum temperature in the workplace

Tabled by: Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)
That this House notes that recent surveys of workplace health and safety representatives show that high temperatures are one of their top concerns; regrets that workers in the UK have no guaranteed legal safeguards from working in uncomfortable high temperatures, and that the consequences of this range from dizziness, tiredness, …
56 signatures
(Most recent: 10 Jul 2023)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 35
Scottish National Party: 9
Independent: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
Conservative: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
5th July 2022
Alex Norris signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 5th July 2022

The contribution of the co-operative movement in the UK economy

Tabled by: Mark Hendrick (Labour (Co-op) - Preston)
That this House recognises the vital contribution of the UK co-operative movement to the economy; further notes that co-operatives in the UK operate across a wide range of sectors, all guided by the values and principles of co-operation that include concern for community and member economic participation; recognises the importance …
19 signatures
(Most recent: 17 Oct 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 8
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
Conservative: 1
Green Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All Alex Norris's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Alex Norris, 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 Norris has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Alex Norris has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

3 Bills introduced by Alex Norris


A Bill to place a duty on the Secretary of State to promote the safety and wellbeing of teenagers; to make provision to prevent crime against teenagers; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 16th November 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make certain offences, including malicious wounding, grievous or actual bodily harm and common assault, aggravated when perpetrated against a retail worker in the course of their employment; to make provision about the sentencing of persons convicted of such aggravated offences; and for connected purposes

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 16th March 2020
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision about offences when perpetrated against retail workers; to make certain offences aggravated when perpetrated against such workers in the course of their employment; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 9th October 2018
(Read Debate)

891 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
3 Other Department Questions
9th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether he plans to strengthen legislation on businesses which refuse entry to customers with assistance dogs.

No one should be refused access to businesses or services because they legitimately have an assistance dog.

Strong protection already exists in the Equality Act 2010, which places a duty on businesses and service providers to make reasonable adjustments to improve disabled people’s access to goods and services so they are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people. This reasonable adjustment duty is an anticipatory duty, meaning that those who provide goods, facilities and services to members of the public are expected to anticipate the reasonable adjustments that disabled customers may require, including auxiliary aids.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is the public body responsible for enforcing the Equality Act. In 2017, the Commission published two pieces of guidance - a guide to help businesses understand what they can do to meet their legal duties to assistance dog owners, and a guide to help tourism businesses welcome people with access requirements. The EHRC supports disabled individuals who have experienced discrimination to take their cases to court.

In recent years, case law has strengthened the equalities law for people with assistance dogs. There have been a number of significant cases brought under the Equality Act involving assistance dogs, which have been successfully litigated, for example, Bloch v Kassim (assistance dogs in taxis); Clutton and Williams v Pen-y-Bryn Group (assistance dogs in restaurants); and McCafferty v Miah (assistance dogs in shops). The Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS), the equalities and human rights helpline, receives about 35,000 customer contacts a year, more than 60% of which concern disability issues. The EASS can intervene directly with or assist the complainant to take the case up with the relevant service provider in many cases, including those involving assistance dogs.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the President of COP26, with reference to his role as chair of the Climate Action Implementation Cabinet Committee, what steps the Government will take to meet its Net Zero targets.

I am the chair of the Climate Action Implementation Cabinet Committee, which is responsible for considering matters relating to the delivery of the United Kingdom’s domestic and international climate strategy.

This government remains committed to net zero. It is important that we deliver a managed energy transition that protects energy security and does not place undue burdens on businesses or consumers. Chris Skidmore MP will therefore lead a rapid review of the government’s approach to net zero, to ensure we deliver our legally-binding target in a way that is pro-business and pro-growth.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the President of COP26, whether the Government plans to sign up to the International Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to PQ 73892 on 22 November 2021.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether her Department's investigation into British American Tobacco in South Africa and Zimbabwe included investigating the allegations and interviewing the witnesses in the BBC Panorama programme on this topic; and whether the Serious Fraud Office plan investigating these allegations further.

Following a three-year investigation, the SFO determined that this case did not meet the evidential tests as defined in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. As with all cases that fail this first limb of the Code, it was therefore not in the public interest to continue with the investigation. The SFO does not provide detailed commentary on how it conducts its investigations.

The SFO continues to assist our international law enforcement partners with ongoing investigations related to this matter and will assess any new material it receives.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
10th May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Border Target Operating Model on supply chains.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answers provided to the Member for Buckingham for parliamentary questions 183958, 183959, 183960, and 183961.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
10th May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment has been made of the costs to business of preparing for the implementation of the Border Target Operating Model from October 2023.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answers provided to the Member for Buckingham for parliamentary questions 183958, 183959, 183960, and 183961.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
10th May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment has been made of the timescales required by businesses to prepare for the implementation of the Border Target Operating Model from October 2023.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answers provided to the Member for Buckingham for parliamentary questions 183958, 183959, 183960, and 183961.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
10th May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to publish guidance for businesses on the Border Target Operating Model.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answers provided to the Member for Buckingham for parliamentary questions 183958, 183959, 183960, and 183961.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to update the Dissolution Principles when the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill passes into law.

The Dissolution Principles paper was published as a draft statement to inform debate on the principles that underpin the revived prerogative powers to dissolve one Parliament and call another. There has been careful scrutiny of these principles, including by the Joint Committee on the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, and the Government expanded on its views on the conventions on dissolution, government formation and confidence in its response to the Committee.

Through these debates, the Government considers that the Dissolution Principles document has served its purpose in supporting informed scrutiny of the non-legislative constitutional principles that apply to dissolution. Moreover, the Government has committed to updating the Cabinet Manual so that it continues to play a useful role as a guide to the operations and procedures of government and the associated conventions. This will include revisiting chapter 2 on Elections and Government formation to reflect the passage of the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress his Department has made on holding a public inquiry into the Government’s handling of the covid-19 outbreak; and when will that inquiry's commencement date will be announced.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into COVID-19 will be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022. The independent chair of the inquiry will be appointed by the end of this year. Further details will be set out in due course.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Government Department is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the policies set out in the Government's Covid-19 Response: Spring 2021 document, published in February 2021, CP 398.

The COVID-19 Task Force in the Cabinet Office is responsible for coordinating the Government’s response to the pandemic. The Task Force has oversight of the implementation of the policies set out in the Covid-19 Response - Spring 2021, however accountability for individual COVID-19 related programmes rests with Senior Responsible Owners within Government departments.

The COVID-19 Task Force works with departments across Government to perform this role including: supporting decision-making through Cabinet committees; developing overarching strategy; and providing data and analysis.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what (a) correspondence and (b) representations he has received on proposals to engage citizens in the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has received assorted correspondence on the proposals for a Commission. The Government will publish more details on this work programme in due course.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Prime Minister's oral Answer of 15 January 2020, Official Report column 1019 on Constitutional Reform, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including citizen engagement in plans for the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has received assorted correspondence on the proposals for a Commission. The Government will publish more details on this work programme in due course.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether her Department has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of providing additional support for community energy projects.

The Government recognises the role community groups play in efforts to minimise climate change and already offers a range of support to community energy projects. This support is outlined in the Net Zero Strategy and Net Zero Growth plan and is in addition to the new £10m Community Energy Fund, which enables both rural and urban communities across England to access grant funding to develop local renewable energy projects for investment. The Government has also recently committed to publishing an annual report on community energy and to consult on the barriers the sector faces when developing projects.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2023 to Question 151412 on Energy Bills Rebate, what progress his Department has made on providing energy cost support to travellers and itinerant liveaboard boaters.

Officials are still working to determine if there is a robust method for travellers and itinerant liveaboard boaters to provide proof that their caravan or boat is their main or sole residence, whilst protecting public funds. The Government is working to resolve this issue and will communicate this decision with key stakeholder associations who represent these households when it has been made.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the future of the Emissions Trading Scheme.

The UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) puts the market at the heart of the Government’s net zero strategy. Last year’s Developing the UK ETS consultation considered improvements to the scheme, including aligning the cap to net zero and expansion to new economic sectors. The ETS Authority will publish a response in due course. In the Net Zero Growth Plan, the Government also accepted the Independent Review of Net Zero recommendation that it set out a long-term pathway for the ETS, including its intention to continue the scheme beyond 2030 until at least 2050, and committed do so later this year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support households who no longer receive the Warm Home Discount because they are not above the new high-energy-cost-threshold.

The Government has expanded the Warm Home Discount scheme this year, providing £150 rebates to over 3 million households, an increase of 800,000.

Energy suppliers can provide additional support to households through the Industry Initiatives element of the scheme, including financial assistance. This support can be provided irrespective of whether a household is eligible for a rebate.

The Government is providing additional financial assistance this and next winter, including through the Energy Price Guarantee, Energy Bill Support Scheme and the Cost of Living Payments. The Government is developing a new approach to consumer protection in relation to energy, which will apply from April 2024 onwards.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of changes in the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount Scheme on households that are no longer eligible in the 2022-23 scheme year.

The Government has expanded the Warm Home Discount scheme this year, providing £150 rebates to over 3 million households. The Government published impact assessments when consulting and publishing the Government’s response, which compared the option for reforming the scheme to continuing the previous scheme.

Households previously applied through their suppliers. Suppliers set their own application process and eligibility criteria and selected successful applicants each year. Therefore the Government has not been able to assess how many previous eligible households are no longer eligible for the Scheme.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his department has made an assessment of the potential merits of amending the Energy Bills Support Scheme to allow prepayment meter customers to receive the discount on their gas account instead of their electricity account.

Transferring Energy Bills Support Scheme payments from electricity meters to gas meters is allowed under the scheme if the customer is with the same provider. This is administered by energy suppliers and the Government encourages suppliers to offer their customers as much flexibility as possible.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the cost of living crisis on the hospitality sector after April 2023.

This Department is working with the Hospitality Sector Council to deliver on our 2021 Hospitality Strategy to improve the resilience of hospitality businesses.

The Government recognise that hospitality businesses are facing cost pressures driven by global factors, including high energy and cost of living pressures.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme ensures that all businesses and other non-domestic customers are protected from excessively high energy bills over the winter period.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer recently announced in his Autumn Statement that there will be an extended and increased relief for retail and hospitality businesses worth almost £2.1 billion. This is the most generous in year business rates relief in over 30 years, outside of Covid-19 support.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on fracking that include a requirement for operators to underwrite universal assurance schemes to compensate for any property damage incurred due to their operations.

UK onshore gas producers are required to confirm that they have an insurance policy, or comparable provision, in place that will cover required remedial work.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the reasons behind the levels of energy pricing in other European countries compared to those in the UK.

Differences in prices across countries are influenced by many factors, including differences in fuel mixes, market structures, regulation, and taxation strategies within each country.

For example, some countries have historically passed proportionally more energy system costs onto households than businesses compared to the UK. Other countries benefit from very cheap hydropower.

This means that while all countries have been affected by the rise in global energy prices, the impact on households and businesses will vary between countries.

In light of the unprecedented increase in global energy prices, on September 8th the Government announced a package of measures to support people and businesses with their energy bills.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that employment protections are retained for immunocompromised people who are less protected by covid-19 vaccines.

There are a range of existing legal protections which can be engaged where an individual has an underlying health condition.

An immunocompromised person may be considered to have a disability and benefit from protections under the Equality Act, which include the duty on an employer to make reasonable adjustments. A disability under the Equality Act is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

Immunocompromised employees may also be protected against unfair dismissal. An employment tribunal will consider all the relevant facts around a dismissal in judging whether it was fair or not. This could include public health guidance regarding coronavirus for those who are immunocompromised, alongside other issues including individual behaviour.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timeframe is for the phasing out of high carbon fossil fuel heating from all homes, as outlined in the Energy White Paper.

Achieving net zero means buildings need to be almost completely decarbonised by 2050. As set out in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, over the next 15 years we will gradually transition away from fossil fuel boilers and incentivise people to switch to low-carbon alternatives as appliances are replaced in a way that is fair, affordable and practical following the grain of the market.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out our approach in more detail.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the lifetime bill savings for homes who have had energy efficiency measures installed under the Energy Company Obligation since its inception in 2013.

Between January 2013 and March 2021, approximately 1.6 million measures have been delivered through the Affordable Warmth element of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), targeted at reducing home heating costs for low income, fuel poor and vulnerable people, corresponding to an estimated £16.2bn in lifetime bill savings.

Details are published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/household-energy-efficiency-statistics-headline-release-june-2021 (Table 2.1).

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to issue a third Life Sciences Sector Deal.

In Summer 2021, the Government will publish a new Life Science Vision which will set out our ambitious plans for the next decade to ensure the UK’s scientific excellence, partnered with the dynamism of industry, is positioned to assist the NHS in solving the most pressing health challenges of our generation now and in the future. The Vision is being jointly developed by Government and the sector to ensure we maintain the UK’s position as a global life science leader – building on the successes of rapid scientific and technological development during the pandemic - especially in vaccines and research - and benefitting from the regulatory freedoms and opportunities created by Brexit.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has plans to strengthen workplace guidance by highlighting how businesses can confirm the efficacy claims of the (a) hand sanitiser and (b) surface disinfectant products they are purchasing in order to protect staff and customers.

BEIS has worked closely with Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England to ensure that the Safer Working guidance for businesses is based on the most up to date understanding of Covid-19. Guidance is kept under constant review and it is updated accordingly. Businesses should carry out Covid-19 risk assessments and follow the Safer Working guidance.

17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has plans to require (a) hand sanitiser and (b) surface disinfectant products to demonstrate their efficacy claims via appropriate testing in an accredited laboratory.

BEIS has worked closely with Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England to ensure that the Safer Working guidance for businesses is based on the most up to date understanding of Covid-19. Guidance is kept under constant review and it is updated accordingly. Businesses should carry out Covid-19 risk assessments and follow the Safer Working guidance.

17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the adequacy of existing requirements on (a) hand sanitiser and (b) surface disinfectant products to prove efficacy claims made in their marketing and packaging via appropriate testing in an accredited laboratory.

BEIS has worked closely with Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England to ensure that the Safer Working guidance for businesses is based on the most up to date understanding of Covid-19. Guidance is kept under constant review and it is updated accordingly. Businesses should carry out Covid-19 risk assessments and follow the Safer Working guidance.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government's Covid-19 Response: Spring 2021 document, published in February 2021, CP 398, whether office workers and corporate building occupiers are permitted to return to covid-secure physical workspaces under the terms of Step 3 of the roadmap set out in that document.

People should currently continue to only travel to work if it is not reasonable for them to work from home. On 29 March, the Stay at Home message will be removed. However, people should continue to work from home where they can. We have published COVID-Secure guidance which sets out the steps that businesses should take to keep their staff and customers safe, if they are permitted to open. The Government will update COVID-Secure guidance to provide further advice on how businesses can improve fresh air flow in indoor workplaces and introduce regular testing.

20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance he plans to publish to raise awareness that essential businesses affected by covid-19 restrictions are eligible for the lockdown discretionary grant fund announced on 5 January 2021.

Guidance for the January Business Support Package was published on 13th January. The discretionary funding announced on 5th January provides further resource to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). The ARG is a discretionary fund which is managed by local authorities. As such, schemes vary between areas and are managed and advertised locally.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he is prioritising households using legacy prepayment meters for smart meter upgrades; and what steps he is taking to deliver those upgrades.

Smart meters bring significant benefits to prepayment consumers and have been invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smart prepayment services enable consumers to top-up remotely without leaving home and without needing to reach inaccessible meters. They also allow consumers to track their balance easily so they do not unknowingly run out of credit.


Energy suppliers are installing second generation smart (SMETS2) meters in prepayment mode across Great Britain. The Government has taken a number of steps to ensure that consumers with low incomes or with prepayment meters can benefit from smart meters. For example, the Government put in place an explicit objective for Smart Energy GB (the industry body responsible for leading coordinated consumer engagement) to assist consumers with low incomes or prepayment meters. Establishing partnerships with trusted organisations, including local community groups, to provide training and tailored information on smart metering has helped to raise awareness of smart metering, ensuring that all consumers are able to realise the benefits as soon as practicable.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK deal to purchase 90 million potential covid-19 vaccine doses complements global efforts to co-ordinate vaccine supplies and ensure priority groups in every country are vaccinated first.

The UK is working closely with international partners to ensure that when a vaccine is available, it will be accessible to everyone who needs it as soon as possible.

The UK has committed alongside other countries to support equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments for example, committing up to £250 million of UK aid to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for the development of coronavirus vaccines. The UK has already committed £48 million to the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) which supports low and middle-income countries (LMICs) to access a successful vaccine.

The UK is also working closely with CEPI, GAVI (Vaccine Alliance) and the WHO to shape the emerging proposal for the self-financing arm of COVAX, which can support both domestic access and equitable access to LMICs.

We continue to work with our international partners to ensure that where countries have bilateral deals – including whether we be in the fortunate position where we have excess doses, these could be contributed to the COVAX facility.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ensure that the 90 million doses of potential covid-19 vaccines which the UK has purchased are allocated according to the WHO Equitable Allocation Framework.

We are actively working with vaccine alliance GAVI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organisation to meet our ambition of access to vaccine for all countries – this includes working alongside other countries to support the development of the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) facility. The priority of the entire world is securing a vaccine as quickly as possible, and our investment is supporting that effort.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what methodology his Department was used to determine a tax-free payment value of £6 per week for people required to work from home.

In order to determine a tax-free payment value of £6 per week for people required to work from home due to Covid-19, the Department followed the guidance set out by HM Revenue and Customs of £26 per month as a fair contribution towards the utility costs of employees. This guidance is set out at: https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to promote awareness by employers of the potential for prolonged covid-19 symptoms.

Someone’s ability to do their job can be affected by health conditions such as covid-19 symptoms. Several laws are relevant when managing sick leave and return to work. These include the Equality Act, the Employment Rights Act and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.

During the Covid-19 crisis, the Government has worked with a wide range of businesses, trade unions and representative organisations to issue guidance on safe return to work. This guidance has been regularly updated in line with scientific advice.

In line with employment and health and safety law, guidance issued by the Health and Safety Executive sets out that employers should have policies and procedures on managing sick leave. They should develop these in consultation with workers and their representatives. The guidance states that employers should:

- record and monitor sick leave to help them identify trends and manage risk

- train their managers on how to manage sick leave and return to work

- keep in contact with workers who are off sick, ensuring the conversation remains focused on their health, safety and wellbeing and their return to work

- consider making workplace adjustments to help workers return to work. This could include shorter hours, flexible or part-time working, or adapting work equipment

- review their health and safety risk assessment where a worker’s health condition makes them or others more vulnerable to workplace risks

- get professional advice on issues such as fitness to work or workplace adjustments, for example from an occupational health provider.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the preparation undertaken by businesses to support people that are vulnerable to covid-19.

Employers have a duty under UK law to protect the health and safety of their workers and other people who might be affected by their business. This includes considering the risks that COVID-19 represents.

Our guidance outlines steps employers should consider, and employers should use the guidance to create specific plans for their business in consultation with those who are affected by their operations, including workers and contractors.

We know that every organisation is different. Each business’s plan will depend on the nature of the business, such as the sector, and the details of the workforce and operations.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to ensure the safety of (a) residents and (b) technicians during smart meter installation as the covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Government is working closely with industry to support the adoption of guidance published on 11 May 2020 on working safely in people’s homes during COVID-19.

Energy UK and the Association of Meter Operators have also been working with their member organisations to support compliance with the Government guidance and share good practice related to all aspects of remobilisation, including undertaking smart meter installations in consumer’s homes. Energy suppliers, meter operators and energy networks will need to continue to have the health and wellbeing of their customers and staff as their central priority.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making it compulsory for all homes to have a smart meter at (a) the point of sale where the property is owner-occupied and (b) the change of tenancy where the property is privately rented.

The Government has consulted on proposals for a new policy framework to continue to drive market-wide rollout of smart meters after the current duty on energy suppliers ends in December 2020. This consultation sought views from stakeholders about what policy measures the Government should consider in order to complement the proposed market-wide rollout obligation.

We are carefully considering the range of responses and evidence submitted, ahead of publishing a Government response. We will see seek to do this as soon as is practicable.

In the meantime, the Government has updated the ‘How to Let’ and ‘How to Rent’ guides for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to make clear the rights and responsibilities for accepting and installing a smart meter.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in circumstances in which a SMETS2 smart meter cannot be installed for a customer, whether it is Government policy to install a SMETS1 meter until a SMETS2 solution is found.

Energy suppliers are required by licence conditions to take all reasonable steps to provide second generation smart (SMETS2) meters to their customers.

SMETS1 meters will only normally be installed where energy suppliers are unable to provide a SMETS2 service, despite having taken all reasonable steps to provide one and the energy consumer prefers to have a SMETS1 service rather than wait for a SMETS2 service to become available .

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the level of debt that has accumulated in the energy sector since the covid-19 outbreak; and what plans he has to support (a) suppliers and (b) consumers in tackling that debt in the short term.

On 19 March the Government established an industry-wide voluntary agreement to a set of principles for assisting energy consumers, through difficulties caused by Covid-19. The support offered is based on the individual circumstances of the customer and the systems, processes and capability of the supply company, but includes measures such as extending discretionary or friendly credit, adjusting payments and the recovery of debts and sending out a pre-loaded top up card for traditional prepay customers who are unable to top up.

Government has also introduced wider schemes to assist both consumers and businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak, including schemes to provide affordable government backed loans. Government has supported household incomes through the Job Retention Scheme to enable employers to furlough staff and the Self Employment Income Support scheme. Government has also introduced a number of temporary changes to Universal Credit to better support consumers on low incomes through the outbreak, including significant increases to payments.

Government and Ofgem have supported energy suppliers in their ability to manage costs and support their customers by providing a loan to the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC) to ease the additional pressures on supplier Contracts for Difference (CfD) payments and the ability for suppliers to defer part of the network charges, in order to free-up short term working capital and enable the support of customers in need.

It is too early to say what level of debt has accumulated since the Covid-19 outbreak. Government continues to regularly engage with Ofgem energy suppliers and consumer advocates to understand the evolving picture.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential effect on levels of employment of making energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority; and if he will make a statement.

Upgrading energy efficiency supports jobs and economic activity right across the country, from rural areas to large cities. In 2018, the domestic and non-domestic energy efficiency sector employed 153,600 people, with turnover of £21 billion and exports of almost £900 million. It also delivers a wide range of other economic benefits, for example: lower energy bills, reduced carbon emissions, fewer households in fuel poverty, lower costs of decarbonisation, and improved health and air quality.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made a recent estimate of the proportion of Energy Company Obligation funding 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.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to paragraph 2.15 of the Budget 2020 Red Book, what his timetable is for bringing forward amendments to the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme Regulations 2018.

On 28th April 2020 BEIS published a Stakeholder Notice on changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive Schemes (RHI). The proposals were to extend the Domestic RHI for a further year, introduce a new allocation of Tariff Guarantees on the Non-Domestic RHI and extend current Tariff Guarantee commissioning deadlines. These proposed changes are designed to provide for a smooth transition into the future support schemes for low carbon heat and afford large scale projects impacted by delays to construction due to Covid-19 additional time to commission and receive RHI funding. This Notice closed to responses on 19th May 2020.

BEIS understands the importance of delivering as much certainty to industry as possible at this time. As such, having now analysed the responses received to the Notice, officials are working to publish the Government Response and make the necessary regulatory changes in the coming weeks.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of low carbon heating technologies on new build homes; and what steps the Government is taking to provide financial support for those technologies.

In the Government’s Future Homes Standards consultation, which closed 7 February, we proposed that new homes built to this standard should have 75-80% fewer CO2 emissions than those built to current building regulation standards. An impact assessment on the Future Homes Standard will be published when we consult on the details of the policy proposals. We will carefully consider any impacts on costs and housing supply as part of the consultation.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether local authorities are legally empowered to enforce compliance with energy efficiency standards for homes.

Since 1 April 2020, The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (“the Regulations”) require that, subject to certain exemptions, all domestic private rented sector landlords improve their properties to a minimum energy efficiency standard of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band E. Local authorities have a range of powers under the Regulations to enforce compliance with the minimum energy efficiency standard, including the ability to serve a compliance notice, a financial penalty and/or a publication penalty that makes details of the breach available to the public.

The Department has launched a landlord exemptions register (“the PRS Exemptions Register”) which is used by local authorities to help target their enforcement activity, and is conducting enforcement pilots with local authorities to develop best practice around enforcement of the Regulations.

In addition, local authorities use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (“HHSRS”), a health-based, risk assessment framework, to evaluate 29 specific hazards, including excess cold, in homes. For private rented sector properties, if a HHSRS assessment identifies a hazard at 'category 1' level, then local authorities have a duty to take formal enforcement action, ranging from a Hazard Awareness Notice to an Emergency Remedial Action (where remedial works are carried out immediately by the local authority and the landlord billed). The HHSRS also forms part of the Decent Homes Standard, the minimum standard that social housing should meet.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to support energy suppliers in meeting smart meter installation targets during the covid-19 outbreak.

Ofgem wrote to energy suppliers on 8 April 2020 to provide them with flexibility to temporarily deprioritise non-essential meter installations. This enabled energy suppliers to focus on: ensuring that customer needs were met, particularly the most vulnerable; maintaining secure, reliable and safe supplies of energy to consumers in the short to medium term; and ensuring the safety and protection of consumers and their workforces.

The Government is working with energy suppliers to re-mobilise the roll-out of smart meters, further to guidance published on 11 May 2020 on working safely in people’s homes during COVID-19.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to make installation of smart meters in residential homes mandatory to help ensure targets for installation of that technology are met.

The Government has consulted on proposals for a new policy framework to continue to drive market-wide rollout of smart meters after the current duty on energy suppliers ends in December 2020.

We are carefully considering the range of responses and evidence submitted, ahead of publishing a Government response. We will see seek to do this as soon as is practicable.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making it compulsory for new build homes to be fitted with smart meters.

The New and Replacement Obligation (NRO) in requires energy suppliers to take all reasonable steps to install a compliant smart meter where a meter is fitted for the first time including in new build properties.

The Government has consulted on proposals for a new policy framework to continue to drive market-wide rollout of smart meters after the current duty on energy suppliers ends in December 2020. This consultation sought views from stakeholders about what policy measures the Government should consider in order to complement the proposed market-wide rollout obligation.

We are carefully considering the range of responses and evidence submitted, ahead of publishing a Government response. We will see seek to do this as soon as is practicable.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether brewery businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be eligible for payments from the Discretionary Fund for local authorities announced on 2 May 2020.

The Government has announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants as part of the suite of Business Support grants to support businesses and local economies across England.

The additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund and may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria. Businesses seeking information should refer to their Local Authority for further information on their discretionary scheme. Businesses already in receipt of the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF), Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) or Self-employed Income Support Scheme are not eligible.

Guidance, intended to support Local Authorities in administering the Discretionary Grants Fund, was published 13th May.

Guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding

This will not replace existing guidance for the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) or the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

Guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-support-grant-funding-guidance-for-businesses

6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an exemption for pubs with a rateable value of £51,000 or above to enable them to be eligible for local authority business support grant funding.

Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) businesses in England that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on 11 March 2020, with a rateable value of less than £51,000, will be eligible for cash grants of up to £25,000 per property. Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme.

Businesses which are not eligible for the grants schemes should be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Bounce Back Loan scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100% guaranteed by the Government;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills;
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of British Beer and Pub Association statement that at the end of April 2020 only 40 per cent of pubs had received local authority business support grants for which they were eligible.

As of 3 May, over 697,000 business premises have received grants across the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund, totalling over £8.6 billion. We do not receive management information from local authorities broken down by sector. We have, however, published, a full breakdown of grant funding allocated to and distributed by each local authority here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

Government has made £12.3 billion available to businesses under the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund. On 1 May, the Government announced a further £617 million available to help those small businesses with high fixed property-related costs that are not eligible for the current grant schemes. We will be issuing Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund guidance for local authorities in due course. Local authorities are responsible for delivering these grants to businesses and government is working closely with all local authorities to help deliver grants as quickly and efficiently as possible.

6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the level of additional business support grants required by businesses in sectors that will remain closed for an extended period after the lockdown is eased.

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

On 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF).

The additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund and may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria. Businesses already in receipt of the Small Business grant, a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant or Self-employed Income Support Scheme payment are not eligible.

Businesses which are not eligible for the grants schemes should be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

o An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;

o The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;

o The Bounce Back Loan scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100% guaranteed by the Government;

o The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills;

o The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.

6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits on an application to the European Commission for a derogation of State Aid rules in relation to local authority business support grant payments.

Although the UK has left the EU, under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU State aid rules continue to apply in the UK until the end of the Transition Period.

Whilst the European Commission has declined to suspend the State aid rules because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Commission has introduced some welcome flexibilities into the rules to deal with the impacts of the Coronavirus, in the form of a Temporary Framework. This facilitates aid going to the companies who need it most, quickly and efficiently.

Following work by BEIS officials, the COVID-19 Temporary Framework was approved by the Commission under the Temporary Framework on 6 April. This allows public authorities to introduce their own aid measures without the necessity of obtaining an individual Commission approval. This provides cover for measures such as the Retail Hospitality and Leisure grants from local authorities.

I would also add that other local authority support, such as Small Business grants, can be given under the normal de minimis rules. These allow up to EUR 200,000 to be given to a business in a three-year period. De minimis aid can be received in addition to Temporary Framework aid.

The combination of these and other measures constitute an unprecedented programme of Government support for business to address the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether pub businesses with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for payments from the discretionary fund for local authorities announced on 2 May 2020.

On 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF).

The additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

Pub businesses with less than 50 employees, not directly liable for business rates and thus not eligible for either Small Business or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants, could be in-scope subject to them being in business on 11th March, not having received any other Government grant funding, having ongoing relatively high fixed building-related costs (e.g. rent and service charges) and experiencing a significant loss of income due Covid-19 impacts. Local authorities will run these schemes locally.

4th May 2020
Whether the Government has made an estimate of the number of businesses that do not qualify for the Government’s covid-19 grant schemes.

Local Authorities are responsible for identifying and contacting eligible businesses for either the Small Business Grants or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants. No assessment has been made of the number of businesses not qualifying for the schemes; rather we estimate about 1 million businesses will benefit.

I am personally calling local authorities that have reported slow progress to offer any support they need to get grants out to businesses as soon as possible.

19th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what support her Department provides to local media.

The government is committed to supporting local and regional newspapers as pillars of communities and local democracy. They play an essential role in holding power to account, keeping the public informed of local issues and providing reliable, high-quality information.

The government is disappointed to see that Meta is closing its Community News Project. We are working to support journalism and local newsrooms to ensure the sustainability of this vital industry.

We are introducing a new, pro-competition regime for digital markets. The regime, which aims to address the far-reaching power of the biggest tech firms, will help rebalance the relationship between publishers and the online platforms on which they increasingly rely. This will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the press.

Additionally, our support for the sector has included the delivery of a £2 million Future News Fund, the extension of a 2017 business rates relief on local newspaper office space until 2025; the publication of the Online Media Literacy Strategy; and the BBC also supports the sector directly, through the £8m it spends each year on the Local News Partnership, including the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the viability of local media.

The government is committed to supporting local and regional newspapers as pillars of communities and local democracy. They play an essential role in holding power to account, keeping the public informed of local issues and providing reliable, high-quality information.

The government is disappointed to see that Meta is closing its Community News Project. We are working to support journalism and local newsrooms to ensure the sustainability of this vital industry.

We are introducing a new, pro-competition regime for digital markets. The regime, which aims to address the far-reaching power of the biggest tech firms, will help rebalance the relationship between publishers and the online platforms on which they increasingly rely. This will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the press.

Additionally, our support for the sector has included the delivery of a £2 million Future News Fund, the extension of a 2017 business rates relief on local newspaper office space until 2025; the publication of the Online Media Literacy Strategy; and the BBC also supports the sector directly, through the £8m it spends each year on the Local News Partnership, including the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had discussions with Meta on funding for the Community News Project.

The government is committed to supporting local and regional newspapers as pillars of communities and local democracy. They play an essential role in holding power to account, keeping the public informed of local issues and providing reliable, high-quality information.

The government is disappointed to see that Meta is closing its Community News Project. We are working to support journalism and local newsrooms to ensure the sustainability of this vital industry.

We are introducing a new, pro-competition regime for digital markets. The regime, which aims to address the far-reaching power of the biggest tech firms, will help rebalance the relationship between publishers and the online platforms on which they increasingly rely. This will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the press.

Additionally, our support for the sector has included the delivery of a £2 million Future News Fund, the extension of a 2017 business rates relief on local newspaper office space until 2025; the publication of the Online Media Literacy Strategy; and the BBC also supports the sector directly, through the £8m it spends each year on the Local News Partnership, including the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made an assessment of the potential impact of Meta ending funding for the Community News Project on local journalism.

The government is committed to supporting local and regional newspapers as pillars of communities and local democracy. They play an essential role in holding power to account, keeping the public informed of local issues and providing reliable, high-quality information.

The government is disappointed to see that Meta is closing its Community News Project. We are working to support journalism and local newsrooms to ensure the sustainability of this vital industry.

We are introducing a new, pro-competition regime for digital markets. The regime, which aims to address the far-reaching power of the biggest tech firms, will help rebalance the relationship between publishers and the online platforms on which they increasingly rely. This will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the press.

Additionally, our support for the sector has included the delivery of a £2 million Future News Fund, the extension of a 2017 business rates relief on local newspaper office space until 2025; the publication of the Online Media Literacy Strategy; and the BBC also supports the sector directly, through the £8m it spends each year on the Local News Partnership, including the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the merger of BBC News and BBC World channels on domestic political news coverage.

The Government wants to see the BBC continue to serve both UK and international audiences with high quality, accurate and impartial news and information, which is an essential part of its Mission and Public Purposes.

The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government and the government cannot intervene in the BBC’s day-to-day operations. It would therefore be inappropriate for the government to intervene in their decision to merge BBC News and BBC World News.

Ofcom, as the independent regulator of the BBC, is responsible for ensuring that the BBC continues to meet the public service obligations set out in the BBC Charter, Agreement, and Operating Licence. In response to the BBC's announcement, Ofcom has said that it expects the BBC to be clear about how it plans to ensure that BBC News will continue to provide high quality UK news. Ofcom has also stated that it will continue to develop its understanding of the detail of the BBC’s proposals, and that if issues of concern arise Ofcom will work with the BBC to address them, and if necessary, take steps to ensure the BBC continues to deliver for audiences in the UK.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of programme sharing across neighbouring regional stations by the BBC on local news provision.

The Government recognises that local and regional news and current affairs play a vital role in bringing communities together and providing shared experiences across the UK, and the BBC has an important role to play.

The BBC’s mission and public purposes are set out in the Royal Charter. The Charter requires the BBC to provide impartial news and information to help build people’s understanding of all parts of the United Kingdom and of the wider world. The BBC should offer a range and depth of analysis so that all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues.

This is alongside broader legislative and regulatory obligations for all public service broadcasters, including the BBC, which are required to provide high quality, impartial news and current affairs programmes. The BBC, ITV and STV are also required to provide regional news. The Government has no plans to relax these requirements.

The BBC was given a fair licence fee settlement that aims to support households at a time when they need that support the most. It sends an important message about keeping costs down while also giving the BBC what it needs to deliver on its remit. With this settlement, the BBC will continue to receive around £3.8 billion in annual public funding, allowing it to deliver its mission and public purposes and to continue doing what it does best.

As the BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the Government, and decisions over its spending and how it meets its obligations and delivers its services are a matter for the BBC.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will take steps to ensure that local news production is at the centre of (a) the BBC and (b) other modern media stations.

The Government recognises that local and regional news and current affairs play a vital role in bringing communities together and providing shared experiences across the UK, and the BBC has an important role to play.

The BBC’s mission and public purposes are set out in the Royal Charter. The Charter requires the BBC to provide impartial news and information to help build people’s understanding of all parts of the United Kingdom and of the wider world. The BBC should offer a range and depth of analysis so that all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues.

This is alongside broader legislative and regulatory obligations for all public service broadcasters, including the BBC, which are required to provide high quality, impartial news and current affairs programmes. The BBC, ITV and STV are also required to provide regional news. The Government has no plans to relax these requirements.

The BBC was given a fair licence fee settlement that aims to support households at a time when they need that support the most. It sends an important message about keeping costs down while also giving the BBC what it needs to deliver on its remit. With this settlement, the BBC will continue to receive around £3.8 billion in annual public funding, allowing it to deliver its mission and public purposes and to continue doing what it does best.

As the BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the Government, and decisions over its spending and how it meets its obligations and delivers its services are a matter for the BBC.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will hold discussions with the BBC on its assessment of the potential impact of ending the weekly current affairs programme entitled We Are England on the provision of regional news broadcasts.

The Government recognises that local and regional news and current affairs play a vital role in bringing communities together and providing shared experiences across the UK, and the BBC has an important role to play.

The BBC’s mission and public purposes are set out in the Royal Charter. The Charter requires the BBC to provide impartial news and information to help build people’s understanding of all parts of the United Kingdom and of the wider world. The BBC should offer a range and depth of analysis so that all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues.

This is alongside broader legislative and regulatory obligations for all public service broadcasters, including the BBC, which are required to provide high quality, impartial news and current affairs programmes. The BBC, ITV and STV are also required to provide regional news. The Government has no plans to relax these requirements.

The BBC was given a fair licence fee settlement that aims to support households at a time when they need that support the most. It sends an important message about keeping costs down while also giving the BBC what it needs to deliver on its remit. With this settlement, the BBC will continue to receive around £3.8 billion in annual public funding, allowing it to deliver its mission and public purposes and to continue doing what it does best.

As the BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the Government, and decisions over its spending and how it meets its obligations and delivers its services are a matter for the BBC.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many times the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy has visited bingo halls since his appointment.

During his appointment as Minister for Technology and the Digital Economy, Chris Philp MP did not visit any bingo halls. As part of the Review of the Gambling Act 2005, he carefully considered evidence submitted by the bingo industry and held a roundtable discussion, which included the Bingo Association and industry representatives, on 24 November 2021. Officials from the department also visited a bingo hall in Stevenage in November 2021.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that data from the 1921 census is accessible; and whether her Department has plans for platforms other than Findmypast to host 1921 census data.

The 1921 Census for England and Wales was released on 6 January 2022 by The National Archives and its commercial partner, Findmypast. The cost of creating digital images, transcribing records, and building the infrastructure to present records online was beyond the resources of The National Archives. In order to allow digital access and widen access beyond the physical location of the Census, The National Archives selected Findmypast as its digitisation partner after a fair and open tendering process.

The Census is free to view in digital format at The National Archives in Kew and two regional hubs, Manchester Central Library and The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. Findmypast also offers online access to the 1921 Census anywhere, including the viewing of images and transcriptions of records. There are currently no plans for platforms other than Findmypast to host the 1921 Census online. Searching for records on Findmypast is free, and viewing records and transcripts is on a subscription-free, pay-per-view basis. Findmypast has committed to bringing the 1921 Census to its library customers for use in their reading rooms before the end of 2022.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of including leisure facilities run in-house by local authorities in the National Leisure Recovery Fund.

The National Leisure Recovery Fund sought to support eligible public sector leisure centres to reopen to the public, to give the sport and physical activity sector the best chance of recovery to a position of sustainable operation over the medium term.

A total of £100 million was available as a biddable fund to eligible local authorities in England, which was allocated in a single funding round covering the period 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2021. Eligible local authorities included those in England who hold responsibility for the provision of leisure services, those who have outsourced their leisure provision to an external body and those whose outsourced leisure arrangements have ended since 20 March 2020 and services are now delivered as an in-house function.

Facilities run in-house were supported through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) Income Compensation Scheme. The MHCLG’s scheme was designed to compensate for transactional income losses that are truly irrecoverable – including transactional income from customer and client receipts generated from the delivery of goods and services and which were budgeted for in 2020/21, this includes budgeted management fee income.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason the Government is not yet in a position to publish the (a) evidence and (b) report on the event research programme.

The Events Research Programme report was published on Friday 25 June and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/events-research-programme-phase-i-findings

The Events Research Programme is a joint programme between DCMS, DHSC, and BEIS overseen by an industry-led steering group co-chaired by Sir Nicholas Hytner and David Ross. Evidence from the pilot events is considered by the group to make recommendations to the Prime Minister and the Secretaries of State for DCMS, BEIS and DHSC on how restrictions could be safely lifted at Step 4 of the Roadmap.

The report has been subject to a comprehensive and rigorous coordination and approval process across departments, academic institutions and ERP governance boards, and takes into account the latest public health data.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what criteria the Government will use to determine the outcome of the Events Research Programme.

The Events Research Programme will run around a dozen pilot events using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes.The evidence will then be shared across the event economy so that venues can prepare to accommodate fuller audiences.

Settings will include small indoor venues that have a capacity of circa 200 people, where a gig or comedy night would take place, to large outdoor venues such as Wembley stadium. Decisions on the number of spectators allowed into the pilot events are yet to be taken and will be subject to discussions with event organisers and local authorities.

The programme will include looking at risk factors in indoor and outdoor settings; small and large venues; seated and standing events and different forms of audience participation. The pilots will also test a range of non-pharmaceutical mitigating interventions during non-socially distanced events such as layout of the venue, face coverings and ventilation.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many people will take part in each test event as part of the Government's Events Research Programme.

The Events Research Programme will run around a dozen pilot events using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes.The evidence will then be shared across the event economy so that venues can prepare to accommodate fuller audiences.

Settings will include small indoor venues that have a capacity of circa 200 people, where a gig or comedy night would take place, to large outdoor venues such as Wembley stadium. Decisions on the number of spectators allowed into the pilot events are yet to be taken and will be subject to discussions with event organisers and local authorities.

The programme will include looking at risk factors in indoor and outdoor settings; small and large venues; seated and standing events and different forms of audience participation. The pilots will also test a range of non-pharmaceutical mitigating interventions during non-socially distanced events such as layout of the venue, face coverings and ventilation.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many test events will take place as part of the Government's Events Research Programme.

The Events Research Programme will run around a dozen pilot events using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes.The evidence will then be shared across the event economy so that venues can prepare to accommodate fuller audiences.

Settings will include small indoor venues that have a capacity of circa 200 people, where a gig or comedy night would take place, to large outdoor venues such as Wembley stadium. Decisions on the number of spectators allowed into the pilot events are yet to be taken and will be subject to discussions with event organisers and local authorities.

The programme will include looking at risk factors in indoor and outdoor settings; small and large venues; seated and standing events and different forms of audience participation. The pilots will also test a range of non-pharmaceutical mitigating interventions during non-socially distanced events such as layout of the venue, face coverings and ventilation.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of potential merits of extending eligibility to bingo clubs for access to the Culture Recovery Fund.

The Culture Recovery Fund is being delivered by DCMS Arm’s Length Bodies - Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, and the British Film Institute. These bodies can spend Government money on individuals or organisations within the sector they are responsible for.

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the Bingo sector. Bingo clubs have accessed £44m of government support via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (£26.8m), Eat Out to Help Out (£600k), Business Rates Relief (£15.9m) and Grant funding (£1.6m). We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand the impacts and how we may be able to support them.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ringfencing funding from the Government's charity support package for charities and organisations working with communities that are disproportionately affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has pledged £750 million to meet the needs of vulnerable groups disproportionately affected by Covid-19 through targeted support for voluntary and community sector organisations.

A diverse advisory panel has been set up to assist in the distribution process for the fund. DCMS and the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF - our distribution partners for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund) are working with a number of organisations to improve the reach of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund for organisations disproportionately affected.

The government has unlocked a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts, which will be distributed to organisations to support urgent work for groups in need to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the ability of charities working with BAME communities to access the Government's £350 million support for charities.

DCMS and the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF - our distribution partners for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund) have been - and continue to - engage extensively with BAME organisations during the development of the response and are working with a number of organisations to improve the reach of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund.

A diverse advisory panel has been set up to assist in the distribution process for the fund. DCMS will continue to work closely to assess how we can support BAME charities and social enterprises in doing their important work. The Minister for Civil Society holds a fortnightly roundtable to hear directly from BAME civil society organisations to highlight concerns and responses to Covid-19. DCMS will continue to work closely to assess how we can support BAME charities and social enterprises in doing their important work.

We have published clear and comprehensive guidance on the £750 million, plus other sources of support, at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

This is a package of emergency response to help groups in need and to provide other essential services. It builds on the significant package of support available across sectors, including the Job Retention Scheme.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that funding from the charity relief package announced in April 2020 is reaching those that most need it.

The government has pledged £750 million to meet the needs of vulnerable groups through targeted support for voluntary and community sector organisations on the frontline of the Covid response. This includes £360m distributed through government departments and £200m for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, being delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund. A diverse advisory panel has been set up to assist in the distribution process for the fund.

The government has also unlocked a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts, which will be distributed to organisations to support urgent work for groups in need to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

We have published clear and comprehensive guidance on the £750 million, plus other sources of support, at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

The VCSE Support Package builds on the significant package of support available across sectors, including the Job Retention Scheme.

10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether a Minister in her Department leads on policy on supporting children through parental separation.

Ministers work closely across government to support children, including those going through parental separation.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is responsible for private family law, which includes marriage and divorce. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the MoJ responsible for this is Lord Bellamy KC.

In my role as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children, Families and Wellbeing at the department, I work closely with Lord Bellamy KC at the MoJ, including through the national Family Justice Board, which we jointly chair.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to help ensure equal support for kinship families.

Kinship carers play an extremely important role in both their kin children’s lives and in the Children’s Social Care system.

On 2 February 2023, the department published a consultation and implementation strategy, Stable Homes, Built on Love, which sets out how we will achieve broad, system-wide transformation. Through this strategy the department has made a commitment to implement or explore each of the Review’s recommendations on kinship care.

The department has committed to work across government to explore possible additional workplace entitlements and options for an extension of legal aid for kinship carers with a special guardianship order (SGO) or child arrangement order (CAO), as well as exploring the case for mandating a financial allowance for kinship carers with SGOs and CAOs in every local authority.

In addition, we have made a commitment to invest £9 million during this Spending Review period to establish a training and support offer that all kinship carers can access if they wish to. We also announced over £45 million to begin implementing family network support packages through the Families First for Children pathfinder.

The department is also committed to publishing a national kinship care strategy by the end of 2023. This will provide an update on reform activity, such as exploring financial allowances. The strategy will set out a long-term vision for kinship care, and detail how the department can better support children and carers.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to improve the GCSE results of deaf students.

In the Schools White Paper, published March 2022, the department set clear ambitions for 90% of all children to leave primary school having achieved the expected standard in Key Stage 2 reading, writing and mathematics, and that in secondary schools, the national GCSE average grade in both English language and in mathematics will increase from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030.

The department is confident that the policies set out in the White Paper will have a significant impact on improving literacy and numeracy at both KS2 and GCSE. The White Paper marked the start of a journey towards these targets.

The department knows that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are disproportionately represented in those cohorts not meeting expected standards. If we are going to achieve our 90% and grade 5 targets by 2030 it is vital that we ensure pupils of all characteristics and backgrounds are making progress.

On 29 March 2022, we published the SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper, which set out our plans to improve the experience and outcomes for children and young people with SEND, including those with Sensory Impairment, within a fairer and financially sustainable system. We are now carefully considering the feedback we received through the thousands of responses to the consultation and in the many events that took place during the 16-week consultation period. We will publish a full response in an Improvement Plan imminently.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Department is taking to help improve the number of Teachers of the Deaf.

I refer the hon. Member for Nottingham North to the answer I gave on 13 February 2023 to Question 140375.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on the capacity of local authorities to meet the workforce requirements for the implementation of the SEND and Alternative Provision strategy.

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper, published in March 2022, set out proposals for consultation, to improve the experience and outcomes for children and young people with SEND and those who need alternative provision.

The Department for Education has been having regular meetings with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) officials to discuss the findings from the SEND and AP green paper consultation. We continue to work with them to develop our policy proposals.

Department officials also work closely with DLUHC officials regarding the government’s work to support local authorities to manage their high needs systems sustainably in the immediate future. We have already made 14 Safety Valve agreements with local authorities to support the sustainable management of their high needs budgets for the benefit of children and young people and will work with up to a further 20 local authorities in the 2022/23 financial year. We are also currently working with 55 local authorities to address immediate pressures in their local systems, taking a diagnostic approach to helping them improve delivery of SEND services for children and young people, while ensuring services are sustainable.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of the cost of living crisis on the number of children living in poverty who are not eligible for free school meals.

The department does not have plans to assess the potential impact of changes in the cost of living on pupils who are not eligible for free school meals (FSM), nor to make any changes to FSM eligibility. However, we continue to monitor the rising cost of living whilst working with other government departments on support surrounding this issue. The department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them. In setting a threshold, the government believes that the current level, which enables children to benefit from FSM, while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one.

The latest published statistics show that around 1.9 million pupils are claiming FSM. This equates to 22.5% of all pupils, up from 20.8% in 2021. Together with a further 1.25 million infants supported through the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy, 37.5% of pupils are now provided with FSM.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will take steps to provide all children living in poverty with free school meals.

The department does not have plans to assess the potential impact of changes in the cost of living on pupils who are not eligible for free school meals (FSM), nor to make any changes to FSM eligibility. However, we continue to monitor the rising cost of living whilst working with other government departments on support surrounding this issue. The department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them. In setting a threshold, the government believes that the current level, which enables children to benefit from FSM, while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one.

The latest published statistics show that around 1.9 million pupils are claiming FSM. This equates to 22.5% of all pupils, up from 20.8% in 2021. Together with a further 1.25 million infants supported through the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy, 37.5% of pupils are now provided with FSM.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of children living in poverty who are not eligible for free school meals.

The department does not have plans to assess the potential impact of changes in the cost of living on pupils who are not eligible for free school meals (FSM), nor to make any changes to FSM eligibility. However, we continue to monitor the rising cost of living whilst working with other government departments on support surrounding this issue. The department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them. In setting a threshold, the government believes that the current level, which enables children to benefit from FSM, while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one.

The latest published statistics show that around 1.9 million pupils are claiming FSM. This equates to 22.5% of all pupils, up from 20.8% in 2021. Together with a further 1.25 million infants supported through the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy, 37.5% of pupils are now provided with FSM.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to review the eligibility criteria for free school meals before the beginning of the next school year.

The department does not have plans to assess the potential impact of changes in the cost of living on pupils who are not eligible for free school meals (FSM), nor to make any changes to FSM eligibility. However, we continue to monitor the rising cost of living whilst working with other government departments on support surrounding this issue. The department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them. In setting a threshold, the government believes that the current level, which enables children to benefit from FSM, while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one.

The latest published statistics show that around 1.9 million pupils are claiming FSM. This equates to 22.5% of all pupils, up from 20.8% in 2021. Together with a further 1.25 million infants supported through the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy, 37.5% of pupils are now provided with FSM.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 7 March 2022 to Question 132346 on Teachers: Training, what steps his Department plans to take to help ensure that the 2021-22 geography trainee teacher cohort is not financially disadvantaged compared with their counterparts in other years following the reinstatement of the geography teacher bursary.

The bursaries we offer are designed to incentivise more applications to initial teacher training (ITT) courses. As such, they are provided for the phases and subjects which have previously struggled to attract sufficient applicants. Being able to change bursary amounts gives us the flexibility to respond to the need to attract new teachers, and means we are spending money where it is needed most.

In the academic year 2020/21, we exceeded the geography postgraduate ITT target (achieving 129% of the target). The bursaries we offered for academic year 2021/22 took account of this and the continuing boost to ITT recruitment caused by the economic impact of COVID-19.

We announced the bursaries available for academic year 2021/22 on 12 October 2020, the same day that applications opened for ITT courses starting in 2021/22. This information was published on GOV.UK and promoted to applicants through our Get Into Teaching service, to ensure applicants were made aware of the financial offer before applying. As bursaries are designed to incentivise applications it would not be appropriate, or a judicious use of public money, to retrospectively award them to trainees who were not eligible when they applied.

2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure work placements for t-levels are available in every town in the UK.

Ensuring employers are made aware of T Levels and are well prepared to deliver high quality industry placements is key to the success of T Level delivery. We have invested over £200 million over the past 4 years to help providers build their capacity and relationships with employers, and have developed a comprehensive package of advice and guidance to support providers to deliver placements, as well as networking opportunities to share best practice.

We are engaging directly with employers of all sizes throughout England, via the department’s employer engagement teams, to promote the benefits of T Levels and of hosting industry placements. We are providing an extensive programme of employer focussed support to help ensure employers are able to deliver placements. This includes a comprehensive employer support package, which offers guidance, workshops and webinars, as well as tailored advice and direct hands-on support, to help build employer confidence, and capability and capacity to deliver high-quality industry placements. We have also implemented different delivery models to ensure placements can be delivered by employers across all industries and locations. Our T Level ambassador network is enabling employers to engage with others in their industries on T Levels and placements. Finally, we have put in place a short-term incentive fund, offering employers £1,000 per industry placement, to encourage employers to offer placements during the pandemic, which has been warmly welcomed by employers.

We will continue to monitor the delivery of placements throughout England and work closely with employers to identify what support they will need going forward to enable them to deliver high quality placements.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that young people in every region of the UK have access to STEM specific careers provision.

We know that supporting schools to deliver science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related careers education is important so that young people are aware of the full range of careers associated with STEM subjects.

We work with The Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) to support schools and colleges in England to achieve the Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance, the government’s careers framework. Gatsby Benchmark 4, linking curriculum learning to careers, is particularly relevant. STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of career pathways.

Gatsby Benchmark 5, encounters with employers and employees, sets out that schools should give pupils access to meaningful encounters with a range of employers and workplaces. Secondary schools are expected to provide pupils with at least one meaningful interaction with employers per pupil per year, with a particular focus on STEM employers. These interactions open young people’s eyes to a range of different career possibilities and can challenge stereotypes as well as helping to prepare them for the workplace.

The CEC provide resources to support schools and colleges including a series of STEM toolkits, a relaunched STEM careers webpage with an increased focus on department funded resources, and several Careers Hubs are currently running innovative STEM focussed careers projects.

Education is a devolved matter, and approaches to careers education may differ in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to increase the number of apprenticeships in STEM professions.

We recognise the demand for science, technology, engineering, construction, digital and maths skills is increasing, which is why ensuring that anyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupation is a key priority for this government.

Apprenticeships are a great way for people to receive high quality training and begin, or progress in, a successful career in STEM. We have put employers at the heart of our apprenticeship system, empowering them to design the standards they need with the help of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. There are over 340 employer-designed apprenticeship standards in STEM, including Cyber Security Technician at level 3, and Civil Engineer (degree) at level 6.

It is encouraging to see that in the 2020/21 academic year, there were 78,100 apprenticeship starts in STEM, making up 24% of all apprenticeship starts that year.

We are continuing to promote apprenticeships in schools through the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge programme and are working with our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network of influential employers such as Siemens, Bombardier and Rolls-Royce to promote best practices in recruiting and retaining people from all backgrounds in STEM apprenticeships.

We continue to engage with other government departments, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to ensure that apprenticeships continue to meet the skill needs of all industries.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on ensuring that local skills improvement plans contribute to the UK's net zero targets.

The government introduced an amendment to the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill which ensures that skills required in relation to jobs that support compliance with the UK net zero emissions target are considered in the development of Local Skills Improvement Plans. The Department for Education will work closely with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as we develop statutory guidance on this to ensure we have the right skills to meet the requirements of the net zero transition.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that all SMEs are able to offer t-Level placements across the UK.

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key to ensuring that industry placements are a successful component of T Levels, as they make up a large proportion of the employer landscape. We are engaging directly with employers of all sizes, including SMEs, through the department’s employer engagement teams to explain the benefits of T Levels and of industry hosting placements, and to help provide a strong pipeline of employers, across all sectors, ready to offer placements.

We are providing an extensive programme of support to help ensure employers of all sizes, including SMEs, are able to deliver placements. This includes a comprehensive employer support package, which offers guidance, workshops, and webinars, as well as tailored advice and direct hands-on support, to help build employer confidence and capability to deliver high-quality industry placements. We have also implemented several different delivery models to ensure placements can be delivered by employers of different sizes, across all industries and locations, and our T Level ambassador network is enabling employers, including SMEs, to engage with others in their industries on T Levels and placements. Finally, we have put in place a short-term incentive fund, offering employers £1,000 per industry placement, to encourage employers to offer placements during the COVID-19 outbreak, which has been warmly welcomed by SMEs.

We will continue to monitor the delivery of placements and work closely with employers, including SMEs, to identify what support they will need going forward to enable them to deliver high quality placements.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to table 2.3 in the Levelling Up in the United Kingdom White Paper, what steps he plans to take to ensure that local authorities that fall under level 1 devolution plans are able to feed local skills needs into the development of Local Skills Improvement Plans.

The Levelling Up White Paper sets out how local areas with devolved adult education functions and the core Adult Education Budget provide input into Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs). However, we will also encourage other local authorities to share relevant local knowledge and intelligence with employer representative bodies that can inform the development of LSIPs. We will set out our expectations for engagement with stakeholders in statutory guidance.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to (a) reinstate or (b) increase teaching bursaries for subjects where training bursaries were reduced or suspended in 2021.

For initial teacher training (ITT) courses starting in the 2022/23 academic year, the department is continuing to offer a £24,000 tax-free bursary or prestigious scholarships worth £26,000 tax-free in chemistry, computing, mathematics and physics.

In addition, the department has reinstated £15,000 tax-free bursaries for geography and design and technology that we last offered in 2020/21. We have also increased the bursary for languages from £10,000 to £15,000, and the biology bursary from £7,000 to £10,000, compared to those offered in 2021/22.

The department reviews bursaries each year to take account of a number of factors including historic recruitment, forecast economic conditions, and teacher supply need in each subject. Being able to change bursary amounts gives us the flexibility to respond to the need to attract new teachers, and means we are spending money where it is needed most.

Therefore, the department will review the need for bursaries across all subjects again, including the value of current bursaries, before announcing the offer for academic year 2023/24 this autumn.

1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how the Unit for Future Skills is planned to work alongside Local Skills Improvement Plans.

The Unit for Future Skills is being set up to bring together data and intelligence on skills and jobs from across government. This will be made available to local and central government, employers, the education sector and academics, and to individuals.

An early focus for its work will be to provide data and evidence to employer representative bodies and other local partners. This is so Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) can be built on the best available skills, labour market information, and insights. The unit will be drawing on lessons learned from the trailblazer LSIPs to understand how it can best support employer representative bodies and local stakeholders when LSIPs are rolled out nationally.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide a breakdown of the number of additional people expected to complete high-quality skills training, as set out in the Levelling Up in the United Kingdom White Paper, in each year between 2022 and 2030.

The mission of 200,000 additional people completing high-quality skills training will focus on increasing the number of adults (those aged 19 and above) completing high quality skills training, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses and apprenticeships.

We know that successfully completing these courses improves people’s earnings and life chances and helps them get good jobs.

The department already has a range of high-quality training offers available to adults across every region of the country including Skills Bootcamps, our Free Course for Jobs offer as well as access to free courses in English, maths, and basic digital skills.

Meeting the mission will depend on national government, Mayoral Combined Authorities, local authorities, employers and skills providers working together.

The missions are rolling decade-long endeavours and will be reviewed periodically by the UK government.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, of the 200,000 additional people completing high-quality skills training referred to in the Levelling Up in the United Kingdom White Paper, how many of those people he expects to be on (a) STEM courses and (b) apprenticeships; and how many are young people up to the age of 25.

The mission of 200,000 additional people completing high-quality skills training will focus on increasing the number of adults (those aged 19 and above) completing high quality skills training, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses and apprenticeships.

We know that successfully completing these courses improves people’s earnings and life chances and helps them get good jobs.

The department already has a range of high-quality training offers available to adults across every region of the country including Skills Bootcamps, our Free Course for Jobs offer as well as access to free courses in English, maths, and basic digital skills.

Meeting the mission will depend on national government, Mayoral Combined Authorities, local authorities, employers and skills providers working together.

The missions are rolling decade-long endeavours and will be reviewed periodically by the UK government.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to close full-time unregistered schools; and if he will give Ofsted greater powers to seize evidence, search premises, and close illegal operations in relation to unregistered schools.

​It is a criminal offence under Section 96 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 to conduct an unregistered independent school. The department and Ofsted will investigate any institution where intelligence or evidence suggest that this offence is being committed. Section 97 of the act permits no-notice inspections of education providers believed to be operating as an unregistered independent school.

​Between 1 January 2016 and 31 August 2021, Ofsted have investigated 850 education providers. These investigations have led to 412 inspections which have resulted in the identification of 114 unregistered schools. Joint work between the department and Ofsted has led to 101 of these providers changing their provision to cease operating unlawfully. In addition, since 2016, 6 successful prosecutions have been brought against groups responsible for operating illegal education providers.

The department has made public commitments to take forward measures to make it easier for Ofsted to investigate and gather evidence of breaches of section 96 of the Act and prosecute those responsible for running unregistered schools. These changes are intended to lead to the identification of greater numbers of unregistered schools. Such measures will be taken forward when a suitable legislative opportunity arises.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to provide Arts Council England with the final funding information relating to Music Education Hubs in England; and if he will ensure that Music Hubs urgently receive confirmation of funding levels in order to avert the termination of agreements.

Music Education Hubs have a vital role to play not only in core school music but also in ensuring children have access to all the benefits of a wider musical education through instrumental lessons and ensembles. They have acted swiftly and innovatively to support schools through the COVID-19 outbreak, including the continuation of continuing professional development to classroom teachers.

Following the one-year Spending Review settlement, the Department will continue to fund Music Education Hubs for the financial year 2021-22. Funding has been confirmed with Arts Council England and all Music Education Hubs organisations were updated on this matter. Further details on specific funding allocations for each hub will follow shortly, alongside an announcement on Department funding for music education nationally.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment the Department has made of the effect of the UK failing to agree a deal on the future relationship with the EU on food pricing on the provision of school meals.

The UK has agreed a deal with the EU which is based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, centred on free trade and inspired by our shared history and values.

The UK has a high level of food security built upon a diverse range of sources, including strong domestic production and imports from other countries. This continues to be the case.

The government is working in partnership with food suppliers to ensure that there continues to be a flow of food into the country. Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. We are confident that schools will continue to be able to provide pupils with nutritious school meals from the 1 January onward.

The government has published advice for the food and drink sector on working with the EU following the agreement of a free trade deal, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-food-and-drink-sector-and-preparing-for-eu-exit.

A range of guidance for schools, including advice on food supplies, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-schools-during-the-transition-period-and-after-1-january-2021.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the school catering workforce.

The UK has agreed a deal with the EU which is based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, centred on free trade and inspired by our shared history and values.

The UK has a high level of food security built upon a diverse range of sources, including strong domestic production and imports from other countries. This continues to be the case.

The government is working in partnership with food suppliers to ensure that there continues to be a flow of food into the country. Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. We are confident that schools will continue to be able to provide pupils with nutritious school meals from the 1 January onward.

The government has published advice for the food and drink sector on working with the EU following the agreement of a free trade deal, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-food-and-drink-sector-and-preparing-for-eu-exit.

A range of guidance for schools, including advice on food supplies, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-schools-during-the-transition-period-and-after-1-january-2021.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the school catering industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

Until the end of the summer term, schools could continue to make payments to suppliers under the provisions of the Cabinet Office guidance for public bodies in ‘Procurement Policy Note 02/20’ and ‘Procurement Policy Note 04/20’ if they considered it appropriate in order to maintain delivery of critical services. These are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0220-supplier-relief-due-to-covid-19 and: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0420-recovery-and-transition-from-covid-19. Payments covered the cost of free school meals and universal infant free school meals, but not the costs of meals usually purchased by parents for pupils who are not eligible for free school meals.

More recently, the government has updated its wide package of measures to help support businesses. Further details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Companies within the catering industry may also be able to claim support under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended to 30 April 2021. Further details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on the teaching of menstrual wellbeing in schools.

The Department wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe, and to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. That is why we have made Relationships Education compulsory for all primary school age pupils, Relationships and Sex Education compulsory for all secondary school age pupils, and Health Education compulsory for pupils in all state funded schools.

Schools are expected to start teaching the new subjects by at least the start of the summer term in 2021. Considering the circumstances faced by our schools, the Department is reassuring schools that they have flexibility over when they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching.

The statutory guidance sets out that as part of Health Education, primary and secondary school pupils should be taught about menstrual wellbeing, including key facts about the menstrual cycle. The statutory guidance can be accessed at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

Schools also have the flexibility to design the content of their curriculum in an age appropriate and developmentally sensitive way, to support their cohort of pupils. To help schools design their curriculum, the Department has signposted them to expert advice from Public Health England on reproductive health.

The Department’s guidance for teaching about relationships, sex and health covers all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance and includes online modules on teaching about menstrual wellbeing. The Department’s full guidance is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support will be offered to pupils in year 13 during the 2020-21 academic year.

Children and young people across the country have experienced unprecedented disruption to their education as a result of COVID-19. Those from the most vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds will be amongst those hardest hit. We know that we have the professional knowledge and expertise in the education system to ensure that children and young people recover and get back on track.

Additional funding of up to £96 million to support 16-19 year olds for the 2020-21 academic year is available through the National Tutoring Programme, enabling schools and colleges to provide small group tuition for disadvantaged students whose education has been disrupted as a result of COVID-19.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of ending the Construction Industry Training Board levy.

There is no assessment planned with regards to the merits of ending the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) levy. The most recent assessment completed as a tailored review, was undertaken, and published in November 2017. As well as providing several recommendations to CITB, it concluded that the current levy process was the most appropriate way to specifically support and incentivise the sector.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will introduce a deadline for the use of free school meal vouchers during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave on 23 June 2020 to Question 54195.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools put in place plans to recommence serving students lunches provided by their school food suppliers.

The government is continuing to provide schools with their expected funding, including funding to cover benefits-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals, throughout this period. We are asking schools to support children at home who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach.

As schools prepare to open more widely, they should speak to their school catering team or provider about the best arrangements for school meals. Schools should ensure that catering teams and food suppliers are supported to return to school to provide meals both for those children attending school and for those remaining at home who are eligible for free school meals. If a school catering service cannot provide meals or food parcels for children who are at home, the school can continue to offer vouchers to families of eligible pupils if needed.

Our guidance on free school meals during this period is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

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

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ensure that schools do not use Edenred and other suppliers' vouchers when their usual school meal provider is able to provide meals to children in receipt of free school meals.

The government is continuing to provide schools with their expected funding, including funding to cover benefits-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals, throughout this period. We are asking schools to support children at home who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach.

As schools prepare to open more widely, they should speak to their school catering team or provider about the best arrangements for school meals. Schools should ensure that catering teams and food suppliers are supported to return to school to provide meals both for those children attending school and for those remaining at home who are eligible for free school meals. If a school catering service cannot provide meals or food parcels for children who are at home, the school can continue to offer vouchers to families of eligible pupils if needed.

Our guidance on free school meals during this period is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

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

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is the Government's policy that the school meal voucher scheme provided by Edenred and other providers is a temporary measure during the covid-19 outbreak.

Around 1.3 million children are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals. During this period, we are asking schools to support these children by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

The purpose of the voucher scheme is to ensure children eligible for benefits related free school meals who are not in school will continue to have access while schools are closed to most pupils due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is not intended to replace long term contractual arrangements.

Guidance on providing free school meals has been updated to reflect that, as schools open more widely and their kitchens reopen, they should provide meal options for all children who are in school, free of charge for those eligible for free schools meals, and should make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are staying at home. If schools are unable to provide food parcels, they can continue using the national voucher scheme to provide vouchers for children at home.

Schools can also apply to be reimbursed for any additional costs associated with providing free school meals at this time, where those costs are not covered by the national voucher scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

The latest advice on free school meals is available on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether schools should be serving their pupils with meals provided by their usual suppliers when schools reopen for (a) some year groups on 1 June 2020 and (b) all year groups when lockdown restrictions are eased during the covid-19 outbreak.

Around 1.3 million children are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals. During this period, we are asking schools to support these children by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

The purpose of the voucher scheme is to ensure children eligible for benefits related free school meals who are not in school will continue to have access while schools are closed to most pupils due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is not intended to replace long term contractual arrangements.

Guidance on providing free school meals has been updated to reflect that, as schools open more widely and their kitchens reopen, they should provide meal options for all children who are in school, free of charge for those eligible for free schools meals, and should make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are staying at home. If schools are unable to provide food parcels, they can continue using the national voucher scheme to provide vouchers for children at home.

Schools can also apply to be reimbursed for any additional costs associated with providing free school meals at this time, where those costs are not covered by the national voucher scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

The latest advice on free school meals is available on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to encourage schools to use their school meal providers to provide school meals when schools reopen on 1 June 2020 during the covid-19 outbreak.

Around 1.3 million children are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals. During this period, we are asking schools to support these children by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

The purpose of the voucher scheme is to ensure children eligible for benefits related free school meals who are not in school will continue to have access while schools are closed to most pupils due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is not intended to replace long term contractual arrangements.

Guidance on providing free school meals has been updated to reflect that, as schools open more widely and their kitchens reopen, they should provide meal options for all children who are in school, free of charge for those eligible for free schools meals, and should make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are staying at home. If schools are unable to provide food parcels, they can continue using the national voucher scheme to provide vouchers for children at home.

Schools can also apply to be reimbursed for any additional costs associated with providing free school meals at this time, where those costs are not covered by the national voucher scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

The latest advice on free school meals is available on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will provide further guidance to schools on using their usual school meal providers when schools reopen during the covid-19 outbreak.

Around 1.3 million children are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals. During this period, we are asking schools to support these children by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

The purpose of the voucher scheme is to ensure children eligible for benefits related free school meals who are not in school will continue to have access while schools are closed to most pupils due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is not intended to replace long term contractual arrangements.

Guidance on providing free school meals has been updated to reflect that, as schools open more widely and their kitchens reopen, they should provide meal options for all children who are in school, free of charge for those eligible for free schools meals, and should make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are staying at home. If schools are unable to provide food parcels, they can continue using the national voucher scheme to provide vouchers for children at home.

Schools can also apply to be reimbursed for any additional costs associated with providing free school meals at this time, where those costs are not covered by the national voucher scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

The latest advice on free school meals is available on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on the educational attainment of white working class boys of encouraging those boys to develop their (a) reading skills and (b) vocabulary at an early age.

The Department is committed to raising literacy standards – ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects. Improving vocabulary and reading skills are fundamental parts of this.

Our proposed reforms to the Early Years Foundation Stage, including revisions to the curriculum activities and assessment goals under the seven areas of learning, are intended to improve early language and literacy outcomes for all children – particularly those from a disadvantaged background. We have also launched Hungry Little Minds – a three-year campaign to encourage parents to engage in activities that support their child’s language and literacy.

To continue improving early reading, in 2018 we launched the £26.3 million English Hubs Programme. We have appointed 34 primary schools across England as English Hubs. The English Hubs programme is supporting nearly 3000 schools across England to improve their teaching of reading through systematic synthetic phonics, early language development, and reading for pleasure. The English Hubs are focused on improving educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged pupils in Reception and Year 1.

Evidence has shown that phonics is a highly effective component in the development of early reading skills, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The disadvantage gap in the phonics screening check has decreased from 17% in 2012, to 14% in 2019.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a change from a competence-based curriculum to a knowledge-rich curriculum on the education attainment of white working class boys.

In 2014, the Department introduced a more knowledge-rich curriculum with associated reforms to GCSEs to make them more rigorous. These changes were in part driven by a desire to ensure all children, whatever their background, receive a high-quality education.

We have made no specific assessment of the impact of curriculum change alone on attainment of white working-class boys. However, against a background of rising standards, disadvantaged pupils are catching up with their peers. The attainment gap index shows the gap at the end of primary school has narrowed by 13% since 2011, and by 9% at the end of secondary school. This means better prospects for a secure adult life for disadvantaged pupils. Our reforms, and the focus provided by the pupil premium, have supported this improvement.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen the powers of teachers to deal with unruly pupils.

Good behaviour in school is crucial if children are to learn and reach their full potential. As well as delivering excellent teaching, schools should be calm, safe and disciplined environments free from the low-level disruption that prevents pupils from learning.

The Government is committed to backing heads and teachers to enforce discipline, and we have given teachers a range of powers to promote good behaviour and discipline misbehaviour, including how they deal with unruly pupils.

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour, and the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff and parents. To help schools develop effective strategies, the Department has produced advice for schools which covers what should be included in the behaviour policy. This advice can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

The Government is also committed to ensuring all teachers are equipped with the skills to tackle both the serious behaviour issues that compromise the safety and wellbeing of pupils and school staff, as well as the low-level disruption that too often gets in the way of effective learning. To help support staff, we are reforming training through the Early Career Framework so that all new teachers will be shown how to effectively manage behaviour in their first two years in the profession.

In February 2020, the Department announced its next steps for implementing the £10 million behaviour hubs programme, which aims to equip senior leaders in schools with the tools to improve their approach to behaviour management through facilitated peer-training, matching them up to exemplary lead schools and multi-academy trusts for bespoke support. Further information can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/behaviour-hubs.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department takes account of attainment outcomes at (a) secondary and (b) further education level the development of the curriculum for key stages 1 and 2.

The Department introduced a more ambitious, knowledge-rich national curriculum in England in 2014, as well as more rigorous GCSEs from 2015, putting us in line with the highest-performing education systems in the world.

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study. In developing the curriculum for each key stage, the knowledge and skills to be taught for each subject were carefully sequenced, to ensure a coherent approach that takes account of prior knowledge. This allows teachers to plan the school curriculum for each subject so their pupils are equipped for successful transition to the next phase of education, whether this is in the move from primary to secondary, or the move from secondary to further education.

In the case of primary English, mathematics and science, the programmes of study were sequenced in more detail on a year-by-year or two-year basis. The GCSE content requirements for each national curriculum subject were also carefully sequenced to build on key stage 3 and align with key stage 4 programmes of study. The independent regulator, Ofqual, has put processes in place to ensure that it is no harder for a student to obtain a grade 7, 4 or 1 in the new GCSEs than it was to achieve a grade A, C or G in the unreformed versions.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help schools improve the cultural literacy of pupils aged four and five.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework sets out the learning and development requirements which all early years settings and schools are required to follow. This ensures all children from birth to five are supported throughout the EYFS and attain a good level of development - at the end of reception- ready to begin Year 1. This provides a firm basis for cultural literacy through the seven areas of learning: communication and language; physical development; personal, social and emotional development; literacy; mathematics; understanding the world; and expressive arts and design.

The Department’s proposed reforms to the EYFS, including revisions to the curriculum activities and assessment goals under the seven areas of learning, are intended to improve early language and literacy outcomes for all children - particularly those from a disadvantaged background. The reforms provide opportunities for teachers to support children’s cultural literacy through reading from a range of fiction and non-fiction books, singing rhymes and poems and visits to parks, museums and libraries. Strengthening teaching practice in these areas can enable all children to flourish as they move through school and beyond.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of synthetic phonics lessons on children's reading outcomes since the introduction of the Phonics Partnership Grant programme in 2015.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards by ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding.

Evidence has shown that phonics is a highly effective component in the development of early reading skills, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Our phonics performance is improving. In 2019, 82% of pupils in Year 1 met the expected standard in the phonics screening check, compared to just 58% when the check was introduced in 2012. The disadvantage gap in the phonics screening check has decreased from 17% in 2012, to 14% in 2019. The gender gap in the phonics screening check has fallen from 8% in 2012 to 7% in 2019.

England achieved its highest ever score in reading in 2016, moving from joint 10th to joint 8th in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Stud (PIRLS) rankings. This follows a greater focus on reading in the primary curriculum, and a particular focus on phonics. The average improvement of England’s pupils in 2016 is largely attributable to two changes:

  • In 2016, boys have significantly improved in their average performance compared to previous cycles; and
  • England’s lowest performing pupils have substantially improved compared to previous PIRLS cycles, which has narrowed the gap between the higher and lower-performing pupils.

Building on the success of our phonics partnerships and phonics roadshows programmes, in 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme. We have appointed 34 primary schools across England as English Hubs. The English Hubs programme is supporting nearly 3000 schools across England to improve their teaching of reading through systematic synthetic phonics, early language development, and reading for pleasure. The English Hubs are focused on improving educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged pupils in Reception and Year 1.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of teaching synthetic phonics on the attainment gap between (a) advantaged and disadvantaged students and (b) boys and girls.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards by ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding.

Evidence has shown that phonics is a highly effective component in the development of early reading skills, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Our phonics performance is improving. In 2019, 82% of pupils in Year 1 met the expected standard in the phonics screening check, compared to just 58% when the check was introduced in 2012. The disadvantage gap in the phonics screening check has decreased from 17% in 2012, to 14% in 2019. The gender gap in the phonics screening check has fallen from 8% in 2012 to 7% in 2019.

England achieved its highest ever score in reading in 2016, moving from joint 10th to joint 8th in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Stud (PIRLS) rankings. This follows a greater focus on reading in the primary curriculum, and a particular focus on phonics. The average improvement of England’s pupils in 2016 is largely attributable to two changes:

  • In 2016, boys have significantly improved in their average performance compared to previous cycles; and
  • England’s lowest performing pupils have substantially improved compared to previous PIRLS cycles, which has narrowed the gap between the higher and lower-performing pupils.

Building on the success of our phonics partnerships and phonics roadshows programmes, in 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme. We have appointed 34 primary schools across England as English Hubs. The English Hubs programme is supporting nearly 3000 schools across England to improve their teaching of reading through systematic synthetic phonics, early language development, and reading for pleasure. The English Hubs are focused on improving educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged pupils in Reception and Year 1.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans the Government has to improve workplace support for women experiencing the menopause.

The Government is committed to supporting working women at all stages of their lives and enabling them to reach their potential.

We have worked with businesses and academics to highlight the role employers can play in supporting women going through menopause transition. This includes setting out practical actions employers can take. This also sits alongside other policies and programmes, such as flexible working, which can help everyone remain economically active as long as they choose to.

28th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals on (a) cat and (b) other pet theft.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 14 November 2023 to the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby, PQ 599.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has made a recent assessment of the impact of the Hunting Act 2004 on levels of fox hunting.

Defra does not hold this data. The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act. Enforcement of the Hunting Act is an operational matter for the police. Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of a ban on trail hunting on land owned by her Department.

Since the introduction of the Act, many hunt organisations across the country have worked hard to adapt their activities towards trail hunting, which is intended to retain important traditions as part of the fabric of rural life without harming wildlife. The Government takes wildlife crime seriously. In 2022, Defra more than doubled its funding of the National Wildlife Crime Unit from a total of £495,000 over the three previous years to £1.2 million for the three-year period of 2022-25. The Government will not amend the Hunting Act.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the implications for her policies of trends in the level of costs in the private veterinary industry.

The Department has made no specific assessment of the implications on Defra policies of trends in costs in the private veterinary industry. However, policies are impact assessed in line with the Better Regulation Framework and such assessments consider costs in relation to relevant sectors, which may include the private veterinary sector.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he Department has had recent discussions with the Competition and Markets Authority on the adequacy of consumer protection in the private veterinary industry in cases of misdiagnosis.

Defra has not had discussions with the Competition and Markets Authority concerning consumer protection in cases of misdiagnosis. Any complaints about the conduct and fitness to practice of individual veterinary surgeons should be directed to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the statutory regulator of the veterinary profession in the United Kingdom. The Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the veterinary services market is ongoing and closes by the end of October 2023.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to reduce the amount of existing plastic waste in the environment.

One way plastic enters the environment is through littering. Local authorities have a statutory duty to keep their public land clear of litter and refuse.

We have been proud to support and endorse national clean-up initiatives such as the Great British Spring Clean, and the Great British Beach Clean, and we will continue to use our influence to encourage as many people and businesses as possible to participate in these types of events again.

Community Payback also plays a key role in clearing up communities, working in partnership with Local Authorities and the voluntary sector. The Government has pledged to inject up to a further £93 million of additional investment into Community Payback, to ensure criminals sentenced to probation-supervised community sentences across England and Wales complete up to eight million hours of unpaid Community Payback per year. This will involve picking litter, clearing wastelands, and extending offenders’ involvement in Keep Britain Tidy’s projects.

The UK Government is also proud to have supported the proposal by Rwanda and Peru that led to the ambitious resolution to start negotiating an international legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution, being agreed at the United Nations Environment Assembly in March 2022. The process to negotiate a new agreement is now underway, and the UK has taken an ambitious stance, including calling for provisions in the instrument to remediate and remove existing plastic pollution from the environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has made a recent estimate of the amount of plastic waste in the UK environment.

No recent assessment has been made of the amount of plastic waste in the UK environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of recent rises in the price of potatoes on the viability of fish and chip shops.

The Government is aware that the prolonged period of hot dry weather last summer had an impact on yield, growth and quality of horticultural crops, including potatoes, in many parts of the country. We continue to keep the weather situation and any impact on our agri-food sectors under close review, including through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group (UKAMMG), which was set up by Defra and the Devolved Administrations to monitor the UK market situation across all key agricultural commodities.

Increased food prices are the result of many different factors, including agri-food import prices, domestic agricultural prices, domestic labour and manufacturing costs, as well as Sterling exchange rates.

The Government has taken action to support businesses with rising input costs such as energy.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will set targets to end the use of hazardous pesticides and protect pollinators.

Pollinators are a priority for this Government. The National Pollinator Strategy Action Plan was published in May 2022, which sets out how we are restoring and creating habitat to help pollinators thrive, and addressing pressures on their populations. Our Healthy Bees Plan 2030 outlines our work to improve honeybee health, and we are supporting monitoring and research through the Pollinator Monitoring Scheme.

A pesticide may only be placed on the market in Great Britain if the product has been authorised by our expert regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), following a thorough scientific risk assessment, that concludes all safety standards are met. Pesticides that pose unacceptable risks are not authorised.

We are assessing the potential role of targets to support our policy ambitions, and further details will be outlined in our National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (NAP), to be published in the first half of this year.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 29 September to Question 45245 on Trapping, when he plans to launch the call for evidence.

If improperly used snares can cause immense suffering to both target and non-target animals. Used properly, some stakeholders consider them to be an valuable tool in the protection of rare and endangered species.

We are looking at how snares are regulated as part of our continued drive to maintain the highest animal welfare standards in the world, and working to ensure the regulated use of the most appropriate trap and cull method which causes the least suffering whilst providing the greatest protection to crops, game birds or endangered species.

Through our Animal Action for Welfare Plan, published in May 2021, we are looking at whether changes need to be made to reflect concerns raised. Defra ministers are meeting with key external stakeholders and, once engagements are completed, we will be able to update on a timeframe for a call for evidence.

8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in reference to the recommendation of the Committee on Climate Change, whether he will set a target to increase the UK’s hedgerow network by 40 per cent.

Defra will encourage and support increased hedgerows through our environmental land management schemes. Working with Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot participants and gathering learning from the pilots, we are incorporating this feedback into the development of the live version of the Hedgerow Standard and its supporting capital items, which are due to be rolled out into the scheme in 2023. Defra is currently working on a response to the Climate Change Committee report and their recommendations, which is likely to be published in early 2023.

8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has plans to improve animal welfare protections for farmed fish in the UK.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any protected animal, or to fail to provide for the welfare needs of an animal, including fish, for which that person is responsible


There is also legislation on the protection of animals at the time of killing which requires that farmed fish are spared avoidable pain, distress or suffering during their killing and related operations.

As part of HM Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare, we are considering improvements that could be made to the welfare of farmed fish at the time of killing. To inform this work, we have asked the Animal Welfare Committee for advice, and this is expected before the end of the year.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will take steps to help strengthen the Environmental land management schemes supporting farmers to protect and restore the environment.

Our new environmental land management schemes are designed to support farmers to protect and restore the environment and we remain committed to rolling them out, as set out in the Agricultural Transition Plan.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare, when he will launch a call for evidence on the use of snares.

If improperly used snares can cause immense suffering to both target and non-target animals. Used properly, some stakeholders consider them to be a valuable tool in the protection of rare and endangered species.


We are looking at how snares are regulated as part of our continued drive to maintain the highest animal welfare standards in the world, and working to ensure the regulated use of the most appropriate trap and cull method which causes the least suffering whilst providing the greatest protection to crops, game birds or endangered species


Through our Animal Action for Welfare Plan, published in May 2021, we are looking at whether changes need to be made to reflect concerns raised. Defra ministers are meeting with key external stakeholders and, once engagements are completed, we will be able to update on a timeframe for a call for evidence.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce fishing in Marine Protected Areas.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a devolved competency and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

We have built a comprehensive network of MPAs and are now focused on making sure they are properly protected. Nearly 60% of our 178 English MPAs are already protected from damaging fishing activity, including byelaws this year in the first four offshore sites, which ban bottom towed gear over sensitive habitats. We are aiming to have all MPAs in English waters protected from damaging fishing activity by 2024.

Our aim is not to unduly restrict legitimate fishing activity but to develop byelaws using an evidence-led process to determine what management is required to protect MPAs.

19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has any plans to bring forward legislative proposals on the use of volatile organic compounds in (a) paints and (b) other coatings.

The UK is currently meeting, and on track to meet, the 2030 statutory emissions ceilings for volatile organic compounds. We are not considering legislative changes at this stage.

28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is planning to take steps through the forthcoming food strategy white paper to work with the food industry to help improve intake of fibre.

In the United Kingdom, the national food model, the Eatwell Guide, provides a visual representation of Government’s evidence-based recommendations for a healthy balanced diet. The guide depicts a healthy, balanced diet based on fruit and vegetables and higher fibre starchy carbohydrates.

Defra is committed to listening to opinions from stakeholders across the entirety of the food system. We actively encourage dialogues with a wide range of stakeholders to identify options to transform the food system and are keen to work closely with industry to deliver lasting change.

The forthcoming Government Food Strategy is a once in a generation opportunity to create a food system that feeds our nation today and protects it for tomorrow. It will build on existing work across Government and identify new opportunities to make the food system healthier, more sustainable, more resilient, and more accessible for those across the UK. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to shift towards a greener and more sustainable lifestyle, whilst maintaining people's freedom of choice, including on their diet.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of increasing its cooperation with the food industry to improve fibre intake.

In the United Kingdom, the national food model, the Eatwell Guide, provides a visual representation of Government’s evidence-based recommendations for a healthy balanced diet. The guide depicts a healthy, balanced diet based on fruit and vegetables and higher fibre starchy carbohydrates.

Defra is committed to listening to opinions from stakeholders across the entirety of the food system. We actively encourage dialogues with a wide range of stakeholders to identify options to transform the food system and are keen to work closely with industry to deliver lasting change.

The forthcoming Government Food Strategy is a once in a generation opportunity to create a food system that feeds our nation today and protects it for tomorrow. It will build on existing work across Government and identify new opportunities to make the food system healthier, more sustainable, more resilient, and more accessible for those across the UK. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to shift towards a greener and more sustainable lifestyle, whilst maintaining people's freedom of choice, including on their diet.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will make it its policy to ensure access to the countryside as part of the Environmental Land Management regime.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Huddersfield on 19 January 2022, PQ UIN 100429.

Support for increasing access into the countryside will be made through existing schemes and support mechanisms already in place. We are still considering our approach to support for increasing and maintaining access to the countryside in our future schemes including our environmental land management schemes.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the frequency of public land being used for illegal fox hunting under the guise of trail hunting; and what steps the Government is taking to ensure the effective enforcement of the prohibition on fox-hunting on public land.

The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act.

Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law. As enforcement of the Hunting Act is an operational matter for the police, Defra has not assessed the frequency of offences against the Hunting Act committed on public land.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has plans to adopt the Whole Grain Initiative’s definition of whole grain foods for food package labelling.

Defra committed to reviewing the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998, as they apply in England, following the end of the transition period. The planned review is being scoped now but it will focus on ensuring alignment with retained laws in other overlapping areas, as well as considering requests from industry for additional measures and exemptions. The review will also need to consider any DHSC decisions around folic acid. As part of the review, we will hold a public consultation on policy options. Many of the issues raised by stakeholders to date are technically complex and we expect this review will need sufficient time to consider responses and agree the best way forward.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to Answer of 21 July 2020 to Question 75425, what steps she has taken to progress work with the industry to ensure that the supply of chemicals and materials that are essential for water and wastewater treatment processes is not adversely affected following the end of the transition period.

Prior to the end of the transition period, the department worked with water companies, the regulators and the wider sector to prepare for a range of potential outcomes. Water companies undertook extensive preparations to ensure continuity of supply and these have ensured that thus far, there has not been an impact on water supply. Water companies are continuing to monitor their supply chains and have increased their on-site stocks of chemicals. The sector has well-rehearsed contingency plans to respond to incidents that might arise.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to ensure that the supply of (a) chemicals and (b) materials for the treatment of (i) drinking water and (ii) sewage will not be (A) interrupted and (B) adversely affected in the event that a UK/EU relationship has not been reached by the end of the transition period.

As part of the Government’s preparations for leaving the EU, Defra worked closely with water companies and with the industry trade association to deliver comprehensive sectoral contingency plans with arrangements that would protect supply chains in the event that a UK/EU relationship was not reached prior to the UK leaving the EU. This work has significantly bolstered the resilience of the sector and its supply chains. Defra will continue to work with the industry to ensure that the supply of chemicals and materials that are essential for water and wastewater treatment processes is not adversely affected following the end of the transition period.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 40742, on Dogs: Animal Breeding, whether a puppy bred by a person that is licensed to sell a puppy in England can be sold in the UK if it was bred by that person outside the UK.

A person who is licensed in England as a seller of pet animals may sell a puppy in England as long as they can satisfy the local authority that they bred the puppy concerned. The ban on commercial third party sales in England is about ensuring the person selling the puppy has actually bred the pet animal. The law on the breeding and selling of dogs is a devolved matter and therefore differs in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 34397, whether puppies bred outside the UK can be sold by a person who is licensed to sell a puppy in England.

The ban on the commercial third party sales of puppies and kittens came into force on 6 April 2020 through the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)(England)(Amendment) Regulations 2019. From this date, licensed pet sellers in England are only able to sell puppies that they have bred. Licensed pet sellers in England will not be able to sell puppies that they have not bred, regardless of what country they were bred in.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the proposed ban on third party sales of puppies will prohibit breeders that breed dogs outside England from selling those dogs in England.

It will be for the local authority responsible for licensing a business to be satisfied that a licence holder has bred the animals they are selling. Defra has updated the statutory guidance on pet selling, and this also covers how to be assured that someone offering a puppy for sale has bred it themselves. The law does not explicitly prohibit sales by someone who is licensed to sell a puppy in England having bred that puppy outside of England. However Defra’s recently launched Petfished campaign provides further guidance for the public on how to source puppies responsibly and this includes signposting to reputable suppliers (like Kennel Club Assured Breeders or licensed breeders) and advising that prospective buyers should always ask to see the puppy interacting with its mother and siblings where it was bred prior to making any purchasing decisions.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has has to support the expansion of the FareShare network during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working closely with FareShare and other food aid organisations to identify the impacts COVID-19 is having on front-line charities that provide food, and to ensure that those who are financially vulnerable have access to food and essential supplies.

We have worked with FareShare to quantify the current and forecast supply and demand of food to food aid charities, including the hundreds of charities who have asked for FareShare’s support since COVID-19. We welcome the efforts of the food industry to support food aid organisations, including the FareShare network, through pledges of donations of food and funds.

We are working through the Food and Essential Supplies to the Vulnerable Ministerial Task Force to identify where Government can best support front-line food charities, in the context of the gap between supply and demand, and the support already shown by the food industry.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to provide financial support to (a) workers and (b) farmers in the Global South that supply goods to the UK and other countries affected by covid-19.

We are engaging with businesses in the UK and in developing countries to understand the challenges they face with respect to protecting incomes and livelihoods in their supply chains. As a leading shareholder and donor to the Multilateral Development Banks, we have been working them to ensure that they are providing much needed working capital to the small businesses and supply chains that workers and farmers depend on in developing countries. We are exploring how DFID’s private sector development finance programmes can respond and complement this support. For example, CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, continues to invest in businesses across Africa and South Asia to support jobs. The UK also currently supports social protection programmes to assist the most vulnerable in more than 25 countries. In response to COVID-19 we are providing expert advice to governments and international partners to assess how and where social protection could be best used to support an efficient, coordinated response.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the capacity of the healthcare system in Yemen to (a) help prevent and (b) respond to the spread of covid-19 in that country.

Following the confirmation that Covid-19 is now present in Yemen, we are extremely concerned by the capacity of the healthcare system in Yemen to prevent and respond to a severe outbreak of COVID-19. Only half of Yemen’s health facilities are currently functioning and almost 20 million people lack access to basic healthcare.

In response to concerns about the healthcare system’s capacity, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are providing vital equipment across the country, including testing supplies, personal protective equipment and ventilators. Last year, the UK provided £240 million in response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, with over £42 million supporting the UNICEF. We also recently announced an extra £10 million to the WHO globally, to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in developing countries and we will consider providing additional COVID-19 support to Yemen should further funding be required.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with the IMF on supporting developing countries experiencing the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is working closely with HM Treasury to ensure that the IMF continues to play its critical role at the centre of the global financial safety net, including supporting the poorest and most vulnerable countries to respond to the economic costs of the COVID19 pandemic.

The UK has been pressing for improvements to the IMF’s existing toolkit, such as increasing the access limits on the IMF’s emergency financing instruments, which was agreed by the IMF Board on 7 April. The details of this can be found here: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/Policy-Papers/Issues/2020/04/09/Enhancing-the-Emergency-Financing-Toolkit-Responding-To-The-COVID-19-Pandemic-49320?cid=em-COM-123-41385

DFID is providing up to £150 million as the UK contribution to the IMF Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, to support the poorest developing countries with debt relief to support public finances during this crisis. The IMF recently announced the first tranche of support through this Trust will be disbursed to 25 countries. We will continue to engage with the IMF to ensure that it can effectively support vulnerable countries during this unprecedented global health and economic crisis, and has adequate resources to meet the needs of developing countries. The Chancellor has announced an additional GBP 2.2 billion of UK loan resources for the IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, which provides concessional lending to developing countries.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) employment, (b) wages, and (c) farmer income in the global south.

DFID is working together with international organisations and other partners to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economies of developing countries, including on the most vulnerable workers, including farmers. We are drawing on modelling by the International Labour Organisation and our knowledge of prior crises.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the (a) availability and (b) adequacy of (i) medical and (ii) sanitation supplies required in response to an outbreak of covid-19 in Gaza.

The UK is providing vital support to help respond to COVID-19 in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Our $1 million funding contribution will enable the World Health Organisation 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.

The UN assesses that although the current number of detected cases remains relatively low, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an expected increase in COVID-19 cases is poor. The situation is particularly severe in Gaza, where the health system has shortages in specialised staff, drugs and equipment. We continue to monitor the situation and are working closely with the UN and the international community to ensure a co-ordinated response.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the covid-19 pandemic, what discussions he is having with his G20 counterparts on agreeing a global deal for (a) affordable health care for people affected by covid-19, (b) collaborating on a vaccination for that disease and (c) ensuring that jobs are protected.

The UK is engaging with the World Health Organisation and other international partners, including G20 counterparts, to contain COVID-19 and mitigate secondary health and socio-economic impacts.

We have committed up to £744 million of UK aid to combat COVID-19 and to reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine. This includes helping developing countries manage the crisis by supporting the operations of the UN, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as well as the provision of expert advice; supporting the International Monetary Fund to relieve debt servicing pressures on countries struggling with the virus; and supporting international scientific efforts to develop diagnosis tests and vaccines.

G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors recently collectively committed to do whatever is needed to restore confidence and economic growth and to protect jobs, businesses, and the resilience of the financial system.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help strengthen the capacity of the health care system in Yemen to respond to the spread of covid-19 in that country.

The UK has been supporting the health system in Yemen during the five-year conflict and has funded over 4.7 million medical consultations and 2.6 million vaccines since 2017. Last year, the UK provided £240 million in response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, with over £42 million supporting United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

We continue to engage closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF who are providing vital equipment across the country, including testing supplies, personal protective equipment and ventilators. The UK also recently announced an extra £10 million to the WHO globally, to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in developing countries and we will consider additional COVID-19 support to Yemen should further funding be required.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 pandemic on levels of health in Palestinian refugee camps (a) in Lebanon and (b) throughout the Middle East.

The UK recognises the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) unique mandate to provide protection and core services to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon Jordan and Syria. In 2019/20 the UK has committed £65.5 million to UNRWA, matching our 2018 contribution. Overcrowded living conditions, physical and mental stress and years of protracted conflict make the population of over 5.6 million Palestine refugees across the Middle East particularly vulnerable. UNRWA is supporting the delivery of national pandemic response plans and has put in place a range of measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to treat patients with symptoms, working in cooperation with WHO and other partners.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the capacity of the Palestinian health sector to respond to the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is providing vital support to help respond to COVID-19 in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Our $1 million funding contribution will enable the World Health Organisation 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.

The UN assesses that although the current number of detected cases remains relatively low, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an expected increase in COVID-19 cases is poor. The situation is particularly severe in Gaza, where the health system has shortages in specialised staff, drugs and equipment. We continue to monitor the situation and are working closely with the UN and the international community to ensure a co-ordinated response

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department plans to respond to the UN Relief and Works Agency’s flash appeal for an emergency response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK is a long-term supporter of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), committing £65.5 million in 2019/20. Our funding contributes to UNRWA’s provision of health services for more than 3 million Palestinian refugees across the region. These services will play a key role in helping contain and address the spread of COVID-19. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are working closely with UNRWA and the international community to ensure a co-ordinated response to COVID-19.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2020 to Question 6789 on Developing Countries: Nutrition, what the timescale is for his Department's adoption of the OECD policy marker for nutrition into its reporting systems.

DFID is already taking steps to report using the nutrition policy marker. This includes ensuring there is guidance on how it should be used and to ensure it is applied consistently. DFID will start to report on the nutrition policy marker through the OECD DAC Creditor Reporting System for 2020 aid spending onwards.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2020 to Question 6788 on Developing Countries: Nutrition, what steps his Department is taking to maximise the impact of its investments in (a) agriculture, (b) social protection and (c) climate adaptation on people’s health and nutrition.

DFID invests in regular reviews and evaluations of its programmes and we use this information – as well as evidence generated by others – to inform the design and evolution of our investments.

This approach is being used to ensure new programmes in areas such as agriculture, social protection and climate adaptation have a positive impact on nutrition and health.

We are also continuing to invest in research – particularly in relation to agriculture and food production – to build evidence on the most effective approaches.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether it is his Department's policy to make a financial commitment at the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth 2020 summit.

DFID officials are working closely with the Government of Japan to prepare for the 2020 Nutrition for Growth Summit. This will be an important opportunity to secure new commitments to nutrition, to set the world on a better track to achieve the Global Goals and to help achieve our ambition of ending preventable deaths by 2030.

We are in the process of identifying the most appropriate and impactful commitment the UK Government can make as part of the 2020 Summit.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people at risk of (a) malnutrition and (b) food scarcity as a result of climate change.

Climate change is expected to increase the risk of malnutrition and hunger by increasing the frequency of extreme weather events and disease outbreaks. It will also reduce the quality, quantity and affordability of nutritious diets.

Countries that do not plan effectively for climate adaption are likely to see a reversal of previous improvements in nutrition and food security. Climate modelling has estimated that 2°C warming will result in there being an additional 540 to 590 million undernourished people by 2050. By 2050 there will also be an estimated 10 million more children who will be undernourished as a result of climate change.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking with his international counterparts to help enforce of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

DFID supports implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes in the countries where we work. Evidence shows that inappropriate marketing of breast milk substitutes undermines breastfeeding and that infants in developing countries who are not breastfed are more likely to get sick and to die.

We are concerned that manufacturers of breast milk substitutes continue to contravene the Code. Our position is not to partner with those companies that are uncompliant with the Code.

We provide technical assistance to partner governments to develop and strengthen their own national nutrition policies. Breastfeeding support and promotion are also components of our health and nutrition programmes in countries such as Bangladesh and Nigeria.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to incorporate the OECD policy marker for nutrition into his Department’s reporting systems.

The UK worked with other Governments to support the adoption of the nutrition policy marker by the OECD. We also led efforts to develop guidance on how it should be applied. The new policy marker will significantly improve our ability to track aid spending on nutrition. We are taking steps to ensure we use this policy marker to best effect in our reporting systems.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to include nutrition objectives in his Department’s investments in (a) health, (b) social protection, (c) agriculture and (d) climate change adaptation.

The UK is committed to addressing malnutrition as part of our pledge to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030.

High-impact nutrition services are an essential part of health services and coverage. We are integrating nutrition into our health programmes in countries such as the DRC and Somalia and will continue with this approach.

People also need to have access nutritious and sustainable diets. We are supporting the roll out of climate-resilient crops and helping to ensure nutritious foods – including fruits and vegetables – are more affordable. We will continue to look for ways to maximise the impact of our investments in areas such as agriculture, social protection and climate adaptation on people’s health and nutrition.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with stakeholders on her obligations under the Trade Act 2021 to undertake health assessments of trade deals; who will carry out those assessments; and when the health assessment for the UK-Australia free trade deal will be carried out.

There are no obligations under the Trade Act 2021 to carry out health assessments of our trade agreements. However, under section 42 of the Agriculture Act 2020, my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade must prepare a report explaining whether, or to what extent, measures in a free trade agreement (FTA) applicable to trade in agricultural products are consistent with the maintenance of UK levels of statutory protection in relation to:

(a) human, animal or plant life or health,

(b) animal welfare, and

(c) the environment.

This report must be laid before Part 2 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 - which must precede ratification of the FTA - can commence.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Department is taking steps to reduce disparities in car insurance costs between residents of the UK who were born in the UK and those who were born outside the UK.

Motor insurers are responsible for setting the price of motor insurance premiums based on their underwriting experience, and it is for them to decide the level of risk that they take in issuing any policy to a given applicant.

They use a range of criteria to assess the potential risk a driver poses. This includes the applicant’s age, postcode, the type of vehicle and their driving record and experience. It might also include other risk factors such as whether the driver was born in the UK or abroad.

This is a commercial decision for individual insurers and the Government does not intervene or seek to control the market. There are no plans to change this approach.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of proposed improvements to rail connectivity between Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham on rail freight.

Midlands Connect produced an SOBC for this scheme in May 2021, which refers to potential uses that this proposal could have for rail freight.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.

We remain committed to publishing the RNEP update, which has been delayed by the need to take account of the impacts of the pandemic and the Spending Review. We want to provide as much clarity and certainty as possible on rail enhancements and will set out our plans shortly.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to help reduce journey times by rail between Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham.

The Government has committed to the largest ever single investment in Britain’s railways with the £96bn Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands. We will construct a new high speed line from the West Midlands to the East Midlands which will directly serve Nottingham and Derby and allow interchange at East Midlands Parkway.

In addition, we will complete electrification of the Midland Main Line, including Leicester whilst progressing options for Midlands Rail Hub, focusing on improving links across the Midlands, including Hereford, Worcester and Coventry.

We remain committed to publishing the RNEP update, which has been delayed by the need to take account of the impacts of the pandemic and the Spending Review. We want to provide as much clarity and certainty as possible on rail enhancements and will set out our plans shortly.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of reinstating direct services on the Coventry-Leicester-Nottingham rail corridor on the number of passengers travelling by train along that corridor.

Although unable to discuss individual projects at this time the Government is now focusing our investment on rail infrastructure in the Midlands and the North. This will help deliver on the Government’s ambition to grow and level up the economy and provide equality of opportunity.

We remain committed to publishing the RNEP update, which has been delayed by the need to take account of the impacts of the pandemic and the Spending Review. We want to provide as much clarity and certainty as possible on rail enhancements and will set out our plans shortly.

16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether rail operators plan to extend railcards due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department recognises that Railcard holders have been unable to use their cards while travel restrictions were in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are considering a range of options for all Railcard holders, and continue to work closely with the Rail Delivery Group and the wider industry to consider how best to support passengers in light of the COVID-19 related travel restrictions and returning to the railway

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to extend driving licence validity for people who need to submit paper applications due to not holding a UK passport, during the covid-19 pandemic while the DVLA are unable to process paper applications for people who are not essential workers.

The administrative validity period of all photocard driving licences expiring between 1 February and 31 August 2020 has been extended by seven months from the date of expiry. Drivers do not need to take any action as this extension is granted automatically.

Drivers who need to renew their entitlement to drive and cannot use the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s online service should submit a paper application in the normal way. However, these will take longer to process in the current circumstances.

The Department is urgently exploring further ways of mitigating difficulties people are facing if they cannot transact online.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government has taken to encourage employers to support women in the workplace that are experiencing menopause by (a) training staff to provide support, (b) raising awareness and (c) providing transition-related advice.

The Government is committed to supporting working women at all stages of their lives and enabling them to reach their potential.

We have worked with businesses and academics to highlight the role employers can play in supporting women going through menopause transition, including setting out practical actions employers can take. This work also sits alongside other policies and programmes, such as flexible working, which can help everyone remain economically active as long as they choose to.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of Storm Ciara on public transport in (a) Nottingham and (b) the UK.

Storm Ciara impacted all modes of transport, both in Nottingham and across the UK, and I extend my sympathies to all those affected. Operators and highway authorities implemented contingency arrangements and resumed services as quickly and safely as possible, whilst keeping the travelling public informed.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Defence
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2020 to Question 9106, on Transport: Midlands, what comparative assessment he has made of the level of funding allocated from the public purse to transport programmes in the (a) East Midlands and (b) West Midlands.

All transport schemes are assessed on the merits of their case. We are taking steps to improve transport infrastructure where needed, to level-up the country, including across the Midlands, such as developing the Midlands Rail Hub. Our most recent public analysis shows that over the period 18/19 to 20/21 we will have spent an average of £264 per head in the East Midlands each year and £255 in the West Midlands.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the work to electrify the Midland Mainline will commence.

Electrification works between Bedford and Kettering, as part of the Midland Main Line enhancement programme, are underway. Electric services on this route are planned to commence from December 2020.

The Midland Main Line enhancements programme will support better journeys from 2020, including faster journeys in the peak and more seats, with further improvements from 2022 with a fleet of brand new bi-mode trains.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on removal of asbestos of introducing a central register of asbestos cases covering its (a) location and (b) condition.

The Government is not opposed to any steps which support or improve a safety regime and enable risk to be managed effectively.

In Great Britain, the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 already require dutyholders to share information about any asbestos containing materials (ACMs) present with those carrying out work or occupying the building. Dutyholders are required to either survey premises constructed before asbestos was banned or assume it is present and manage their building stock accordingly. Most dutyholders decide to survey and arrange a register and plan of every room or area detailing the presence and type of any ACMs and their condition and quantity.

A new central register would need to be considered carefully because it would require significant additional resource from dutyholders and government, which would duplicate the existing information already provided with no clear indication that control of any risk of exposure to asbestos in buildings would be improved.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to support (a) visually impaired children and (b) their families with the cost of living.

The Government understands the pressures people, including families with a disabled child or children, are facing with the cost of living. Children with a visual impairment may be entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which is a contribution towards the extra costs associated with being disabled. Recipients are free to choose how they spend DLA, and there is no requirement for them to use it for any particular purpose. Entitlement to DLA depends on the effects that a disability or health condition has on a child’s life and not on a particular disability or diagnosis.

DLA can passport families to a range of additional support including:

o Child disability additions paid within income related benefits;

o Carer’s Allowance for an informal carer;

o The Motability vehicle scheme; and

o The Blue Badge scheme.

DLA also exempts the eligible household from the Benefit Cap.

In April, we are uprating benefit rates and State Pensions by 10.1%. In order to increase the number of households who can benefit from these uprating decisions, the benefit cap levels are also increasing by the same amount.

In addition, for 2023/24, households on eligible means-tested benefits will get up to £900 in Cost of Living Payments. This will be split into three payments across the 2023/24 financial year, with the first payment of £301 being made between 25 April and 17 May. A separate £150 payment will be made to individuals in receipt of eligible disability benefits, including DLA, in the summer. Further to this, the Energy Price Guarantee will be extended from April 2023 until the end of March 2024, meaning a typical household bill will be around £3,000 per year in Great Britain.

The Household Support Fund will continue until March 2024. This year long extension allows local authorities in England to continue to provide discretionary support to those most in need with the significantly rising cost of living. The guidance for local authorities for this next iteration has now been published and can be found here: 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024: Household Support Fund guidance for county councils and unitary authorities in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). The devolved administrations will receive consequential funding as usual to spend at their discretion.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will take steps to ensure that, when setting the qualifying dates for 2023/24 cost of living payments, Universal Credit claimants who are paid four-weekly and who are therefore not eligible for the Spring 2023 payment will be able to receive the Autumn 2023 and Spring 2024 payments.

Last year we successfully delivered tens of millions of Cost of Living Payments by keeping the policy simple. Whatever eligibility dates are selected there will be always be some individuals who are ineligible in the qualifying period – whether that is due for example to their earnings, capital or other income, or for a combination of reasons. However, we are delivering the Cost of Living Payment in three separate payments over 2023/24 to reduce the chance of someone missing out altogether.

For those who require additional support, we are extending the Household Support Fund throughout the next financial year. This will allow local authorities in England to help households with the cost of essentials including those in need who may not be eligible for the other support we have recently made available. The devolved administrations will receive consequential funding as usual to spend at their discretion.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether people in receipt of child tax credit who are requested to migrate to Universal Credit but are ineligible to make such a claim are able to receive the transitional protections afforded to Universal Credit claimants.

All claimants will be assessed for eligibility to UC and for Transitional Protection if they make a claim. This includes those in receipt of child tax credit.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will take steps to provide cost of living support to those in receipt of the new State Pension and ineligible for Pension Credit, including its associated cost of living support measures.

The Government understands the pressures people including pensioners are facing with the cost of living and has taken further decisive action to support people with their energy bills. The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, running from October 2022-March 2023, will save a typical British household around £900 this winter, based on what the energy price would have been under the current price cap – reducing bills by roughly a third. This is in addition to over £37bn of cost of living support announced in 2022.

To ensure stability and certainty for households, the Government is providing a further £26bn in cost of living support for 2023/24.

The Government recognises the rising costs felt by all pensioners and therefore nearly 12 million pensioners will benefit from a 10.1% increase to their State Pension payments from April 2023, under the Triple Lock.

Pensioner households have received a £300 Cost of Living payment in 2022/23. In winter 2023/24, more than eight million pensioner households will receive a further £300 payment


Pensioners can also benefit from the discretionary Household Support Fund for which the government has provided total funding of £2.5 billion.

This is a substantial package of support which recognises the current additional costs faced by pensioners.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps they are taking to ensure the benefits system does not penalise the entitlements of veterans also claiming a Military Pension or War Disability Pension.

There are a number of different types of pensions that veterans may be able to receive depending on their personal circumstances (their age, their health and when they left the services etc). How these are treated in the benefit system will depend on the type of pension being paid and the DWP benefit they are in receipt of. DWP is committed to the Armed Forces Covenant which ensures that veterans are not subject to any disadvantage as a result of their service.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will uprate benefits in April 2023 in line with inflation.

The Secretary of State has a statutory annual obligation to review state pensions and benefits. Her review will commence following the publication of the relevant indices by the Office for National Statistics and her decisions will be announced to Parliament shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
6th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to extend the £650 cost of living payment to pensioners who are in receipt of the state pension but are not eligible to claim pension credit.

The government is committing an extra £37 billion to support the most vulnerable this year. The £650 Cost of Living Payment is deliberately targeted at low-income households in receipt of a means tested qualifying benefit. For people above State Pension age, this is those in receipt of Pension Credit.

With the full package of support, most pensioner households will receive £850 (via the additional Winter Fuel Payment, Council Tax Rebate & Energy Bills Support Scheme) on top of arising state Pension, which has never been higher. Pensioners receiving means-tested benefits who are in most need of support will receive £1,500, including payments in July and the autumn totalling £650.

If someone in receipt of a contributory State Pension, additionally makes a successful claim for Pension Credit, they may qualify for one or both instalments of the Cost of Living Payment. This is because claims for Pension Credit can be backdated for a maximum of 3 months, provided the entitlement conditions are met throughout the 3 months.

In addition, all pensioner households will receive an extra £300 to help them cover the rising cost of energy this winter.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the part-payment of winter fuel payment being available to those who have narrowly missed the age cut-off.

There are no plans to change the legislation relating to the qualifying week as this would add unnecessary cost and complexity.

We will continue to pay £200 to those households with someone of state pension age and under 80 and £300 to those households with someone aged 80 or over.

Other help with energy costs is available to those eligible through the warm home discount scheme and cold weather payments. Further details can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme

https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to ensure that people with special dietary requirements are able to access appropriate emergency food support from their local authority.

Local Authorities in England have powers to run Local Welfare Assistance Schemes at their discretion, which may include emergency support. It is for Local Authorities to assess need in their area and to determine the design of any such scheme, including eligibility, access and nature of provision, giving due consideration to their duties under the Equality Act and other relevant legislation. No assessment has been made by DWP of the suitability of local authority-run emergency food support schemes for people with special dietary requirements.

Since 1 December 2020, DWP has allocated funding to upper tier Local Authorities in England, through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme and the Covid Local Support Grant, to provide additional support to families and individuals who may be struggling with the cost of food and essential utility bills due to the pandemic. We have now extended this temporary scheme for a final time with an additional £160 million in funding between 21 June and 30 September, taking total funding under the scheme to £429 million. This brings the end date for this scheme past the lifting of restrictions, supporting families who might need additional help to get back on their feet as the vaccine rollout continues and our economy recovers. This scheme recognises that Local Authorities are best placed to understand needs in their area.

This year, we are also investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children will benefit from a range of support, including a healthy and nutritious meal that takes into account dietary needs as well as fun and engaging activities and it is for the Local Authority who delivers the programme in their area to give due consideration to their duties under the Equality Act and other relevant legislation.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the suitability of local authority-run emergency food support schemes for people with special dietary requirements.

Local Authorities in England have powers to run Local Welfare Assistance Schemes at their discretion, which may include emergency support. It is for Local Authorities to assess need in their area and to determine the design of any such scheme, including eligibility, access and nature of provision, giving due consideration to their duties under the Equality Act and other relevant legislation. No assessment has been made by DWP of the suitability of local authority-run emergency food support schemes for people with special dietary requirements.

Since 1 December 2020, DWP has allocated funding to upper tier Local Authorities in England, through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme and the Covid Local Support Grant, to provide additional support to families and individuals who may be struggling with the cost of food and essential utility bills due to the pandemic. We have now extended this temporary scheme for a final time with an additional £160 million in funding between 21 June and 30 September, taking total funding under the scheme to £429 million. This brings the end date for this scheme past the lifting of restrictions, supporting families who might need additional help to get back on their feet as the vaccine rollout continues and our economy recovers. This scheme recognises that Local Authorities are best placed to understand needs in their area.

This year, we are also investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children will benefit from a range of support, including a healthy and nutritious meal that takes into account dietary needs as well as fun and engaging activities and it is for the Local Authority who delivers the programme in their area to give due consideration to their duties under the Equality Act and other relevant legislation.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of (a) the potential merits of excluding mandatory travel to work expenditure from income for universal credit purposes and (b) the effect of the inclusion of that expenditure as income for universal credit purposes on the ability of claimants to seek further employment.

No such assessment has been done.

Universal Credit provides support for everyday living expenses. Any earnings an employee receives would normally be expected to cover the costs of travel to and from work, irrespective of whether or not the employee was also claiming Universal Credit.

To keep Universal Credit as simple as possible, the definition of earnings aligns very closely to the rules in tax legislation (Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA)), so that rules across tax and benefits are aligned where possible. Any allowable expenses which are wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred as part of the duties of employment are not counted as employed earnings and would be excluded from the calculation of a Universal Credit Award. Travel from home to a permanent workplace is not an allowable expense for tax purposes.

The Flexible Support Fund is a discretionary fund and can be used by staff to remove barriers when a claimant is starting work for example it can cover the first 3 months travel costs. Where there are difficulties with public transport work coaches can consider funding for pedal cycles and e bikes to allow people to get to their place of employment. Discussion s should be held with their work coach in the first instance around this type of support.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of mandating a specific workplace risk assessment for clinically extremely vulnerable employees.

Employers’ health and safety responsibilities include taking reasonable steps to protect all workers and others from the risk of transmission of coronavirus in connection with their work activities. The Covid-19 Risk Assessment identifies the control measures employers have identified that they need to take to manage the risk of transmission of coronavirus in the workplace.

As these control measures are comprehensive and apply to all workers, additional control measures for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) workers are not required.

However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises employers to have individual discussions with their CEV employees in order to understand and resolve any workplace concerns. There is specific guidance on the HSE website to help employers protect people who are at higher risk: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/protect-people.htm Anyone who does not feel that adequate protections are in place can contact HSE either online using their working safely enquiry form or by telephone: 0300 790 6787 lines are open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people who are clinically extremely vulnerable have registered for statutory sick pay since July 2020 because their workplace was not covid-secure.

Employees do not need to register for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Employers are legally required to pay SSP to eligible employees who are sick or incapable of work, where their employee meets the eligibility criteria. The government does not collect, or require the reporting of, any data on sickness absences from employers and so does not hold data on the number of clinically extremely vulnerable individuals receiving SSP.

In England, shielding was paused nationally from 1 August 2020 to 5 November 2020. During this period, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals were not eligible for SSP on the basis of being clinically extremely vulnerable as they were not advised to shield and were able to go to work if they could not work from home. Clinically extremely vulnerable employees can be furloughed if their employer is eligible to do so.

All employers are required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. If an individual has concerns about their health and safety at work, they can raise them with any union safety representatives, or ultimately with the organisation responsible for enforcement in their workplace, either the Health and Safety Executive or their local authority.

SSP is available to clinically extremely vulnerable individuals who have been advised to stay at home (known as shielding) and are unable to work as a result. Individuals will receive a notification, advising them on the shielding advice to follow and how long for. This notification may be in the form of a letter from their doctor or from the government.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has received on workplaces not being covid-secure since August 2020; and how long it took HSE to respond to each of those complaints.

Between 1 August 2020 and 26 November 2020 HSE received a total of 7487 COVID concerns. As of 26 November, 5139 had been completed. 3998 of those resolved were dealt with by our Concerns and Advice Team, taking on average 3.35 days. The remaining 1141 completed cases were investigated by regulatory inspectors and visiting officers, taking an average of 21.8 days to be closed out, meaning that all actions relating to the intervention had been completed. It is standard practice for the notifier to be contacted by HSE during the early stages of the investigation and again at its conclusion. HSE isn’t able to provide details of the average period of time before initial contact is made because this data is not collected.

Notes:

(i) Investigations by inspectors and visiting officers are ‘closed out’ once all actions relating to the intervention are complete. This happens when HSE has evaluated the dutyholder’s covid-secure control measures, taken any necessary enforcement action or provided advice, confirmed that sufficient action has been taken by the dutyholder to address any shortfalls and associated records completed on HSE’s live operational database.

(ii) Figures were extracted from HSE’s live operational database and provide the picture on the date of extraction (26 November 2020) and are subject to change.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating additional funding to support to patients experiencing prolonged covid-19 symptoms.

The Government has been clear with its commitment to support those affected in these difficult times and we have made a number of changes to the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. These changes include:

  • making it easier to access benefits. Those applying for Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who may have coronavirus, are self-isolating, or caring for a child (or qualifying young person) who falls into either of those categories, or individuals who have been advised to ’shield’ because they are at high risk of severe illness, will be entitled from day 1 of their claim – as opposed to day 8 - and we have removed the need for face-to-face assessments. Both Universal Credit (UC) and ESA can now be claimed online or by phone;
  • increasing the standard allowance of UC by up to £1,040 this year;
  • temporarily relaxing the application of the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed claimants affected by COVID-19 to ensure that the self-employed can access UC at a more generous rate;
  • making Statutory Sick Pay available from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 - where an eligible individual is sick or self-isolating; and
  • increasing the Local Housing Allowance rates for UC and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the lowest 30% of local market rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

These steps form part of a wider package of measures which represent an investment of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system following the outbreak of COVID-19. These measures, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support by an advanced economy.

We know that circumstances can change rapidly, and that was particularly true at the beginning of the outbreak of COVID-19, which is why the Government will continue to keep the adequacy of its welfare response under review.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of an additional fuel payment to pensioners following Government advice for them to stay at home.

There are no plans to extend the winter fuel allowance scheme.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has, however, published a series of measures designed to help those affected by the coronavirus outbreak with the cost of their energy bills.

Further information on the measures is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to improve the benefits claim process by (a) sharing assessment data between benefits and (b) making the criteria for claiming different benefits consistent.

DWP are developing a single, integrated service which will simplify the assessment process for millions of people claiming health related benefits. This includes, with individuals’ consent, better information sharing and re-using relevant information already held within DWP. Also by gathering better evidence earlier in the claim to enable a decision to be made without meeting face-to-face, will help reduce the number of face-to-face assessments.

The criteria, entitlement and purpose of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are different as the benefits are paid for different reasons. ESA is an income replacement benefit for working age people, with entitlement based on an assessment of the functional impact of a claimant’s health condition or disability on their capability for work. PIP looks at the needs arising from a claimant’s health condition or disability and is intended to act as a contribution towards meeting extra costs associated with a long-term health condition or disability.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment, whether her Department plans to make exempt people with long-term health problems from assessments to include people assessed before 2017.

Since 29 September 2017, those placed in ESA’s Support Group and the UC equivalent who have the most severe and lifelong health conditions or disabilities, whose level of function would always mean that they would have Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity, and be unlikely ever to be able to move into work, will no longer be routinely reassessed.

These criteria are applied at either the initial Work Capability Assessment or for existing claimants at their next assessment. We need to ensure that we have the right and most up to date information to apply the criteria fairly and make sure we identify everyone who should benefit from it. The people who best understand how their health problem or disability affects them are the individuals themselves, and so it is only right that we ask them for their information. However, we will do this in the least intrusive way possible – the vast majority of people who will fall into this category, will be assessed on paper and will not need to attend a face-to-face assessment.

12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to improve access to Riluzole for patients with motor neurone disease.

We are aware that one of the suppliers of riluzole 50 milligram tablets is experiencing a supply issue. However, alternative suppliers have stock available. We are working closely with all the manufacturers and others operating in the supply chain to help ensure supplies remain available for patients in the United Kingdom.

We have well-established processes for managing and mitigating medicine supply issues, which involve working with the pharmaceutical industry, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, NHS England, the devolved governments, and others operating in the supply chain to help ensure patients have access to the treatments they need.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the provision of Riluzole for patients with motor neurone disease.

We are aware that one of the suppliers of riluzole 50 milligram tablets is experiencing a supply issue. However, alternative suppliers have stock available. We are working closely with all the manufacturers and others operating in the supply chain to help ensure supplies remain available for patients in the United Kingdom.

We have well-established processes for managing and mitigating medicine supply issues, which involve working with the pharmaceutical industry, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, NHS England, the devolved governments, and others operating in the supply chain to help ensure patients have access to the treatments they need.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring local authorities to use the same model for the commissioning of social care services.

Under the Care Act, local authorities are tasked with the duty to shape their care market to ensure a diverse range of high-quality person-centred care and ensure that support services are provided to meet the needs of the local population. We recognise that this is challenging, and the Government intends to develop a set of national commissioning standards, to set clear expectations of what good commissioning looks like and to drive greater consistency across the country. We are also investing in a new training offer for senior commissioners, to enhance strategic leadership capability and ensure they have the skills they need to shape their markets well.

We recently published the Market Sustainability Insights Report, which summaries some of the approaches local authorities in England are taking to building sustainable and innovative care markets. It is designed to be a supportive tool for local authority commissioners and it is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-market-sustainability-plans-insights-report

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of processes for social care users to (a) acquire the care they need and (b) file complaints.

The Government has made up to £8.1 billion available over this year and next to strengthen adult social care provision with the aim of ensuring everyone can access high quality care that enables choice, control and independence.

Local Authorities are responsible for the delivery of social care. Local authorities must assess individuals’ care and support needs and, where the person is eligible, meet those needs. Where individuals do not meet the eligibility threshold, they can get support from their local authorities in making their own arrangements for care services, as set out in the Care Act 2014.

By law, all health and social care services must have a procedure for dealing efficiently with complaints, and anyone who has seen or experienced poor-quality care has the right to complain to the organisation that provided or paid for the care.

If an individual is not satisfied with the way a provider or local authority has dealt with a complaint, they may escalate it to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman who can investigate individual concerns.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of masking on adult (a) autism and (b) ADHD assessments.

No such assessment has been made. We expect integrated care boards (ICBs) and National Health Service trusts to have due regard to relevant National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism when commissioning and providing services for people, including assessments. It is the responsibility of ICBs to make available appropriate provision to meet the health and care needs of their local population, in line with these NICE guidelines.

In April 2023, NHS England published a national framework and operational guidance for autism assessment services. This framework aims to help the NHS improve the quality of their autism assessment services and improve the experience for people who are referred to an autism assessment service. It also includes operational guidance, intended to guide strategic decision making about the range of autism assessment services that should be provided in each area. It makes clear that clinicians should offer a comprehensive assessment that includes considerations of different factors that may be relevant for confirming a diagnosis of autism.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to introduce a system to help people locate local dental surgeries accepting new NHS patients.

From 25 November 2022 it became a contractual responsibility for NHS dental practices to ensure their NHS.UK profile is kept up to date so that patients can find a dentist more easily. Practices are required to update their information at least once every 90 days, including information on whether they are accepting new patients.

15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve support for people who care for individuals with motor neurone disease.

Local authorities are required under the Care Act 2014 to undertake a Carer’s Assessment for any unpaid carer who appears to have a need for support and to meet their eligible needs on request from the carer.

Funding for respite and short breaks for unpaid carers has been included in the National Health Service contribution to the Better Care Fund (BCF) since 2015. In 2022/23, £291.7 million of BCF funding has been earmarked to provide short breaks and respite services for carers, as well as advice and support to unpaid carers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of allowing 100-hour pharmacies increased flexibility in their opening hours.

There is currently no legal mechanism for NHS England to agree a reduction to the contractual commitment for the contractors that entered the market under the previous exemption from the market entry rules on the condition that they open for 100 hours a week. A range of evidence of pressures on community pharmacies, including 100-hour pharmacies, has been presented by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC). We continue to consult the PSNC on what proportionate action we can take balancing the need for patient access to pharmaceutical services and the ability of businesses to provide those services.

21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure more pharmacists are (a) trained and (b) recruited.

Health is a devolved matter and Health Education England is the national leadership organisation for education, training and workforce development in the health sector in England.

The number of pharmacy training places annually is uncapped. In England, each year around 2,500 pharmacists enter training and the net increase in pharmacists practicing has increased by around 1,400 per year since 2016.

Health Education England is implementing reforms to the initial education and training of pharmacists and developing cross-sector clinical placements to enable pharmacists to play a greater clinical role across the health system. The Department has also added pharmacy students to the list of professionals eligible for the Education and Training tariff to fund clinical placements from 1 September 2022.

17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of Tier 2 visa rules on NHS staff (a) recruitment and (b) retention.

No assessment has been made.

11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer can access high-quality mental health and wellbeing support.

NHS England have asked Cancer Alliances to map out and identify any gaps in psychosocial support provision as part of the 2022/23 planning guidance and are supporting adults experiencing cancer with access to Adult Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme mental health services, which provide evidence based psychological therapies for people with anxiety disorders and depression.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve early diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

One of the core ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan is to diagnose 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2 by 2028, which would be an increase from the current rate of around 55%.

The National Health Service is implementing non-specific symptom (NSS) pathways for patients who do not fit clearly into a single ‘urgent cancer’ referral pathway but who are at risk of being diagnosed with cancer. 99 NSS pathways are currently operational across England, with more in development.

NHS England is running the ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaigns, which seek to address the barriers that are deterring patients from accessing the NHS. A campaign on abdominal and urological symptoms launched on 31 October 2022 and ran through to December 2022, directly addressing symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of covid-19 on access to ovarian cancer treatment.

The ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’ sets out how the National Health Service will recover and expand elective services over the next three years, including cancer services. We have allocated more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25, in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund already made available in 2021/2022 to increase elective activity, including cancer services.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has a timetable for the introduction of legislative proposals to give care home residents a legal right to receive visitors.

The Government’s guidance states that every resident should be able to have at least one visitor in all circumstances. We are working to review a range of options to strengthen the guidance around visiting and avoid instances where residents are unable to receive visitors.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding the Government will make available for the implementation of the 10-year plan for dementia.

We are currently reviewing plans for dementia in England.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Nov 2022
NHS
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, by which date he intends to publish the NHS Long Term Plan refresh.

Following the autumn statement, the Department and NHS England will prepare detailed financial and delivery plans for future years, including in relation to the NHS Long Term Plan. Further information will be available in the new year.

9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment with local authorities of the potential barriers faced by carers in accessing the support to which they are entitled; and if he will take steps to help increase access to support for carers.

Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities are required to undertake an assessment for any unpaid carer who appears to have a need for support and to meet their eligible needs on request from the carer.

The Health and Care Act 2022 includes provisions for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to assess the performance of local authorities’ delivery of adult social care duties. The CQC is working with local government, the care sector and those with care and support needs to develop a framework for these assessments, including consideration of local authorities’ responsibilities to carers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment the Department has made of the potential impact on contractors of the merger of NHS England merger and NHS Digital.

NHS England, NHS Digital and Health Education England will be merged from 1 April 2023. The merger will be managed through statutory transfer orders which will be developed as part of the secondary legislation for all staff employed by NHS Digital and Health Education England transferring to NHS England. A programme to oversee the merger has been established. The organisational design work currently underway will determine the impact on the current workforce and also the future workforce needs of the new organisation. We expect that by the end of 2023/24 the new NHS England will be at least 30% and up to 40% smaller than the current combined size of NHS England, Health Education England and NHS Digital.

6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the merger of NHS England and NHS Digital on the current workforce of both bodies.

NHS England, NHS Digital and Health Education England will be merged from 1 April 2023. The merger will be managed through statutory transfer orders which will be developed as part of the secondary legislation for all staff employed by NHS Digital and Health Education England transferring to NHS England. A programme to oversee the merger has been established. The organisational design work currently underway will determine the impact on the current workforce and also the future workforce needs of the new organisation. We expect that by the end of 2023/24 the new NHS England will be at least 30% and up to 40% smaller than the current combined size of NHS England, Health Education England and NHS Digital.

8th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2022 to Question 23788 on radioligand therapy, what plans he has to meet the new National Speciality Adviser for Nuclear Medicine when they are appointed, to discuss funding arrangements for local radioligand therapy service expansion.

No specific plans have yet been confirmed.

8th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2022 to Question 23788 on radioligand therapy, what central funding will be made available for regional teams to expand services to meet the potential increase in NICE-approved radioligand therapies.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for St Albans (Daisy Cooper MP) on 19 July 2022 to Question 33934.

23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 20 June 2022 to Question 18021 on Radioligand Therapy, if he will hold discussions with NHS leaders on steps that will be taken to help ensure that patient access to radioligand therapy is not delayed in the event that the system's capacity is not ready following any future NICE recommendations.

No specific assessment has been made. Where treatments are approved via the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) technology appraisals, NHS England and NHS Improvement seek to ensure appropriate access for patients which reflects NICE’s recommendations within the license of the treatment. Regional teams receive advice and guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement’s specialised commissioning team.

While no specific discussions are planned, NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise the potential of NICE-approved radioligand therapies and are appointing a new National Specialty Advisor for Nuclear Medicine to ensure these opportunities are realised.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 20 June 2022 to Question 18021 on Radioligand Therapy, what assessment he has made of the ability of NHS regional teams to assess providers’ ability to deliver against required standards for radioligand therapy commissioning in the absence of agreed national standards.

No specific assessment has been made. Where treatments are approved via the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) technology appraisals, NHS England and NHS Improvement seek to ensure appropriate access for patients which reflects NICE’s recommendations within the license of the treatment. Regional teams receive advice and guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement’s specialised commissioning team.

While no specific discussions are planned, NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise the potential of NICE-approved radioligand therapies and are appointing a new National Specialty Advisor for Nuclear Medicine to ensure these opportunities are realised.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who will be responsible for implementing the recommendations of General Sir Gordon Messenger’s health and social care review entitled, Leadership for a collaborative and inclusive future, published in June 2022; what the timetable for implementation is; and what financial and other resources will be available for implementation.

An implementation plan will be developed through discussions with stakeholders in health and care, including a timetable for delivery. Appropriate governance and accountability arrangements will be established for a review implementation office, with a direct mandate from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. This will also include annual priorities and resourcing requirements, which will be met from existing budgets.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS England will produce clear national guidance for Trusts to develop services that provide radioligand therapy where currently there is no provision.

It is expected that all new therapeutic radioligand treatments for cancer will be appraised by National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), via its technology appraisal process. If approved, treatments are normally made available to patients from the date of NICE’s positive draft guidance. National Health Service regional teams would commission providers to deliver radioligand therapy based on an assessment of current access arrangements, current and future demand and whether the provider can meet the required standards.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prepare the health system for the forecasted increase in the eligible radioligand therapy patient population.

It is expected that all new therapeutic radioligand treatments for cancer will be appraised by National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), via its technology appraisal process. If approved, treatments are normally made available to patients from the date of NICE’s positive draft guidance. National Health Service regional teams would commission providers to deliver radioligand therapy based on an assessment of current access arrangements, current and future demand and whether the provider can meet the required standards.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 May to Question 86 on Prostate Cancer, what assessment his Department has made of the NHS’s readiness for using lutetium vipivotide tetraxetan in the treatment of prostate-specific membrane antigen positive metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body which makes recommendations for the National Health Service on the clinical and cost effectiveness of new medicines. NICE is currently appraising lutetium vipivotide tetraxetan for the treatment of prostate-specific membrane antigen-positive castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer. If recommended, it will be eligible for funding and available to National Health Service patients through the Cancer Drugs Fund on publication of NICE’s draft guidance. It expected to published in autumn 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will introduce new guidance on the duty in the Health and Care Act 2022 to commission palliative care services and for that guidance to specify an expectation that palliative care services should be available in every setting, on a 24/7 basis, by telephone and in person, through a single point of contact.

NHS England and NHS Improvement plan to introduce new statutory guidance to support integrated care boards (ICBs) in the duties under the Health and Care Act 2022, including the provision of palliative care. In addition to the statutory guidance, NHS England and NHS Improvement will work with stakeholders to consider how ICBs can be supported in the discharge of these duties. This includes determining any further additional technical guidance and tools required to support commissioners on the provision of palliative and end of life care services, according to the needs of the local population. All guidance developed will take account of appropriate best practice guidance, including the World Health Organization’s definition of palliative and end of life care and guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will introduce new guidance on the duty in the Health and Care Act 2022 to commission palliative care services and for that guidance to include reference to support the wishes of patients and their families.

NHS England and NHS Improvement plan to introduce new statutory guidance to support integrated care boards (ICBs) in the duties under the Health and Care Act 2022, including the provision of palliative care. In addition to the statutory guidance, NHS England and NHS Improvement will work with stakeholders to consider how ICBs can be supported in the discharge of these duties. This includes determining any further additional technical guidance and tools required to support commissioners on the provision of palliative and end of life care services, according to the needs of the local population. All guidance developed will take account of appropriate best practice guidance, including the World Health Organization’s definition of palliative and end of life care and guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will introduce new guidance on the duty in the Health and Care Act 2022 to commission palliative care services; and whether that guidance will be statutory.

NHS England and NHS Improvement plan to introduce new statutory guidance to support integrated care boards (ICBs) in the duties under the Health and Care Act 2022, including the provision of palliative care. In addition to the statutory guidance, NHS England and NHS Improvement will work with stakeholders to consider how ICBs can be supported in the discharge of these duties. This includes determining any further additional technical guidance and tools required to support commissioners on the provision of palliative and end of life care services, according to the needs of the local population. All guidance developed will take account of appropriate best practice guidance, including the World Health Organization’s definition of palliative and end of life care and guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance he plans to provide to Integrated Care Boards on the commissioning of palliative care in the context of the provision in the Health and Care Bill on that matter.

NHS England will be responsible for issuing statutory guidance to integrated care boards (ICBs) in relation to their commissioning functions. This includes the commissioning of palliative care, the definition of services and ensuring that ICBs fulfil their obligations in all their functions.   Guidance currently available to commissioners for the provision of palliative and end of life care includes the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance and quality standard, which was updated in September 2021.

The Bill does not provide a specific definition of the word ‘palliative’ and there are no plans to use the World Health Organization’s definition of ‘specialist palliative care’. The consistency of provision of health services in England will be achieved through NHS England’s oversight of ICBs fulfilling their commissioning obligations. In 2016, NHS England and NHS Improvement issued guidance to commissioners on specialist level palliative care for people with progressive, life-limiting illness and complex needs. The guidance will be kept under review and updated as required, to ensure it meets the needs of commissioners.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans take to ensure that Chairs of Integrated Care Boards fulfil the requirements of the provision in the Health and Care Bill on the commissioning of palliative care.

NHS England will be responsible for issuing statutory guidance to integrated care boards (ICBs) in relation to their commissioning functions. This includes the commissioning of palliative care, the definition of services and ensuring that ICBs fulfil their obligations in all their functions.   Guidance currently available to commissioners for the provision of palliative and end of life care includes the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance and quality standard, which was updated in September 2021.

The Bill does not provide a specific definition of the word ‘palliative’ and there are no plans to use the World Health Organization’s definition of ‘specialist palliative care’. The consistency of provision of health services in England will be achieved through NHS England’s oversight of ICBs fulfilling their commissioning obligations. In 2016, NHS England and NHS Improvement issued guidance to commissioners on specialist level palliative care for people with progressive, life-limiting illness and complex needs. The guidance will be kept under review and updated as required, to ensure it meets the needs of commissioners.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the provision in the Health and Care Bill on the commissioning of services or facilities for palliative care, if he will use the World Health Organisation definition of specialist palliative care services to ensure a consistent standard and provision of services across England.

NHS England will be responsible for issuing statutory guidance to integrated care boards (ICBs) in relation to their commissioning functions. This includes the commissioning of palliative care, the definition of services and ensuring that ICBs fulfil their obligations in all their functions.   Guidance currently available to commissioners for the provision of palliative and end of life care includes the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance and quality standard, which was updated in September 2021.

The Bill does not provide a specific definition of the word ‘palliative’ and there are no plans to use the World Health Organization’s definition of ‘specialist palliative care’. The consistency of provision of health services in England will be achieved through NHS England’s oversight of ICBs fulfilling their commissioning obligations. In 2016, NHS England and NHS Improvement issued guidance to commissioners on specialist level palliative care for people with progressive, life-limiting illness and complex needs. The guidance will be kept under review and updated as required, to ensure it meets the needs of commissioners.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) provide statutory guidance to Integrated Care Boards on the requirement to commission specialist palliative care and (b) publish a timeframe for that guidance being available.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for issuing statutory guidance to integrated care boards (ICBs) in relation to their commissioning functions. This includes in relation to the commissioning of palliative care, the definition of services and ensuring that ICBs fulfil their obligations in relation to all their functions.

There is currently a range of guidance available to commissioners regarding the provision of palliative and end of life care including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s evidence-based guidance and quality standard, which was updated in September 2021.

In 2016, NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance on specialist level palliative care for people with progressive, life-limiting illness who have complex needs. The guidance available will be kept under review and updated as required, to ensure it best meets the needs of commissioners.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of continuing to provide free covid-19 lateral flow tests for care home visitors.

The regular free asymptomatic testing regimes after 1 April 2022 are currently under review, including for visitors to care homes. Further details on future adult social care testing provision and any changes to guidance will be provided in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what engagement his Department has had with (a) survivors of domestic abuse, (b) the domestic abuse sector and (c) the wider violence against women and girls sector, since the publication of the Women’s Health Strategy.

The Call for Evidence, which informs the priorities, content and actions of the Women’s Health Strategy, for England ran for 14 weeks. Organisations and individuals were invited to contribute, including those supporting the victims of domestic abuse and those with lived experience. Since publication, we have continued to engage with representatives from the sector.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to level up inequalities in respiratory health across the north of England.

The NHS Long Term Plan includes respiratory disease as a national clinical priority. The Plan has a focus on interventions for respiratory disease, such as increasing the reach of pulmonary rehabilitation into less served communities through the National Respiratory Programme. NHS England and NHS Improvement have established 13 respiratory clinical networks to provide clinical leadership for respiratory services to reduce inequalities at local and regional level.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will meet with representatives from Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation Partnership to discuss their plans to deliver investment in respiratory research and development in the UK.

Departmental officials regularly engage with Asthma + Lung UK on a range of issues. My Rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care also met with representatives of Asthma + Lung UK at COP26 in November 2021.

The Department invests £1.3 billion a year in health research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR supports a range of research to improve outcomes in respiratory health. This includes funding for two dedicated NIHR Health Protection Research Units, specialising in respiratory infections and the health impacts of environmental exposures, such as air pollution.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to ensure that Government support for healthy eating focuses on a balanced diet rather than reduction of negative nutrients.

The United Kingdom’s healthy eating food model, the Eatwell Guide, shows the overall dietary pattern and the proportions of food and drink which contribute to a healthy, balanced diet.

The Eatwell Guide is promoted through platforms such as NHS.UK and social marketing campaigns. The Government’s reduction and reformulation programme challenges industry to make products healthier by lowering the amount of sugar, salt and calories to allow consumers to choose healthier food and drink.

28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including aspiration in the vaccine administration procedures for the covid-19 vaccine rollout.

No assessment has been made. The UK Health Security Agency’s guidance on immunisation techniques states that it is not necessary to aspirate the syringe after the needle is introduced into the muscle, as there are no large blood vessels at the recommended injection sites. This guidance is also consistent with the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) for the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The SPCs do not state that aspiration is required prior to injection of the vaccine. As with all recommendations for vaccine administration, this is kept under regular review in line with the latest available evidence.

28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of direct payment pay rates in attracting care staff; and whether his Department has plans to increase the rate of pay for carers under the direct payment system.

No assessment has been made. The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay, independent of central government. Local authorities work with care providers, including those in receipt of Direct Payments, to determine a fair rate of pay based on local market conditions.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to implement local women and girls’ mental health strategies, to help ensure that meeting the mental health needs of domestic abuse survivors is reflected at both a national and local level.

We plan to launch a public discussion paper this year to inform the development of a new long term mental health strategy. This will discuss potential solutions at local and national level to improve mental health and wellbeing, including in women and girls.

‘Our Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy for England’ was published in December 2021 which commits to gather evidence on the impacts of trauma-informed practice to support the victims of violence against women and girls.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken since the publication of the Women’s Health Strategy, to ensure that all healthcare professionals undertake training on domestic abuse delivered by specialist organisations to ensure trauma-informed practices.

The Department is currently formulating the details of the Women’s Health Strategy in England. The Strategy will be published later this year. NHS England are collaborating with the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Domestic Abuse peer advocacy services and national helplines to direct National Health Service staff to existing specialised training.

All NHS staff undertake mandatory safeguarding training which includes a focus on domestic abuse. NHS England and NHS Improvement and Health Education England continue to review mandatory safeguarding training for all health professionals to ensure that they are fully equipped with the appropriate key skills, knowledge and principles.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the £25 million of funding announced to support unpaid carers will include young carers.

We expect this funding will identify and test a range of new and existing interventions to support unpaid carers, which could include respite and breaks, peer group and wellbeing support and new ways to combine these to maximise their impact. We will continue to work with stakeholders, including organisations working with young carers and people with lived experience of caring as we develop our proposals.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential need to clarify and raise awareness that the Better Care Fund applies to the integration of health and care services for children and young people.

The Better Care Fund (BCF) is primarily focussed on supporting adults in the health and care system, through the integration of health, adult social care and housing. The BCF includes the Disabled Facilities Grant, which funds housing applications for disabled individuals, including those under 18 years old. Local areas have the discretion to include children’s health and social care services in their BCF plans. The forthcoming integration white paper will provide further detail on plans for health and social care integration.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason his Department did not undertake a Child Impact Assessment on the Health and Care Bill.

Children were considered during the development of the combined impact assessments and the European Court of Human Rights Memorandum.
We have engaged with a range of stakeholders, particularly through the Children and Young People's Health Policy Influencing Group, which includes over 70 voluntary organisations, Royal Colleges and professional organisations. We have worked with these stakeholders to ensure that the Bill's proposals support integrated service provision for infants, children and young people.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of offering antibody tests to people who are immunocompromised and suppressed, who are unsure whether or not they have generated an immune response to the covid-19 vaccines, or whether they remain immunologically vulnerable and need to shield.

There are no imminent plans to implement targeted antibody testing for immunocompromised patients. National Health Service clinicians can arrange antibody testing for patients based on their assessment of clinical need. Those with a cancer diagnosis may also be able to access free antibody tests through the National Cancer COVID Survey, which aims to assess levels of protection conferred by antibodies following vaccination or infection in cancer patients.

24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeframe is for his Department to issue clear guidance on the prioritisation and coordination of covid-19 booster doses for immunocompromised people alongside booster doses for all 18 to 39 year olds and second doses for those aged 12 to 15 years.

On 29 November 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation updated its COVID-19 vaccination advice in response to the Omicron variant. The advice stated that all those aged 18 years old or over should be eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccine; 12 to 15 year olds should be eligible for two doses; and that those with severe immunosuppression should be eligible for a fourth dose as a booster.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance to all systems regarding the next steps of vaccine deployment. This guidance stated the need to continue to prioritise the severely immunosuppressed and also asked all systems to create additional capacity for those aged over 18 years old to receive their booster and to ensure that eligible children are able to access vaccination. It was published on 13 December 2021 and is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2021/12/C1488-letter-next-steps-for-the-nhs-covid-19-vaccine-deployment.pdf

The National Health Service opened bookings for 12 to 15 year olds to receive a second dose on 20 December 2021.

A letter was sent to NHS systems and vaccination services on 25 January 2022 with further information on COVID-19 vaccination for those who are immunocompromised. This advised how eligible people should be contacted, provided a letter template for the referral for a fourth dose and frequently asked questions regarding vaccination and immunosuppression.

24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to issue guidance for people who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed, and therefore vulnerable to covid-19, to work from home.

Updated public health advice was issued on 24 December 2021 for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19, which is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure Allied Health Professions workforce reconfiguration within primary care settings is sustainable.

Under the Primary Care Network Directed Enhanced Service, networks are able to recruit new roles to expand their care team with the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS). NHS England and NHS Improvement supply practices with the description of the ARRS roles to inform practices and ensure they make the best decision in recruiting for their practice, to utilise staff to their potential.

In order to ensure that recruitment of allied health professionals (AHPs) into primary care is sustainable, we are supporting training, supervision and general practitioner’s understanding of these new roles. Health Education England also support AHPs to develop throughout their career, via advanced practice and new roles.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what resources he has allocated to reviewing the responses to the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances consultation on standard adult ready-to-drink oral nutritional supplements.

The Committee’s Secretariat function is provided by one member of staff. The Department has allocated the Secretariat and part of two staff members’ time to review the responses to the consultation. The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances is independent of the Department and will also review the responses.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances consultation on standard adult ready-to-drink oral nutritional supplements will report and publish interim conclusions.

The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) is independent of the Government. The ACBS has not informed the Department when it will publish its conclusions.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support podiatrists within primary care to respond to increasing trends foot ulceration and amputation and to maintain peoples’ walking, working, and wellbeing.

Evidence suggests that multidisciplinary footcare teams (MDFTs), including podiatrists, play an important role in diabetes footcare pathways and can significantly reduce amputations and diabetic foot disease.

Between 2020/21 and 2023/24, a further £75 million of targeted funding is being allocated for the treatment and care of people living with diabetes. This will support new or expanded services towards the provision of universal access to MDFTs. NHS England continues to work with local teams to identify and develop plans to address gaps in service provision. General practitioner practices are incentivised through the Quality and Outcomes Framework to identify and proactively manage diabetic patients in line with guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. This includes ensuring a foot examination and risk classification is recorded each year

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of NHS statistics showing that the number of people treated for malnutrition increased from 4,657 in 2010-11 to 10,109 in 2020-21.

We have made no specific assessment.

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what percentage of stroke patients have been provided with mechanical thrombectomy services by region in England in the last year; and what steps his Department has taken to help ensure that mechanical thrombectomy services are provided to all patients who require them.

Information on the number and percentage of stroke patients provided with mechanical thrombectomy services is not held in the format requested


Thrombectomy is available in 24 centres in England. The National Health Service is committed to increasing the delivery of mechanical thrombectomy to 10% of patients. The latest data available shows that 2.3% of patients are receiving a thrombectomy following a stroke. In early 2022, NHS England will undertake a quality review with each region to understand and resolve the biggest local barriers to increasing the thrombectomy rate.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the ability of the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances to facilitate product innovation and patient choice.

The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) application process has a specified route for innovative products seeking listing in Part XV of the Drug Tariff. This route is for new formulations where there is robust evidence of advantages in terms of nutritional composition and tolerance and acceptability for patients. Products approved and recommended by the ACBS are listed in Part XV of the Drug Tariff. The ACBS list in the Drug Tariff offers some patient choice where the relevant products are available and meet the quality criteria.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will increase (a) its policy focus on and (b) the funding allocated to tackling malnutrition in Integrated Care Systems.

Each integrated care board (ICB) will be required to establish an integrated care partnership, which will be responsible for developing a plan to address identified health, social care and public health needs. Many of the duties which previously applied for clinical commissioning groups will apply to ICBs, which may include issues relating to health inequalities such as malnutrition. Each ICB will be allocated funding and will decide how to allocate its resources appropriately.

24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will produce guidance on how Integrated Care Partnerships can improve services for people at risk of malnutrition through improved partnerships, joint working, and improved planning of services.

We have no current plans to do so.

Integrated care partnerships will work collaboratively to coordinate health and care services, to improve population health and reduce inequalities.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, (a) what role the Office for Health Promotion will have in dementia risk reduction and (b) which Directorate will be responsible for delivery of that initiative.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) is a key stakeholder in the development of the new dementia strategy, which will include a focus on prevention and risk reduction. The OHID’s Early Years, Children and Families Directorate is co-ordinating and delivering work relating to dementia risk reduction. This includes producing the Productive Healthy Ageing profile, which contains data for local areas on the risk factors for dementia and working with voluntary sector partners to raise awareness of dementia risk reduction messages. The OHID’s Prevention Services Directorate has responsibility for national oversight of the NHS Health Check programme, which aims to prevent some forms of dementia.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Lancet Commission on Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report on the modifiable risk factors responsible for dementia, published on 20 July 2017, what steps his Department is taking to ensure there is joint action across Directorates on dementia prevention policy.

We will be setting out our future plans on dementia prevention policy for England in due course. The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) is contributing to the development of the new strategy including a focus on prevention and risk reduction, such as the modifiable risk factors. Officials have engaged with a range of stakeholders on the new strategy, including members of the Dementia Programme Board and other Government departments.

The Healthy Ageing team within the OHID’s Early Years, Children and Families Directorate is co-ordinating and delivering work relating to dementia risk reduction. This is in collaboration with other directorates within the OHID, other Government departments, national and local stakeholders, voluntary sector organisations and academics.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) his Department plans to introduce a cross-government approach to dementia risk reduction and (b) dementia risk reduction will be covered by the new cross-government ministerial board on prevention.

We will set out our future plans on dementia for England in due course. Officials have engaged with a range of stakeholders, including members of the Dementia Programme Board and other Government departments. The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities is contributing to the development of the strategy which will include a focus on prevention and risk reduction.

The new Health Promotion Taskforce has been established to support prevention and improve the nation’s health. The Taskforce will focus on where the evidence shows there is the greatest impact on health and where the biggest opportunities lie for cross-Government action.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to publicise the ongoing risk of covid-19 to immunocompromised groups to (a) patients with those conditions and (b) the wider public.

On 6 December we updated the online guidance ‘Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread’, which advises that immunocompromised individuals should take advice from their health professional on whether additional precautions are necessary to minimise their risk of infection.

On 1 September 2021, the Government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to offer a third primary dose of vaccine to individuals aged 12 years old and over with severe immunosuppression, as a precautionary measure. A specialist or clinician involved should advise on whether a patient fulfils the eligibility criteria for severe immunosuppression and on the timing of any third primary. NHS England and NHS Improvement have developed tailored communications for specialists caring for each group of eligible patients within the severely immunosuppressed cohort. This includes template referral letters for clinicians to signpost patients appropriately to receive this vaccination.

On 29 November 2021, in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant, the Government accepted advice from JCVI to offer a booster as a fourth dose to severely immunosuppressed individuals who have completed their primary course of three doses. NHS England and NHS Improvement is currently updating its guidance on the vaccination of these patients.

Immunocompromised individuals are also a priority cohort for therapeutic treatments, such as monoclonal antibody therapies and novel antivirals which reduce the risk of hospitalisations and deaths. These novel treatments may be used to treat immune-deficient and immune-suppressed people in the United Kingdom who are at an increased risk of illness and death after contracting COVID-19. We plan to make treatments directly available to the highest risk groups, including those who are immunocompromised.

We will continue to assess the risks posed by COVID-19 and take proportionate measures to protect immunocompromised individuals. We are ensuring that the risks and the measures taken are communicated effectively to those patients affected, their carers, clinicians and representative groups and the wider public.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Diagnostics: Recovery and Renewal: Report of the Independent Review of Diagnostic Services for NHS England, published on 27 November 2020, what progress his Department has made in moving the urological outpatient workload to community diagnostic hubs.

The Department has provided £325m to support the National Health Service to roll out 40 Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) across England this year. The centres will start providing services over the next 6 months, with the aim to be fully operational by March 2022. Some centres have already been set up as Early Adopters, providing services to their local community. A further £2.3bn to support the roll out of a further 60 CDCs by 2024/2025 was announced at the 2021 Spending Review.

CDCs will offer some urology diagnostics, including urine testing and urodynamics, but the level of urology services provided will be decided locally based on population need. This will determine how much of the outpatient urology workload can move into CDCs.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that private health corporations and their subsidiaries do not move personal health data outside of the UK.

All organisations providing services to patients in the United Kingdom, whether in the National Health Service or privately, must abide by UK data protection legislation - the Data Protection Act 2018, the UK General Data Protection Regulation and the common law duty of confidentiality. These place strict conditions on how identifiable patient data can be used and shared.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support clinically extremely vulnerable people will receive in the event that covid-19 restrictions are reintroduced.

The shielding programme in England has now ended. Those who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable will not be advised to shield in the future or asked to follow specific national guidance. They are advised to follow the same general guidance as everyone else, in addition to any condition-specific advice that may have been provided by their specialist. The NHS Volunteer Responders programme and a range of other support services continue to be available and information on these has been provided to those previously considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of Novavax trial volunteers who remain unable to access a covid-19 pass.

All clinical trial participants should now be able to access their NHS COVID Pass via the NHS app or NHS.uk for domestic use in England. The majority of Novavax trial participants in England can now also access their NHS COVID Pass for travel.

Access is subject to data being received from clinical trial sites and participants should confirm that their data has been transferred if they cannot yet access their NHS COVID Pass for domestic or travel purposes.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the King's Fund report Tackling obesity: the role of the NHS in a whole-system approach, published on 4 July 2021, what (a) assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policy of the findings of that report on the comparative rates of hospital admission due to obesity in the most and least deprived areas; and (b) steps he is taking to tackle the discrepancy of hospital admissions due to obesity between the most and least deprived areas.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ sets out a range of measures to reduce the prevalence of obesity, improve diets and promote healthier lifestyle behaviours, including addressing inactivity and preventing ill-health.

To target areas with higher levels of deprivation and obesity prevalence, we have introduced a £30.5 million grant for local authorities in England to commission adult behavioural weight management services in 2021/22, with funding allocated based on population size, obesity prevalence and deprivation. An additional £4.3 million has also been allocated based on need to 11 local authorities to support the expansion of child weight management services in 2021/22.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) the budget was for Public Health England in (i) 2017, (ii) 2018 and (ii) 2019; and (b) assessment his Department has made of the effect of those budgets on the funding of women's health services not including maternity services; and if he will make a statement.

The following table shows the operating budget for Public Health England in the financial years requested.

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

£292 million

£287 million

£287 million

Source: Public Health England Annual Report and Accounts.

The Department has made no assessment of the effects of these budgets on the funding of women’s health services.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to take steps to grant GPs formal approval to administer the third dose of the covid-19 vaccine to severely immunosuppressed people.

If a person is eligible, they will usually be vaccinated at their hospital or a local service such as their general practitioner surgery. As such, practices offering COVID-19 vaccines are already capable of administering third doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to severely immunosuppressed people.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to invest in alternative covid-19 treatments for immunocompromised people.

Immunocompromised individuals are a priority cohort for research into therapeutic and prophylaxis treatments such as monoclonal antibody therapies, novel antivirals, and repurposed compounds. In August, Ronapreve, a novel monoclonal antibody, was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Ronapreve is being administered through the National Health Service to treat the most vulnerable, including immunocompromised patients.

The Antivirals Taskforce has secured two antiviral treatments. Molnupiravir has already received approval by the MHRA and will be deployed this winter to protect those at high-risk from COVID-19. The second antiviral will be deployed should it receive approval. The Taskforce is working with partners across the United Kingdom to ensure antivirals are deployed to protect the clinically vulnerable. The Therapeutics Taskforce and Antivirals Taskforce continue to monitor treatments of interest to identify any further promising compounds and ensure that UK patients can access them if they are safe and effective against COVID-19.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to primary care providers on ensuring that patients’ views are taken into account when kidney cancer services are (a) designed and (b) delivered.

No such guidance has been issued, as primary care providers do not design and deliver kidney cancer services. Cancer services, Cancer Alliances and the National Cancer Programme work closely with patients, carers and their families to ensure policy and service delivery, including for kidney cancer, meet their needs and deliver an improved patient experience. NHS England has published a co-production model, which supports local systems by providing a model for working with people who have lived experience, which is available at the following link:

https://coalitionforpersonalisedcare.org.uk/resources/a-co-production-model/

The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey and the National under 16 Patient Experience Survey monitor national and local progress on cancer care to drive local quality improvements, to assist commissioners and providers of cancer care and to inform the work of the various charities and stakeholder groups supporting cancer patients.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer to Question 38398 on 6 September 2021 on Hepatitis: Disease Control, if he will make it his policy to support NHS England and Improvement’s goal to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2025.

The Government is supporting NHS England and NHS Improvement to deliver the hepatitis C elimination programme in England and the goal to eliminate hepatitis C by 2025.

27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access on improving patient access to new medicines; and if he will make a statement on the relevance to patients of changing the discount rate used by NICE from 3.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is currently reviewing the methods and processes it uses in its health technology assessments, including considering changes to the discount rate applied to costs and benefits.

NICE has recently consulted publicly on a set of proposals for changes to its methods and processes and is considering the comments received. NICE’s consultation stated that there is an evidence-based case for changing the discount rate to 1.5%. However, it acknowledged the wider policy and fiscal implications and proposed to maintain the existing rate while further data is collected on the likely effects of a change. NICE also proposed to maintain a non-reference case discount rate of 1.5% for use in exceptional circumstances.

The Department supports NICE’s proposal, which is in line with the expectations for the review as set out in the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (VPAS) agreed with industry. The VPAS has driven significant improvements in patient access to clinically and cost-effective medicines, whilst ensuring sustainable and predictable spend growth for the National Health Service and industry. Aided by the new commercial flexibilities provided by VPAS and the NHS Commercial Framework, NICE now recommends the vast majority of new medicines it appraises, with 100% recommended in 2020/21.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NICE methods and process review, what steps he is taking to tackle the policy and system barriers NICE has identified as preventing the implementation of the discount rate.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is currently reviewing the methods and processes it uses in its health technology assessments, including considering changes to the discount rate applied to costs and benefits.

NICE has recently consulted publicly on a set of proposals for changes to its methods and processes and is considering the comments received. NICE’s consultation stated that there is an evidence-based case for changing the discount rate to 1.5%. However, it acknowledged the wider policy and fiscal implications and proposed to maintain the existing rate while further data is collected on the likely effects of a change. NICE also proposed to maintain a non-reference case discount rate of 1.5% for use in exceptional circumstances.

The Department supports NICE’s proposal, which is in line with the expectations for the review as set out in the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (VPAS) agreed with industry. The VPAS has driven significant improvements in patient access to clinically and cost-effective medicines, whilst ensuring sustainable and predictable spend growth for the National Health Service and industry. Aided by the new commercial flexibilities provided by VPAS and the NHS Commercial Framework, NICE now recommends the vast majority of new medicines it appraises, with 100% recommended in 2020/21.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of changing the NICE discount rate to align with the latest evidence base and guidance in the Treasury Green book.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is currently reviewing the methods and processes it uses in its health technology assessments, including considering changes to the discount rate applied to costs and benefits.

NICE has recently consulted publicly on a set of proposals for changes to its methods and processes and is considering the comments received. NICE’s consultation stated that there is an evidence-based case for changing the discount rate to 1.5%. However, it acknowledged the wider policy and fiscal implications and proposed to maintain the existing rate while further data is collected on the likely effects of a change. NICE also proposed to maintain a non-reference case discount rate of 1.5% for use in exceptional circumstances.

The Department supports NICE’s proposal, which is in line with the expectations for the review as set out in the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (VPAS) agreed with industry. The VPAS has driven significant improvements in patient access to clinically and cost-effective medicines, whilst ensuring sustainable and predictable spend growth for the National Health Service and industry. Aided by the new commercial flexibilities provided by VPAS and the NHS Commercial Framework, NICE now recommends the vast majority of new medicines it appraises, with 100% recommended in 2020/21.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 19 July 2021 to Question 7914 on Kidney Cancer, what steps he is taking to involve the urology clinical nurse specialist workforce in the development of the common and consistent competencies for clinical nurse specialists.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 October 2021 to Question PQ53330.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, following publication of Diagnostics: Recovery and Renewal: Report by the Independent Review of Diagnostic Services for NHS England, what progress has been made on moving the urological outpatient workload to community diagnostic hubs.

The National Health Service is planning to establish 40 community diagnostic centres (CDCs) across England this year. Centres will begin to provide services over the next six months, with all being fully operational by March 2022.

Regions are working with local trusts and systems, diagnostic networks and primary care services to determine the location and configuration of services, based on the needs of the local population. These services will take on appropriate urological outpatient workload, including urine testing, with some CDCs potentially offering additional services, such as urodynamics.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish an update on the rollout of a third primary dose of covid-19 vaccination for people with severe immunosuppression.

Vaccination of individuals with severe immunosuppression with a third primary dose commenced on 13 September 2021. Approximately 400,000 people have been identified as eligible for a third primary dose and NHS England is contacting these individuals by text and letter so they can discuss their vaccination options with their clinician.

22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in the context of the shielding programme having ended, what support his Department plans to provide clinically extremely vulnerable people in the event that some covid-19 public health restrictions are required to be reintroduced.

Based on the success of the vaccine programme and new treatments becoming available, we do not anticipate shielding being required in the future. We are advising those previously considered as clinically extremely vulnerable consider their own risk, supported by their National Health Service clinician where necessary.

22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 7 June 2021 to Question 7915 on Kidney Cancer, what guidance his Department plans to provide to community diagnostics hubs to help ensure that they have adequate equipment to be able to diagnose kidney cancer within an appropriate timeframe.

Community diagnostic hubs (CDHs) will be equipped with computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scanners and biopsy facilities, which are used for the detection of kidney cancer. Full guidance on the diagnostic testing required within CDHs will be published in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 19 July 2021 to Question 7914 on Kidney Cancer, what steps he is taking to involve the urology clinical nurse specialist workforce in the development of the common and consistent competencies for clinical nurse specialists.

A standard competency framework for clinical nurse specialists in the field of kidney cancer is currently under development and being piloted in the National Health Service in the North West of England. The framework is being developed with input from a range of stakeholders including cancer nurse specialists. The findings will further inform the development of the national competency framework which is due to be launched across the NHS in England in 2022/23.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 19 July 2021 to Question 7914 on Kidney Cancer, when he plans to publish the common and consistent competencies for clinical nurse specialists.

A standard competency framework for clinical nurse specialists in the field of kidney cancer is currently under development and being piloted in the National Health Service in the North West of England. The framework is being developed with input from a range of stakeholders including cancer nurse specialists. The findings will further inform the development of the national competency framework which is due to be launched across the NHS in England in 2022/23.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 June 2021 to Question 12276 on Cancer: Mental Health Services, what assessment his Department has made of the extent to which patients’ psychosocial support needs are being addressed twice in their first year after diagnosis, as is required by the 2021-22 Quality and Outcomes Framework cancer requirements since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

No data is yet available on the proportion of practices meeting Quality and Outcomes Framework requirements in 2021/22.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have established a task and finish group to review psychosocial support for people affected by cancer. The NHS Long Term Plan states that where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer should receive a Personalised Care and Support Plan based on holistic needs assessment, end of treatment summaries and health and wellbeing information and support, including for mental health needs.

Those with long term conditions, such as cancer, have been identified as priority patients for accessing Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services, which are being integrated with physical health services, to better align psychological therapies within primary and secondary care pathways.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish an impact assessment for the Health and Care Bill.

The Health and Care Bill impact assessments have been reviewed by the Regulatory Policy Committee and will be published imminently.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the Government plans to work with relevant stakeholders towards achieving Hepatitis C elimination following the abolition of Public Health England.

The national hepatitis C elimination team at NHS England continues to work with a full range of partners to eliminate hepatitis C in England by the World Health Organization’s target of 2030. The new UK Health Security Agency and Office for Health Promotion. Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, clinicians, pharmaceutical industry partners, other Government Departments, the third sector and those with lived experience are participating in this programme.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to eliminate Hepatitis C in by 2025 in line with the elimination goals of the World Health Organisation.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have announced a programme to eliminate hepatitis C in England by 2025 and meet the World Health Organization’s target of 2030.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to help ensure that Hepatitis C elimination is prioritised as part of integrated care systems' plans from April 2022 in support of the national Hepatitis C elimination programme.

The hepatitis C elimination programme is currently managed by a specialist team at NHS England and NHS Improvement. Policy, interventions, and funding are developed and delivered through 22 nationally commissioned local clinical teams or Operational Delivery Networks. The national team work collaboratively with both regional teams and local systems to ensure the delivery and oversight of diagnostic and treatment pathways at a local level. As integrated care systems become operational, subject to the passage of legislation, the programme will work with them to ensure that all opportunities to identify and support patients are realised.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much Government funding has been provided to ME research in each of the last three years.

The following table shows the funding for research into myalgic encephalomyelitis through the National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation in the last three years.

Financial Year

£

2018-19

£862,212

2019-20

£691,516

2020-21

£907,848

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of malnutrition in the last five years; and what steps his Department is taking to tackle those costs.

The Department has not made a specific estimate.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will set a target for improving access to cancer medicines to support NHS England’s Long Term Plan ambition of improving cancer survival by 2028.

There are no plans to introduce a specific target for improving access to cancer medicines. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for making evidence-based recommendations on whether new medicines represent an effective use of National Health Service resources. NICE is also able to recommend cancer medicines for use through the Cancer Drugs Fund which has helped over 64,000 patients to benefit from the most promising cancer medicines where there is uncertainty about their effectiveness. NICE now appraises all new medicines and significant licence extensions and it has recommended 92% of cancer medicines it appraised in 2020-21.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the outcomes of the Innovative Medicines Fund and NICE Methods Review will align due to the fact that the timescale for the consultation processes will complete at a similar time.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing proposals for the Innovative Medicines Fund. NHS England and NHS Improvement announced the size of the fund on 21 July and an engagement exercise with stakeholders on detailed proposals is expected in the coming weeks.

NICE also expects to consult on proposed changes to its programme manual in the summer as part of its ongoing methods and process review. NICE, NHS England and NHS Improvement will ensure that the outcomes of these processes support early patient access to the most promising new treatments.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will revise the cancer ambitions in NHS England’s Long Term Plan to account for the cancer backlog and increasing cancer prevalence as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 7 July to Question 25916.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform independent report, published May 2021, what assessment he has made of how the (a) work of the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances and (b) the Medical Nutrition Industry were taken into account in that report.

We have not made such an assessment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances has adequate (a) structures and (b) processes to support innovation and growth in the specialist medical nutrition industry in the UK.

The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) and the Department are working with the British Specialist Nutrition Association, the trade body for the medical nutrition industry and its members to update the ACBS’ processes, its application form, and guidance.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that the (a) schedules of meetings, (b) meeting agendas and (c) meeting minutes of the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances are published on time.

The dates of Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) meetings are published on time on the Government website. The agendas of ACBS meetings are themselves not published and we are not taking steps to publish them.

However, agendas are included in the minutes of each meeting, and the minutes of ACBS meetings are published on time at the following link:

https://m.box.com/shared_item/https%3A%2F%2Fapp.box.com%2Fs%2Fk8a2gxf6b8emexz6neekq134yx9vi35y

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to consult on the use of powers to improve the regulatory environment for clinical trials granted by the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021.

The Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021 provides targeted delegated powers which enable us to update the regulatory regime for clinical trials. Work is ongoing to develop legislative proposals to design a regulatory environment for clinical trials which will support the development of innovative medicines. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency intend to consult on proposals later this year.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make a statement to the House following the publication of the NICE Methods Review programme manual; and if he will include in the statement his assessment on whether the outcome of the Review can support access to personalised cancer treatments.

There are no current plans to do so. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is responsible for its own methods and processes. NICE currently expects to consult stakeholders on proposed changes to its methods and processes in the summer.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of the regulatory systems for (a) hand sanitiser and (b) disinfectant products in (i) Australia and (ii) the US; whether his Department plans to implement similar regimes; and what steps his Department is taking to protect consumers from (A) misleading and (B) inaccurate statements on the efficacy of those products.

We have made no such assessment.

Hand sanitisers and surface disinfectants are biocidal products. They are regulated by the Health and Safety Executive under the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR). The BPR establishes a process for the in-depth assessment of both the safety and efficacy of biocidal products, which mirrors the system used across the European Union. Some products for use as antibacterial or antiviral products for use on people’s hands may instead be regulated under the cosmetics or medicines legislation, depending on the products’ intended use, function, composition or how they are described. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 also apply across all sectors and prohibit misleading and deceptive commercial practices by traders who sell goods, including hand sanitisers and disinfectant, to consumers.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when Public Health England’s investigation into menthol cigarettes will conclude; whether the testing of those products has commenced; and if he will make a statement.

Public Health England’s testing of tobacco products, as part of the Department’s investigation of possible breaches of the prohibition of menthol cigarettes, is ongoing. We expect this work to be completed by the end of the year.

We expect the tobacco industry to comply with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations in regard to the menthol cigarette ban that was introduced in May 2020. HM Revenue and Customs is able to apply a number of sanctions against retailers found selling illicit menthol tobacco.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed Innovative Medicines Fund on personalised cancer treatments.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence are currently developing proposals for the Innovative Medicines Fund (IMF) and expect to lead a public engagement exercise later this year. The IMF will build on and extend the successful Cancer Drugs Fund which has provided access to the most promising cancer medicines to over 64,000 National Health Service patients. The IMF will continue to support patient access to personalised cancer medicines where appropriate.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to prevent menthol cigarettes from being sold unlawfully.

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.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the number of patients recruited to clinical trials in the NHS.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 29 June to Question 22008.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the progress of the five National Patient Recruitment Centres against their objectives in their first year of operation.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 15 July Question 25117.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commit to a target for improving access to cancer medicines to support the ambition in the NHS Long Term Plan of improving cancer survival by 2028.

There are no plans to introduce a specific target for improving access to cancer medicines. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for making evidence-based recommendations on whether new medicines represent an effective use of National Health Service resources. NICE is also now able to recommend cancer medicines for use through the Cancer Drugs Fund which has helped over 64,000 patients to benefit from the most promising cancer medicines where there is uncertainty about their effectiveness. NICE now appraises all new medicines and significant licence extensions and it has recommended 92% of cancer medicines it appraised in 2020-21.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to help ensure that the outcomes of the (a) Innovative Medicines Fund and (b) NICE Methods Review will align as their consultation processes are due to complete at similar times.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working together to develop proposals for the Innovative Medicines Fund (IMF). A public engagement exercise on the IMF is expected later this year and a detailed timescale for this will be confirmed in due course.

NICE also expects to consult on proposed changes to its programme manual in the summer as part of its ongoing methods and process review. NICE and NHS England and NHS Improvement will ensure the resulting approach to managed access, as part of a NICE appraisal, supports early patient access to the most promising new treatments.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of whether the outcomes of the NICE Methods Review support access to personalised cancer treatments; and if he will make a statement.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) now appraises all new cancer medicines and significant licence extensions and aims to publish draft guidance on new cancer drugs around the time of licensing wherever possible.

NICE’s review of its methods and processes is ongoing. The purpose of the review is to ensure that NICE’s methods and processes remain cutting edge and support the ambition of the National Health Service to provide high quality care that offers good value to patients and to the NHS. NICE expects to consult on the draft programme manual in the summer, with implementation of the changes from early 2022.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of the proposed Innovative Medicines Fund on personalised cancer treatments.

The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) has provided access to over 64,000 National Health Service patients to the most promising cancer medicines. The Innovative Medicines Fund (IMF) will build on and extend the successful CDF. NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence expect to carry out an engagement exercise on detailed proposals for the IMF later this year.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commit to reviewing the cancer ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan in the context of the backlog of cancer treatment, increasing cancer prevalence and impact of the covid-19 outbreak on cancer patients.

The Department’s cancer strategy is incorporated as part of the NHS Long Term Plan and the National Health Service remains committed to delivering on the Plan.

In March 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement published the 2021/22 Priorities and Operational Planning Guidance. This sets out the priorities for the NHS, including the backlog of cancer treatment, increasing early diagnosis of and the impact of the outbreak on cancer patients.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to expand the number of National Patient Recruitment Centres.

No decisions on expanding the number of Patient Recruitment Centres has yet been made.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Life Sciences Sector Deal 2, what recent progress the Government has made on strengthening the UK environment for clinical trials.

We have established five national Patient Recruitment Centres dedicated to the delivery of late-phase commercial research and launched the Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway to support all stages of trial design development and approval, enhanced capability to deliver innovative trials and improved approvals and set-up times for studies.

In March 2021, the Government published ‘The Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery’, setting out a vision to build a patient-centred, pro-innovation and digitally-enabled clinical research environment. This was followed by an implementation plan for 2021/2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how he plans to monitor the performance of National Patient Recruitment Centres across the NHS.

Progress of each Patient Recruitment Centre (PRC) is monitored through defined contractual management arrangements through the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR reviews progress against defined metrics on performance, which are specified and monitored by the PRC Programme Office. PRCs also provide regular operational reports to the Programme Office as well as producing an annual report and a formal contract review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the progress of the five National Patient Recruitment Centres against their objectives in their first year of operation.

The five national Patient Recruitment Centres (PRCs) were launched by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in May 2020 following an open competitive process. The progress of each PRC is monitored through defined contractual management arrangements in place through the NIHR. The PRCs are currently submitting their annual reports which will include their activities, performance and progress against their objectives in the last year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase wholegrain consumption in England.

There is no agreed definition for the term wholegrain. ‘Wholegrain’ is generally used to describe products which contain a higher fibre content. The Government’s dietary advice, as depicted by the Eatwell Guide, is that we should choose wholegrain or higher fibre versions of starchy carbohydrates wherever possible.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the number of patients recruited to clinical trials in the NHS.

On 23 March 2021 the Government published its vision for the future of clinical research delivery in the United Kingdom. This aims to create a research system where all patients have the opportunity to take part. An implementation plan and strategy setting out how we will begin to deliver the vision in 2021/22 was published on 23 June.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what responsibility Integrated Care Systems will have for (a) maternity and (b) other women's health services; and if he will make a statement.

Clinical commissioning group (CCG) functions and duties will transfer to integrated care boards when they are established, along with all CCG assets and liabilities, commissioning responsibilities and contracts. This includes functions, duties and responsibilities associated with maternity and other women’s health services.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government plans to take to ensure that the regulation of clinical trials is not weakened as the UK leaves the European Medicines Agency system.

The Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021 provides targeted delegated powers which enable the regulatory regime for clinical trials to be updated. Using these powers we can design and strengthen a regulatory environment for clinical trials that will support the development of innovative medicines and e ensure that the regulation of trials is not weakened following the exit from the European Union.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the announcement in March 2021 of £70 million to support the expansion of weight management services, what proportion of that funding will be allocated to the expansion of specialist multidisciplinary weight management services (Tier 3) for children.

The NHS Long Term Plan and ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ support the drive to reduce obesity, including investment in specialist services for children and adults and plans are in development for this expansion. Of the £70 million announced in March 2021 to support the expansion of weight management services, £4 million has been allocated to tier 3 and 4 adult specialist weight management services in 2021/22. NHS England is working with regional teams and integrated care systems to develop a recovery plan for specialist weight management services and bariatric surgeries as required by the Mandate. The NHS Long Term Plan has allocated funding for the expansion of children specialist weight management services.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the NHS Digital Weight Management Programme will be available for all patients who require additional support.

The Digital Weight Management Programme is now available for adults with a diagnosis of diabetes and/or hypertension with a Body Mass Index of more than 30.

It is designed to complement and expand the existing range of weight management services already commissioned through both the National Health Service and local authorities. A digital approach will not be preferable or appropriate for all patients seeking support to lose weight.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the announcement in March 2021 of £70 million to support the expansion of weight management services, when further information will be provided on the proportion of funding to be allocate to NHS specialist multidisciplinary weight management services (Tier 3) for (a) adults and (b) children.

The NHS Long Term Plan and ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ support the drive to reduce obesity, including investment in specialist services for children and adults and plans are in development for this expansion. Of the £70 million announced in March 2021 to support the expansion of weight management services, £4 million has been allocated to tier 3 and 4 adult specialist weight management services in 2021/22. NHS England is working with regional teams and integrated care systems to develop a recovery plan for specialist weight management services and bariatric surgeries as required by the Mandate. The NHS Long Term Plan has allocated funding for the expansion of children specialist weight management services.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which third parties his Department worked with to develop the NHS Digital Weight Management Programme.

NHS England have developed the NHS Digital Weight Management Programme with senior expert and clinical input including the NHS England and NHS Improvement National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity, academic research organisations, primary care practitioners and National Health Service partner organisations including Public Health England and the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the delays caused by the covid-19 outbreak to NICE appraisals for medicines for clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) groups, particularly those medicines which have the potential to better control a patient’s condition and remove them from CEV classification.

The 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access commits the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to publishing draft recommendations on all newly licensed treatments around the time of licensing, with final guidance within 90 days of marketing authorisation wherever possible. NICE may not always be able to meet this timescale for individual topics for a range of reasons, including where companies request a longer appraisal timescale.

During the first wave of COVID-19, NICE prioritised its work programme and only published guidance between March to June 2020 that was either therapeutically critical or related to addressing diagnostic or therapeutic interventions for COVID-19. Topics related to treatments for patients who were considered highly vulnerable were classed as therapeutically critical and were prioritised. Since June 2020, NICE has aimed to publish guidance in line with its standard timescales. Of the topics delayed during March to June 2020, all have been restarted where possible.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department is doing to ensure that medicines which have the potential to make patients less vulnerable to covid-19 by removing them from NHS Digital’s high risk shielded patient list identification, including biologics for severe asthma, are appraised by NICE in a timely manner.

The 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access commits the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to publishing draft recommendations on all newly licensed treatments around the time of licensing, with final guidance within 90 days of marketing authorisation wherever possible. NICE may not always be able to meet this timescale for individual topics for a range of reasons, including where companies request a longer appraisal timescale.

During the first wave of COVID-19, NICE prioritised its work programme and only published guidance between March to June 2020 that was either therapeutically critical or related to addressing diagnostic or therapeutic interventions for COVID-19. Topics related to treatments for patients who were considered highly vulnerable were classed as therapeutically critical and were prioritised. Since June 2020, NICE has aimed to publish guidance in line with its standard timescales. Of the topics delayed during March to June 2020, all have been restarted where possible.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether hand hygiene, surface cleaning and disinfection will remain in public to help manager the risk of transmissible viruses and illness.

Public Health England are currently reviewing the evidence base on surface transmission of COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings to develop general principles for cleaning and hand hygiene which can be applied to future guidance and the provision of advice.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of expanding the NHS Mental Health Dashboard to include data on cancer and mental health.

We have no plans to do so.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department plans to provide to the proposed new Integrated Care Systems to increase access to tier 3 weight management services.

The proposed Health and Care Bill will establish statutory integrated care systems (ICS), made up of an integrated care board and integrated care partnership, together referred to as the ICS. The integrated care board will take on the commissioning functions of the clinical commissioning group, including those that relate to tier 3 weight management services.

The NHS Long Term Plan and the ‘Tackling Obesity’ strategy have a number of different actions to support the drive to reduce obesity, including investment in tier 3 services for children and adults and plans are in development for this expansion.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) protect and (b) improve the wellbeing of staff working in oncology departments during the covid-19 outbreak.

From the outset of the pandemic we have put together a comprehensive psychological and emotional support package that remains in place for all National Health Service staff, including oncology professionals. This includes a dedicated support line available for staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week, specialist bereavement support and free access to mental health and wellbeing apps.  This support has been accessed by over 900,000 staff and many more have also accessed offers locally.

We are in the process of setting up 40 dedicated mental health and wellbeing hubs across the country, of which 35 have now been established and are providing proactive outreach and assessment services, ensuring staff receive rapid access to evidence-based mental health services. In addition to £15 million spent on establishing the hubs in 2020/21, we have invested a further £37 million to ensure this offer continues to improve staff mental health throughout 2021/22. These hubs will focus on staff with more complex needs and will proactively identify at-risk groups.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the impact of obesity on (a) people's health and wellbeing and (b) the NHS.

We published ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ in July 2020. The strategy demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan and sets out measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service.

Actions include restricting the advertising of high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) products being shown on TV and online, restricting promotions of HFSS products by location and price, calorie labelling in restaurants, expanding weight management services and making conversations about weight in primary care the norm.

In July 2020, Public Health England launched the Better Health Campaign which promotes evidence-based tools and advice to help people look after their mental and physical health. The campaign shows adults the simple steps they can take to eat more healthily, increase their physical activity, care for their mental wellbeing and quit smoking. Change4Life and Start4Life programmes support families to eat well and move more with resources to motivate and encourage behaviour change including simple healthy eating messages, recipes and more.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendations of All.Can UK's report of December 2020 entitled, Placing the psychological wellbeing of people with cancer on equal footing to physical health, if his Department will take steps to (a) raise awareness within the oncology workforce of the psycho-social support services that the third sector offers for cancer patients and (b) ensure that patients are signposted to those services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have established a task and finish group to look at psychosocial support for people affected by cancer. Part of this work will involve examining signposting to psychosocial support from any provider including the third sector.

The revised Cancer Care Review requirements for general practitioner practices mean patients’ psychosocial support needs will be addressed twice in their first year after diagnosis. Patients should be signposted via Primary Care Network link workers to non-cancer specific support such as local authority health and wellbeing activities.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the extent to which there are regional variations in access to mental health support for patients with cancer.

The NHS Long Term Plan states that, by 2021, where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer should receive a Personalised Care and Support Plan based on holistic needs assessment, end of treatment summaries and health and wellbeing information and support, including for mental health needs. All patients will have access to the right expertise and support.

Adults experiencing cancer can also access Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) mental health services, which provide evidence based psychological therapies for people with anxiety disorders and depression, implementing the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines. The implementation of IAPT long term condition pathways has been identified as a priority to support integration of mental health and physical health services for people with co-morbid long term conditions, such as cancer. No assessment has been made of regional variations in access to mental health support for patients with cancer. However, the extent and nature of IAPT outreach work will be determined at a local level.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of the April 2018 study by the Mental Health Foundation that one in three people with cancer will experience a mental health problem such as depression or anxiety before, during or after treatment, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the mental health needs of people diagnosed with cancer are assessed in a timely manner.

The NHS Long Term Plan states that, by 2021, where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer should receive a Personalised Care and Support Plan based on holistic needs assessment, end of treatment summaries and health and wellbeing information and support, including for mental health needs. All patients will have access to the right expertise and support.

Adults experiencing cancer can also access Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) mental health services, which provide evidence based psychological therapies for people with anxiety disorders and depression, implementing the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines. The implementation of IAPT long term condition pathways has been identified as a priority to support integration of mental health and physical health services for people with co-morbid long term conditions, such as cancer. No assessment has been made of regional variations in access to mental health support for patients with cancer. However, the extent and nature of IAPT outreach work will be determined at a local level.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with the Danish Whole Grain Partnership on increasing whole grain intakes.

Public Health England has had no discussions with the Danish Whole Grain Partnership on increasing whole grain intake.

There is no agreed definition for the term wholegrain. Therefore, Government dietary guidelines do not give specific advice for wholegrain intake.

Government dietary advice, as depicted by the Eatwell Guide, is that people should choose whole grain or higher fibre versions of starchy carbohydrates wherever possible. The Eatwell guide can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the average daily consumption of wholegrains in (a) adults, (b) teenagers and (c) children.

Public Health England has not made an assessment of average daily consumption of wholegrains. There is no agreed definition for the term wholegrain and no specific recommendation for wholegrain consumption in the United Kingdom.

Government dietary advice, as depicted by the Eatwell Guide, is that people should choose whole grain or higher fibre versions of starchy carbohydrates wherever possible.

Fibre intake is assessed by the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Latest data for the period 2016/17 to 2018/19 shows that mean fibre intakes were below recommendations in all age groups. Nine percent of adults, four percent of children aged 11 to 18 years and 14% of children aged 4 to 10 years met the recommendation for fibre intake.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the benefits for health of wholegrain consumption.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s (SACN’s) Carbohydrates and Health report (2015) included an assessment of the relationship between dietary fibre and whole grains intake and cardio-metabolic, colorectal and oral health outcomes.

SACN found that there was strong evidence from prospective cohort studies that increased intakes of total dietary fibre, and particularly cereal fibre and wholegrain, are associated with a lower risk of cardio-metabolic disease and colorectal cancer.

Based on SACN’s findings government recommends that adults consume 30 grams of dietary fibre each day and that this should be achieved through a variety of food sources.

The SACN Carbohydrates and Health report is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/445503/SACN_Carbohydrates_and_Health.pdf

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to launch a public health campaign on increasing fibre and whole grain consumption.

Public Health England (PHE) has no plans to launch any campaigns specifically on fibre.

However, PHE’s Better Health, Change4Life and Start4Life campaigns encourage fibre consumption through advice to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day and to choose wholegrain foods where possible. This information is available on the NHS weight loss plan app and the Better Health Website, and can be found at the following link: https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/

It is also available on the Change4Life website at the following link: https://www.nhs.uk/change4life, and the Start4Life website at the following link: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life. These websites which provide healthy recipes and ideas for swaps.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to introduce a quantitative recommendation for the daily intake of whole grains.

Public Health England has no plans to recommend government introduces a quantitative recommendation for the daily intake of wholegrains.

This is because there is no agreed definition for the term ‘wholegrain’. Therefore, government dietary guidelines do not give specific quantitative advice for wholegrain intake.

There are however specific government recommendations for dietary fibre based on recommendations from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, as set out in its Carbohydrates and Health report, which can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sacn-carbohydrates-and-health-report.

Fibre is found in a range of foods and is not exclusive to wholegrain foods. Government dietary advice, as depicted by the Eatwell Guide, is that we should choose wholegrain or higher fibre versions of starchy carbohydrates wherever possible.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to mark International Whole Grain Day.

The Department has no current plans to mark International Whole Grain Day. However, we are aware of the evidence around the role that whole grains can play in contributing to healthier diets and the importance of more sustainable food systems. We are committed through “Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives” to empowering people to make healthier choices about the food they eat.

The Government is developing a Food Strategy White Paper, containing responses to recommendations from Henry Dimbleby’s independent review into the food system, which will set out our ambition and direction for food system transformation.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the announcement of £325 million for diagnostic equipment announced in the Spending Review 2020, how much and what proportion of that funding will be allocated to pathology and radiology services to improve the diagnosis of kidney cancer.

The funding is to be used for the purchase of new diagnostic machines and the funding of Community Diagnostic Hubs. As such it cannot be determined how much will be spent specifically on improving the diagnosis of kidney cancer.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of clinical guidance for the (a) diagnosis, (b) treatment and (c) management of kidney cancer.

No recent assessment has been made.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) clinical guidance on diagnosis, treatment and management of kidney cancer was developed through standard process, by independent committees made up of health and care professionals, people who use services, and carers.

The clinical guidance for kidney (Renal) cancer is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng12/chapter/1-Recommendations-organised-by-site-of-cancer#urological-cancers

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) access to and (b) quality of menstrual health services; what plans his Department has to further improve menstrual health services in the health system beyond the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Menstrual health services are predominantly provided by general practitioners (GPs). GP practices have remained open throughout the pandemic, offering face to face appointments to those who need them as well as telephone and online consultations. To help expand general practice capacity, an additional £270 million of funding was made available from November 2020 until September 2021 to ensure GPs and their teams can continue to support all patients.

No assessment has been made on the quality of menstrual health services during the covid-19 outbreak, as this information is not held centrally by NHS England.

The Government are embarking on the first Women’s Health Strategy for England. To ensure the Women’s Health Strategy reflects what women identify as priorities, the government launched a 14 week call for evidence which will run until 13 June 2021 to gather women’s experiences and views regarding their health and care. All evidence regarding menstrual health services will be carefully considered as part of this ongoing work.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the wide scope of issues covered by the Women’s Health Strategy on the effectiveness of that strategy; and if he will make a statement.

No assessment has been made on the potential effect of the wide scope of issues covered by the Women’s Health Strategy on the effectiveness of that strategy.

To ensure the strategy reflects what women identify as priorities, the Government launched a Call for Evidence on 8 March, which will run until 13 June.

The evidence gathered through the call for evidence will inform the priorities, content and actions for the strategy.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what responsibilities Integrated Care Systems will have for the delivery of obesity services; and if he will make a statement.

Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are currently responsible for commissioning weight management services. The proposed Health and Care Bill will establish statutory Integrated Care Systems (ICS), made up of an Integrated Care Board and Integrated Care Partnership (together referred to as the ICS). The Integrated Care Board will take on the commissioning functions of the CCGs, including those that relate to tier 3 and tier 4 weight management services.

ICSs will strengthen partnerships between the National Health Service and local authorities, and with local partners, including groups representing the public and patient perspective, the voluntary sector, and wider public service provision. This will enable more joined up planning and provision, both within the NHS and with local authorities, enhancing the weight management services people receive.

We have engaged with a wide range of stakeholders on the proposals contained in the Integration and Innovation White Paper. This has been invaluable in informing our policy development and we will continue with this engagement as we finalise the legislation. An impact assessment for the Health and Care Bill will be published in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of development of Integrated Care Systems on obesity services; and if he will make a statement.

Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are currently responsible for commissioning weight management services. The proposed Health and Care Bill will establish statutory Integrated Care Systems (ICS), made up of an Integrated Care Board and Integrated Care Partnership (together referred to as the ICS). The Integrated Care Board will take on the commissioning functions of the CCGs, including those that relate to tier 3 and tier 4 weight management services.

ICSs will strengthen partnerships between the National Health Service and local authorities, and with local partners, including groups representing the public and patient perspective, the voluntary sector, and wider public service provision. This will enable more joined up planning and provision, both within the NHS and with local authorities, enhancing the weight management services people receive.

We have engaged with a wide range of stakeholders on the proposals contained in the Integration and Innovation White Paper. This has been invaluable in informing our policy development and we will continue with this engagement as we finalise the legislation. An impact assessment for the Health and Care Bill will be published in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what responsibilities Integrated Care Systems will have for the delivery of (a) Tier 3 weight management services and (b) Tier 4 weight management services; and if he will make a statement.

Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are currently responsible for commissioning weight management services. The proposed Health and Care Bill will establish statutory Integrated Care Systems (ICS), made up of an Integrated Care Board and Integrated Care Partnership (together referred to as the ICS). The Integrated Care Board will take on the commissioning functions of the CCGs, including those that relate to tier 3 and tier 4 weight management services.

ICSs will strengthen partnerships between the National Health Service and local authorities, and with local partners, including groups representing the public and patient perspective, the voluntary sector, and wider public service provision. This will enable more joined up planning and provision, both within the NHS and with local authorities, enhancing the weight management services people receive.

We have engaged with a wide range of stakeholders on the proposals contained in the Integration and Innovation White Paper. This has been invaluable in informing our policy development and we will continue with this engagement as we finalise the legislation. An impact assessment for the Health and Care Bill will be published in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with relevant stakeholders on improving patient access to obesity services through the development of Integrated Care Systems; and if he will make a statement.

Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are currently responsible for commissioning weight management services. The proposed Health and Care Bill will establish statutory Integrated Care Systems (ICS), made up of an Integrated Care Board and Integrated Care Partnership (together referred to as the ICS). The Integrated Care Board will take on the commissioning functions of the CCGs, including those that relate to tier 3 and tier 4 weight management services.

ICSs will strengthen partnerships between the National Health Service and local authorities, and with local partners, including groups representing the public and patient perspective, the voluntary sector, and wider public service provision. This will enable more joined up planning and provision, both within the NHS and with local authorities, enhancing the weight management services people receive.

We have engaged with a wide range of stakeholders on the proposals contained in the Integration and Innovation White Paper. This has been invaluable in informing our policy development and we will continue with this engagement as we finalise the legislation. An impact assessment for the Health and Care Bill will be published in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of patients with sickle cell disease who access emergency care services during a vaso-occlusive crisis.

The information is not available in the format requested. Accident and emergency codes do not record sickle cell disease.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many qualified non-medical practitioners are working as part of the NHS Prostate Cancer Workforce in England as at 26 May 2021; and how does that figure compare to the average number of those practitioners in 2019.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking as part of the NHS covid-19 recovery plans to (a) reduce health inequalities and (b) support patients with sickle cell disease.

COVID-19 has exerted an unprecedented strain on the National Health Service, however the NHS is working incredibly hard to keep services going throughout this pandemic for all patients, including those with sickle cell disease. To help kickstart recovery, the Government is providing £1 billion to incentivise providers to address backlogs and tackle long waiting lists; this is accessible through the Elective Recovery Fund. In May, NHS England also launched a £160 million initiative to tackle waiting lists. The Department will continue to support the NHS to deliver the maximum amount of elective activity possible. The Minister for Equalities is leading work to take forward the response to tackle COVID-19 disparities experienced by individuals from an ethnic minority background, including people with sickle cell disease, and recently published her third report to the Prime Minister.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to help improve the (a) availability of and (b) access to innovative treatments for sickle cell disease.

On 9th January 2021, the Government published the United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework, outlining four key priorities to improve the lives of those living with rare diseases such as sickle cell disease. Improving access to specialist care, treatment and drugs is listed as one of these priorities, alongside helping patients get a final diagnosis faster, increasing awareness of rare diseases among healthcare professionals, and better coordination of care. The Framework will be followed by nation-specific action plans, detailing how each nation of the UK will meet the shared priorities of the Framework.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) availability of and (b) access to innovative treatments for sickle cell disease in the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently developing guidance on the use of crizanlizumab for preventing sickle cell crises in sickle cell disease and expects to publish its final recommendation in September 2021. In addition, NICE’s appraisal of voxelotor for treating sickle cell disease is anticipated to begin in September 2021, with an expected publication date of August 2022.

The Government published the UK Rare Diseases Framework in January 2021, outlining four key priorities to improve the lives of those living with rare diseases, such as sickle cell disease. One of these priorities is improving access to specialist care, treatment and drugs. The Framework will be followed by nation-specific action plans, detailing how each nation of the United Kingdom will meet the shared priorities of the Framework.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to tackle health inequalities through NICE’s ongoing review of its methods and processes; and if he will make a statement.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is currently reviewing its methods and processes for health technology assessment.

NICE consulted on the case for changes to its methods in late 2020 and proposed that there may be a case for introducing a modifier that addresses health inequalities.

NICE is now considering the responses it received to the consultation and the impacts of the proposals. It is too soon to comment on what changes might be implemented, however, NICE intends to consult on the proposed changes to its methods and processes in the summer.

Departmental officials are represented on the committees that NICE has set up as part of the review and have had a number of discussions with NICE and NHS England about the review, including about the introduction of a health inequalities modifier.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the proposed introduction of a health inequalities modifier for patients with (a) sickle cell disease, (b) haemoglobinopathies and (c) conditions with high levels of clinical unmet need in NICE’s ongoing review of its methods and processes.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is currently reviewing its methods and processes for health technology assessment.

NICE consulted on the case for changes to its methods in late 2020 and proposed that there may be a case for introducing a modifier that addresses health inequalities.

NICE is now considering the responses it received to the consultation and the impacts of the proposals. It is too soon to comment on what changes might be implemented, however, NICE intends to consult on the proposed changes to its methods and processes in the summer.

Departmental officials are represented on the committees that NICE has set up as part of the review and have had a number of discussions with NICE and NHS England about the review, including about the introduction of a health inequalities modifier.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives from (a) NICE and (b) NHS England on the proposed introduction of a health inequalities modifier as part of NICE’s ongoing review of its methods and processes.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is currently reviewing its methods and processes for health technology assessment.

NICE consulted on the case for changes to its methods in late 2020 and proposed that there may be a case for introducing a modifier that addresses health inequalities.

NICE is now considering the responses it received to the consultation and the impacts of the proposals. It is too soon to comment on what changes might be implemented, however, NICE intends to consult on the proposed changes to its methods and processes in the summer.

Departmental officials are represented on the committees that NICE has set up as part of the review and have had a number of discussions with NICE and NHS England about the review, including about the introduction of a health inequalities modifier.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of increases in incidence of kidney cancer on the demand for urology cancer nurse specialists.

Specialist clinical nursing workforce working in kidney cancer is a post registration qualification and it is the responsibility of individual employers to ensure they have the staff available to provide clinical services.

The Spending Review 2020 provides £260 million to continue to grow our National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan, including continuing to take forward the Cancer Workforce Plan Phase One commitment to expand education and training to increase the number of Clinical Nurse Specialists and develop common and consistent competencies, including for urological cancers.

Full details on funding allocations towards NHS workforce budgets, including Health Education England, in 2021-22 will be published in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS healthcare professionals have undertaken training to qualify as a Non-Medical Practitioner in Oncology in England in each of the last five years.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many qualified non-medical practitioners there are in the NHS Prostate Cancer Workforce in England; and how many there were in 2019.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding and training opportunities are available in England to support healthcare professionals seeking to pursue non-medical practitioner qualifications in Oncology.

There are a number of clinicians who make up a multi-professional team within oncology. This includes nurses, therapeutic radiographers, healthcare scientists such as medical physicists, pharmacists, speech and language therapists and dieticians. Health Education England supports the education and training of these clinicians through clinical placements and the promotion of priority professions and routes into training. Where courses are eligible, prospective students can access funding through the Student Loans Company for their tuition fees and maintenance loan to support their studies whilst at university. In addition, for a range of courses a non-repayable grant of up to £8,000 per year is available with all students receiving a minimum of £5,000.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many rapid diagnostic pathways are in operation for prostate cancer in the NHS in England.

There are currently 11 urology or prostate rapid diagnostic centre pathways operational or in development, some of which cover multiple hospital sites.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding he has allocated to support the roll out of rapid diagnostic pathways in prostate cancer across England in 2021.

The information is not held in the format requested.

In 2020/21, £121 million has been allocated in funding for cancer and £198 million in 2021/2022, including for the development of rapid diagnostic centres.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many urgent courses of treatment were delivered by NHS General Dental Services contract holders in England in each of the last 6 months.

Data on NHS dental activity for the last six months is not currently available.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what number and proportion of NHS General Dental Services contract holders in England delivered less than 45% of their contracted activity in the last quarter of 2020-21 financial year.

Finalised data on the delivery of contracted activity in the last quarter of the 2020-21 financial year is not yet available.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what number and proportion of NHS General Dental Services contract holders in England delivered less than 36% of their contracted activity in the last quarter of 2020/2021 financial year.

Finalised data on the delivery of contracted activity in the last quarter of the 2020-21 financial year is not yet available.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS General Dental Services contract holders in England are currently working through their contractual notice period before ceasing to provide NHS services.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS General Dental Services contract holders in England handed back their NHS contract in each of the last 6 months.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using (a) bingo halls and (b) other currently unoccupied venues for the administration of the covid-19 vaccine.

No specific assessment has been made.

In support of the deployment programme, National Health Service regional teams worked with local commissioners to identify sites potentially suitable for use as vaccination centres, including those that were unoccupied. Those sites deemed to suitable were then assessed by NHS England and NHS Improvement in order to make the final selection.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how long the contract with Serco for NHS Test and Trace has been extended beyond the initial 14-week period.

The Department has two contracts with Serco in relation to COVID-19. The first is for the provision of facilities management services to support the operation of testing sites. The contract was let in March 2020 for an initial term of six months to September 2020. The final cost was £47.9 million. It was extended from 1 October 2020 to 30 April 2021 for an expanded service with a final outturn against the budget of £208 million of £209.3 million. This was as a result of additional support required such as testing at Dover. A contract extension was agreed to ensure service continuity of the facilities management service until 23 July 2021 whilst a new procurement exercise was undertaken. The value of this extension is £97 million.

Following a competition on the Crown Commercial Services Framework for Facilities Management, Serco was awarded a contract on 25 June to continue providing these services with a value of up to £322 million for a 12 month period with an option to extend for six months. Given the number of site transitions this involves, we are currently finalising a further contract extension of 24 days to ensure that all sites will be fully transitioned and mobilised under the new contracts by 16 August.

The second contract is for the National Health Service call handling service to support the tracing initiative. The contract had a maximum value of £410 million to cover the initial period and any and all extension periods undertaken up to a period of 12 months. The contract was extended for its full term to the end of May 2021. The actual outturn expenditure on this contract was £358 million. The contract has been extended for a period of six months from 1 June to the end of November for a maximum value of £66 million.

The contract has been extended for a limited period so that there would not be a gap in the tracing service during a crucial time in the pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost to the public purse is of the contract with Serco for NHS Test and Trace for the (a) initial 14-week period and (b) subsequent extensions of that contract.

The Department has two contracts with Serco in relation to COVID-19. The first is for the provision of facilities management services to support the operation of testing sites. The contract was let in March 2020 for an initial term of six months to September 2020. The final cost was £47.9 million. It was extended from 1 October 2020 to 30 April 2021 for an expanded service with a final outturn against the budget of £208 million of £209.3 million. This was as a result of additional support required such as testing at Dover. A contract extension was agreed to ensure service continuity of the facilities management service until 23 July 2021 whilst a new procurement exercise was undertaken. The value of this extension is £97 million.

Following a competition on the Crown Commercial Services Framework for Facilities Management, Serco was awarded a contract on 25 June to continue providing these services with a value of up to £322 million for a 12 month period with an option to extend for six months. Given the number of site transitions this involves, we are currently finalising a further contract extension of 24 days to ensure that all sites will be fully transitioned and mobilised under the new contracts by 16 August.

The second contract is for the National Health Service call handling service to support the tracing initiative. The contract had a maximum value of £410 million to cover the initial period and any and all extension periods undertaken up to a period of 12 months. The contract was extended for its full term to the end of May 2021. The actual outturn expenditure on this contract was £358 million. The contract has been extended for a period of six months from 1 June to the end of November for a maximum value of £66 million.

The contract has been extended for a limited period so that there would not be a gap in the tracing service during a crucial time in the pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to further extend the contract with Serco for NHS Test and Trace; and whether a further extension would breach the maximum value as stated in the original contract.

The Department has two contracts with Serco in relation to COVID-19. The first is for the provision of facilities management services to support the operation of testing sites. The contract was let in March 2020 for an initial term of six months to September 2020. The final cost was £47.9 million. It was extended from 1 October 2020 to 30 April 2021 for an expanded service with a final outturn against the budget of £208 million of £209.3 million. This was as a result of additional support required such as testing at Dover. A contract extension was agreed to ensure service continuity of the facilities management service until 23 July 2021 whilst a new procurement exercise was undertaken. The value of this extension is £97 million.

Following a competition on the Crown Commercial Services Framework for Facilities Management, Serco was awarded a contract on 25 June to continue providing these services with a value of up to £322 million for a 12 month period with an option to extend for six months. Given the number of site transitions this involves, we are currently finalising a further contract extension of 24 days to ensure that all sites will be fully transitioned and mobilised under the new contracts by 16 August.

The second contract is for the National Health Service call handling service to support the tracing initiative. The contract had a maximum value of £410 million to cover the initial period and any and all extension periods undertaken up to a period of 12 months. The contract was extended for its full term to the end of May 2021. The actual outturn expenditure on this contract was £358 million. The contract has been extended for a period of six months from 1 June to the end of November for a maximum value of £66 million.

The contract has been extended for a limited period so that there would not be a gap in the tracing service during a crucial time in the pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to further extend the contract with Serco for NHS test and trace; and whether a further extension will breach the maximum value as stated in the original contract.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost to the public purse is of the contract with Serco for NHS test and trade for the (a) initial 14-week period and (b) all subsequent extensions of that contract.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how long the contract with Serco for NHS test and trace has been extended beyond the initial 14-week period.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.
Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish data on the roll-out of the covid-19 vaccine to adult household members of immunocompromised clinically extremely vulnerable groups.

We do not yet have a specific timeline for publishing this data. Information on the vaccination programme is regularly reviewed and new datasets are added as available.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's timeframe is for introducing digital cards to replace paper Healthy Start Vouchers.

The NHS Business Services Authority are leading the work to digitise the Healthy Start scheme on behalf of the Department, to facilitate families to apply for, receive and use Healthy Start benefits. The NHS Business Services Authority will provide all new users applying to the digital scheme and all existing users every opportunity to transition to pre-paid cards by 31 October 2021.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all GPs are aware of the update to JCVI guidance on prioritisation of adults for the covid-19 living with immunocompromised clinically extremely vulnerable people.

The National Health Service has written to all general practitioner practices setting out how vaccines will be offered to this group and how eligible individuals are to be identified. A separate ‘Operational Guide’ has been created setting out more details and how the NHS plans to maximise uptake in this group. The NHS has also written to all Medical Directors setting out the steps needed to identify immunosuppressed individuals in secondary care.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in the Scottish Government on the use of digital cards to replace paper Healthy Start Vouchers.

Departmental officials and colleagues in the NHS Business Services Authority, who are leading the work to digitise the Healthy Start scheme on behalf of the Department, continue to engage with the devolved administrations as the current scheme becomes digitised.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the total value of claimed Healthy Start Vouchers was in each of the last 12 months for which data is available.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of how much the Government has paid to consultants at firms in connection with the development of a digital card scheme to replace paper Healthy Start Vouchers.

The Department spent £1,909,149 (excluding VAT) on external consultants in developing a digital card scheme to replace paper Healthy Start Vouchers.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 are used to remove any products found to contain menthol immediately from the market following the results of the Public Health England investigation into the illegal sale of these products.

We await the outcome of Public Health England’s testing of tobacco products as part of the Department’s investigation of possible breaches of the prohibition of menthol at a level that gives the product a characterising flavour. If any products are tested and found to be in breach of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, action will be taken to remove these products from the market.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 16 December 2020 to Question 127034 on Pharmacy: Rother Valley, on what basis the Government has determined that £370 million has been made in advance payments to support pharmacies; what assessment he has made of how those advanced payments have been spent; when he estimates those advanced payments will be repaid; what assessment he has made of the effect on community pharmacies of repaying those advanced payments; and if he will make a statement.

The latest data available from the NHS Business Services Authority show that there were 74 net pharmacy closures, reflecting openings and closures, from June 2017-18; 82 net closures in 2018-19; and 126 net closures in 2019-20. The data for the year 2020-21 is not yet available. We have not estimated the number of community pharmacies that might close in 2021-22 but we continue to monitor the market.

Discussions are ongoing with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) about additional funding for costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its assessment of COVID-19 costs incurred by the sector the Government will take account of the £370 million increased advance payments paid to community pharmacies. The COVID-19 support package for community pharmacy also included general COVID-19 business financial support, funding for Bank Holiday openings, social distancing measures and the medicine delivery service to shielded patients and free personal protective equipment, as well as non-monetary support including the removal of some administrative tasks, flexibility in opening hours and the delayed introduction of new services.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the cashflows of community pharmacies; what estimate he has made if the number of community pharmacies that (a) have closed in each of the last three financial years and (b) will close in the financial year 2021-22; and if he will make a statement.

The latest data available from the NHS Business Services Authority show that there were 74 net pharmacy closures, reflecting openings and closures, from June 2017-18; 82 net closures in 2018-19; and 126 net closures in 2019-20. The data for the year 2020-21 is not yet available. We have not estimated the number of community pharmacies that might close in 2021-22 but we continue to monitor the market.

Discussions are ongoing with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) about additional funding for costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its assessment of COVID-19 costs incurred by the sector the Government will take account of the £370 million increased advance payments paid to community pharmacies. The COVID-19 support package for community pharmacy also included general COVID-19 business financial support, funding for Bank Holiday openings, social distancing measures and the medicine delivery service to shielded patients and free personal protective equipment, as well as non-monetary support including the removal of some administrative tasks, flexibility in opening hours and the delayed introduction of new services.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the NHS spend was on occupational health services and occupational health and wellbeing support to NHS staff (a) from 2015 to 2019 and (b) in 2020.

Information on the amount of money invested in occupational health across the National Health Service is not collected centrally.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the study published on 11 March 2021 by Kings College London and the Crick Institute on vaccine efficacy among people with cancer.

Early findings from the King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute study, which seeks to measure the immune response generated by the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at three and five weeks post vaccination, indicated a lower antibody response in people with certain types of cancer.

The findings of the study, which has not yet been published or peer-reviewed, should be used cautiously. They are indicative and do not provide suitable data to infer directly the level of clinical protection.

The independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the Government on vaccine use and prioritisation, regularly reviews data and evidence on vaccine efficacy and effectiveness.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress the Government has made on funding (a) research and (b) trials on long-term vaccine efficacy for the immunocompromised after (a) first and (b) second dose.

As part of the National Core Studies Immunity Programme, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has provided initial funding of £1.8 million towards the OCTAVE study looking at COVID-19 vaccine responses in groups of immune suppressed individuals. UKRI is also supporting the Data and Connectivity National Core Studies programme with an investment of up to £8.2 million to date to enable the evaluation of vaccine uptake and efficacy across all populations.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 30 November 2020 to Question 116622 on Health: Coronavirus, whether his Department plans to assess the effect of long covid on patients with obesity; and if he will make a statement.

COVID-19 is a new disease and therefore it is not yet clear what the physical, psychological and rehabilitation needs will be for those experiencing long-term effects of the virus. There is some evidence to suggest that ‘long’ COVID-19 may be more prevalent as body mass index increases but further research is needed.

The National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation have invested £8.4 million in the Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study and have awarded an additional £18.5 million funding across four new research studies to help better understand the causes, symptoms and treatment options for ‘long’ COVID-19 in non-hospitalised patients.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's policy paper Tackling obesity: government strategy, published in July 2020, what meetings with relevant stakeholders has Public Health England held to help develop the healthy weight coaches training programme.

Public Health England has established a steering group that meets regularly, which includes relevant stakeholders. Additional stakeholders and representatives from key organisations will be involved in reviewing the training programme.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the 2020 Obesity Strategy, when Public Health England plans to launch the healthy weight coaches training programme.

This training programme is currently under development and more information will be launched later in the year.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Mar 2021
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 access to Tier 3 and Tier 4 NHS weight management services; and what progress he is making to resume those services.

We are aware of the impact of COVID-19 on tier 3 and tier 4 weight management services and are working closely with NHS England on our approach. As part of delivering the commitments set out in ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, the Government announced £100 million extra funding for healthy weight programmes including specialist clinical support.

Decisions about the provision of tier 3 and 4 weight management services, along with other elective activity, will be made at a local level reflecting varying pressures on local health systems and availability of capacity, including use of the independent sector, and taking into account of the rate of recovery of elective services following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which obesity patient and professional organisations his Department consulted with on the proposals on obesity in the Health and Care White Paper.

We have consulted extensively on the policies across our healthy weight strategy and received thousands of responses from a range of stakeholders including individuals, professional bodies and experts including organisations with a particular interest in obesity. These include the Obesity Health Alliance and its members, such as the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, British Heart Foundation, British Dietetic Association and Cancer Research UK. We also meet these organisations regularly and will continue this dialogue going forwards.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that hospital boards do not hold back from apologising to patients out of fear of consequences relating to their liability, as recommended by the Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, HC 31, published in February 2020.

We will be providing the Government’s initial response to the Paterson Inquiry shortly, which will update on progress in our consideration of the Report’s recommendations.

We have been in regular communication with Spire Healthcare to monitor the progress of its recall. By December 2020 Spire Healthcare had contacted approximately 5,500 known living patients of Ian Paterson for whom they have addresses. Spire Healthcare is currently ensuring that the care of those patients has been fully reviewed, that the outcome of the reviews has been fully communicated to them and that, if required, they are getting the support and care that they need. Additionally, several hundred people have contacted Spire as a result of the letters sent out last year. A proportion of these are having their care reviewed by an independent consultant surgeon and some have been referred for counselling, follow up support or, where clinically appropriate, treatment. Spire Healthcare will continue their review of patients’ care during 2021.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 introduced a statutory duty of candour. Providers must ensure that they have processes in place to ensure staff are supported to deliver the duty of candour and have a system in place to identify and deal with possible breaches by registered staff. The Care Quality Commission published updated guidance on the duty of candour on 11 March 2021 which has been informed by the recommendation of the Paterson Inquiry about apologising to patients when things go wrong. The updated guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/updated-guidance-meeting-duty-candour

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that patients treated by Ian Paterson at the hospitals operated by Spire Healthcare have been given ongoing treatment plans appropriate to their health needs, as recommended by the Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, HC 31, published in February 2020.

We will be providing the Government’s initial response to the Paterson Inquiry shortly, which will update on progress in our consideration of the Report’s recommendations.

We have been in regular communication with Spire Healthcare to monitor the progress of its recall. By December 2020 Spire Healthcare had contacted approximately 5,500 known living patients of Ian Paterson for whom they have addresses. Spire Healthcare is currently ensuring that the care of those patients has been fully reviewed, that the outcome of the reviews has been fully communicated to them and that, if required, they are getting the support and care that they need. Additionally, several hundred people have contacted Spire as a result of the letters sent out last year. A proportion of these are having their care reviewed by an independent consultant surgeon and some have been referred for counselling, follow up support or, where clinically appropriate, treatment. Spire Healthcare will continue their review of patients’ care during 2021.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 introduced a statutory duty of candour. Providers must ensure that they have processes in place to ensure staff are supported to deliver the duty of candour and have a system in place to identify and deal with possible breaches by registered staff. The Care Quality Commission published updated guidance on the duty of candour on 11 March 2021 which has been informed by the recommendation of the Paterson Inquiry about apologising to patients when things go wrong. The updated guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/updated-guidance-meeting-duty-candour

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 29 September 2020 to Question 93695 on the Paterson Inquiry, when his Department plans to publish the formal Government response to the Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, HC 31, published in February 2020.

We will be providing the Government’s initial response to the Paterson Inquiry shortly, which will update on progress in our consideration of the Report’s recommendations.

We have been in regular communication with Spire Healthcare to monitor the progress of its recall. By December 2020 Spire Healthcare had contacted approximately 5,500 known living patients of Ian Paterson for whom they have addresses. Spire Healthcare is currently ensuring that the care of those patients has been fully reviewed, that the outcome of the reviews has been fully communicated to them and that, if required, they are getting the support and care that they need. Additionally, several hundred people have contacted Spire as a result of the letters sent out last year. A proportion of these are having their care reviewed by an independent consultant surgeon and some have been referred for counselling, follow up support or, where clinically appropriate, treatment. Spire Healthcare will continue their review of patients’ care during 2021.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 introduced a statutory duty of candour. Providers must ensure that they have processes in place to ensure staff are supported to deliver the duty of candour and have a system in place to identify and deal with possible breaches by registered staff. The Care Quality Commission published updated guidance on the duty of candour on 11 March 2021 which has been informed by the recommendation of the Paterson Inquiry about apologising to patients when things go wrong. The updated guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/updated-guidance-meeting-duty-candour

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of establishing fluoroquinolone toxicity as a diagnosis in response to the negative side effects attributed to fluoroquinolone usage by some patients.

Serious side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics can be varied, potentially affecting several different parts of the body. The review of the safety of fluoroquinolone antibiotics by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) focussed on the potential for serious side effects and did not specifically assess the potential advantages or disadvantages of using a specific definition for fluoroquinolone toxicity. Regulatory actions taken as a result of this review have focussed on giving healthcare professionals and patients the information they need to identify any potential side effects for appropriate action and on encouraging the reporting of any suspected side effects to the Yellow Card Scheme. A specific diagnosis is not required.

On 21 March 2019 the MHRA published a Drug Safety Update (DSU) bulletin on the potential serious side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, which may be potentially long-lasting or irreversible. The DSU also emphasised the restrictions and precautions for use of these medicines that were introduced after the review of their safety by the EMA and the MHRA. The DSU bulletin includes a link to a patient sheet designed to help healthcare professionals and patients disc