Alex Sobel Portrait

Alex Sobel

Labour (Co-op) - Leeds North West

Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

(since April 2020)
Highgate Cemetery Bill Committee
16th Jun 2021 - 16th Jun 2021
Environmental Audit Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 22nd Feb 2021
Backbench Business Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Environmental Audit Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Protecting the Public and Justice for Victims
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 0
Speeches
Wednesday 15th September 2021
Withdrawal from Afghanistan: Joint Committee

Since 14 August, I have looked with dismay and apprehension at the collapse of Afghanistan into the hands of the …

Written Answers
Monday 13th September 2021
Voting Rights: British Nationals Abroad
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timetable is to …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 25th March 2020
Closure of call centre sites during the covid-19 outbreak
That this House notes concerns expressed by call centre staff who are being asked to physically attend work despite the …
Bills
None available
Tweets
Friday 17th September 2021
11:33
MP Financial Interests
Monday 6th September 2021
8. Miscellaneous
On 26 August 2021, Tesla UK Limited lent me a vehicle for an extended test drive over the bank holiday …
EDM signed
Tuesday 13th April 2021
Immigration
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 24th March 2020
Wellbeing of Future Generations (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to make provision for requiring public bodies to act in pursuit of the United Kingdom’s environmental, social, economic …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Alex Sobel has voted in 251 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Alex Sobel 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
Nigel Huddleston (Conservative)
Assistant Whip
(10 debate interactions)
Rebecca Pow (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(6 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(6 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(12 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(10 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Alex Sobel's debates

Leeds North West 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 Leeds North West signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

We ask Parliament to repeal the High Speed Rail Bills, 2016 and 2019, as MPs voted on misleading environmental, financial and timetable information provided by the Dept of Transport and HS2 Ltd. It fails to address the conditions of the Paris Accord and costs have risen from £56bn to over £100bn.

Advice from the JCVI on the priority groups for a Covid-19 vaccine does not include school/childcare workers. This petition calls for these workers, who cannot distance or use PPE, to be kept safe at work by being put on the vaccine priority list when such a list is adopted into government policy.


Latest EDMs signed by Alex Sobel

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

Immigration

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 184), dated 23 February 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 25 February 2021, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 40
Scottish National Party: 24
Liberal Democrat: 8
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
30th December 2020
Alex Sobel signed this EDM on Wednesday 27th January 2021

Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

Tabled by: Bob Blackman (Conservative - Harrow East)
That this House notes that on 27 January 2021 the UK will observe Holocaust Memorial Day marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where an estimated 1.1 million people were murdered; commemorates the six million victims of the Holocaust; further notes that the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 …
97 signatures
(Most recent: 11 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 45
Scottish National Party: 31
Conservative: 7
Liberal Democrat: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
View All Alex Sobel's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Alex Sobel, 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.



559 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
4 Other Department Questions
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will take steps to encourage companies to include the gender-neutral title Mx on application and administrative forms.

We are aware that some people use titles that do not indicate gender – for example Dr, Rev, Major or Mx. Individuals can decide what title they want to use on forms, without going through a formal process, and organisations are free to decide the best way of collecting titles for their needs.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will take steps to encourage public bodies to include the gender-neutral title Mx on application and administrative forms.

We are aware that some people use titles that do not indicate gender – for example Dr, Rev, Major or Mx. Individuals can decide what title they want to use on forms, without going through a formal process, and organisations are free to decide the best way of collecting titles for their needs.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what progress she has made on encouraging organisations to include the gender-neutral title Mx on their forms; and if she will make a statement.

We are aware that some people use titles that do not indicate gender – for example Dr, Rev, Major or Mx. Individuals can decide what title they want to use on forms, without going through a formal process, and organisations are free to decide the best way of collecting titles for their needs.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether her Department plans to continue the work of the Period Poverty Taskforce.

The cross-sectoral Period Poverty Taskforce has provided a clearer understanding of the problem of period poverty and the expert solutions to address the barriers faced by all who have periods. Alongside this, work across government will ensure that people in schools, colleges, hospitals and police custody can access period products with dignity. Further announcements on the plans and the work of the Taskforce will be made in due course.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timetable is to bring forward legislative proposals to allow UK citizens living abroad for more than fifteen years the right to vote in UK elections.

On 5 July, the Government introduced the Elections Bill which includes measures to remove the current 15 year rule and enfranchise all British citizens for UK Parliamentary elections who were previously registered or resident in the UK.


The passage of the Bill can be followed here https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many deaths have been officially attributed to lead poisoning in the last 10 years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether people without internet access who have been unable to reach the census 2021 helpline as a result of reported waiting times will receive a fine for not submitting a census form by the given deadline.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many calls have been unanswered by the Census 2021 helpline since it opened in 2021.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many requests the census 2021 helpline has had for paper forms since it opened in 2021.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure that there is an investigation of alleged links between financial backers of the Vote Leave campaign and Russian intelligence.

We have seen no evidence of successful interference in the EU Referendum. The Intelligence and Security Agencies produce regular assessments of the threat posed by Hostile State Activity, including around potential interference in UK democratic processes.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to release sex-disaggregated data on covid-19 victims.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people died from (a) asthma and (b) lung cancer in England in each of the last 10 years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will publish (a) the full criteria applied to applications for the Future Fund: Breakthrough scheme and (b) an annual list of successful applicants and their co-investors.

Future Fund: Breakthrough, due to launch later this summer, is a new £375m UK-wide scheme that will encourage private investors to co-invest alongside government in high-growth, innovative firms. The scheme will be run by the British Business Bank.

Future Fund: Breakthrough will provide equity finance to innovative companies that are able to attract a minimum level of investment from the private sector. Companies must be UK-based with significant UK operations, they must have a track record of investment in research and development, and applications must be led by an established venture capital investor.

More details, including the full eligibility criteria, will be published on the British Business Bank’s website at the launch of the scheme. Arrangements for publishing investments will be decided in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his department plans go publish the Hydrogen Strategy, and whether that strategy will make an assessment of the role that hydrogen can play in decarbonising steelmaking.

We intend to publish the first ever UK Hydrogen Strategy before summer recess. The Strategy will set out what is required to build a hydrogen economy fit for 2030, Carbon Budget 6 and beyond, whilst maximising economic benefits. It will also discuss the role of low carbon hydrogen as a leading option for decarbonising industrial processes. Alongside this, we will also consult on priority policies including a hydrogen business model, a low carbon hydrogen standard, and the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.

The UK is monitoring international progress on low carbon steel making trials, using hydrogen and other technologies, and is actively engaged in international initiatives to support industrial decarbonisation innovation, including the Mission Innovation platform and the Leadership Group for Industry Transition.

Decarbonising UK industry is a core part of the Government’s ambitious plan for the green industrial revolution. The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published on 17 March, commits government to work with the Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’. The Steel Council offers the forum for government, industry and trade unions to work in partnership on the shared objective of creating an achievable, long-term plan to support the sector’s transition to a competitive, sustainable and low carbon future. Hydrogen-based steelmaking is one of the technological approaches being examined as part of this process.

The UK steel sector will be given the opportunity to bid into industrial fuel switching innovation programmes under the £1bn NZIP portfolio, which is intended to promote switching away from more carbon-intensive fuel sources. The Government has also announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund to support the UK steel sector to transition to lower carbon iron and steel production, through investment in new technologies and processes.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish his Department’s Innovation Strategy.

In the recent ‘Build Back Better: our plan for growth’ published alongside Budget, the Government announced the publication of a new Innovation Strategy in the summer. In line with its commitment, BEIS is currently working across government to develop the Strategy in time for then.

The Strategy will outline how we will achieve our ambitions in innovation and where we want to focus our efforts over the next decade. It will aim to set out the strategic objective and create the confidence for increased business investment in R&D and innovation.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to commit to a 2035 target for near zero emissions in the steel sector in the Net Zero Strategy.

The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published on 17 March, commits to work with the newly constituted Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’. The Steel Council offers the forum for government, industry and trade unions to work in partnership on the shared objective of creating an achievable, long-term plan to support the sector’s transition to a competitive, sustainable and low carbon future.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how his Department is planning to allocate the Clean Steel Fund; and when that allocation will be announced.

The Department announced the Clean Steel Fund (CSF) in 2019 and it is currently in development. This policy will take time to design in order to be delivered effectively.

Based on previous evidence, complex decarbonisation projects have long lead-in times and take time to set up. Due to this and other factors, the steel sector indicated in response to the 2019 Call for Evidence that their preference is for the CSF to be launched in 2023. Other schemes are available to support the sector and are live now, including the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department’s long-term plan is to support the creation of green jobs in the UK steel industry.

Levelling up and ensuring high-quality employment across every region of the UK is a key element in the Government’s Plan for Growth. It is estimated that the UK low-carbon economy could grow more than four times faster than the rest of the economy between 2015 and 2030 and support up to 2 million jobs. The Government will ensure that the benefits of our growing low-carbon economy are shared fairly in every region.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has any plans to use the UK’s status as an independent nation outside the EU to set a global standard on actively phasing out animal testing.

The Government believes that animals should only be used when there is no practicable alternative and it actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs).  This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs), which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and to ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research.  Since the NC3Rs was launched it has committed £100 million through its research, innovation, and early career awards to provide new 3Rs approaches for scientists in academia and industry to use.

The NC3Rs is widely regarded as being world leading and has an ambitious international programme to reduce the use of animals in safety testing by working with regulators and companies from the pharmaceutical, chemical, agrochemical and consumer product sectors. This has led to changes in international regulations and company practices. Recent work includes the publication of the findings of a global data sharing project, led by the NC3Rs, that indicates that there are opportunities to shift to using one animal species rather than two for some chronic toxicity studies used in pharmaceutical drug evaluation.

There has been a concern that increased life sciences activity resulting from research to find a treatment for the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased use of animals in research. However, as detailed in the EU Clinical Trials Register (https://www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu/) or Clinicaltrials.gov (https://clinicaltrials.gov/), the majority of products in these trials are “re-purposed” drugs and have already been developed for treatment of similar viral outbreaks, such as SARS and MERS, or have been used to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome or other inflammatory conditions. As such, none of these have required additional animal testing.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices in the UK by ensuring they work and are acceptably safe. The rapid development of vaccines for COVID-19 has been based on a concept that the MHRA has long followed. Previous animal work on very similar vaccines have been used to support the development of the new vaccines and has reduced the number of animal studies.

The MHRA work very closely with NC3Rs in bringing together stakeholders in academia, industry, government and animal welfare organisations to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas, and the translation of research findings into practice that benefits both animals and science.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that increased life sciences sector activity and funding does not result in increased numbers of animal experiments.

The Government believes that animals should only be used when there is no practicable alternative and it actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs).  This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs), which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and to ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research.  Since the NC3Rs was launched it has committed £100 million through its research, innovation, and early career awards to provide new 3Rs approaches for scientists in academia and industry to use.

The NC3Rs is widely regarded as being world leading and has an ambitious international programme to reduce the use of animals in safety testing by working with regulators and companies from the pharmaceutical, chemical, agrochemical and consumer product sectors. This has led to changes in international regulations and company practices. Recent work includes the publication of the findings of a global data sharing project, led by the NC3Rs, that indicates that there are opportunities to shift to using one animal species rather than two for some chronic toxicity studies used in pharmaceutical drug evaluation.

There has been a concern that increased life sciences activity resulting from research to find a treatment for the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased use of animals in research. However, as detailed in the EU Clinical Trials Register (https://www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu/) or Clinicaltrials.gov (https://clinicaltrials.gov/), the majority of products in these trials are “re-purposed” drugs and have already been developed for treatment of similar viral outbreaks, such as SARS and MERS, or have been used to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome or other inflammatory conditions. As such, none of these have required additional animal testing.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices in the UK by ensuring they work and are acceptably safe. The rapid development of vaccines for COVID-19 has been based on a concept that the MHRA has long followed. Previous animal work on very similar vaccines have been used to support the development of the new vaccines and has reduced the number of animal studies.

The MHRA work very closely with NC3Rs in bringing together stakeholders in academia, industry, government and animal welfare organisations to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas, and the translation of research findings into practice that benefits both animals and science.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish his Department’s Life Sciences Strategy.

The Office for Life Sciences are leading on the development of a Life Sciences Sector Vision, which is due to be published over the Summer.

The Vision will form part of the HM Treasury Plan for Growth agenda, published at the Budget in March and will build on the successes of the 2017 Life Sciences Strategy, spearheaded by Sir John Bell.

The Life Sciences Vision will be co-developed with industry and set out the Government’s ambitions for the Life Sciences sector over the next decade. It provides an opportunity to take into account the strengths of UK Life Sciences illustrated by COVID, put fresh energy behind the 2017 strategy themes, and identify new and emerging opportunities for the sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his department will publish (a) the full criteria applied to applications for the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund and (b) an annual list of successful applicants to that fund.

The full criteria applied to applications for the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund has been published and can be accessed via the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/988194/mdmtf-medicines-diagnostics-manufacturing-transformation-fund-scheme-guidance.pdf.

The fund runs only for a single year. We will ensure that the names of successful applicants to the fund are published in a timely manner.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a new Department or Ministerial position dedicated to accelerating the replacement of animals in research with artificial intelligence, the use of human cells or tissues, organ-on-a-chip technology and other human relevant methods.

The use of animals in research is carefully regulated and remains important in ensuring new medicines and treatments are safe. The Government funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs). UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funds a portfolio of research projects involving humans, human materials, animal models, and non-animal technologies. At this time, whole organism approaches continue to be important as they can replicate aspects of disease complexity when experimentation in human volunteers is not possible for safety or ethical reasons. We do recognise the increasing value of in vitro and in silico models, including organs-on-chips and 3-dimensional mini-brains, which can greatly aid the development of new healthcare innovations and also reduce, refine or replace the use of animals in research.

Between 2015-2019, UKRI’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) spent over £7 million on research grants aimed at developing and applying innovative methodologies to studying human and animal physiology, including in silico approaches, organ-on-a-chip, organoid and other advanced cell culture systems. These methodologies have the potential to reduce the use of animals in research and provide more effective tools for studying human and animal biology. In addition, BBSRC supports the UK Animal Research Network which aims to bring the animal research community together to improve collaboration, and help sustain and develop UK animal welfare research.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to learn from international efforts to accelerate the replacement of animal experiments with human-relevant methods, including (a) the commitment made by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to stop funding and requesting tests on mammals by 2035 and (b) the collaborative work being undertaken in the Netherlands to develop strategies for research without using animals.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is committed to ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of global efforts to improve the use and welfare of laboratory animals. The use of animals in research is carefully regulated and remains important in ensuring new medicines and treatments are safe. The government funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs).  This is achieved primarily through UKRI funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research. Across the UK, the NC3Rs has invested £71 million in research through grants to universities.

We recognise the important signal that the commitment of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to phase out animal testing on mammals by 2035 sends. The UK through the NC3Rs has been effective at changing international regulations on chemical and pharmaceutical safety assessment. For example, the US Office of Pesticide Programs which is part of the US Environmental Protection Agency has recently changed its fish testing requirements for bioconcentration factor studies based on the NC3Rs work in this area.

The NC3RS CRACK IT Challenges, which funds R&D to solve major challenges relating to the use of animals, includes funded research teams in the EU with the NC3Rs committing £4.35 million to teams led by organisations in the Netherlands. The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development has launched Create2Solve, a funding call in its ‘More Knowledge with Fewer Animals’ programme, that is entirely based on the NC3Rs CRACK IT Challenges programme.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on allowing heritage sites to offer socially distanced showgrounds to couples looking to book a wedding venue, ahead of Step 3 of the Roadmap.

BEIS Ministers are in regular contact with Cabinet colleagues on matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including issues relating to reopening.

Venues will only be able to open for viewings, including show rounds for wedding couples, where the venue is permitted to open, or where a relevant exemption applies. Where a venue is required to close for the purposes of a viewing people could have a virtual tour.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with (a) Ofgem and (b) distribution network operators on (i) taking steps to tackle technical energy losses in the energy system and (ii) investing in efficient cabling to prepare the energy system for an increase in demand.

The Government recognises the importance of managing energy losses to reduce emissions and protect consumers from unnecessary costs. We have regular discussions with Ofgem, which has the relevant regulatory powers in this area.

Under the regulatory regime, distribution network operators have licence obligations to ensure that losses are as low as reasonably practicable and are incentivised to take action to reduce losses. As a result, for example, it is now standard practice for distribution network operators to ‘oversize’ replacement and new lower voltage cables, which reduces losses and also provides future proofing for demand increases.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) effect and (b) cost of energy losses in the UK when developing the Energy White Paper.

The Energy White Paper sets out our long-term strategic vision to deliver an affordable, secure and reliable energy system, consistent with net zero emissions by 2050.

As we pursue this vision, we recognise the importance of managing energy losses to reduce emissions and protect consumers from unnecessary costs. We have regular discussions with Ofgem, which has the relevant regulatory powers.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policies that only 54 per cent of the mandatory grants given to businesses that have been required to close due to the covid-19 outbreak have been paid out to eligible businesses as of 17 January 2021.

The Government is working closely with local authorities in England to support the implementation of business grants during the Covid-19 pandemic and monitor the distribution of grant funds.

The data published on GOV.UK regarding the Additional Restrictions Grant is based upon self-reporting by Local Authorities up to the 17th January 2021. The time period in question includes periods of localised restrictions, which saw many Local Authorities moved quickly between Tiers, complicating the administrative process as business eligibility for grants changed alongside Tiers.

Further data will be published in due course that will set out performance figures for the current period of national restrictions where there has been a consistent grant offer for local authorities to administer.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives of local authorities in respect of the distribution of the (a) Local Restrictions Support Grants and (b) Additional Restrictions Grant.

The Government is working closely with Local Authorities in England to support the implementation of business grants during the Covid-19 pandemic and monitor the distribution of grant funds.

Throughout the pandemic officials have engaged with Local Authorities including through a Local Government Working Group. As the range of grants available has increased, officials have carried out live stream sessions with all 314 Local Authorities managing grant schemes, to provide the latest guidance and respond to questions.

In addition, Ministers have met with Local Authority Leaders and senior officers to discuss ways of improving grant delivery. Information from these discussions has informed work on streamlining existing grants processes and future grants design.

Officials have published guidance for both the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) and the Additional Restrictions Grant to support the distribution of funds to businesses. In addition to the scheme guidance, we publish Frequently Asked Questions documents to help Local Authorities with their administration of grant schemes.

Officials continue to engage with Local Authorities to ensure compliance to both the scheme rules and wider reporting requirements.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policies that only 13 per cent of the Additional Restrictions Grant has been paid out to eligible businesses as of 17 January 2021.

The Government is working closely with Local Authorities in England to support the implementation of business grants during the Covid-19 pandemic and monitor the distribution of grant funds.

Local Authorities are entitled to use their allocation of Additional Restrictions Grant until the end of financial year 2021/22.

The data published on GOV.UK regarding the Additional Restrictions Grant is based upon self-reporting by Local Authorities up to the 17th January 2021.

Further data will be published in due course that will set out performance figures for the current period of national restrictions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether English Language Teaching Centres will be made eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant.

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF) closed on 28 August 2020, with final payments completed by 30 September. There is therefore no scope for businesses to receive funding as part of this programme.

During the period of local and national restrictions the government has introduced support for business that are mandated to close and those that have been several affected by the restrictions.

For this period of nationalised restrictions, English Language Teaching Centres may be eligible for support through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) which is a discretionary scheme administered by Local Authorities.

In January, a further £500m was made available in discretionary funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant in addition to the £1.1bn already allocated in November 2020. This additional discretionary funding is to support businesses that are significantly impacted by the restrictions even though not required to close.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether sector-specific support will be announced for English Language Teaching Centres.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented package of support for businesses that are required to close, or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

English Language Teaching Centres may be eligible for support through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), a scheme administered by Local Authorities. It is within Local Authorities’ discretion to use this funding to support businesses in the way they see fit. Local Authorities may choose to support those business who have not be mandated to close but have had their trade adversely affected by restrictions.

Local Authorities have been allocated a further £500m in discretionary funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant. This is in addition to £1.1bn already allocated in November 2020.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to tackle retail scalping in (a) low stock high demand consumer electronics and (b) other products.

The Government is discussing this issue with trade associations such as Ukie. We know that bulk purchasing through automated bots is a concern for some of their members who we understand are currently examining further actions they can take to prevent these behaviours, and are working with their retailers to improve experiences for customers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing granularity into the covid-19 hospitality curfew system to distinguish the differing risk profiles of (a) pubs and (b) adult gaming centres.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced a new National Lockdown on 4 January. From 5 January hospitality venues must close; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to issue additional guidance on the student travel window to students who intend to return to hospitality and leisure roles after the national covid-19 restrictions end on 2 December 2020.

We have produced guidance for employers and employees to ensure workplaces are COVID-secure. All guidance and measures are kept under review and updated accordingly.

The Department for Education’s guidance for students and others regarding the student travel window is located here.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using international renewable energy projects to supply power directly to the UK.

Interconnectors between the UK and our near neighbours have proven beneficial to the UK in terms of providing indirect access to renewable energy sources abroad, as well as ensuring the most efficient use of our own renewable resources, helping to facilitate the lowest cost decarbonisation of energy systems across Europe.

The UK is supportive of any energy infrastructure project that it believes will prove beneficial to UK consumers. In terms of financial support, the award of CfDs (Contracts for Difference) to international renewable energy projects is not being considered at this stage, though BEIS remains open to receiving views on the merits of doing so for future allocation rounds.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the providing renewable power to the UK through subsea cables from Saharan energy projects.

BEIS is happy to engage with any potential renewable energy project that supports the UK’s goals of decarbonising the energy system at lowest cost. In terms of financial support, the award of CfDs (Contracts for Difference) to international renewable energy projects is not being considered at this stage, though BEIS remains open to receiving views on the merits of doing so for future allocation rounds.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the economic recovery after the covid-19 outbreak is in line with the policy on meeting the net-zero by 2050 target.

As we recover from COVID-19, the Government intends to deliver a UK economy which is greener, more sustainable and more resilient. The UK is embracing the opportunity to become a world leader in low carbon technologies, services, and systems. The UK low-carbon economy could support up to 2 million jobs.

This year alone, the Government has committed billions in spending as we increase support for our low-carbon economy and green jobs across all sectors of the economy. For example, following the announcements in July, the Green Homes Grant is now live. Under the new scheme, the Government will fund up to two thirds of the cost of home improvements for over 600,000 homes, supporting 100,000 jobs in green construction.

We will continue to build on this even further and deliver a stronger, greener, more sustainable economy after this pandemic. Last month, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister outlined ambitious plans to make the UK the world leader in clean wind energy, boosting our ambition to generate 40GW through offshore wind by 2030.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to educate the public on the net-zero by 2050 target.

Achieving our net zero target must be a shared endeavour between governments, businesses and individuals.

We are increasing our work on public engagement on net zero, both in communicating the challenge, and giving people a say in shaping future policies. Publications such as the upcoming net zero strategy will provide important sources of information to engage the public on the governments net zero plans. In addition, Government has invited the public to shape policies on climate change through mechanisms such as consultations and deliberative workshops. We will continue to engage the public as we develop our plans for reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to introduce affordable decarbonized household energy.

As stated in the Clean Growth Strategy (2017), the Government is committed to ‘phase out the installation of high carbon fossil fuel heating in homes not connected to the gas grid, starting with new homes, during the 2020s.’ The first part of this commitment, to decarbonise new homes, is being met through the Future Home Standard, on which government consulted earlier this year. The Future Homes Standard will require new build homes to be future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency, and is set to be introduced in 2025.

Additionally, we are providing financial support to help decarbonise homes on the gas grid. This is being done through:

  • The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – a support scheme for low carbon heat installations in domestic buildings that will remain open to new applicants until March 2022. As of September 2020, the domestic RHI has supported around 82,300 homes make the transition to low carbon heat.

  • The Green Homes Grant – In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery. Under this new scheme, the government will fund up to two-thirds of the cost of home improvements for over 600,000 homes.

We intend to publish an updated Fuel Poverty Strategy for England by the end of the year which will provide further information on our plans to support low income and vulnerable households as we transition to net zero.

The Energy Company Obligation, worth £640m per year, focused on low income and vulnerable households, has made around 2.1m homes more energy efficient since it began in 2013.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress the Government has made on meeting the net-zero by 2050 target to date.

Tackling climate change and delivering our world-leading net zero target is a key priority for the Government, the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed this. We have decarbonised our economy faster than any G20 country this century.

Our existing carbon budgets are among the most ambitious in the world and continue to set the right level of challenge for the years ahead. We have met our first two carbon budgets and our latest emissions projections show that we are on track to meet the third.

Ahead of COP26, and we will set out ambitious plans across key sectors of the economy to meet our carbon budgets and net zero – including an Energy White Paper, Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Heat and Building Strategy. This will build on the strong foundations we have established in the Clean Growth Strategy (which set out our plans to reduce emissions across the whole economy through to 2032) and the commitments in our manifesto.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with Ofgem on a programme of expanded rollout of collective switching for the most disengaged customers.

BEIS has regular discussions with Ofgem, including on what measures might be needed to help remove the barriers to consumer engagement. This includes the potential for collective switching and consideration of the results from Ofgem’s previous trials. The Government will set out more details in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports citing delays in banks processing awards under the Bounce Back Loans scheme; and what steps he is taking to encourage banks to speed up that awards process.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) was launched on 4 May to help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The British Business Bank has not undertaken any specific assessment of reports of alleged delays in accessing BBLS facilities. The British Business Bank is however conducting a programme of audits of accredited lenders, and continues to engage with them regularly to discuss any issues with regards the operation of the scheme.

BBLS accredited lenders continue to experience high demand, but the scheme remains open to new applicants. As of 16 August, £35.47billion has been loaned via 1,174,854 facilities under (BBLS).

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to prevent businesses from firing and rehiring employees to circumvent re-negotiation on staff contracts.

Terms and conditions of employment are for negotiation and agreement between employers and employees (or their representatives). Provided they do not discriminate unlawfully, for example on grounds of race, sex or disability, employers are free to offer the terms and conditions of employment which best suit their business needs.

However, we expect all employers, to treat employees fairly and in the spirit of partnership. Contract terms cannot lawfully be changed by the employer without prior agreement from the employee (either individually or through a recognised trade union). Depending on the extent and likely impact of the proposed changes, employers should meet with affected employees, or the union where one is recognised, and explain their case for making the proposed change.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the role of energy flexibility in managing local network constraints resulting from increased electric vehicle charging.

The Government is working on a range of measures to realise the benefits of a smarter and more flexible energy system. We are making good progress delivering the actions in the Government’s Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan to remove barriers to smart technologies such as storage and improve access to energy markets for new business models.

Smart charging of electric vehicles during off-peak periods when electricity demand is low can help avoid triggering unnecessary network reinforcement. Furthermore, this technology helps utilise renewable energy and can benefit consumers with cheaper electricity. The Future Energy Scenarios (FES) 2019 produced by National Grid predicts that smart charging could by 2030 shift nearly 50% of EV demand away from peak times. Vehicle-to-Grid technology, where electric vehicles provide power back to local networks, presents an opportunity for EVs to be a significant electricity storage resource.

Next year we intend to mandate that all new private chargepoints must have smart functionality and in 2018 we invested £30 million to support vehicle-to-grid technology. The Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce reported in January 2020, making 21 proposals on how we can maximise the uptake of smart charging and ensure the energy system is ready for electric vehicles.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the proposed Energy White Paper will include an assessment of the role of flexibility in meeting net zero climate targets.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has set out his intention to publish the Energy White Paper this Autumn.

The Energy White Paper will address the transformation of our energy system as we deliver net-zero emissions by 2050.

We have taken clear actions to enable flexibility through our Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, including reforming markets so that they properly reward flexibility, removing barriers for flexible technologies, and investing in flexible innovation.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to (a) support and (b) increase heat pump technology.

The Government takes the role heat pumps can have in driving down carbon emissions very seriously and BEIS are currently supporting heat pump deployment via both the Domestic and Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. As per May 2020 the total number of Non-domestic RHI accredited applications was 2,057 and 57,817 in the Domestic RHI.

The Clean Heat Grant scheme announced at Budget 2020 will provide targeted support from 2022 to help households and SMEs install heat pumps. The Green Heat Network Scheme will also provide support for heat pump installations in heat networks and the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund will support heat pumps providing process heat. These policies have been designed as part of a broader package of measures to support the decarbonisation of heat. The Government intends to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy later this year, which will set out the wider actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on what scientific advice was the decision to delay the reopening of tattoo parlours based.

Following my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement, from 4 July hairdressers and barbers in England will be able to reopen, to offer hairdressing services, once they are following the COVID-secure guidelines.

Other close contact services, like reflexologists and tattoo parlours remain closed until further notice.

We are taking a phased, cautious approach to reopening our economy, working with businesses, trade associations and medical experts on the safest way to reopen close contact services like massage therapists, beauty salons and tattoo parlours, where there is often greater risk of transmission due to prolonged periods of face-to-face contact and close proximity between staff and customers.

We intend to allow close contact services, such as reflexologists and tattoo parlours to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.

Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and the CSA and CMO attended the C-19 Strategy Committee where the next phase of the roadmap was discussed. SAGE provides world-leading scientific advice to the government. However, making any changes depends on us continuing to meet the five tests.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the decision to reopen tattoo parlors will be reviewed.

Following my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement, from 4 July hairdressers and barbers in England will be able to reopen, to offer hairdressing services, once they are following the COVID-secure guidelines.

Other close contact services, like reflexologists and tattoo parlours remain closed until further notice.

We are taking a phased, cautious approach to reopening our economy, working with businesses, trade associations and medical experts on the safest way to reopen close contact services like massage therapists, beauty salons and tattoo parlours, where there is often greater risk of transmission due to prolonged periods of face-to-face contact and close proximity between staff and customers.

We intend to allow close contact services, such as reflexologists and tattoo parlours to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.

Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and the CSA and CMO attended the C-19 Strategy Committee where the next phase of the roadmap was discussed. SAGE provides world-leading scientific advice to the government. However, making any changes depends on us continuing to meet the five tests.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will review when reflexologists can reopen their businesses.

Following my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement, from 4 July hairdressers and barbers in England will be able to reopen, to offer hairdressing services, once they are following the COVID-secure guidelines.

Other close contact services, like reflexologists and tattoo parlours remain closed until further notice.

We are taking a phased, cautious approach to reopening our economy, working with businesses, trade associations and medical experts on the safest way to reopen close contact services like massage therapists, beauty salons and tattoo parlours, where there is often greater risk of transmission due to prolonged periods of face-to-face contact and close proximity between staff and customers.

We intend to allow close contact services, such as reflexologists and tattoo parlours to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.

Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and the CSA and CMO attended the C-19 Strategy Committee where the next phase of the roadmap was discussed. SAGE provides world-leading scientific advice to the government. However, making any changes depends on us continuing to meet the five tests.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons tattoo shops, in which personal protective equipment, non re-usable needles are used and strict hygiene standards apply, are included in the same category as hairdressers and beauty salons in respect of when they may reopen after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to reopening businesses in a phased approach, guided by the science to ensure it is safe to do so. As such, we have now published (23 June) new guidance for working safely during coronavirus for close contact services and restaurants, pubs and bars. This supports the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 June for their reopening from 4 July where they can do so in a safe and COVID-secure way, and their preparation for reopening at a later date where they cannot reopen on 4th July – as in the case of some close contact services.

Close Contact Services are defined as work where someone is in close physical proximity to other individuals outside their household for a sustained period of time throughout their working day. This includes tattoo artists who need to be in close physical contact and often in touching distance with people outside their household for long periods of time to do their work.

Some of these sectors remain closed because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher due to the indoor environment and closer physical contact. We will work with the sector to develop safe ways for them to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to increase the number of jobs in the UK's hydrogen sector.

The Government is committed to exploring the?development?of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier, alongside electricity and other decarbonised gases. Recently, the government published the Energy Innovation Needs Assessment (EINA) for hydrogen and fuel cells which identified that in 2050 up to 15,000 jobs per annum could be created through domestic hydrogen opportunities. In order to support the development of hydrogen, we are

  • investing in innovation, with up to £121m supporting a range of projects exploring and developing hydrogen across the value chain;
  • supporting hydrogen deployment through our £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Fund; and
  • developing sustainable business models to support low carbon hydrogen production at scale.

We are considering what more Government can to develop the UK hydrogen sector, including opportunities to protect and expand jobs and skills, as part of activity to develop hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier for the UK.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of EU plans to establish a Clean Hydrogen Alliance; and whether he is taking steps to ensure that UK businesses can engage with that group.

We recognise that the scale up and demonstration of hydrogen’s potential in meeting Paris commitments is a global challenge. We are an active member of Mission Innovation and the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy.

Since the UK has left the European Union, we are seeking to engage and cooperate with the EU on hydrogen through normal diplomatic channels, and therefore the UK will not attend EU meetings on this topic other than in exceptional circumstances. Whilst the UK is leaving the EU single market, it remains an important part of the gas supply system for North West Europe. The UK can expect to work cooperatively with its neighbours to sustain this mutually beneficial relationship into the future as the methane gas market is decarbonised, potentially leading to a European hydrogen market.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the environmental effect of subsidies to (a) Drax Power Station in Selby and (b) other bio-fuel companies that burn trees.

The UK only supports biomass which complies with strict sustainability criteria,. These criteria take into account of social, economic and environmental issues including protecting biodiversity, land use rights, sustainable harvesting and regeneration rates. They ensure that the carbon stock of the forest from which the pellets are derived is not decreased by requiring that biomass fuels are derived from forest waste wood and residues and that the forest owner adheres to relevant legal requirements to protect biodiversity and the environment.

Current regulations[1] also, over time, increase the stringency of the ceilings and thresholds for the greenhouse gas emissions from producing the feedstock.

Sustainable bioenergy is helping us move to a low-carbon energy mix, increase our energy security and keep costs down for consumers. However, as we decarbonise, it is right to continually review our approach to ensure that we are using the lowest carbon sources of electricity. We have pledged that this will be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it.

We are reviewing the air quality impacts of biomass to ensure that our energy policies can jointly tackle climate change and improve air quality. We are currently consulting on proposals to remove coal to biomass conversions from the Contract for Difference scheme. In addition, all support for coal-to-biomass conversions will end in 2027.

[1] The Renewables Obligation Order 2015 in England and Wales, The Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Amendment Order, the Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2016 and the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme and Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2015 as amended

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will extend eligibility for the Small Business Grant Fund to micro-enterprises that have a clear social purpose and reinvest the majority of their profits in that purpose.

The Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund have been designed to support smaller businesses and some of the sectors which have been hit hardest by the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Micro-enterprises with a social purpose are not excluded if they meet the eligibility criteria for the grants.

On the 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that a further up to £617 million is being made available to local authorities as a discretionary fund so that they can address cases that are out-of-scope from the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund, including business sectors that weren’t previously covered and businesses that occupy space and pay rent and rates through a landlord.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will expand the support available through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to provide additional capital to social impact financiers.

Accredited Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) lenders offer a wide range of business finance products including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance. Existing lenders range from high-street banks to challenger banks, asset-based lenders and specialist local lenders. Currently there are 15 accredited lenders that are Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs).

In order to offer this scheme, finance providers must be accredited by the Government-owned British Business Bank. The British Business Bank has put in place substantial additional resource to accredit new CBILS lenders as quickly as possible, which will further widen the choice of finance options for smaller businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage non-essential call centres to shut down or work from home.

While the Government accepts that call centres may face specific technological challenges in allowing staff to work from home, they are subject to the same advice as every other employer. Where possible, people should work at home and where they cannot, employers should ensure that the work environment is safe by following relevant guidance from Public Health England.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will bring forward legislative proposals to extend the period of time that refunds must be paid to consumers for concerts and festivals in the event of cancellation.

The Government does not have plans to change the rules around entitlement to refunds, which help protect consumers. Under existing consumer law, consumers are able to choose a voucher or credit note that is valid for a longer period of time, should they wish and if it is offered by the business.

However, we recognise the extremely difficult circumstances businesses are currently facing, which is why on 17 March the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a wide range of support for businesses, in addition to £30bn of support announced in the budget.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to (a) protect and (b) support trade unions in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The Government recognises the important role that trade unions play in industrial relations. We regularly engage with trade unions and employer organisations on employment issues and have ramped up this engagement in light of the COVID-19 outbreak

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking with trade unions to inform workers in Yorkshire and the Humber of their workplace rights.

The Government recognises the important role that trade unions play in industrial relations. We regularly engage with trade unions and employer organisations on employment issues and have ramped up this engagement in light of the COVID-19 outbreak

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many meetings his Department had with representatives from the GMB union in each year from 2010 to 2020.

Ministers and officials across the Department regularly engage with trade unions, including GMB, on employment issues and we will continue to do so.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure zero-hours contract workers who contract covid-19 are not penalised through disciplinary measures by their employers.

The Chancellor has outlined an unprecedented package of measures to protect millions of people’s jobs and incomes as part of the national effort in response to Coronavirus.

We urge employers to be understanding when individuals are unable to work as a result of following Government advice on Coronavirus.

Many people on zero-hours contracts will be entitled to statutory sick pay, although some individuals will not meet the qualifying criteria. Those who are ineligible to receive statutory sick pay are able to claim Universal Credit and/or Employment and Support Allowance, where they qualify.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support, so they can continue paying part of their employees’ salary where they might otherwise have been laid off. This applies to furloughed workers that have been asked to stop working, yet are being kept on the payroll. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month, to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary. This scheme aims to support all those employed through the PAYE system regardless of their employment contract, including those on zero-hour contracts.

Businesses and employees can get further advice on individual employment issues at the Acas website.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 13 March 2020 to Question 25731 on Small Businesses: Coronavirus, how much of the £12 billion will be spent in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The Government is committed to supporting individuals, businesses, and communities affected by the Coronavirus. At Budget, the Chancellor announced £30 billion of support to help deal with the crisis by investing in public services, increasing support for vulnerable people, and providing businesses with tax reliefs and loans.

Significant further actions have since been announced, including: a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allowing small and large employers to apply for a Government grant covering 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month; cash grants of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000; and deferral of the next quarter of VAT payments for firms, until the end of June 2020, representing a £30 billion injection for employers.

Many of these measures are demand-led and their use will depend on decisions taken by individual businesses. As such, it is not possible to determine in advance how much will be spent in any particular region.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential contribution of waste heat capture to the decarbonisation of heat supply.

Waste heat capture can play an important part in the decarbonisation of heat, specifically when used in heat networks. In its 2015 assessment the Committee on Climate Change suggested that waste-heat recovery should be contributing a third of heat supply to heat networks by 2050 in order to meet our net-zero target.

The Government recognises that waste-heat is a cost-effective form of low-carbon heat. In the Budget on 11th March the Chancellor announced a new £270m Green Heat Network Fund. This will fund large-heat pumps, solar thermal installations and waste-heat recovery in heat networks between 2022 and 2025; and we will be consulting later this year on scheme design.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the progress of each sector of the economy on the decarbonisation of heat supply; and whether that assessment will be used to inform the forthcoming heat policy roadmap.

In 2018 the Department published Clean Growth-Transforming Heating, a comprehensive review of the evidence available on the transition towards low carbon heat on each sector of the economy.

The Heat and Building Strategy, which is planned to be published later this year, will build on this evidence and set out the immediate actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings. These actions include the deployment of energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating technologies as part of a wider programme of work on how we will make progress towards decarbonising all homes and buildings. We are developing policies to deliver low carbon heating in the 2020s and meet our climate targets, which will we consult on.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to publish a cross-departmental strategy on the decarbonisation of heat supply before COP 26.

The Government is planning to publish a cross-departmental Heat and Building Strategy later this year, which will set out the immediate actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings. These actions include the deployment of energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating technologies as part of a wider programme of work on how we will make progress towards decarbonising all homes and buildings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to provide (a) financial and (b) other support to businesses in relation to (i) sick leave and (ii) self isolation for employees as a result of covid-19.

At Budget 2020, the Government announced a £12 billion package of targeted measures to support public services, individuals, and businesses experiencing economic disruption because of COVID-19.

Measures include enabling small and medium enterprises and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay for sickness absence due to COVID-19. We are also expanding the Business Rates retail discount to 100% for one year and providing £2.2 billion of funding for local authorities to support small businesses; they will be entitled to Small Business Rate Relief and a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the closure of independent pubs in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The Government recognises the importance of having a diverse range of pubs in local communities across the country, and the contribution pubs make to the economy and to community life in providing a place to socialise and encourage responsible drinking.

In order to provide support for pubs, the Government announced a freeze on beer duty at Budget 2018. Due to this freeze, the price of a typical pint of beer in 2020 is 2p lower than it would have been had duty increased with inflation and 14p lower than it otherwise would have been since ending the beer duty escalator in 2013.

Many pubs will benefit from the business rates retail discount announced at Budget 2018, which cuts bills for eligible businesses by one third for two years from April 2019. The Government has committed to increasing the discount to 50% in 2020/21. It is available to eligible businesses, including pubs, with a rateable value below £51,000.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy what steps his Department is taking to encourage the expansion of the renewable energy industry in the north of England.

Through Government policies we have dramatically increased the deployment of renewable generation. Renewable electricity now makes up over a third of our generation and our renewable capacity has quadrupled since 2010. 24% of the UK’s renewable capacity is located in the North of England.

The Government’s manifesto set out an ambition to further expand offshore wind to reach 40GW of capacity by 2030, and we will continue to work with the offshore wind industry to deliver the ambition for 60% UK content in offshore wind farms, as agreed in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal. New wind farms being built off the North East coast, such as the Dogger Bank and Sophia projects, will provide a huge economic opportunity for the north east of England, delivering 5GW of new renewable energy; enough to power over 5 million homes. UK companies such as Tekmar, JDR Cables and Seajacks, all based in the North of England, are not only supplying UK renewable projects, but winning export contracts abroad.

We are also helping to develop renewable heat network infrastructure across the North. For example, on 3 February, the Coal Authority announced the construction of the UK’s first heat network to take renewable heat from mine water in County Durham.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether she is taking steps to discourage fossil fuel extraction in the north of England; and if she will make a statement.

As we continue to move to a low carbon economy we need to ensure we have a balanced energy mix so we have a reliable, clean and affordable energy system. This means that in the medium term there will be a role for some fossil fuels. The Government has been clear that the development of domestic energy sources must be safe and environmentally sound. As such, we have put in place a robust regulatory regime which provides a comprehensive framework for exploration and production activities.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether she has plans in place to offset the carbon emissions resulting from the extraction of coal in the event that Woodhouse colliery in Cumbria reopens.

National Planning Policy is clear that planning permission should not be granted for the extraction of coal unless the proposal is environmentally acceptable or the national, local or community benefits outweigh its likely impacts. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government leads on planning policy for coal mines in England.

The Government is committed to bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. A key part of this is closing all unabated coal generation domestically by 2025. As a result of existing policies, we have already made great headway in reducing our reliance on coal, which fell from 39% of annual electricity generation in 2012 to less than 3% in 2019. We will shortly consult on bringing the deadline for ending unabated coal forward from 2025 to 2024.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussion (a) she and (b) officials in her Department has had with representatives from the Communication Workers Union on avoiding industrial action by Royal Mail employees.

BEIS Ministers and officials have regular discussions with stakeholders on a number of issues.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effect of potential industrial action by the Communication and Workers Union in relation to Royal Mail.

This is an industrial relations matter for Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union to settle. The Government encourages both sides to reach an amicable agreement. Talking is the best way to avoid industrial action and any disruption to businesses and consumers.

14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many people were refused entry to the European Championship Final at Wembley on 11 July 2021 for breaking covid-19 quarantine rules.

The Government was clear that anyone suspected of entering the UK with the intention of breaching isolation in order to attend a EURO 2020 match would be denied entry, and that their tickets may be cancelled (if not transferred to someone else). This policy combined with communications to supporters of teams playing in the UK had a significant deterrent effect on those who might otherwise have travelled to the UK for the tournament.

All EURO 2020 matches at Wembley were subject to strict entry requirements. Those seeking to enter were required to provide a negative Lateral Flow test result or (for those from England, Scotland and Wales) proof of full vaccination. Anyone failing to provide these would have been denied entry. The English Football Association was responsible for enforcing these requirements and no data is held on whether any of those denied entry were also deemed to have been breaking border restrictions.

Of the Italian contingent present at the Final, the vast majority were based in the UK (as - other than in the original ballot prior to the pandemic - tickets were not sold to people outside of the Common Travel Area). A small contingent of accredited guests were exempt from the isolation requirement in order to attend the match, but otherwise subject to strict public health restrictions - this included a group of c380 who flew in and out on the day, with no contact with the general public.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 24 May 2021 to Question 4020 on National Lottery: Computer Software, for what reasons the Government increased the minimum age for entry to (a) the National Lottery in December 2020 and (b) all games operated by Camelot UK Lotteries Limited in April 2021.

Legislation was laid in December 2020 to increase the minimum age for all National Lottery products from 16 to 18 from 1 October 2021, in order to protect 16 and 17 year olds from the risk of gambling-related harm. This followed a public consultation in 2019, and more detailed information can be found in the consultation response and the accompanying impact assessment.

As anticipated in the consultation response, the National Lottery operator was able to implement the change more swiftly, with the new minimum age being implemented online and in retail on 22 April 2021.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 24 May 2021 to Question 4020, how many times Camelot UK Lotteries Limited has submitted (a) a risk assessment, (b) an assessment by the game design governance group and (c) academic research to the Gambling Commission for (i) new game proposals and (ii) changes to existing games in each year since 1994; and what the nature and outcome of each of those items was.

The Gambling Commission is the independent regulator of the National Lottery and has statutory duties to ensure that the interests of all players are protected, the Lottery is run with due propriety and that returns to good causes are maximised.

Details of significant regulatory decisions and the rationale supporting those decisions are published and can be found on the Gambling Commission’s website.

It has not been possible for the Gambling Commission to collate the requested information in the time available, and confirm how many times the National Lottery operator has submitted (a) a risk assessment, (b) an assessment by the game design governance group and (c) academic research to the Gambling Commission for (i) new game proposals and (ii) changes to existing games in each year since 1994; and the nature and outcome of each of those items.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 24 May 2021 to Question 4020 on National Lottery: Computer Software, (a) how many times Camelot UK Lotteries Limited has submitted a player protection strategy for approval by the Gambling Commission and (b) how many of those submissions related to (i) underage and (ii) excessive play in each year since 1994.

The operator is subject to conditions set out within the Licence which specify that it must adopt, maintain and implement strategies to prevent underage and excessive play on the National Lottery and that such strategies shall first have been approved by the

Gambling Commission. Information on the more specific requirements of the operator in this respect can be found within Condition 7 of the Third Licence.

It has not been possible for the Gambling Commission to collate the requested information in the time available and confirm how many times a player protection strategy has been submitted to them for approval by the operator since the National Lottery was launched in 1994.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 24 May 2021 to Question 4017 on Camelot Group: Profits, what proportion of the increase of digital sales from 25.4 per cent in financial year 2018-19 to 31.1 per cent in financial year 2019-20 was in (a) draw-based and (b) instant win game sales.

National Lottery digital sales increased by £622m between 2018/19 and 2019/20. 48% of this growth was due to increased sales of Interactive Instant Win Games (IIWGs) and 52% was due to increased sales of online Draw-Based Games.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 24 May 2021 to Question 4020 on National Lottery: Computer Software, if he will publish the findings of all monitoring work undertaken by the Gambling Commission since 2010.

The Gambling Commision is the independent regulator of the National Lottery and one of its statutory duties is to ensure that the interests of all players are protected, alongside ensuring the National Lottery is run with due propriety and that returns to good causes are maximised.

Monitoring is therefore an ongoing process and the Gambling Commission has undertaken an extensive amount of work in this area since 2010. As a result, it is not possible to collate and publish this information in its entirety.

The Gambling Commission publishes details of significant regulatory decisions and the rationale supporting those decisions on its website here:

https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/about-us/guide/licence-to-run-the-national-lottery.

In addition, wider data and research relating to the National Lottery, such as statistics around participation rates, can be found on the Gambling Commission’s website here:

https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/about-us/statistics-and-research.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what checks were put in place by the Gambling Commission to ensure the National Lottery was not causing harm to consumers before it extended Camelot UK Lotteries Limited’s licence in June 2020.

The third National Lottery licence contains a provision which allows the Gambling Commission, as the sector regulator, to extend the duration of this Licence for a period of six months. A maximum of two extensions are permitted.

The Gambling Commission decided to enact the first six-month extension to the third licence, due to the impact of the pandemic on the fourth National Lottery licence competition. The licence was extended on existing terms of the Third National Lottery licence. More information can be found on their website, here.

The third National Lottery licence requires the operator to implement player protection strategies to prevent underage and excessive play which must be approved by the Gambling Commission.

The Gambling Commission then adopts a variety of measures to monitor, assess and challenge the National Lottery operator’s player protection performance. This includes detailed monitoring to identify risks to players, and where appropriate, undertaking strategic reviews of areas of the portfolio which are identified as higher (but not necessarily high) risk.

The Gambling Commission is also responsible for approving proposed changes to National Lottery games where it carries out thorough assessments of National Lottery game change proposals in line with its statutory duties, including ensuring that such proposals do not present risks from a player protection perspective.

Evidence from the latest (2018) Health Survey for England shows that National Lottery games were associated with the lowest rates of problem gambling of all gambling products considered.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Gambling Commission made of Camelot UK Lotteries Limited’s performance and delivery before the decision was taken to extend its licence in June 2020.

The third National Lottery licence contains a provision which allows the Gambling Commission, as the sector regulator, to extend the duration of this Licence for a period of six months. A maximum of two extensions are permitted.

The Gambling Commission decided to enact the first six-month extension to the third licence, due to the impact of the pandemic on the fourth National Lottery licence competition. The licence was extended on existing terms of the Third National Lottery licence. More information can be found on their website, here.

The third National Lottery licence requires the operator to implement player protection strategies to prevent underage and excessive play which must be approved by the Gambling Commission.

The Gambling Commission then adopts a variety of measures to monitor, assess and challenge the National Lottery operator’s player protection performance. This includes detailed monitoring to identify risks to players, and where appropriate, undertaking strategic reviews of areas of the portfolio which are identified as higher (but not necessarily high) risk.

The Gambling Commission is also responsible for approving proposed changes to National Lottery games where it carries out thorough assessments of National Lottery game change proposals in line with its statutory duties, including ensuring that such proposals do not present risks from a player protection perspective.

Evidence from the latest (2018) Health Survey for England shows that National Lottery games were associated with the lowest rates of problem gambling of all gambling products considered.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Gambling Commission made of the impact on (a) the National Lottery and (b) competition for the next licence of renewing Camelot UK Lotteries Limited licence in June 2020 to run the National Lottery.

The third National Lottery licence contains a provision which allows the Gambling Commission, as the sector regulator, to extend the duration of this Licence for a period of six months. A maximum of two extensions are permitted.

The Gambling Commission decided to enact the first six-month extension to the third licence, due to the impact of the pandemic on the fourth National Lottery licence competition. The licence was extended on existing terms of the Third National Lottery licence. More information can be found on their website, here.

The third National Lottery licence requires the operator to implement player protection strategies to prevent underage and excessive play which must be approved by the Gambling Commission.

The Gambling Commission then adopts a variety of measures to monitor, assess and challenge the National Lottery operator’s player protection performance. This includes detailed monitoring to identify risks to players, and where appropriate, undertaking strategic reviews of areas of the portfolio which are identified as higher (but not necessarily high) risk.

The Gambling Commission is also responsible for approving proposed changes to National Lottery games where it carries out thorough assessments of National Lottery game change proposals in line with its statutory duties, including ensuring that such proposals do not present risks from a player protection perspective.

Evidence from the latest (2018) Health Survey for England shows that National Lottery games were associated with the lowest rates of problem gambling of all gambling products considered.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which companies have been shortlisted to operate the third licence for the National Lottery.

The competition for the third National Lottery licence was run by the National Lottery Commission, which was merged with the Gambling Commission in October 2013. The Commission announced the outcome of the competition on 7th August 2007.

The Commission received two strong applications for the third licence, from Camelot Group plc and Sugal & Damani UK Ltd. Both bids met the seven demanding Required Standards outlined by the Commission in the Invitation to Apply (ITA). Camelot Group plc was selected as the Preferred Bidder and was awarded the third licence to start from February 2009. Camelot Group plc were considered best able to maximise returns to good causes over the term of the Licence. The published ‘Statement of Reasons’ which discusses the outcome in more detail can be found through the National Archives website.

The Gambling Commission launched the competition for the fourth National Lottery licence on 28 August 2020. The next licence comes into force in August 2023. The Commission’s priority is to run a fair and robust competition and, given that the competition is underway, it would not be appropriate to name, or comment on, organisations that are participating in the competition. The preferred applicant for the fourth licence is expected to be announced at the end of the year.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how evidence can be submitted to the review into the collapse of Football Index; and when evidence sessions will be held.

The Secretary of State has appointed Malcolm Sheehan QC to lead the independent review of the Football Index gambling product and we have published its scope and terms of reference on gov.uk. As I said in my Written Ministerial Statement of 7 June, many former customers of Football Index have already contacted the Department to provide information and they can continue to do so via gamblingactreview@dcms.gov.uk. We will pass on any relevant evidence to the inquiry. The statement can be found at: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-06-07/hcws63

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he intends to (a) publish the Terms of Reference and (b) appoint the independent expert for the independent review of Football Index.

DCMS will appoint an independent expert to conduct a review of the regulation of the Football Index gambling product and to make recommendations to government and the regulators. The review will take an objective look at the decisions and actions of the Gambling Commission and any other relevant regulatory bodies to provide a clear account of how the activities of its operator, BetIndex Ltd, were regulated, identify if there were areas for improvement, and inform our Review of the Gambling Act 2005. We intend to publish a report this summer and the appointment of an independent reviewer and further details on the terms of reference will be announced very shortly. Further information can be found in a Written Ministerial Statement on Regulation of Football Index, available at: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-04-20/hcws929

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the basis upon which the Gambling Commission renewed the Camelot UK Lotteries Limited license to run the National Lottery in June 2020.

In order to facilitate the competition for the next licence to run the National Lottery and ensure a smooth transition between the third and fourth licences, the current National Lottery licence contains provisions through which it can be extended by the Gambling Commission by up to one year, through two six-month extensions. Any extension will be on the existing terms of the licence.

In May 2020, the Gambling Commission announced that they would be triggering the first of these extensions to accommodate a delay to the launch of the competition for the next licence due to concerns expressed by interested applicants about the challenges posed by the Covid 19 pandemic. The updated third licence and a notice setting out the decision behind the extension can be found on the Gambling Commission’s website.

The competition launched successfully in August 2020 and the Gambling Commission are currently reviewing initial applications. The next licence will start in August 2023.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that there are player protections in place for people using Camelot UK Lotteries Limited's (a) website and (b) phone application to participate in the National Lottery.

Under the terms of the current National Lottery Licence the operator is required to implement player protection strategies to prevent underage and excessive play, which must be approved by the Gambling Commission, as regulator of the National Lottery.

For new game proposals and changes to existing games, the operator must provide the Gambling Commission with a range of information, such as assessments of the risks associated with certain product characteristics, a broader assessment by the operator’s game design governance group and relevant academic research.

In addition, the Gambling Commission conducts regular, detailed monitoring to identify risks to players, and where appropriate, undertakes strategic reviews of areas of the portfolio which are identified as higher (but not necessarily high) risk. For example, in 2020, the Gambling Commission commissioned research to better understand the players of Online Interactive Instant Win Games. The research found an association between players of Interactive Instant Win Games at the £10 price point and some problem gambling behaviours. As a result of this research, the operator suspended the sale of £10 Online Interactive Instant Win Games, which followed the removal of the £10 scratchcard in 2019.

In December 2020, the government increased the minimum age for the National Lottery as a precautionary measure to ensure the protection of young people. These changes were introduced for all games in April 2021, both for online and retail sales.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 188089, if he will publish the declared profits of Camelot UK Lotteries Limited in 2020-21; and if he will publish a breakdown of profits (a) generated online and (b) via sales in retail premises in each year since 2010.

In line with the conditions of the Third Licence, the operator of the National Lottery is required to publish its Annual Report and Accounts for 2020/21 by 7th October 2021. At this point, the information requested in question 1(a) will be available.

In response to question 1(b), total profit figures are not itemised in this way. However, the 2019/20 annual report of the current operator reported that digital sales accounted for 31.1% of total sales, up from 25.4% in 2018/19.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish information on online sales by Camelot UK Lotteries Limited by whether that sale was made (a) on the website and (b) via the phone application.

The table below shows sales data, broken down by draw-based games and instant win games, which includes both scratchcards and online instant win games. Sales are not publicly reported at a more granular level, therefore it has also not been possible to differentiate between sales on the website or the mobile application.

Draw-based games sales (£m)

Instant win game sales (£m)

2009/10*

4,761

1,541

2010/11

4,389

1,436

2011/12

4,778

1,726

2012/13

4,915

2,062

2013/14

4,595

2,141

2014/15

4,646

2,629

2015/16

4,663

2,952

2016/17

4,020

2,902

2017/18

4,101

2,835

2018/19

4,083

3,125

2019/20

4,536

3,368

* 2009/10 covers a 14 month period due to the third Licence beginning on 1st February 2009.

The 2019/20 annual report of the current operator shows that digital sales accounted for 31.1% of total sales, up from 25.4% in 2018/19.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish sales figures by Camelot UK Lotteries Limited by (a) draw-based, (b) Instant Win and (c) scratchcard sales for each year since 2010; and whether those sales were made (i) online and (ii) offline.

The table below shows sales data, broken down by draw-based games and instant win games, which includes both scratchcards and online instant win games. Sales are not publicly reported at a more granular level, therefore it has also not been possible to differentiate between sales on the website or the mobile application.

Draw-based games sales (£m)

Instant win game sales (£m)

2009/10*

4,761

1,541

2010/11

4,389

1,436

2011/12

4,778

1,726

2012/13

4,915

2,062

2013/14

4,595

2,141

2014/15

4,646

2,629

2015/16

4,663

2,952

2016/17

4,020

2,902

2017/18

4,101

2,835

2018/19

4,083

3,125

2019/20

4,536

3,368

* 2009/10 covers a 14 month period due to the third Licence beginning on 1st February 2009.

The 2019/20 annual report of the current operator shows that digital sales accounted for 31.1% of total sales, up from 25.4% in 2018/19.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to establish an independent investigation into the collapse of (a) Football Index and (b) Footstock.

The government is taking the collapse of BetIndex Ltd (the operators of Football Index) and the concerns of those affected very seriously. On 20 April we announced an independent review of the regulation of the Football Index product. The review will take an objective look at the decisions and actions of the Gambling Commission and any other relevant regulators, to provide a clear account of how the company’s activities were regulated, identify if there are potential areas for improvement and inform our Review of the Gambling Act 2005. More information can be found in a Written Ministerial Statement on Regulation of Football Index, available at:

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-04-20/hcws929

While we appreciate that the situation regarding Footstock has also affected some British customers, it would not be straightforward to include the regulation of both companies in the scope of an independent review. As significantly more customers in Britain were affected by its collapse, the review will focus on Football tIndex. We hope the insights from the investigation will inform how novel products are regulated in future.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to publish the Tourism Recovery Plan.

We intend to publish the Tourism Recovery Plan in late spring.

We are continuing to hold discussions across Government and with stakeholders, including via the Tourism Industry Council, to assess how this plan can support the sector’s short and long term recovery from the pandemic.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of allowing pilot events to enable a limited number of people to watch cricket matches.

We want the British public to be able to get back to doing the things they love safely - including going to sports events. But we recognise the challenges that events face to operate in a way that ensures the risk of transmission is sufficiently low while maintaining commercial viability.

Public safety is our main priority and decisions will be made working with local Directors for Public Health for all pilot events included in the Events Research Programme. The pilots will be run across a range of settings, venues, and activities so that findings will support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors. However the point of the Events Research Programme is not to enable people to watch sport, but to gather evidence.

We will ensure that interim results gathered from Events Research Programmes are fed into policy development swiftly to avoid missing reopening opportunities because of insufficient data. The ERP will align its work with other reviews, including covid status certification and social distancing, to ensure the latest research findings are taken into account.

Under the government's roadmap out of lockdown, cricket grounds will be able to admit fans from Step 3, and not before 17th May.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the proposal by The Independent Game Developers’ Association to introduce a video games investment fund.

DCMS’ Creative Industries Economic Estimates show that the UK video games industry contributed an estimated £2.9 billion to the UK economy in 2019, up from £0.4 billion in 2010, and its headcount has grown to 27,000, a 47% increase since 2013.

I am pleased that in 2021/22 my Department will be continuing to fund the UK Games Fund, which provides valuable support to early stage games development businesses and talented graduates throughout the UK. We continue to consider what further actions we can take to underpin the games sector’s vital contribution to the UK’s future economic success.

We are looking closely at industry’s most recent proposals, including The Independent Game Developers Association’s (TIGA) updated proposal for the creation of a new, large scale video games investment fund. My officials have met with TIGA to discuss this in more detail and are willing to continue talking with TIGA, Ukie and their industry colleagues as they develop their proposals further.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Tourism Recovery Plan on the review of Destination Management Organisations.

The independent review of Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) is an important element of the Tourism Recovery Plan. Both pieces of work will be important for setting out the tourism sector’s recovery from the pandemic.

The independent review of DMOs in England will examine how best to structure and support DMOs at a local and regional level in order to deliver the Government’s tourism policy priorities and support economic growth.

The lead reviewer, Nick de Bois, is conducting the review over Spring 2021, before evaluating his findings and submitting a written report, including his recommendations, to the DCMS Secretary of State by Summer 2021. The review launched in March.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that heritage sites will be able to open in line with the timeframe outlined in the roadmap out of covid-19 restrictions.

The Government has been running four policy reviews to inform the roadmap. The following are supporting the safe reopening of indoor attractions:

  • Social Distancing Review to understand when and under what circumstances social distancing guidance can be lifted or amended

  • COVID Certification Review to understand the case for introducing certification and the mechanics of a certification programme.

  • Events Research Programme, led by DCMS, aims to build evidence on the risks associated with transmission and the extent that mitigation measures could address risk of transmission at events. The programme aims to start in April, with pilot events carried out across a range of settings, sectors, venue types, and activity types; many of which are applicable to Heritage sites. The shortlist of pilot events will take into account a range of requirements needed to test different science-led criteria, including but not limited to - indoor and outdoor settings, small and large venues, seated and standing events, different forms of audience participation, transport to events, duration, and ventilation.

In addition, the online Heritage Working Safely Guidance has been updated following each adjustment to COVID regulation, including the recent Roadmap steps. This guidance is for people who work or volunteer in Heritage locations, and aims to help the sector understand how to make their workplaces COVID secure for employees and visitors. This has been produced by DCMS and Historic England.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the relative safety of heritage sites for visitors compared to other outdoor and indoor venues during the covid-19 outbreak.

Scientific research has proven that the transmission of COVID-19 is lower outdoors than in indoor environments. Outdoor heritage sites, such as the grounds of castles, historic houses and monuments open to the elements have been open since June 2020. However, sites have been provided guidance by DCMS on how to open sites safely. This includes using pre-booking systems and limiting numbers of visitors and employees on site.

Indoor attractions at heritage sites will be able to re open in Step 3 (no earlier than May 17).

There are some indoor settings which are considered lower risk where household mixing is less likely, for example in shops, barbers and exercise facilities. These will be opening in Step 2 (no earlier than April 12).

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reforming VAT on repair and maintenance of historic buildings.

The current VAT system could be regarded as an incentive to demolish existing buildings entirely and start again. As people take ownership of a property - new build or listed - a standard rate is applied to its maintenance and upkeep; in this respect, there is parity of treatment. However, owners of historic properties, particularly listed buildings, are likely to incur higher costs to maintain their homes. The upkeep of buildings, especially those of heritage significance, is in the wider public interest.

As with all tax matters, this is something which HMT keeps under regular review.

My Officials are engaged with the sector to build a robust evidence base and develop targeted interventions that might benefit listed buildings in this space.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how funding from the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund will be distributed between the arts, culture, museums and heritage sectors.

Last year the government announced the unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the culture sector. The successful applications from the first round were announced late last year, with almost 3,800 organisations receiving over £1billion in funding, saving at least 75,000 jobs.

The successful applications from the second round were announced on Friday 2 April 2021. From this latest round of funding, over 2,700 organisations across arts, culture, museums and heritage have been offered an additional nearly £400 million in grants and loans to help the sector reopen and recover.

Funding from this second round will support organisations to transition from the challenging months of lockdowns and social distancing to welcoming audiences and visitors back to the country’s theatres, museums, cinemas, music venues and heritage sites.

Additionally, the Chancellor announced in the 2021 Budget an additional £300 million to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England through the Culture Recovery Fund. This extra funding, together with other cultural support such as funding for our national museums, means that our total support package for culture during the pandemic is now approaching £2bn.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to amend the Tourism Sector Deal as a result of the Government announcing the covid-19 recovery strategy.

The UK Government will publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in the Spring. Given the significant impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector, we now face different challenges to when the Tourism Sector Deal was published. The Recovery Plan will build on the foundations of the Sector Deal.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 26 February 2021 to Question 153362, whether an assessment was made of the potential effect on competition in the high street gaming sector as a result of opening Licensed Betting Offices in Step 2 and Adult Gaming Centres in Step 3 of the covid-19 roadmap.

The Government has designed the roadmap for reopening premises following careful consideration of the evidence and scientific advice. The roadmap strikes a balance between mitigating the social, health and economic impacts of closures and the need to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections. It also takes account of the cumulative impact of easing restrictions and the need to assess the impact at each step. Under the current roadmap, all non-essential retail will open at Step 2, not before 12 April. Indoor entertainment and indoor leisure will open at Step 3, not before 17 May.

As the business of Adult Gaming Centres consists entirely of customers playing machines within the premises, they are considered to be entertainment and will open at Step 3. The customers of Licensed Betting Offices (LBOs) may enter the premises, place a bet and leave with a betting slip, a transaction more similar to purchasing goods in a shop. While LBOs will be permitted to open at Step 2, they will be subject to a number of additional restrictions as set out in the previous Tier 3 guidance. These include showing no live sport or racing and having no chairs, as well as early closure. Under normal circumstances LBOs are limited to offering a maximum of four gaming machines and only two may be made available under these restrictions.

In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, the Chancellor announced an enhanced package of support at the Budget, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which must remain closed beyond Step 2.



John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to his Answer of 26 February 2021 to Question 153362, if he will make an assessment of the relative economic effect of re-opening (a) Adult Gaming Centres in Step 3 and (b) Licensed Betting Offices in Step 2 of the covid-19 roadmap.

The Government has designed the roadmap for reopening premises following careful consideration of the evidence and scientific advice. The roadmap strikes a balance between mitigating the social, health and economic impacts of closures and the need to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections. It also takes account of the cumulative impact of easing restrictions and the need to assess the impact at each step. Under the current roadmap, all non-essential retail will open at Step 2, not before 12 April. Indoor entertainment and indoor leisure will open at Step 3, not before 17 May.

As the business of Adult Gaming Centres consists entirely of customers playing machines within the premises, they are considered to be entertainment and will open at Step 3. The customers of Licensed Betting Offices (LBOs) may enter the premises, place a bet and leave with a betting slip, a transaction more similar to purchasing goods in a shop. While LBOs will be permitted to open at Step 2, they will be subject to a number of additional restrictions as set out in the previous Tier 3 guidance. These include showing no live sport or racing and having no chairs, as well as early closure. Under normal circumstances LBOs are limited to offering a maximum of four gaming machines and only two may be made available under these restrictions.

In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, the Chancellor announced an enhanced package of support at the Budget, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which must remain closed beyond Step 2.



John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on what date archives are able to reopen under the Government's roadmap for easing covid-19 restrictions.

It is our expectation that the reading rooms and study areas of archives in England will be able to reopen as part of step 2 of the Government’s roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions, in line with similar functions in libraries. The Devolved Administrations will publish their own plans. As laid out in the Government’s roadmap, step 2 will not commence until 12 April at the earliest.

Many archives provide a range of functions and services, for which they may need to refer to other areas of guidance on reopening; for example exhibition spaces should not reopen until Step 3 of the roadmap, in line with the museums and galleries guidance.

We recommend that archives consult the guidance relevant to their functions. The National Archives will provide further detail to the archives sector relating to archives when regulations are published in due course.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether adult gaming centres are planned to re-open alongside non-essential retail once covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Prime Minister announced on Monday 22 February that indoor entertainment venues, which will include Adult Gaming Centres, will open at Step 3 of the roadmap, not before 17 May. The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, while preserving the health and safety of the country.

At next week’s Budget the Chancellor will set out the next phase in our economic support package to reflect the steps set out in the Prime Minister’s roadmap to easing restrictions, tailoring support for individuals and businesses to reflect the changing public health restrictions.

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the arcades sector. That is why we have introduced a number of unprecedented financial packages to help to ease pressures and help businesses navigate through this crisis, including extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, introducing £4.6 billion in lockdown grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses and providing further discretionary funding for Local Authorities.

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. Currently, we estimate that up to 5% of adult gaming centres (AGCs) have ceased trading with roughly 10.1% of jobs lost in the past twelve months. This estimate is based on recent discussions with Bacta, the trade association for the arcades sector. We know that there are also significant job losses across the land-based gambling sector from discussions with the Betting and Gaming Council and the Bingo Association.

As set out in response to question 149200 on 9 February, the government has published guidance to help businesses understand how to make workplaces Covid-secure and help tackle the spread of the virus. AGCs should follow the shops and branches guidance in addition to Bacta’s specific guidance for FECs and AGCs to ensure they can operate as safely as possible when they are open.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of adult gaming centres on (a) Government support during national covid-19 restrictions and (b) the potential re-opening of those centres.

The Prime Minister announced on Monday 22 February that indoor entertainment venues, which will include Adult Gaming Centres, will open at Step 3 of the roadmap, not before 17 May. The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, while preserving the health and safety of the country.

At next week’s Budget the Chancellor will set out the next phase in our economic support package to reflect the steps set out in the Prime Minister’s roadmap to easing restrictions, tailoring support for individuals and businesses to reflect the changing public health restrictions.

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the arcades sector. That is why we have introduced a number of unprecedented financial packages to help to ease pressures and help businesses navigate through this crisis, including extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, introducing £4.6 billion in lockdown grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses and providing further discretionary funding for Local Authorities.

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. Currently, we estimate that up to 5% of adult gaming centres (AGCs) have ceased trading with roughly 10.1% of jobs lost in the past twelve months. This estimate is based on recent discussions with Bacta, the trade association for the arcades sector. We know that there are also significant job losses across the land-based gambling sector from discussions with the Betting and Gaming Council and the Bingo Association.

As set out in response to question 149200 on 9 February, the government has published guidance to help businesses understand how to make workplaces Covid-secure and help tackle the spread of the virus. AGCs should follow the shops and branches guidance in addition to Bacta’s specific guidance for FECs and AGCs to ensure they can operate as safely as possible when they are open.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take to support the re-opening of adult gaming centres nationally once covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Prime Minister announced on Monday 22 February that indoor entertainment venues, which will include Adult Gaming Centres, will open at Step 3 of the roadmap, not before 17 May. The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, while preserving the health and safety of the country.

At next week’s Budget the Chancellor will set out the next phase in our economic support package to reflect the steps set out in the Prime Minister’s roadmap to easing restrictions, tailoring support for individuals and businesses to reflect the changing public health restrictions.

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the arcades sector. That is why we have introduced a number of unprecedented financial packages to help to ease pressures and help businesses navigate through this crisis, including extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, introducing £4.6 billion in lockdown grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses and providing further discretionary funding for Local Authorities.

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. Currently, we estimate that up to 5% of adult gaming centres (AGCs) have ceased trading with roughly 10.1% of jobs lost in the past twelve months. This estimate is based on recent discussions with Bacta, the trade association for the arcades sector. We know that there are also significant job losses across the land-based gambling sector from discussions with the Betting and Gaming Council and the Bingo Association.

As set out in response to question 149200 on 9 February, the government has published guidance to help businesses understand how to make workplaces Covid-secure and help tackle the spread of the virus. AGCs should follow the shops and branches guidance in addition to Bacta’s specific guidance for FECs and AGCs to ensure they can operate as safely as possible when they are open.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many broadband cabinets are not enabled for fibre in Leeds North West constituency.

According to Thinkbroadband the proportion of premises in Leeds North West with access to 'partial Fibre', or 'Full Fibre at any speed' is 98.92%. This is above the national average. This encompasses the technologies: FTTC, VDSL, G.fast, Cable, and FTTP. It should be noted that this refers to BT Openreach cabinets only. 100% of Virgin Media cabinets are fibre enabled as they provide at least Ultrafast speeds and up to Gigabit speeds.

As well as the above percentage coverage for Superfast speeds (at least 30 Megabits per second), Leeds North West is well served by Virgin Media and they have upgraded their network in Leeds to provide up to Gigabit Speeds. Mainly as a consequence of this, 73.50% of residents in the constituency can access Gigabit speeds (1,000 Megabits Per Second) and 77.11% can access Ultrafast speeds (100 Megabits per second).

You can get the latest statistics for your constituency here https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/E14000780

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what financial support he plans to provide to local football pyramid clubs below tier 6 that have experienced reduced income from parent club fees.

Sports and physical activity providers and facilities are at the heart of our communities, and play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.

Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many sport clubs have benefited from. Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund has provided £210m directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres through this pandemic. The £300m Sports Winter Survival Package also aims to protect the immediate futures of major spectator sports in England over the winter period.

Furthermore, on Tuesday 5 January, the Chancellor announced £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are eligible to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000.

We are continuing to work with organisations to understand what they need and how we may be able to support them.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the covid-19 transmission risk posed by gaming machines in (a) adult gaming centres, (b) pubs and (c) licensed betting offices.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic.

Data and scientific advice informing the fight against COVID-19 are published on gov.uk and specific relevant findings are shared in presentations accompanying significant policy announcements.

Unfortunately we know that the virus spreads readily in indoor environments where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together. These restrictions do not single out Adult Gaming Centres but apply to a wide range of settings where the risk of transmission is high.



Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether an impact assessment has been carried out on the inclusion of adult gaming centres in the covid-19 hospitality curfew.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic.

Data and scientific advice informing the fight against COVID-19 are published on gov.uk and specific relevant findings are shared in presentations accompanying significant policy announcements.

Unfortunately we know that the virus spreads readily in indoor environments where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together. These restrictions do not single out Adult Gaming Centres but apply to a wide range of settings where the risk of transmission is high.



Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has carried out a site-based covid-19 risk assessment of adult gaming centres.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic.

Data and scientific advice informing the fight against COVID-19 are published on gov.uk and specific relevant findings are shared in presentations accompanying significant policy announcements.

Unfortunately we know that the virus spreads readily in indoor environments where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together. These restrictions do not single out Adult Gaming Centres but apply to a wide range of settings where the risk of transmission is high.



Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the public are protected from being the subject of abusive press content.

The government is committed to a free and independent press and does not intervene in what the press can and cannot publish. We are clear, however, that with this freedom, comes responsibility, which media organisations must take seriously. It is important that there exists an independent self regulatory regime to ensure that the press adheres to a wide set of clear and appropriate standards, and to offer individuals a means of redress where these are not met.

The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). A small number of publishers have joined The Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS). These regulators issue codes of conduct which provide guidelines on a range of areas and set out the rules that members have agreed to follow.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason pubs cannot also be allowed to host rehearsals and streaming of events, with no audience, alongside theatres and arts venues whilst under covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The Health Protection Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations 2020, passed by Parliament on 1st December, allows theatres and concert halls to host rehearsals or performances without an audience for broadcast or recording purposes. This regulation does not extend to pubs or other hospitality settings.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether accommodation businesses in areas where the local covid-19 alert level is (a) medium and (b) high are required to (i) cancel and (ii) refuse bookings from people resident in areas where the local covid-19 alert level is high.

Accommodation businesses in areas where the Local COVID Alert Level is medium or high are not required to cancel or refuse bookings from people in areas where the Local COVID Alert Level is high.

People can continue to travel within high alert level areas, can make overnight stays, and can leave high alert level areas to go on holiday, but should only do so with members of their own household/support bubble. People living in high alert areas should however look to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.

We are asking people resident in areas where the Local COVID Alert Level is ‘very high’ to avoid overnight stays in other regions, except for those who need to for work, education or caring responsibilities.

We encourage all accommodation providers to consider their approach towards guests from inside very-high alert level areas. Accommodation providers should communicate to all customers, including those with existing bookings, to not travel outside of the area unless it is essential (such as for essential work purposes or attending a funeral). For existing bookings, accommodation providers should give guests a chance to cancel their bookings if they intend on no longer travelling and staying at the accommodation.

Accommodation providers outside of an area with restrictions may refuse a booking or cancel a booking from guests from inside a very-high alert level area. The decision to refuse service is at the discretion of the business owner, and the terms of the booking contract may allow for discretionary cancellations. Any decision to refuse service should be done with sufficient notice to the guest, and we would expect any funds already paid by the consumer to be repaid.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to protect the performing arts sector to ensure that people working in the industry have (a) financial and (b) job security once the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.

In March, the Government implemented an unprecedented package to support businesses, charitable organisations, workers and the self-employed through the Coronavirus crisis. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and business rates relief in particular are providing support to organisations across the arts sector. The Government has now announced additional government support to provide certainty to businesses and workers impacted by Covid 19 across the UK. Central to this plan are the new Job Support Scheme and the SEISS Grant Extension.

On 5 July, DCMS announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.As a result of these grants and loans, organisations will be more able to resume cultural activity, albeit in a socially distanced way. Each organisation that receives money will know what best they can do to support their workforce and keep job losses to a minimum. We recognise the crucial role that individuals play in making our arts and creative industries world-leading, and DCMS are doing everything we can to aid in the protection of jobs, especially as the sector begins to reopen.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to allow circuses to reopen as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are committed to getting the performing arts sector fully back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so. It is a priority of my department to work with the arts and cultural sectors to address the challenges of reopening.

The Secretary of State recently revealed a five stage roadmap that the government will work through to get the performing arts sectors back up and running as soon as possible:

  • Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences)

  • Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes

  • Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience and pilots for indoor performances with a limited socially-distanced audience

  • Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors)

  • Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)


On the 11th July, we moved to Stage Three. This means that performances outdoors can take place in line with this guidance. This includes marquees or tented structures where performance occurs in front of a live audience, such as tented circus events. DCMS will work with sector representative bodies to select a number of pilots for indoor performances with a socially distanced audience, as we look to move into Stage Four.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what scientific advice the Government has received on the need for the continued closure of swimming pools during the covid-19 outbreak.

The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by understanding the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities.

We recognise the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and we agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.


The Government is actively working towards a safe way to re-open these facilities, with supporting guidance.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the evidential basis is for the decision not to reopen casinos as part of the next phase of easing the covid-19 lockdown restrictions; and what criteria was used to differentiate casinos from bingo halls in that decision.

As a close proximity venue, with live table games involving handling of chips and cards, casinos are among the group of businesses which are not yet permitted to open. My officials will continue to work with the casino sector to ensure they can safely open as soon as possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional financial support he plans to allocate to the arts sector to protect (a) salaried and (b) freelance workers.

The UK’s arts sector is one of our greatest success stories and we are doing all we can to support it through the pandemic. We are providing unprecedented assistance including a years' business rates holiday, government loans, the recently-extended Self Employed Income Support Scheme, the Job Retention Scheme that hundreds of organisations have received support from.

Additionally, DCMS has worked closely with its arm’s-length bodies to deliver tailored support packages at speed, including the £160m Emergency Funding Package announced by Arts Council England, made possible by Government funding. This intervention complements the financial measures already announced to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

The package includes £140 million of support for artistic organisations, including venues, and £20 million of financial support for individuals, including freelancers, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. To date more than 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this emergency funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the Art sector extensively to ensure we fully understand the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector.

On the basis of that engagement, DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures required to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector. We remain committed to opening up venues as soon as it is safe to do so and are working directly with the sector on detailed advice and guidance.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to increase (a) funding to and (b) financial investment in the arts.

The UK’s arts sector is one of our greatest success stories and we are doing all we can to support it through the pandemic. We are providing unprecedented assistance including a years' business rates holiday, government loans, the recently-extended Self Employed Income Support Scheme, the Job Retention Scheme that hundreds of organisations have received support from.

Additionally, DCMS has worked closely with its arm’s-length bodies to deliver tailored support packages at speed, including the £160m Emergency Funding Package announced by Arts Council England, made possible by Government funding. This intervention complements the financial measures already announced to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

The package includes £140 million of support for artistic organisations, including venues, and £20 million of financial support for individuals, including freelancers, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. To date more than 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this emergency funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the Art sector extensively to ensure we fully understand the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector.

On the basis of that engagement, DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures required to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector. We remain committed to opening up venues as soon as it is safe to do so and are working directly with the sector on detailed advice and guidance.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has plans to promote investment in the art sector by (a) extending and (b) improving tax relief schemes for venues and creatives.

The UK’s arts sector is one of our greatest success stories and we are doing all we can to support it through the pandemic. We are providing unprecedented assistance including a years' business rates holiday, government loans, the recently-extended Self Employed Income Support Scheme, the Job Retention Scheme that hundreds of organisations have received support from.

Additionally, DCMS has worked closely with its arm’s-length bodies to deliver tailored support packages at speed, including the £160m Emergency Funding Package announced by Arts Council England, made possible by Government funding. This intervention complements the financial measures already announced to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

The package includes £140 million of support for artistic organisations, including venues, and £20 million of financial support for individuals, including freelancers, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. To date more than 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this emergency funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the Art sector extensively to ensure we fully understand the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector.

On the basis of that engagement, DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures required to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector. We remain committed to opening up venues as soon as it is safe to do so and are working directly with the sector on detailed advice and guidance.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional financial support he plans to allocate to arts (a) venues and (b) organisations.

The UK’s arts sector is one of our greatest success stories and we are doing all we can to support it through the pandemic. We are providing unprecedented assistance including a years' business rates holiday, government loans, the recently-extended Self Employed Income Support Scheme, the Job Retention Scheme that hundreds of organisations have received support from.

Additionally, DCMS has worked closely with its arm’s-length bodies to deliver tailored support packages at speed, including the £160m Emergency Funding Package announced by Arts Council England, made possible by Government funding. This intervention complements the financial measures already announced to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

The package includes £140 million of support for artistic organisations, including venues, and £20 million of financial support for individuals, including freelancers, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. To date more than 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this emergency funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the Art sector extensively to ensure we fully understand the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector.

On the basis of that engagement, DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures required to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector. We remain committed to opening up venues as soon as it is safe to do so and are working directly with the sector on detailed advice and guidance.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he will respond to the consultation on Revising the definition of treasure in the Treasure Act 1996 and revising the related codes of practice which closed on 30th April 2019.

Work is continuing on the consultation response which is currently at the drafting stage. It has been necessary to balance resources with other policy demands, including the current response to the COVID-19 crisis. Subject to these demands, the government will publish the consultation response in due course.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to provide financial assistance to the music industry for loss of revenue due to the cancellation of (a) concerts and (b) festivals during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced measures to support businesses and organisations that have been impacted by the pandemic. This includes the Government stepping in to help pay people’s wages – a scheme which is one of the most generous of any in the world – paying grants to support as many jobs as necessary. Any employer in the country who promises to retain their staff, can apply for a grant to cover most of the cost of paying people’s wages. Government grants will cover 80 per cent of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month, with this limit set well above the median income. The cost of wages will be backdated to 1st March and will be open for at least three months. The Government will consider extending the scheme for longer if necessary.

We are also deferring the next three months of VAT, a direct injection of £33 billion of cash to employers which means no business will pay any VAT in March, April or May; and they will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be interest free for twelve months, an extension from the initial announcement of six months. We have already introduced and announced an extension to the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is for small and medium-sized businesses. On 17 March the Chancellor expanded the amount that can be borrowed from £1.2 million to £5 million.

The Chancellor has also announced measures to protect the self-employed and as long as they fulfil the criteria for these measures, freelancers and the self employed in the music industry will benefit from these measures. The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether there will be an official ban on mass gatherings.

On 23 March, the Prime Minister announced that people will only be allowed to leave their home for the very limited purposes including shopping for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day; any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

The Government has been clear that there should be no public gatherings of more than two people.

There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  • where the gathering is of a group of people who live together - this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.

  • where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

The Government has also announced that social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies should not take place. This will exclude funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take to support organisers of (a) small music venues, (b) festivals and (c) other live music events (i) directly and (ii) indirectly effected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Chancellor announced additional measures worth £330 billion to support businesses. Measures include increasing the amount available to borrow through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £1.2 million to £5 million and ensuring businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free. Measures that will have a direct impact on music venues and festivals include a 100% business rates holiday for 12 months, increasing grants to businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000 and providing a further £25,000 grants to those with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.


The Chancellor also confirmed that the advice for people to avoid the likes of pubs and venues will be sufficient for businesses to claim on their insurance where they have appropriate business interruption cover for pandemics in place.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether the Government has plans to ban the opening of (a) pubs, (b) clubs and (c) small music venues.

Last week, the Government ordered certain businesses including pubs, clubs and music venues to close. This was followed on Monday by the Prime Minister’s announcement that all non-essential premises must close and that people are required to stay at home, except for the very limited purposes that have been set out. These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people and are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus. Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures and the Government will be ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply.

The new measures will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether additional funding will be made available to the voluntary and community sector to help them support communities more effectively during the covid-19 outbreak.

Last week the Minister for Civil Society held a roundtable discussion with over 45 charities to understand their concerns about covid-19. We are working with colleagues across government to shape support available to mitigate risks in the coming weeks and months and deliver effectively for communities.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his department is taking to (a) protect and (b) expand public service media in the UK.

The Government is committed to supporting a modern public service broadcasting system that will meet the needs of UK audiences in the future and remain at the heart of our world class broadcasting sector.

Ofcom’s PSB Review will play an important role in strengthening our understanding of how public service broadcasting, and the regulatory framework which supports it, can adapt to ensure its continued resilience in the changing technological environment. The Government has asked Ofcom to be bold and ambitious in its thinking.

Our public service broadcasting system, and the media more widely, is particularly vital during these challenging times. We welcome the media’s initiatives in ensuring audiences are informed and entertained, and we are working with the sector to ensure that audiences’ changing needs are met, including so that children have access to educational resources while schools are closed.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage private media companies in Yorkshire and the Humber to become carbon neutral.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for energy, clean growth and climate change.

Private media companies are independent of the government, and their approach to the reduction of carbon emissions is a matter for these organisations.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to make the BBC more democratically accountable.

The BBC is an independent body governed by the Royal Charter.

The Royal Charter requires the BBC to prepare, publish and lay before Parliament an annual report for each financial year to set out the details of its activities and compliance with its duties. Further, the Royal Charter sets out that the BBC must also comply with requests to appear before or submit evidence to either of the Houses of Parliament or one of their committees.

The BBC also allows licence fee payers to hold it to account on a range of issues by contacting the BBC directly.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the BBC in competing with (a) Amazon, (b) Hulu, (c) Netflix and (d) other foreign private streaming services.

The BBC is a world-class broadcaster and a cultural institution producing some of the best television and radio in the world. As the national broadcaster it plays a vital role in the UK, particularly in these challenging times.

The government is committed to ensuring that the BBC and all public service broadcasters adapt to a fast changing market, ensuring they remain at the heart of our world class TV sector. There are several important milestones that will support this in the coming years, including the mid-term review of the Charter that will take place between 2022 and 2024.

Ofcom’s review into Public Service Broadcasting will also play an important role in this work, and we look forward to the outcome of its review in due course. We have asked Ofcom to be bold and ambitious in its thinking.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the BBC to become carbon neutral.

The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government, and is responsible for its environmental policies.

In its environmental sustainability strategy, ‘Greener Broadcasting’, published in 2018, the BBC set a target of a 24% reduction in CO2 emissions from buildings and technology by 2022. The BBC’s Director-General, Lord Hall, said: “as a publicly-funded organisation, the BBC has a particular duty to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our environmental impact to a minimum”.


The BBC sets out its sustainability strategy on its website: https://www.bbc.com/aboutthebbc/reports/policies/sustainability.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support the development of the BBC as a global brand.

The BBC is editorially and operationally independent from the government and the government cannot intervene in its day-to-day decisions, including those taken about its brand and reputation internationally.

However, the Government recognises that the BBC sets the international benchmark for quality, producing outstanding television, radio and online programmes and services that are exported throughout the world. We also support the BBC's mission to bring high quality and impartial news to global audiences, including where free speech is limited.

That is why the government ensured that the Charter gave the BBC a purpose of reflecting the United Kingdom, its culture and values to the world and ring-fenced a minimum spend of £254m on the World Service until 2021/22.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help ensure the BBC is politically impartial.

Following Charter Review in 2016, the government embedded impartiality into the BBC’s Mission in the Charter. The BBC also has a duty to deliver impartial and accurate news coverage and content under its Charter obligations. It is for the BBC Board to ensure the quality of all BBC’s content, and that BBC output meets the highest standards the public expect.

It is not for the government to make judgements about perceived political bias at the BBC. This is a matter for Ofcom, as the BBC’s regulator. Ofcom is responsible for setting rules to ensure BBC coverage is impartial and accurate under the Broadcasting Code and for holding the BBC to account against its public purposes as the BBC regulator.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness amongst children of the risks of (a) in-game purchases and loot boxes in video games and (b) other forms of gambling.

The Government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005, and to tackle issues around loot boxes. Further details will be announced in due course.

From September 2020 it will be mandatory for state-funded secondary schools in England to teach pupils about risks related to online gambling as part of education about internet safety and harms. This is in addition to initiatives by third sector bodies, including the PSHE Association’s resources for teachers, Parentzone’s tools to help parents educate children about gambling and gambling-like mechanics in gaming, and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust’s (YGAM) training and resources about gambling and digital resilience for teachers, youth workers, mental health specialists and others who work with children and young people.

We also welcomed the launch in January 2020 of the games industry’s Get Smart About P.L.A.Y. campaign encouraging parents to use parental controls and take an active role in their children’s gaming specifically.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will take steps to (a) close the monetisation loophole in gambling legislation in regards to loot boxes and (b) empower the Gambling Commission to regulate loot boxes in video games.

The Government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005, and to tackle issues around loot boxes. Further details will be announced in due course.

From September 2020 it will be mandatory for state-funded secondary schools in England to teach pupils about risks related to online gambling as part of education about internet safety and harms. This is in addition to initiatives by third sector bodies, including the PSHE Association’s resources for teachers, Parentzone’s tools to help parents educate children about gambling and gambling-like mechanics in gaming, and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust’s (YGAM) training and resources about gambling and digital resilience for teachers, youth workers, mental health specialists and others who work with children and young people.

We also welcomed the launch in January 2020 of the games industry’s Get Smart About P.L.A.Y. campaign encouraging parents to use parental controls and take an active role in their children’s gaming specifically.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will take steps to cap the amount of money players can spend on in-game purchases in video games.

The government is aware of concerns around the potential for excessive spending in games, particularly by young people. These concerns are discussed in the recent DCMS Select Committee report on Immersive and Addictive Technologies. We are currently considering the Report and its recommendations and will respond in due course.


We continue to work with industry and the age ratings bodies to encourage the use of parental controls that can disable or limit spending on devices, and welcomed the launch in January 2020 of the games industry’s Get Smart About P.L.A.Y. campaign encouraging parents to use parental controls and take an active role in their children’s gaming.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to classify (a) video game loot boxes and (b) FIFA Ultimate Team Packs as gambling in the forthcoming Bill on online harms.

The Government will respond to the Online Harms White Paper consultation shortly.


However, we are aware of concerns that some entertainment products, such as some video games, could encourage gambling-like behaviour. We have committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age, and to tackle issues surrounding loot boxes. We will announce further details in due course.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to prioritise removing all limits to group sizes for youth residential activities under Step 4 of the covid-19 roadmap on 19 July 2021.

The Department recognises the significant benefits that youth residentials and summer camps can have for children’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as their educational and social development.

That is why the Government has prioritised the recommencement of residential visits, including youth residentials and summer camps, for children at Step 3 of the roadmap. It has also increased limits on group sizes to 30 from 21 June 2021.

As the Government moves to Step 4 of the roadmap, and the majority of COVID-19 restrictions across all parts of society are relaxed, key restrictions on all education and childcare settings will come to an end. This includes current advice on consistent groups (bubbles) and limits on group sizes for all residential visits. Our priority is to ensure all education and childcare settings are able to offer high quality, face to face provision for children and young people.

At Step 4 of the roadmap, youth residential providers will be able to undertake residential visits in groups of any number, and without the need to keep children in consistent groups: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-summer-2021-roadmap/covid-19-response-summer-2021.

The Department has published new guidance for providers, setting out the actions they can take to reduce the risk of transmission from Step 4: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/999758/OOSS_Provider_Guidance_PDF_Step_4.pdf.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has made for necessary adjustments in the event that A level exams in 2022 are cancelled nationally or locally.

Examinations and other formal assessments remain the fairest way of assessing students. It is the Government’s intention that GCSE, AS and A level examinations will go ahead in summer 2022. The Department recognises that students who will be taking A levels next year have had significant disruption to their education this year. We are therefore considering with Ofqual, the exam boards, and wider stakeholders what needs to be done to ensure that students are able to sit examinations and take other assessments safely and receive grades that are fair, even if further disruption does occur. The Department understands the need for the education sector to have certainty in order to plan for next year, and we will announce further details as soon as possible.

Although the Department remains committed to exams going ahead in 2022, we will continue to work with Ofqual on a range of contingencies in the event of further disruption to education.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to determine the form of A level exams in 2022; and when he plans to announce his Department's policy on that matter.

Examinations and other formal assessments remain the fairest way of assessing students. It is the Government’s intention that GCSE, AS and A level examinations will go ahead in summer 2022. The Department recognises that students who will be taking A levels next year have had significant disruption to their education this year. We are therefore considering with Ofqual, the exam boards, and wider stakeholders what needs to be done to ensure that students are able to sit examinations and take other assessments safely and receive grades that are fair, even if further disruption does occur. The Department understands the need for the education sector to have certainty in order to plan for next year, and we will announce further details as soon as possible.

Although the Department remains committed to exams going ahead in 2022, we will continue to work with Ofqual on a range of contingencies in the event of further disruption to education.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of removing funding for Applied General Qualifications on people that hope to study degrees in gaming.

The department has consulted widely on proposals for reforming post-16 qualifications at level 3. The second stage of consultation closed on 31 January 2021 and set out proposals for a range of qualifications that will sit alongside A levels and T Levels in future. These include academic qualifications designed to support progression to specialist higher education. No final decisions have been made about individual subjects or the future of existing qualifications.

The impact assessment published alongside the consultation looks at the potential impact of the review on students, providers, employers, and the economy but did not look specifically at student progression to degrees in gaming. We are analysing responses to the consultation and will publish a final impact assessment as part of the response to the consultation later this year.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to include in his guidance to schools that children and staff should wear clear face coverings if needed to meet the needs of pupils and students.

The Department’s guidance on face coverings can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

As the guidance outlines, during national lockdown, in schools and colleges where Year 7 and above are taught, face coverings should be worn by adults (staff and visitors), pupils and students when moving around indoors, outside of classrooms and other teaching situations, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Based on current evidence and the measures that schools and colleges are already putting in place, such as the system of controls and consistent bubbles, face coverings will not generally be necessary in the classroom.

Children in primary schools do not need to wear a face covering.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Face coverings can make it more difficult to communicate with pupils and students with additional needs or those who many rely on lip reading or facial expressions for understanding. We expect staff to be sensitive to these needs when teaching and interacting with pupils and students.

We continue to provide information to the sector on our guidance, and any changes to it, through regular departmental communications. We will also continue to work with Public Health England, as well as stakeholders across the sector, to monitor the latest scientific and medical advice and understand the impact of the system of controls on staff, pupils and parents.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase vaccinations for frontline staff working in early years settings.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them.

JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

Regarding the next phase of vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other Government departments. The Department for Education will input into this cross governmental exercise, and I hope that educational staff, including in early years settings, will be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many early years settings have decided to close during the 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

The department has issued guidance on actions for early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Further guidance on the national lockdown from 5 January 2021 is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950653/Education_and_childcare_settings_-_national_lockdown_from_5_January_2021_.pdf.

Department for Education officials and ministers are in regular contact with local government and childcare providers to understand the successes and challenges in the sector both locally and nationally, and to follow up on non-compliance and misunderstandings about the guidance and law. Local authority early years teams have designated points of contact within the department. The department uses local intelligence to support policy development and to provide local authorities with additional clarification of guidance, if needed, to help them understand and fulfil their statutory duties.

Local government undertakes a weekly data collection that is used to monitor attendance at early years settings, as well as supply of, and demand for, places. This data collection records the number of settings that are open and closed each week and is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. The data collection was paused over the Christmas period and resumed on Thursday 7 January 2021. The latest data, published on Tuesday 19 January 2021, is available at the link above.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to develop a T-Level for the Video Games Industry.

The T Level in Digital Production and Development, which launched this September, covers a broad range of content based on the employer-led for software development technician standard. This T Level will support progression to entry-level job opportunities in this area, including Junior Games Developer roles, whilst other T Levels in Digital and in Creative and Design will develop skills that are directly relevant to the video games industry.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will permit schools to provide remote teaching in the last week of the autumn 2020 term to allow for isolation periods before the start of the Christmas bubble period on 23 December 2020.

It continues to be the Department’s aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full time. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and their future ability to learn.

As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan, nurseries, schools and colleges should not change their Christmas holidays or close early this term. Parents should continue to send their children to school during term time. A time limited change to social restrictions over Christmas does not require any children to be taken out of school prematurely. The head teachers and staff of schools have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open, keep schools safe and provide education.

Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise the risk of transmission. The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be, and so they should continue to go to school.

Closing schools early would also cause additional disruption and inconvenience to many parents, including key workers such as NHS staff due to the additional childcare arrangements required as a result of this action.

If parents have concerns about their child attending school because they believe that they or members of their household may have particular risk factors, they should discuss these with their school.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Office for Students has taken in response to the report by Jane McNeill QC dated 25 August 2020 which found that bullying had taken place under the President and Chief Financial Officer of Imperial College London.

The Office for Students (OfS) is considering the information it has received in relation to this matter, in line with their normal processes. As is standard practice, the OfS cannot comment on individual cases.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to issue additional guidance on the student travel window to students who are also classed as key workers.

The government is committed to ensuring that students who wish to return home for the winter break are able to do so. It is essential that measures are put in place to ensure this can happen as safely as possible for students, staff and the communities that they return to.

On 11 November, the department published guidance for providers on plans for the end of the autumn term. This guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/student-movement-and-plans-for-the-end-of-autumn-2020-term.

As outlined in the guidance, published on 11 November, many healthcare students who are on placements are considered essential workers and such placements can continue until the end of term. We will shortly be issuing further detailed guidance on how the end of term guidance applies to all students on placements, including courses where placements can continue.

The Office for Students, the regulator of higher education in England, also issued a FAQ for students on going home for the end of term, available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/coronavirus-end-of-term. This will also be updated shortly, to address questions that students may have about their placements.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many people have received teaching bursaries since March 2018.

The published data shows that in the 2018/19 academic year, 10,685 trainees on postgraduate initial teacher training courses were eligible for a bursary.

Data for the 2019-20 academic year will be published in summer 2021.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of changes in the level of retention of newly qualified teachers since March 2018.

The Department publishes the retention rates of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) annually in the School workforce in England statistical release, available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

Of the teachers who qualified in 2018, 85.4% are still in service one year after qualification. This retention rate is slightly higher than the previous year when the one year retention rate was 85.1%.

Improving early career teacher retention is one of our priorities. This is why the Department launched the Early Career Framework (ECF) alongside our landmark Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy last year. The ECF will transform the support offered to NQTs by extending the induction period to two years, and will include funding 5% of time away from the classroom for teachers in the second year of teaching so that they can focus on their development. Funding for mentor training and time for them to support their inductees in the second year of induction, as well as training and development resources will also be provided. Early roll out in Bradford, Doncaster, Greater Manchester and the North East began this month and, in response to the disruption to teacher training due to COVID-19, has been expanded by making the high quality training materials available nationally a year early. Full national roll out will take place from September 2021.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to home-schooled children during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department will do whatever it can to make sure no child – whatever their background or location – falls behind as a result of COVID-19.

That is why we have provided a comprehensive package of support for remote education, including guidance for parents and carers: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supporting-your-childrens-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19, which covers how they can help their children to learn at home. This support, and the resources set out below, will also be useful to parents and carers of home-schooled children.

We have published an updated list of high quality online educational resources: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources which have been assessed with the support of some of the country’s leading educational subject experts to help pupils to learn at home. The list includes resources in six priority areas including maths, English, science, PE, mental wellbeing and SEND, from Early Years to Key Stage 5, and which are currently available for free.

The Department has also worked with the BBC on its comprehensive new education package, available on TV, via the red button and iPlayer, and online at BBC Bitesize. Bitesize Daily TV shows were watched by over 2 million households on iPlayer in the first two weeks of transmission.

Our latest guidance on education and childcare during coronavirus is available here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare

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

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to schools and teachers on dealing with children refusing to abide by two metre social distancing requirements.

It is important for schools to be calm and disciplined environments, where everyone follows the rules. As outlined in the guidance published on 11 May, schools should update their behaviour policy to reflect the guidance on protective measures, including any new rules and routines. It should also include appropriate consequences (such as sanctions and rewards), so that teachers can ensure pupils understand the rules and can enforce them rigorously. The disciplinary powers that schools currently have, including exclusion, remain in place. Teachers will be aware that current circumstances may affect the emotional wellbeing of some pupils in ways that affect behaviour, and schools will need to ensure a proportionate response to situations that may arise. The guidance published on 11 May is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools.

Some children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, may need extra support to ensure new norms and routines around protective measures and personal hygiene are clearly understood.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support schools in helping (a) pupils in (i) reception and (ii) year 1 and (b) other younger pupils to socially distance when their school reopens during the covid-19 outbreak

On 28 May, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, confirmed that the Government’s five tests were met and we could move forward with easing the lockdown measures which have been in place across England. Based on all the evidence, we have been able to begin our cautious and phased approach to asking schools and nurseries to open for more children. This means that from 1 June, primary schools have begun to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside the priority groups they have been caring for since the end of March.

We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to school we are taking this into account and asking schools to implement a hierarchy of controls to reduce any risk of transmission. These include minimising contact and mixing by keeping children in small consistent groups. Full guidance on implementing protective measures is available at:

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

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to allow parents who are in the covid-19 at risk groups to decide whether their children return to school, when schools reopen.

Schools will remain closed until further notice, except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

Schools will only reopen when the scientific advice indicates it is safe to do so. We will keep our guidance to the sector about school attendance up to date as the situation develops.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that exam boards provide timely guidance to students on requirements for coursework once the covid-19 outbreak is over.

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

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 5 March 2020 to Question 21389 on Universities: Industrial Disputes, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of the provisions of the Higher Education (Higher Amount) (England) Regulations 2010 on industrial disputes in universities.

The 2010 Higher Amount Regulations prescribed the higher amounts of tuition fees for new students from 1 September 2012 up to and including the 2016/17 academic year. These regulations were superseded in the 2017/18 academic year.

As stated in the answer to Question 21389, Government has made no specific assessment of the potential effect of the Higher Education (Higher Amount) (England) Regulations 2010 on the current disputes. It would not be proportionate to do so at this time.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many people have had their 30 hours free childcare funding suspended as a result of technical issues using the Government gateway system in 2020.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) do not hold the data requested nor can it be derived from data that the Department for Education (DfE) holds. HMRC can provide information on Government Gateway outages and downtime, however we cannot link them to parents failing to get a 30 hours code. Government Gateway issues can occur at any time, but they are usually short lived. Customers are advised to try again later. If parents continue to have problems, they can call the Childcare Service Helpline and we can help them.

The grace period enables parents to retain their childcare place for a short period if they become ineligible for 30 hours. Parents who fall out of eligibility in the first half of a term are able to retain their childcare place until the end of that term; parents who fall out of eligibility in the second half of a term are able to retain their childcare place until the end of the following term. Their ‘grace period end date’ is the last date on which they should receive their 30 hours place after falling out of eligibility and is generated by the DfE’s Eligibility Checking System. Childcare providers and local authorities can see this date when they check a code.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve teaching of the Roma Holocaust in schools.

The Department is fully committed to Holocaust education. Every young person should learn about the Holocaust and the lessons it teaches us today. The curriculum gives teachers and schools the freedom to decide how to teach the subject and what resources to use to support an understanding of the history of the Holocaust and the experiences of the non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution.

The Department further supports pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of the Holocaust by providing funding for the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project (£2,126,437 in 2019-20 and £2,193,675 in 2020-21) and to the UCL Institute of Education’s Centre for Holocaust Education (£500,000 in both 2019-20 and 2020-21, match funded by the Pears foundation). Additionally, £1.7 million for the 2019-20 financial year is being provided for the Bergen-Belsen Commemoration Programme to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

A wide array of resources are available to help teachers teach about the persecution by the Nazis of different groups of people, including Roma victims.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage universities to financially compensate students affected by industrial action.

We expect Higher Education Providers to consider their obligations under consumer law and students’ consumer rights carefully, including during industrial action. This includes ensuring that a range of appropriate remedies and mitigations are available, which may include financial compensation, to prevent and minimise the effects of any strike action upon their students

The Office for Students, the regulator for higher education in England, has issued guidance for students affected by industrial action. It encourages students to discuss with their university or college whether it is possible to make up for any lost teaching, and whether any other loss of services and support can be rearranged to minimise the disruption that students have experienced. Where lost teaching has had an impact on assessments or other work that has had to be submitted, students may be able to submit a claim for this to be considered as part of the university’s mitigating or extenuating circumstances process.

If the issue is not satisfactorily resolved, students can complain through the university’s complaints process; if they are unhappy with the outcome, students have the right to make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). The OIA has also published guidance on its website about its approach to complaints by students affected by the industrial action.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the Higher Education (Higher Amount) (England) Regulations 2010 on industrial action at universities in England.

There are currently two industrial disputes affecting higher education in England. The Universities Superannuation Scheme pension dispute relates to the scheme valuation, costs and governance. The second dispute is about pay, gender and racial pay gaps as well as contracts and working conditions. Universities are independent institutions and are responsible for their own decisions on pay, employment contracts and pension provision.

Government has made no specific assessment of the potential effect of the Higher Education (Higher Amount) (England) Regulations 2010 on these disputes. Those regulations prescribed the higher amounts of tuition fees for courses starting on or after 1 September 2012. Following the passage of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, fee limits for prescribed courses are now provided for in the Higher Education (Fee Limits and Fee Limit Condition) (England) Regulations 2018 and the Higher Education (Fee Limits for Accelerated Courses) (England) Regulations 2019 (in those regulations where the first academic year began on or after 1 August 2019).

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that disciplinary measures used in schools do not harm the mental health of students.

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which sets out the behaviour expected of pupils and the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour. Schools may only impose sanctions or penalties that are reasonable and proportionate in all circumstances and must not breach any other legislation, such as in respect of disability, special educational needs, race and other equalities and human rights.

The Department’s guidance on behaviour and discipline states that schools should consider whether continuing disruptive behaviour may be the result of an unmet mental health need, in which case a multi-agency referral may be necessary.

Guidance on behaviour and discipline is available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

Additionally, in 2018 the Department published updated Mental Health & Behaviour in Schools Guidance, which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2.?The purpose of this guidance is to help schools to identify pupils whose behaviour may be the result of an underlying mental health difficulty, and to understand when and how to put in place support.?

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it remains the Government's policy to introduce free sanitary products in (a) secondary schools and (b) further education colleges.

On 20 January 2020, the department launched a new scheme which makes free period products available for state-funded primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in England. This is an important step to ensure that menstruation does not present a barrier to learning and that no one is held back from reaching their potential. This scheme is part of a wider programme of work, led by the cross-sector Period Poverty taskforce, with the vision to eliminate period poverty and shame around menstruation in the UK by 2025.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to issue revised guidance to (a) headteachers and (b) school staff on the time limit for pupils being placed in isolation as punishment.

?Our guidance on behaviour and discipline in schools includes advice on using isolation, and states that it is for individual schools to decide how long a pupil should be kept in isolation. The guidance also states that schools should ensure that pupils are kept in isolation no longer than is necessary, and that their time spent there is used as constructively as possible. The schools must also ensure the health and safety of pupils, and any requirements in relation to safeguarding and pupil welfare. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.?

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he is taking steps under the universal declaration of human rights to uphold the rights of children in schools that use extended isolation in booths as punishment for minor incidents of misbehaviour; and if he will make a statement.

Classrooms need to be safe and calm environments that enable teachers to teach, and children to learn. Schools can choose to remove pupils from the classroom for a variety of reasons.

The Department trusts schools to develop their own policies and strategies for managing disruptive behaviour according to their particular circumstances. To help schools develop effective strategies, the Department has produced advice for schools which covers what should be included in their behaviour policy. This advice can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

The guidance states that schools can adopt a policy which allows disruptive pupils to be placed in isolation away from other pupils. If a school uses isolation rooms as a disciplinary penalty, this should be made clear in their behaviour policy. As with other disciplinary penalties, schools must act lawfully, reasonably and proportionately in all cases, and must take account of any special education needs or disabilities pupils placed in isolation may have. The school must also ensure the health and safety of pupils.

It is for individual schools to decide how long a pupil should be kept in isolation and for the staff member in charge to determine what pupils may and may not do during the time they are there. Schools should ensure that pupils are kept in isolation no longer than is necessary and that their time spent there is used as constructively as possible. Schools must allow pupils time to eat or use the toilet.


Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare will reduce the number of animals used in laboratories.

The Action Plan for Animal Welfare states that we will continue to commit to maintaining high standards of protection where procedures are undertaken on live animals for scientific or educational purposes.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it is permitted under covid-19 restrictions to travel for the purpose of animal welfare to a dog behaviorist.

England is still in a national lockdown. The Government has issued guidance which states clearly that you must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. According to this guidance, you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.

The Government has also issued advice for pet owners and livestock keepers on looking after the welfare of animals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Protecting the welfare of animals remains a priority for Defra throughout the coronavirus pandemic. I recognise that access to professional services such as dog training and behaviourists may be important for animal welfare purposes.

The Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) has issued further advice to pet-related businesses (including dog trainers and behaviourists) on how they can deliver their services safely under the restrictions in place to limit the spread of coronavirus. See: here

On 22 February, the Government published ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England. This a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously. Guidance on reopening businesses and venues is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reopening-businesses-and-venues-in-england/reopening-businesses-and-venues

Defra cannot advise individuals on what specific activities constitute a reasonable excuse given the individual’s circumstances and those applying to their dog. To determine this, individuals should consult the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 and associated guidance. An example of a reasonable excuse toleave your home is to attend to the care and exercise of an animal. However, this should be done locally wherever possible. This means avoiding travel outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live and reducing the number of journeys you make overall.

My department will continue to work closely with sector groups, such as the CFSG, to update advice to pet owners and pet service-based businesses at each step of the roadmap.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of using the Environmental Land Management Scheme to promote the benefits of dry stone walls.

We are working with stakeholders and end users to determine the specific land management actions that will be paid for under our new schemes, that will pay farmers to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions. We will set out more details on this later this year. The Agricultural Transition Plan set out examples of the types of actions that we envisage paying for under the schemes, including boundary management.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will widen the eligibility criteria for the Zoo Animals Fund to ensure that zoo licence holders have adequate support.

Grant payments to zoos begin when they reach their final 12 weeks of financial reserves. Zoos can though apply at any time before reaching this 12 week point to help with their business planning. The Zoo Animals Fund is an envelope of funding to provide for zoos which, due to a coronavirus-related drop in income are experiencing severe financial difficulties and need support in caring for their animals. The aim of the fund is to ensure animal welfare is maintained as a priority, not to ensure that every individual business necessarily remains open. If zoos are downsizing or rehoming their collections the fund can also provide support for this to ensure the animals' welfare. This includes providing support for zoos which are facing permanent closure within the next 12 months in relation to the costs of rehoming their animals. Additionally, we have expanded the range of costs that are eligible so zoos can now claim costs relating to pre-planned essential maintenance and repair works as well as animal care costs. The fund is accessible to all zoos in need of this financial support, as evidenced by the success of small, medium and large zoos in securing grant funding. At this point in time the eligibility criteria are not in the process of being expanded further though we continue to monitor the effectiveness of the fund to ensure it is meeting its aims - and indeed we have already made changes to make it easier for zoos to apply.

Beyond the Zoo Animals Fund, the Government has provided a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses, including zoos, through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Zoos are eligible to apply for a range of support schemes including the Job Retention Scheme, VAT deferral, Business Rates Relief, the Business Interruption Loan, the option to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay and grant funding.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will change the criteria of eligibility for the Zoo Animal Fund to support those facing permanent closure within the next 12 months.

Grant payments to zoos begin when they reach their final 12 weeks of financial reserves. Zoos can though apply at any time before reaching this 12 week point to help with their business planning. The Zoo Animals Fund is an envelope of funding to provide for zoos which, due to a coronavirus-related drop in income are experiencing severe financial difficulties and need support in caring for their animals. The aim of the fund is to ensure animal welfare is maintained as a priority, not to ensure that every individual business necessarily remains open. If zoos are downsizing or rehoming their collections the fund can also provide support for this to ensure the animals' welfare. This includes providing support for zoos which are facing permanent closure within the next 12 months in relation to the costs of rehoming their animals. Additionally, we have expanded the range of costs that are eligible so zoos can now claim costs relating to pre-planned essential maintenance and repair works as well as animal care costs. The fund is accessible to all zoos in need of this financial support, as evidenced by the success of small, medium and large zoos in securing grant funding. At this point in time the eligibility criteria are not in the process of being expanded further though we continue to monitor the effectiveness of the fund to ensure it is meeting its aims - and indeed we have already made changes to make it easier for zoos to apply.

Beyond the Zoo Animals Fund, the Government has provided a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses, including zoos, through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Zoos are eligible to apply for a range of support schemes including the Job Retention Scheme, VAT deferral, Business Rates Relief, the Business Interruption Loan, the option to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay and grant funding.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to support zoos and aquaria beyond March 2021 as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise this has been an extremely tough time for the sector and would like to assure zoos that we remain committed to ensuring the sector can deliver the best possible care for its animals. We have extended the application deadline for the Zoo Animals Fund from 29 January 2021 to 26 February 2021, and the fund provides support up until the end of March 2021. The Zoo Animals Fund is an envelope of funding which to provides for zoos which, due to a coronavirus-related drop in income are experiencing severe financial difficulties and need support in caring for their animals. The focus of the fund is on the welfare of zoo animals and if zoos are downsizing or rehoming their collections, including if they are closing, then the fund can also provide support for this to ensure the animals' welfare. The fund has been a lifeline for many zoos and has been accessible to all zoos which need funds to care for their animals, as evidenced by the success of small, medium and large zoos in securing grant funding. We stand ready to process applications and encourage any zoo in need to apply.

Beyond the Zoo Animals Fund, the Government has provided a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses, including zoos, through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19 and we encourage zoos to explore these. Zoos are eligible to apply for a range of support schemes including the Job Retention Scheme, VAT deferral, Business Rates Relief, the Business Interruption Loan, the option to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay and grant funding.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress has been made on developing a permanent solution for assistance dogs to obtain part one listed status under the Pet Passport Scheme to (a) allow travel to the EU on the same basis as before the end of the transition period and (b) remove the new internal border for assistance dog owners between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The health and documentary requirements for pet travel to the EU are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU rules also apply to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. There are no derogations for assistance dogs under the legal framework of the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

We will continue to press the EU Commission in relation to securing Part 1 listed status, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for pet owners and assistance dog users travelling to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are clear that we meet all the animal health requirements for this and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

Regarding pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Government is working with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) on a permanent solution which respects the rights of assistance dog users and pet owners to travel with the minimum of friction. Guidance on pet travel to Northern Ireland is available on the DAERA’s NIDirect website.

We are proactively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements from Great Britain to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We will continue to work closely with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy on the £100 million Zoo Animals Fund of (a) the fund expiry date of 29 January 2021, (b) the absence of a replacement and (c) 95 per cent of the fund having been unspent.

The Zoo Animal Fund remains open for applications until 29 January 2021 and provides support up until the end of March 2021. We are considering whether an extension to this application deadline may be possible. The Zoo Animals Fund is an envelope of available funds to provide for zoos who, due to a coronavirus-related drop in income are experiencing severe financial difficulties and need support in caring for their animals between now and the start of the next peak visitor season, which is normally around Easter time. If zoos are downsizing or rehoming their collection the fund can also provide support for this to ensure the animals’ welfare.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has for the allocation of remaining funds from the £100 million Zoo Animals Fund after that fund's expiry on 29 January 2021.

The Zoo Animal Fund remains open for applications until 29 January 2021 and provides support up until the end of March 2021. We are considering whether an extension to this application deadline may be possible. The Zoo Animals Fund is an envelope of available funds to provide for zoos who, due to a coronavirus-related drop in income are experiencing severe financial difficulties and need support in caring for their animals between now and the start of the next peak visitor season, which is normally around Easter time. If zoos are downsizing or rehoming their collection the fund can also provide support for this to ensure the animals’ welfare.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress has been made in developing the framework for the 2021-25 Greening Government Commitments.

The Greening Government Commitments are designed to improve the environmental sustainability of the Government’s estates and operations. We are progressing the development of the new framework for 2021-25 and aim to publish new commitments in spring 2021.

The new framework will ensure the public estate continues to reduce its environmental footprint, align with commitments in our 25 Year Environment Plan and be consistent with a trajectory to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. As part of this, we are exploring a range of measures aimed at reducing the environmental impact of government travel, including through increasing the use of low- or zero-emission transport options by Government officials.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to include the business use of taxis and PHVs by the public sector in the next iteration of the Greening Government Commitments.

The Greening Government Commitments are designed to improve the environmental sustainability of the Government’s estates and operations. We are progressing the development of the new framework for 2021-25 and aim to publish new commitments in spring 2021.

The new framework will ensure the public estate continues to reduce its environmental footprint, align with commitments in our 25 Year Environment Plan and be consistent with a trajectory to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. As part of this, we are exploring a range of measures aimed at reducing the environmental impact of government travel, including through increasing the use of low- or zero-emission transport options by Government officials.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which zoos and safari parks have accessed the £100 million Zoo Animals Fund.

The Zoo Animals Fund opened for applications on 3 August and the closing date has been extended until 29 January 2021. We have received 36 applications, of which 9 have been approved. The rest of the applications are still being processed and none have been rejected.

Please see list of businesses which have accessed the fund:-

  1. West Midlands Falconry Display Team Ltd
  2. Cheshire falconry ltd
  3. Exotic Zoo Wildlife Park Ltd
  4. Cornish Birds of Prey CIC
  5. Ilfracombe Aquarium Ltd
  6. Ponderosa Zoo & RTC
  7. National Centre for Birds of Prey
  8. Trust for Sustainable Living
  9. Screech Owl Sanctuary
Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure the protection of the Amazon rainforest from increased illegal deforestation; and what plans he has to prevent UK businesses from using products sourced from illegally deforested land.

The UK has worked in partnership with Brazil for many years to combat deforestation. Through the UK’s International Climate Finance we have funded £259 million of programmes (2012 – 2020) to support sustainable agriculture, and increase the value of standing forests, and restore degraded lands, working with multiple stakeholders in the country. As part of this, the UK recently announced an extension of £16 million to the Partnerships for Forests programme, which supports environmentally-friendly farming and replanting projects in the Amazon, taking its total investment in protecting tropical forests in Latin America to £80 million this financial year.

We are also taking action at home. In 2019 the Government established the Global Resource Initiative taskforce to recommend actions to reduce the climate and environment impacts of key UK supply chains. Today we published our response to their recommendations by setting out a package of measures that we will take forward. One of the key measures announced is that the Government will proceed with a world-leading new ‘due diligence’ law to tackle illegal deforestation, and tabled an amendment to the Environment Bill yesterday. This new law will prohibit larger businesses from using forest risk commodities that were not produced in accordance with relevant local laws. These companies would need to undertake due diligence, and publish information about this exercise, to ensure this is the case. Businesses that do not comply with the new requirements would be subject to fines.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which zoos and safari parks have accessed the Zoos Support Fund set up in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Zoo Support Fund, which ran from 4th May to 19th July 2020 approved 57 applications.

Please see list of businesses which successfully accessed the fund:-

  1. Teen Spirit
  2. Jurassic Encounters T/A Ark Wildlife Park
  3. Shepreth Wildlife Park
  4. Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre
  5. Cumbria Zoo
  6. Becky Falls Ancient Woodland Park Limited
  7. Predator Experience
  8. The Leaf Foundation
  9. Island Amazon Adventure
  10. Wild Discovery
  11. Avon Valley Country Park Ltd
  12. Woodside Wildlife Park
  13. Dartmoor Zoological Society
  14. Oasis Camel Park
  15. Brazilia Ltd
  16. The Falconry Centre Ltd
  17. Chew Valley Animal Park Ltd
  18. Sealife Adventure
  19. Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park
  20. Exmoor Zoological Park
  21. White Post Farm
  22. Lake District Wildlife Park
  23. Ventura Wildlife park
  24. The New Forest Wildlife Park
  25. Green Dragon Rare Breeds Farm
  26. Trust for Sustainable Living
  27. Hoo Farm animal Kingdom
  28. Porfell Wildlife Park & Sanctuary
  29. National Centre for Birds of Prey
  30. Exotic Zoo Wildlife Park
  31. Raptor Foundation
  32. Battersea Park Children's Zoo
  33. Cheshire Falconry Ltd
  34. All Things Wild ltd
  35. Ilfracombe Aquarium Ltd
  36. The Whitehouse Centre
  37. Old Macdonalds Farm & Fun Park Ltd
  38. The Essex Pig Company
  39. Wildwood Escot
  40. Hamerton Zoological Park
  41. Coda Falconry
  42. Xtreme Falconry
  43. Noahs Ark zoo
  44. Tropiquaria Zoo
  45. Ponderosa R T C
  46. The Parrot Zoo Trust
  47. Bendalls Leisure Ltd
  48. Libertys Owl Raptor & Reptile Centre
  49. Simply Native Ltd
  50. Zoo2U
  51. Haven Falconry Bird of Prey Centre
  52. The English School of Falconry
  53. HR Phillpot & Son Barleylands Ltd
  54. Kirkleatham Owl Centre
  55. Smithills Open Farm Ltd
  56. Paradise Park Cornwall
  57. Screech Owl Sanctuary
Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the increase in use of face masks on progress to reduce single-use plastics.

We have not carried out an assessment on the effect of the increase in use of face masks on progress to reduce single-use plastics. During the Covid-19 outbreak facemasks, often made from single-use plastics, have played a vital role in reducing transmission of the virus.

Face coverings required indoors are not the same as the single-use surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of their PPE. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace. Instead, the latest government advice on face coverings provides instructions on how people can make and care for reusable face coverings at home using scarves or other washable textiles, and is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

Reusable cloth face coverings are also available to buy from a wide range of retail outlets, including online.

We remain absolutely committed to turning the tide on the widespread, and often unnecessary, use of single-use plastics and the threat they pose to our natural environment. We are increasing the single- use carrier bag charge to 10p and extending to all retailers and have restricted the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton-buds. We are seeking powers in the Environment Bill to charge for single-use plastic items, make recycling more consistent; and reform packaging waste regulations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Canal and River Trust's recommendation for Government funding of £200m for capital works to enable more freight to be carried on inland waterways.

There have been no discussions with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Canal and River Trust’s capital programme proposal for contributing towards the wider national post-Covid-19 economic recovery, which included an element of £15 million over five years for a new inland port in Leeds and associated works to support the Aire and Calder Navigation with handling increased and larger freight traffic between Leeds and the Humber.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will make it its policy to end the duplication of chemical testing on animals.

When the UK moves from the EU REACH system to UK REACH at the end of the Transition Period, the grandfathering of all existing UK-held REACH registrations into the UK system will avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration.

The UK has been at the forefront of opposing animal tests where alternative approaches could be used. This is known as the "last-resort principle", which we will retain and enshrine in legislation through our landmark Environment Bill


We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows the registration dossier is inadequate or there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical, especially to human health.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of fishing by supertrawlers in Marine Protected Areas; and whether those supertrawlers are planned to be banned from Marine Protected Areas once the UK leaves the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

Marine protection is a devolved matter and the information below relates to England only.

When the transition period ends we will be able to restrict the fishing activities of all vessels, including supertrawlers, throughout our waters. The UK will be able to decide which vessels can access our waters and the new licensing framework within the Fisheries Bill will allow us to apply conditions to the activities of all vessels fishing in UK waters. Any vessels granted access to fish in our waters, regardless of nationality, will need to abide by UK rules including those on sustainability.

The Marine Management Organisation monitors activity to ensure fishing boats are complying with current rules and will ensure compliance with new measures as they are introduced.

Not all fishing activities within Marine Protected Areas will require management, only those likely to damage the designated features, such as trawling on the seabed. ‘Supertrawlers’ generally target fish within the water column and are unlikely to damage the seabed habitats for which most Marine Protected Areas are designated.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to combat the illegal shooting of hen harriers associated with grouse shooting; and what plans he has to restore hen harrier populations throughout the UK.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Blaydon on 8 September, PQ UIN 82283.

[questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-08-28/82283]

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to (a) support the growth of agroforestry, and (b) ensure that sector receives adequate funding.

Agroforestry can help towards our climate commitments, protect and improve biodiversity, support healthy soils and productive farms, and improve waterways by creating riparian woodlands.

We recently consulted the public on proposals for a new England Tree Strategy, including how to expand the use of agroforestry. The final strategy, based on analysis of these responses, will include proposals to support agroforestry.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has for the reopening of aquariums as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Outdoor areas of aquariums have been allowed to reopen since 15 June, subject to appropriate social distancing measures being in place.

The Prime Minister announced on Tuesday 23 June that, as part of the latest round of easing of coronavirus restrictions, the indoor parts of aquariums will be allowed to reopen, with social distancing measures in place, from 4 July.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which zoos and safari parks have accessed the Coronavirus Zoos Support Fund.

As of 29 June, 46 zoos and aquariums have accessed Defra's COVID-19 Zoos Support Fund and signed a grant agreement. These are provided in a list below. On 27 June, the Government announced that zoos and aquariums are set to receive up to £100 million in additional support to help them continue to care for their animals through the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Skegness Aquarium (Teen Spirit Ltd.)
  • Ark Wildlife Park (Jurassic Encounters)
  • Shepreth Wildlife Park
  • Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre
  • Cumbria Zoo
  • Becky Fall’s Ancient Woodland
  • Predator Experience
  • The Owl and Monkey Haven (The Leaf Foundation)
  • Amazon World Zoo Park (Island Amazon Adventure)
  • Wild Discovery
  • Avon Valley Country Park
  • Woodside Wildlife Park
  • Dartmoor Zoological Park
  • Oasis Camel Park
  • Amazona Zoo (Brazilia Ltd.)
  • The Falconry Centre
  • Chew Valley Animal Park
  • Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park
  • Exmoor Zoological Park
  • White Post Farm
  • Lake District Wildlife Park
  • Ventura Wildlife Park
  • The New Forest Wildlife Park
  • Green Dragon Rare Breeds Farm and Eco Centre
  • The Living Rainforest (Trust for Sustainable Living)
  • Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom
  • Porfell Wildlife Park & Sanctuary
  • National Centre for Birds of Prey (Duncombe Park)
  • Raptor Foundation
  • Battersea Park Children's Zoo
  • Ilfracombe Aquarium
  • The Whitehouse Centre
  • Old Macdonald's Farm & Fun Park
  • Jimmy’s Farm & Wildlife Park (The Essex Pig Company)
  • Wildwood Escot
  • Hamerton Zoological Park
  • Lee Valley Park Farm (Coda Falconry)
  • Dorset Falconry Park (Xtreme Falconry)
  • Noah's Ark Zoo Farm
  • Tropiquaria Zoo
  • Ponderosa Zoo
  • Bowland Wild Boar Park (Simply Native Ltd.)
  • Liberty’s Owl, Raptor & Reptile Centre
  • Zoo2U
  • Kirkleatham Owl Centre
  • Southend SeaLife Adventure
Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it remains his Department's policy to provide funding for the Leeds Clean Air Zone.

We have provided Leeds City Council with £24.4 million for their Clean Air Zone. This includes funding to implement the zone and to help mitigate the impacts on drivers and on businesses.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to provide to support the people in the agricultural sector affected by market disruption during the covid-19 outbreak through a mechanism similar to the retail and hospitality grant scheme.

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) is a specific fund that is run by local authorities and linked to business rates. Most farmers are exempt from business rates so the rationale and operation of this scheme is unsuitable for the farming sector.

The department has been in close discussion with banks to ensure the farming sector has access to financial support to ease cashflow problems during this period, including through the HMG backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL), and the Bounce Back Loan scheme, which was announced on 27 April, and is the latest step in a package of support measures announced by the Chancellor. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee on each loan, to give lenders the confidence they need to support small businesses. These loans will be from £2,000 up to £50,000, capped at 25% of firms’ turnover, and the Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees charged to the business by the lender. Almost all UK businesses will be eligible to apply for a loan under the scheme.

In addition, we have temporarily relaxed certain elements of competition law to support the farming sector during this period. Legislation will be laid shortly to enable collaboration between dairy farmers and producers, supporting them to adapt to changes in the supply chain including decreased demand from the hospitality sector. The legislation will have retrospective effect.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will hold urgent discussions with with key stakeholders in the diary industry on managing the milk supply chain.

Defra is working very closely with both farmer and processor representatives through this period of disruption to manage the impact on the dairy supply chain of Covid-19 including holding a number of roundtable discussions with the sector. Farmers supplying milk to processors that sell into the food service sector have seen a significant reduction in demand and we have taken several steps to support those affected.

In order to support affected farmers, we have eased some elements of competition law to make it easier for processors to come together to maximise production and processing and storage efficiency until shops, restaurants and pubs are able to open again. This SI was laid before Parliament on 1 May and applies retrospectively from 1 April 2020. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and Dairy UK have agreed to work with farmers and processors to help industry take advantage of these easements. The SI is available at the following link:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/481/contents/made

The Government's Covid-19 Business Interruption Loans scheme is available to the dairy industry and where this is appropriate for this business, I urge farm businesses to access the loans that are available to support them in this difficult period. Defra has held urgent discussions with the major banks to ensure they understand that farmers, milk buyers and milk processors are eligible for this scheme and we are working to increase awareness across the dairy industry. HMT have also now announced the new Bounce Back Loan scheme which will apply to businesses operating in agriculture. This will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee on each loan, to give lenders the confidence they need to support the smallest businesses in the country. We will also cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees charged to the business by the lender.

The Government also took a number of early emergency steps to support dairy farmers and the wider sector. These included designating employees in the food sector as key workers and temporarily relaxing the normal rules on drivers' hours, enabling the sector to keep supply chains running, including deliveries from farm gate to processors.

The existing public intervention scheme for skimmed milk powder and butter continues to be available. This provides a floor price for dairy products, supporting the dairy industry to sell skimmed milk powder and butter into public intervention when the price they would receive on the open market falls below the intervention price. The European Commission has this week approved the opening of additional measures for private storage aid which UK processors will be able to access should they chose to.

We will continue to engage closely with farmer and processor representatives to ensure that we support them throughout this challenging period.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) small and (b) independent veterinary practices during the covid-19 outbreak.

The veterinary profession is vital in maintaining high standards of animal health and welfare in UK, particularly at this very challenging time.

Working alongside HM Treasury, Defra is in regular contact with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), British Veterinary Association (BVA) and other key stakeholders to ensure we understand the economic impacts to small independent veterinary practices and the wider industry over the Covid-19 outbreak.

Following the Prime Minister’s statement of 23 March bringing in the lockdown measures, the veterinary professional bodies produced guidance focussing on the provision of essential services only. This was updated from 13 April, reducing the restrictions. Under this guidance it is for individual vets to make decisions about what work can and should be undertaken and how to do this in line with social distancing guidelines including remote consultations, if practical.

Veterinary practices should be able to access Bounce Back loans, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) or the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), subject to eligibility criteria for each scheme. Many vets and locums are self-employed and there is also a range of support available where they can demonstrate the financial impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support small independent veterinary practices during the covid-19 outbreak.

The veterinary profession is vital in maintaining high standards of animal health and welfare in UK, particularly at this very challenging time.

Working alongside HM Treasury, Defra is in regular contact with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), British Veterinary Association (BVA) and other key stakeholders to ensure we understand the economic impacts to small independent veterinary practices and the wider industry over the Covid-19 outbreak.

Following the Prime Minister’s statement of 23 March bringing in the lockdown measures, the veterinary professional bodies produced guidance focussing on the provision of essential services only. This was updated from 13 April, reducing the restrictions. Under this guidance it is for individual vets to make decisions about what work can and should be undertaken and how to do this in line with social distancing guidelines including remote consultations, if practical.

Veterinary practices should be able to access Bounce Back loans, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) or the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), subject to eligibility criteria for each scheme. Many vets and locums are self-employed and there is also a range of support available where they can demonstrate the financial impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to engage with food manufacturers and the food manufacturing supply chain to protect food availability.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. The industry are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and products they need. Industry is adapting quickly to any changes in demands, and food supply into and across the UK is resilient.

The Secretary of State is holding regular conversations with industry to discuss any additional support Government can provide. To help industry respond to this unprecedented demand we have already introduced new measures to keep food supply flowing. We have issued guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up quicker, and we have implemented extensions to drivers’ hours. We are also temporarily relaxing certain elements of competition law to ensure retailers are able to collaborate effectively in the national interest.

The Government is also implementing a system to support those whose underlying health conditions mean they are at highest clinical risk for COVID-19, and who are therefore being asked to self-isolate for the main period of the coronavirus epidemic. This will include a free grocery pack containing a basic selection of food and other essential household items which will be delivered to those at home and unable to make other arrangements for as long as needed throughout that period.

We will continue to work closely with the industry over the coming days and months.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 March 2020 to Question 26167, how much of the £2.9 billion spending on agri-environment schemes was spent in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Under the current Rural Development Programme for England, the total amount paid under agri-environment Schemes in the Yorkshire & the Humber region so far is £243,607,972.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 March 2020 to Question 26166, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increase in bee colonies since 2009.

In 2009 the Government launched the Healthy Bees Plan. The plan’s aim was to achieve a sustainable and healthy population of managed honey bees in England and Wales via strengthened partnership working between Government and beekeeping stakeholders.

The first stage included a drive to increase our knowledge of the number and location of honey bee colonies. This meant promoting the benefits to beekeepers of registering their managed honey bee colonies on the National Bee Unit’s voluntary website, BeeBase. Since 2009 the number of colonies in England and Wales recorded on BeeBase has increased from 108,649 to 212,054 in 2019. However, some of this increase will be due to new registrations of existing beekeepers rather than entirely made up of new colonies or beekeepers.

Knowing the location of beekeepers and their honey bee colonies has improved our ability to manage bee pests and diseases, raising husbandry standards through the sharing of best practice. In addition to better recording of colony numbers, it is thought beekeeping itself has also seen a revival with respondents to a recent Government survey indicating that pleasure, production of honey and conservation were important reasons for taking up the craft.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 March 2020 to Question 26166 on Bees, what the cost was of establishing a UK-wide pollinator monitoring and research partnership.

The UK-wide Pollinator Monitoring Research Partnership was established with funding from Defra and the Scottish and Welsh Governments.

The total cost over the three-year project period from 2016 to 2019 was £282,720.

In-kind contributions from UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UK CEH) and other academic and voluntary organisations were also committed to the project, to a value of £201,804 (for example for staff time, data sharing, software). The monitoring work itself was co-ordinated by UK CEH.

A follow-up project is now underway, building on the outcomes from this first one. Further details are available on the GOV.UK website at:

http://sciencesearch.defra.gov.uk/

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to encourage biodiversity in agriculture.

This is a devolved matter, and the information provided relates to England only. Across the country, the Government is investing in restoring wildlife-rich habitats and supporting species recovery, including within agricultural environments.

The Government provides substantial public funding for managing protected sites and restoring wildlife habitats, spending £2.9 billion on agri-environment schemes in England through our 7-year Rural Development Programme. Through our programme we encourage farmers and land managers to manage their land to protect and enhance the natural environment by improving biodiversity. For pollinators specifically, the Countryside Stewardship ‘wildlife offers’ provide payments for farmers and landowners to plant nectar and pollen-rich plants for insect pollinators and are now open for applications for agreements starting in 2021.

Looking to the future, our new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme will be the cornerstone of our agricultural policy. Founded on the principle of “public money for public goods”, ELM is intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero emissions, while supporting our rural economy.

Thriving plants and wildlife are public goods identified in the 25 Year Environment Plan and an important objective for ELM. ELM will provide funding for the management of habitats to support this objective.

The 25 Year Environment Plan also sets out the government’s plans to put Integrated Pest Management (IPM) at the heart of our approach. We are undertaking a review of the National Action Plan on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides which will focus on the development and introduction of IPM and of alternatives to pesticides.

We work to ensure and encourage specific action for pollinators through each of these and other initiatives, with our partners on the National Pollinator Strategy. The Strategy sets out how Government, conservation groups, farmers, beekeepers and researchers can work together to improve the status of pollinating insect species in England, on and beyond farmland.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to encourage agriculture that supports bee populations.

This is a devolved matter, and the information provided relates to England only. Across the country, the Government is investing in restoring wildlife-rich habitats and supporting species recovery, including within agricultural environments.

The Government provides substantial public funding for managing protected sites and restoring wildlife habitats, spending £2.9 billion on agri-environment schemes in England through our 7-year Rural Development Programme. Through our programme we encourage farmers and land managers to manage their land to protect and enhance the natural environment by improving biodiversity. For pollinators specifically, the Countryside Stewardship ‘wildlife offers’ provide payments for farmers and landowners to plant nectar and pollen-rich plants for insect pollinators and are now open for applications for agreements starting in 2021.

Looking to the future, our new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme will be the cornerstone of our agricultural policy. Founded on the principle of “public money for public goods”, ELM is intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero emissions, while supporting our rural economy.

Thriving plants and wildlife are public goods identified in the 25 Year Environment Plan and an important objective for ELM. ELM will provide funding for the management of habitats to support this objective.

The 25 Year Environment Plan also sets out the government’s plans to put Integrated Pest Management (IPM) at the heart of our approach. We are undertaking a review of the National Action Plan on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides which will focus on the development and introduction of IPM and of alternatives to pesticides.

We work to ensure and encourage specific action for pollinators through each of these and other initiatives, with our partners on the National Pollinator Strategy. The Strategy sets out how Government, conservation groups, farmers, beekeepers and researchers can work together to improve the status of pollinating insect species in England, on and beyond farmland.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the amount of litter in cities in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The Government is committed to encouraging local solutions for local problems. This is particularly relevant in dealing with litter and fly-tipping problems, which require a local approach, tailored to the characteristics of the area and the community in which the problems occur.

The role of central Government, as set out in the Litter Strategy for England, is to enable and support this local action: providing a clear legal framework of rights, responsibilities and powers, setting national standards and, where possible, making sure that the costs of dealing with litter issues are passed to those responsible for causing the problem.

The Government has increased the fixed penalties available for councils to enforce against littering offences to up to £150; extended powers to the whole of England to issue civil penalties to the keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown; and recently published improved guidance to councils and others on the use of these powers.

This spring, we also will be publishing guidance to help local authorities and Business Improvement Districts plan the most effective bin provision for their local area, making it easier for people to do the right thing and dispose of their waste correctly. This will be supported by a £2 million capital grants scheme later in the year, to assist with the purchase of new ‘binfrastructure’.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the UK meets World Health Organisation 2030 targets for levels of fine particulate matter.

Our Clean Air Strategy, published in January 2019, set out the comprehensive action required across all parts of Government to improve air quality and reduce public exposure to particulate matter pollution, alongside other pollutants. Our analysis, published in July 2019, concluded that while significant progress would be made towards the WHO guideline level for PM2.5 through the actions outlined in the Clean Air Strategy, additional action would be required in large urban areas such as London.

The Environment Bill delivers key parts of the Clean Air Strategy, and establishes a duty to set a legally-binding target for PM2.5. We are committed to following an evidence-based process to set this target, seeking advice from a range of experts, in addition to giving consideration to the WHO’s air quality guidelines. We need to ensure that this target is based on realistic pathways, robust science and full economic analysis to ensure that it is both ambitious and achievable, focusing on how the greatest public health benefits can be achieved.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the bee population in each year since 2010.

Each year, the Government publishes an indicator of trends in populations of wild bees and other pollinators in the UK, measuring changes in the distribution of almost 400 pollinating insect species since 1980, including 137 species of bees. The indicator shows an overall long term decline since 1980. However, from 2013 onwards, there is evidence of an overall increase in the distribution of bee species, although other insect pollinators have continued to decline.

The National Bee Unit at Defra also maintains a registration system for honey bees and beekeeping in the UK on its ‘BeeBase’ website. Registration is voluntary so it is difficult to provide exact figures on honey bee populations, but it suggests that activity in the beekeeping sector and consequently honey bee numbers are increasing. Colonies recorded on BeeBase increased from 108,649 in 2009 to 212,054 in 2019.

Since 2014 we have been working with a range of partners to implement a National Pollinator Strategy to address declines in wild pollinators and concerns about bee health. This has included establishing a UK-wide pollinator monitoring and research partnership in collaboration with research institutes and volunteer organisations to gather further data on the status of UK pollinators.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) protect and (b) increase the bee population in Yorkshire and the Humber.

This is a devolved matter, and the information provided relates to England only. Across the country, the Government is investing in protecting, restoring and recovering wildlife-rich habitats and species, including bees and other insects.

This includes securing 75% of our network of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) by area in favourable condition by 2042. These sites provide legal protection for our most important wildlife and natural features in England. There are over 4000 SSSIs in England, covering a little over 7% of the country’s land area. Yorkshire and the Humber is home to 371 of these sites, covering an area of 187,144 hectares (https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/ReportConditionSummary.aspx?regionName=YORKSHIRE+%26+HUMBERSIDE&ReportTitle=YORKSHIRE+%26+HUMBERSIDE).

The Government provides substantial public funding for increasing biodiversity, spending £2.9 billion on agri-environment schemes in England through our seven-year Rural Development Programme. Countryside Stewardship’s ‘wildlife offers’ provide for sources of nectar and pollen for insect pollinators and are now open for applications for agreements starting in 2021. Schemes are tailored to the specific biodiversity interests in Yorkshire and the Humber through local targeting statements (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/countryside-stewardship-statements-of-priorities).

We support species recovery through agri-environment schemes and partnership projects. Natural England is working with conservation organisations and landowners on the Back from the Brink programme, a £7.7 million partnership funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and others to put over 100 priority species on the road to recovery. Two Back from the Brink projects operating partly in Yorkshire and the Humber, ‘Colour in the Margins’ led by Plantlife, and ‘Ancients of the Future’ led by Buglife, are creating and ensuring the resilience of rich habitats which support bees and other insects.

We have also supported Buglife’s ‘B-Lines’ project, which has produced maps of potential pollinator-friendly habitat across Yorkshire and the Humber and other regions. Our annual Bees’ Needs Champions Awards have recognised councils and community groups from across Yorkshire and the Humber for their exemplary work for pollinators.

Our 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step-change in ambition for the natural environment and we are determined to build on these successes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to end the use of synthetic pesticides.

The sale and use of pesticides are strictly regulated and are only permitted where a rigorous scientific risk assessment determines that the proposed use will not harm people or pose unacceptable risks to the environment.

The Government is clear that it is right to minimise the use of pesticides, and to make the greatest possible use of alternative pest and disease control methods in support of sustainable farming and land management. To this end, as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Government is developing its approach to pesticides, putting Integrated Pest Management at its heart. This will enable us to continue to reduce the impacts of pesticide use and will be set out in our forthcoming National Action Plan for Pesticides.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent flooding in Yorkshire.

The Environment Agency (EA) is working in collaboration with partners to develop and deliver an ambitious, long-term capital programme to reduce flood risk across Yorkshire.

Within the current six-year investment period from 2015/16 – 2020/21, a total of £650 million is being invested across Yorkshire. This programme will better protect 67,000 properties from flooding and coastal erosion by the end of March 2021. In addition to conventionally engineered solutions, this programme includes a number of projects that utilise nature based solutions, providing carbon absorption and net gains alongside flood risk benefits. For example, there are three National Natural Flood Management (NFM) pilot projects in Calderdale, Leeds and Pickering.

Details of Government investment in flood defences after 2021 have not yet been announced. In addition to the above, up to £12.5 million is spent every year in Yorkshire maintaining existing flood defences. To help facilitate flood prevention short term and long term actions, the floods Minister Rebecca Pow MP is planning to meet South Yorkshire MPs in the near future in partnership with the EA and the Mayor of Sheffield City Region Combined Authority.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much money has been allocated to flood defences in Yorkshire and the Humber for each year until 2025.

The Environment Agency (EA) is working in collaboration with partners to develop and deliver an ambitious, long-term capital programme to reduce flood risk across Yorkshire.

Within the current six-year investment period from 2015/16 – 2020/21, a total of £650 million is being invested across Yorkshire. This programme will better protect 67,000 properties from flooding and coastal erosion by the end of March 2021. In addition to conventionally engineered solutions, this programme includes a number of projects that utilise nature based solutions, providing carbon absorption and net gains alongside flood risk benefits. For example, there are three National Natural Flood Management (NFM) pilot projects in Calderdale, Leeds and Pickering.

Details of Government investment in flood defences after 2021 have not yet been announced. In addition to the above, up to £12.5 million is spent every year in Yorkshire maintaining existing flood defences. To help facilitate flood prevention short term and long term actions, the floods Minister Rebecca Pow MP is planning to meet South Yorkshire MPs in the near future in partnership with the EA and the Mayor of Sheffield City Region Combined Authority.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the environmental damage caused by fast fashion.

In line with the Resources and Waste Strategy for England (2018), this Government is committed to taking forward the best mix of policy measures to reduce the environmental impacts of clothing.

We are working with WRAP and industry stakeholders through a voluntary agreement - the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan - to reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of clothing by 2020. Discussions are now underway on a new phase for the agreement for the future.

We are also exploring options for extended producer responsibility for textiles and other priority waste streams. In addition, we are seeking powers in the Environment Bill that will enable us to introduce ecodesign and consumer information requirements, subject to consultation, to support durable, repairable, and recyclable textiles.

Our plans will be developed as part of a new Waste Prevention Programme which we plan to consult on later this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to prevent health complications caused by PM2.5 particles.

Short term exposure to elevated levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) can impact the health of vulnerable groups. That is why we provide alerts and advice during air pollution episodes to ensure people can access the information and the health advice they need in order to minimise impacts. During episodes of elevated air pollution Defra works closely with Public Health England and a network of health charities to ensure that key health messages are communicated to those who are vulnerable to the effects of air pollution.

However, the biggest impact of particulate air pollution on public health is understood to be from long-term exposure to PM2.5, which increases the age-specific mortality risk, particularly from cardiovascular causes. The Clean Air Strategy, published in January 2019, sets out the comprehensive action required across all parts of Government to improve air quality, and reduce public exposure to particulate matter pollution. Through the Environment Bill, re-introduced to Parliament on 30th January, we are also establishing a duty to set a legally-binding target for PM2.5. This target will drive action to reduce long term exposure to PM2.5 and its associated health impacts.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the effect of the absence of a mass transit system in Leeds on the number of PM2.5 particles in the air in that city.

Any proposals for transport infrastructure projects need to be assessed from a local transport and planning perspective. Defra has no plans to conduct an air quality impact assessment.

The Government is, however, committed to reducing public exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution as outlined in the Clean Air Strategy 2019 and this will require reductions in emissions from a wide range of sectors.

In addition, we continue to work with Leeds City Council to improve air quality in the city, including providing £29 million to put in place a Clean Air Zone.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the number of PM2.5 particles in the air of cities in the north of England.

The Clean Air Strategy (CAS), published in January 2019, set out the comprehensive action required across all parts of Government to improve air quality. Towns and cities across the whole of the UK will benefit from the implementation of the commitments made in the CAS.

For example, the CAS outlined a comprehensive suite of actions to tackle emissions from domestic burning, which is the single largest contributor to national emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). These actions include legislating to prohibit the sale of the most polluting fuels, which we have consulted on and to which we intend to publish our formal response in the near future.

The Environment Bill delivers key parts of the CAS, including measures to help local authorities tackle smoke emissions from domestic burning. The Bill also establishes a legally binding duty to set a target for PM2.5. The introduction of measures to meet this target will reduce PM2.5 concentrations across the whole country, particularly in locations where concentrations are highest, often where people are most exposed such as in urban areas where many people live and work.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the number of tonnes of plastic waste in British territorial waters.

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing the marine environment today. It’s estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes enter the global ocean each year and, if action is not taken, scientific evidence estimates that the total plastic in the ocean is set to treble by 2025 compared to 2015 levels. Marine plastic litter can move with ocean currents, which makes it difficult to calculate how much is situated in British territorial waters at any given point in time.

This is why we collaborate closely with our neighbouring countries through the OSPAR Convention to reduce the flow of waste into the North-east Atlantic. We are delivering on our commitments in the Marine Litter Regional Action Plan and leading on efforts to tackle the issue of abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear.

Prevention of waste entering the marine environment is our current priority. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, working towards our 25 Year Environment Plan target to reduce all types of marine plastic pollution.

Marine plastic pollution is a global issue that requires global effort and solutions. The UK launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance alongside Vanuatu in 2018. Through this alliance, a growing group of 31 Commonwealth member states (over half of the Commonwealth) have pledged action on reducing plastic pollution of the ocean.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the amount of plastic in British territorial waters.

The Government is making great strides in tackling the scourge of marine plastic pollution, and we have made some good progress. In 2018, our ban on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products helped to stop billions of tiny pieces of plastic entering the ocean. Our charge for single-use carrier bags has also led to a 90% reduction in plastic bag usage and a reduction of plastic bags surveyed on the seabed.

Our 25 Year Environment Plan establishes our target of reducing all forms of marine plastic pollution where possible, and our Resources and Waste Strategy sets out how we will achieve this. We have committed to introducing a deposit return scheme to encourage the reuse of items prevalent in marine litter, and we will explore the use of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes to incentivise innovation for items such as plastic packaging and fishing gear.

We collaborate closely with our neighbouring countries through the OSPAR Convention to reduce the flow of waste into the North-east Atlantic. We are delivering on our commitments in the Marine Litter Regional Action Plan and leading on efforts to tackle the issue of abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has plans to introduce legislative proposals to reduce the level of PM2.5 particles in the air.

The Clean Air Strategy (CAS), published in January 2019, set out the comprehensive action required across all parts of Government to improve air quality, and reduce public exposure to particulate matter pollution.

In line with the CAS, Defra consulted on the cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood between August–October 2018. The proposals in this consultation included:

  • Restrictions on the sale of wet wood for domestic burning

  • Phasing out the sale of traditional house coal

  • Applying sulphur standards and smoke emission limits to all manufactured solid fuels

We expect to publish the response to this consultation in the near future.

The Environment Bill, which was re-introduced to Parliament on 30 January, also establishes a legally binding duty to set a target for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), demonstrating our commitment to take further action on the air pollutant that has the most significant impact on human health. The Bill contains measures to reduce emissions from domestic solid fuel burning by creating a simpler mechanism for local authorities seeking to reduce smoke emissions within their areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to increase access to vaccines in the global south.

Increasing equitable access to vaccines in the Global South, is the core goal of the UK’s support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Our £1.44 billion of support to Gavi between 2016-2020 has reached 1.4 million individuals in 68 of the world’s poorest countries, saving their lives from vaccine-preventable diseases. Thanks to Gavi, coverage has risen substantially across these countries to 81%, a 22-percentage point increase from 2000. The UK’s commitment to Gavi is also central to our work to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns and children by 2030.

The UK is proud to be hosting the Gavi Replenishment Conference on 3-4th June, to secure Gavi the funds it needs to immunise 300 million more children and save at least 7 million lives between 2021 and 2025.

Gavi’s strategy for the next strategic period is focused on ‘leaving no one behind with immunisation’. Gavi’s next strategic period is critically important for the UK as we work together to improve intra-country equity and coverage of immunisation at a subnational level.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance her Department has allocated to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in each year from 2010 to 2020.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, provides subsidised vaccines and health and immunisation systems support to 68 of the world’s poorest countries. Immunisation is one of the most cost-effective interventions in health and a key driver of progress towards reducing child mortality.

The UK is proud to be one Gavi’s strongest supporters. We provide Gavi with multi-year commitments, which cover five-year periods. This enables Gavi to provide countries with predictable and sustainable financing, which is essential to launching long-term, lasting routine immunisation programmes in national health systems.

The UK committed £1.32 billion to Gavi between 2011-2015. The UK’s current £1.44 billion of support to Gavi between 2016-2020 has saved 1.4 million lives from vaccine-preventable diseases in 68 of the world’s poorest countries. The UK hosted pledging conference for Gavi on 3-4th June 2020, is an opportunity for the UK to use its global leadership to secure Gavi the funds it needs to immunise 300 million more children and save at least 7 million lives between 2021 and 2025.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what support her Department provides to UK companies seeking to develop international renewable energy projects to provide energy to the UK.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) undertakes a range of promotional activities to help UK companies to access international opportunities. DIT has an established renewable energy team, an international network of trade and investment advisors, and a network of UK-based regional trade advisors who support UK-based companies to find export opportunities in renewables, including any that would supply energy to the UK. In addition, DIT works to encourage investments into the low carbon economy and support international ambitions to accelerate the global transition to net-zero.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to support UK businesses to develop energy projects in Morocco.

Department for International Trade teams work closely with UK companies to identify and highlight opportunities in the Moroccan energy sector, and with our Moroccan partners to showcase the expertise and value UK businesses can bring to energy projects.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to reports of up to 45,000 civilians displaced by Indonesian military operations in Nduga, West Papua, if the Government will stop the (a) sale of arms and (b) provision of training programmes to Indonesia.

HM Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously. All export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’).

The Consolidated Criteria takes into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law. It provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. These are not decisions we take lightly.

HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including where we assess there is a clear risk that it might be used for internal repression.

The United Kingdom supports counter-terrorism training for the Indonesian National Police, through the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC). This includes a broad range of counter terrorism investigation and analytical skills; essential equipment to enhance Indonesia’s forensic, surveillance and IT capabilities; and training on the post-terrorist incident response, including first aid training. All training requires rights and responsibilities to be upheld. We do not provide training to Papua based units but continue to monitor the situation in Papua closely. HM Government respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia, which includes Papua and West Papua provinces.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the effect of Investor-state dispute settlement cases during the covid-19 pandemic; and is she will take steps to restrict the use of such clauses in relation to matters concerning the Government’s response to the covid-19 pandemic.

HM Government recognises the importance of strengthening international investment in response to COVID-19, and the important role played by both investment protection and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in safeguarding British investors overseas, including pensioners across the country through their pension funds and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

We are clear that HM Government and our treaty partners retain the right to regulate in the public interest, including for public health purposes, and this is already recognised under international law. There has never been a successful ISDS claim against the United Kingdom, nor has the threat of potential claims affected our legislation.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she has taken to prevent the export of UK-manufactured crowd-control (a) equipment and (b) arms being used for internal repression in Chile.

I have been sorry to see the unrest on the streets of Santiago. Arms and certain crowd control equipment require an export licence. I can assure that Hon. Gentleman that all export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’).

In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any items.

Assessments under Criterion 2 in particular, include the respect of rights and freedoms in the country of final destination. A licence will not be issued if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including where there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression.

We continue to global monitor developments closely and are able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, in line with the Consolidated Criteria.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the current status is of export licenses to the US for anti-riot gear.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also 15 Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

Much information is in the public domain already. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK – at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data – and whilst data on actual exports is not required to be centrally held, the licences issued until the end of December 2019 are available.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to give cats the same protections as dogs under the Road Traffic Act1988.

The Government has no plans to give cats the same protection as dogs under the Road Traffic Act 1988. A focus for this Government is to make roads safer for all users, which will in turn reduce the risk to all animals.

Under section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, a driver is required to stop and report an accident involving specified animals including horses, cattle, asses, mules, sheep, pigs, goats or dogs, but not cats or wild animals. This requirement arises from their status as working animals rather than as domestic pets. To introduce such a measure within the provision of section 170, would require primary legislation.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on potential amendments to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation to support private investment in green hydrogen production facilities.

The Department has been considering with industry experts, and colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, potential changes to the RTFO scheme to further support renewable hydrogen.

Development fuels including hydrogen are strategically important and can deliver higher greenhouse gas reduction emissions.

Any future legislative proposals to amend the RTFO scheme would be subject to both a public consultation and to collective ministerial agreement.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to incentivize walking and cycling in Leeds.

The Government is investing £2 billion in cycling and walking schemes this parliament, supported by a new long-term vision to deliver better streets for cycling published in July.

£2,513,00 million was allocated to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority area in June from tranche 1 of the Active Travel Fund. Tranche 2 allocations will be announced shortly. Decisions on allocating the remaining funding this parliament will be confirmed in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage people to use the railways as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and if he will make it his policy to reduce rail fares.

We now understand the epidemiology of the virus better and can control it through targeted, local action. Our priority remains the safety of staff and passengers. We are working with rail operators to ensure passengers have the confidence to return to the railway, and continue to take all necessary measures to make rail travel safe. These include the installation of clear floor markings, the provision of extra staff to manage passenger flows and provide guidance, and the mandating of face coverings on public transport.

We have also asked the rail industry to increase the number of services they run. Rail operators continue to assess local demand regularly and deliver the services passengers need. From 7 September, the railway has been operating 91% of its pre-pandemic capacity, providing frequent and reliable trains for passengers.

To support a safe, green recovery and new working patterns we are also considering proposals to try to ensure better value and convenience for part-time and flexible commuters and to support those returning to the railway.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that public transport remains accessible for blind and partially sighted people during every stage of the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government remains committed to delivering inclusive transport for all passengers. Our expectation is that transport operators should continue to assist disabled passengers who need assistance, including those with sight loss, as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. I made this clear in my open letter to the rail industry on 8 April 2020.

I am also meeting regularly with key disability stakeholders, including Guide Dogs, to hear directly from them about the experiences of disabled people using transport. This means we will be able to take action quickly if we find that passengers are not receiving the assistance to which they are entitled.

On 12 May, the Department published guidance for transport operators that will help organisations, agencies and others (such as self-employed transport providers) understand how to provide safer workplaces and services for themselves, their workers and passengers across all modes of private and public transport. It outlines measures to assess and address the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the transport sector across England. The Department will review the guidance as the measures change, and will consider the needs of disabled people in this process.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the role that hydrogen vehicles can play in tackling air pollution.

In 2018, the Department for Transport published the outputs of the Transport Energy Model. The model provides a clear assessment of the relative environmental impacts of a range of fuel and powertrain options for cars, vans, buses and heavy goods vehicles over the period to 2050, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the number of hydrogen refuelling stations.

The UK is well placed to be a leader in hydrogen fuel cell powered transportation thanks to our high-quality engineering and manufacturing capability. The Government’s approach to delivering long-term ambitions for greener transport is technology neutral and we are supporting hydrogen where the market favours its use. There are currently 12 publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations in the UK that provide hydrogen for both cars and buses. The Government’s £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is increasing the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles and growing the number of publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations. The programme is delivering new refuelling stations and upgrading some existing stations as well as deploying hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether statutory minimum safety standard and maximum driving times for drivers of (a) HGVs and (b) passenger vehicles will be revised to support logistical operations for the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Transport is determined to help keep supply chains moving up and down the country despite COVID-19. That is why we authorised a temporary relaxation of the enforcement of the drivers’ hours rules for the whole haulage industry; which began on Monday 23 March 2020 and will run until Sunday 31 May 2020. This was done on the understanding that driver welfare and road safety must not be compromised. Employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users.

We have not relaxed the drivers’ hours rules in the passenger transport sector.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2020 to Question 22047 on Buses: Hydrogen, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of his Department's technology blind policy in relation to investment in hydrogen buses.

On 10 February, the Prime Minister announced £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links, including at least 4,000 new zero emission buses, to support the Government in reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

The National Bus Strategy, due to be published later this year, will include further details on these plans.

The Transport Decarbonisation Plan, due to be published later this year, will also set out more information on the Department’s approach to decarbonisation.

Through the Department’s various competitively-bid grant funding schemes for new clean buses over the past few years, under the Low Emission Bus Scheme where funding was awarded in 2015 and 2017, £3,814,000 was allocated to hydrogen buses and supporting infrastructure; under the Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme, £4,360,435 was allocated in 2019 to hydrogen buses and supporting infrastructure.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage Heathrow Airport Holdings to reduce its carbon emissions.

I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave on 26 February 2020, to Question 18648.

6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that funding from the public purse for Heathrow airport expansion is allocated in line with the recent judgment on that expansion.

We have always been clear that Heathrow expansion is a private sector project which must meet strict criteria on air quality, noise and climate change, as well as being privately financed, affordable, and delivered in the best interest of consumers. It will receive no public funds.

27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 14 February 2020 to Question 13578 on Buses: Hydrogen, how much of the Department's £150 million investment was put towards hydrogen buses.

The department has allocated over £8 million to funding hydrogen buses and infrastructure as part of the Low Emission Bus Scheme and the Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme. Funding was allocated based on the quality of the bids received, with the same funding approach being taken irrespective of the technology chosen.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government plans to introduce mandatory driving tests for US personnel coming to work on US bases before being permitted to drive on UK roads.

US Department of Defense (DoD) military and civilian personnel stationed at US military bases in the UK, and who are subject to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement, are permitted to drive on their domestic licenses. However, the US DoD requires its military and civilian personnel, and their dependents, to pass a DVLA written driving test before permitting their staff to drive in the UK. US diplomatic staff, to whom the NATO Status of Forces Agreement does not apply, can apply to the DVLA for a Diplomatic Driving Permit without taking any further tests but, in the interim, may drive in the UK on their domestic licenses for a period of up to one year.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to increase subsidies to encourage bus companies to introduce carbon-neutral bus fleets.

The Department has announced a number of approaches to encourage bus companies to green the fleet.

In September 2019, we announced £50 million towards the creation of an all-electric bus town, and a review of bus funding to ensure it supports the environment and improved passenger journeys, alongside a National Bus Strategy for England.

In February 2020, we also announced funding for at least 4,000 new zero emission buses as part of the £5 billion of new funding to boost bus and cycling links, driving forward the UK’s progress on its net zero ambitions.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to adopt the target of all buses in the UK being carbon-neutral by the mid-2020s.

The Department supports an ambitious approach to decarbonising the transport sector. Since 2010, over £240m has been provided to clean up the bus fleet, including £48 million in 2018 that funded 263 zero emission buses through the Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme.

In September 2019, we announced a package of commitments in A Better Deal for Bus Users, including a further £220 million to support buses of which £50 million is available for an all-electric bus town or city. Other commitments include a review of bus funding to ensure it supports the environment and improved passenger journeys, and a National Bus Strategy to be published later this year.

The Prime Minster announced £5 billion of new funding for buses and cycling on 10 February 2020, which will provide at least 4,000 new zero emission buses as well as many other measures to be detailed in the National Bus Strategy.

The Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which will be published later this year, will set out a cross-modal approach to decarbonisation.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of carbon-neutral buses in northern cities.

The Government is committed to promoting the bus sector as a key contributor to air quality and carbon reduction targets.

The Government published a suite of policies in A Better Deal for Bus Users, which includes a review of bus funding to ensure it supports the environment and improved passenger journeys. The Department is currently seeking expressions of interest from towns and cities interested in becoming an ‘All-Electric Bus Town’.

Further details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-the-all-electric-bus-town-scheme

The Prime Minister announced funding for at least 4,000 new zero emission buses as part of the £5 billion of new funding to boost bus and cycling links announced on 10 February. Further details on how that money will be allocated will be available in due course.

The Department is committed to supporting improved bus services in the North, including low carbon buses.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage local authorities to promote cycling in towns and cities in England.

The first Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy - Report to Parliament published on the 7th February 2020 provides full details of the steps the Department is taking to promote cycling and walking. This includes details of the £2.4 billion which is being invested in cycling and walking over the five years to 2020/21 through the statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. Funding has been provided for provision of safe and direct cycling and walking networks, cycle training and a range of behaviour change and modeshift activities.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to promote the use of hydrogen buses to private bus companies.

Since 2010 the Government has invested around £150 million towards new cleaner buses.

The Government has supported the use of a range of low carbon bus technologies, including hydrogen, through funds including the Low Emission and Ultra Low Emission Bus Schemes. These schemes have provided funding for the purchase of 62 hydrogen buses.

We have also announced a review of bus funding and an upcoming National Bus Strategy, which will consider how to support the uptake of low carbon bus technologies.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage new road developments to take adequate account of (a) cyclists and (b) pedestrians.

The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework advises local authorities to promote healthy, inclusive and safe places which encourage walking and cycling.

The four national highway authorities published joint guidance in November 2019 on how to design cycling infrastructure into strategic road schemes.

The Conservative Party manifesto announced a £350 million Cycling Infrastructure Fund, with mandatory design standards for new routes. The Department will shortly be publishing revised guidance for local authorities on designing safe and efficient cycling infrastructure, which will need to be considered when setting local standards and in the development of new road schemes.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to discourage the use of cars in major urban areas.

Local Highway Authorities are responsible for the maintenance and management of the local road network within their areas and this includes measures to help reduce road congestion. It is the for the Leaders and Mayors of local and Combined Authorities to decide how best to manage the relative mix of traffic in their cities.

The Government is tackling congestion across England through investment in roads, public transport and active travel. The £2.5bn Transforming Cities Fund is empowering 18 city regions to deliver improvements to commuter connectivity which will provide faster, more reliable transport links such as new light rail, bus or cycling infrastructure. The Government has also recently announced a further £5bn of investment in buses and cycling across England.

Through the National Roads Fund, the Government is providing £28.8bn which will fund vital improvements on the Strategic Road Network and on the Major Roads Network.

The Government is committed to decarbonisation of transport and is consulting on bringing forward the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible.

The Government is also supporting areas that have identified Clean Air Zones as a means of reducing Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) to legal levels by charging older, dirtier vehicles for entering an area.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average timescale is for a personal independence payment applicant to receive an assessment for (a) a new applications and (b) a renewal claim.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Data on clearance times for all PIP New Claims to January 2021 (the latest available data) is published in Table 2A of the PIP Statistics tables which can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/969159/tables-pip-statistics-to-january-2021.xlsx

This data does not distinguish between renewal claims and new applications. Column (iii) ‘Referral to AP to return from AP’ is measured as the average time between the date of referral to the Assessment Provider and the date of return of the Assessment Provider’s recommendation to DWP. This is a proxy for the length of time the claimant has waited for an assessment, because data on the dates that assessments took place is not held by DWP.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason companies have been limited to employ one Kickstart member of staff per three existing employees.

The ratio of existing employees to potential Kickstart participants is one element that is examined when an application for funding from the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart scheme is assessed. Organisations taking on young people through the Kickstart Scheme need to be able to provide support to help the participant have a good experience from the Scheme. A ratio of less than three members of staff to each participant person does not result in an automatic rejection but is one of a number of factors we take into account when reaching a determination about the quality of job placement being proposed.

We have recently improved the assessment process to allow more nuanced approach when considering applications. Whilst maintaining a high standard for Kickstart places, these changes mean that more applications are now successful

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to ensure that small independent business will be given the same priority as larger corporations such as supermarkets when applying for the Government's Kickstart scheme.

The Department for Work & Pensions encourages employers of all sizes and from all sectors to create new job opportunities for young people through applying for Kickstart funding.

We have continued to engage with stakeholders to improve the scheme and understand any barriers to participation for both employers and young people. We have made it easier for small organisations – including sole traders – to apply through a Kickstart Gateway. Our Kickstart Gateway Direct model allows small employers to place a young person on the Gateway’s PAYE system. One example of a Kickstart Gateway Direct is delivered by the Federation of Small Businesses in partnership with Adecco Working Ventures.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 22 May 2020 to Question 45418, if she will publish the document that details the full set of questions as at quarter 3 of the survey year in 2018-19 used for the Claimant Experience Survey 2018-19.

A copy of the produced Word document that details the full set of questions as at quarter 3 of the survey year in 2018/19 has been placed in the Library of both Houses for your information.

Please note that:

  • the questions asked have changed over time; and
  • some questions are only asked of a sub-sample of claimants and this is not reflected in this document.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the questionnaire used for the Claimant Experience Survey 2018-19.

We do not have a copy of the questionnaire available in a suitable format that fully reflects both the questions asked and routing of this survey (it is scripted for telephone interviewing). We have, however, produced a Word document that details the full set of questions as at quarter 3 of the survey year in 2018/19, which relates to questions being asked in the latest fieldwork period. Please note that:

  • the questions asked have changed over time; and
  • some questions are only asked of a sub-sample of claimants and this is not reflected in this document.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training on the fluctuating conditions of muscular dystrophy is provided to assessors of (a) personal independence payment, (b) universal credit and (c) employment support allowance.

All health professionals carrying out assessments are clinically qualified and registered practitioners in their own field. DWP requires health professionals to have a broad training in disability analysis as well as awareness training in specific conditions, which includes Muscular Dystrophy. While preparing to undertake an assessment, health professionals have access to a range of resources as well as experienced clinicians to support them in assessing individuals with conditions that they may not be familiar with. Additionally, assessment providers engage with medical experts, charities and relevant stakeholders to strengthen their training programmes.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken help claimants with muscular dystrophy complete forms for (a) personal independence payment, (b) universal credit and (c) employment support allowance.

PIP claims are assessed on the basis of functional need rather than health condition.

UC and ESA do not categorise referrals for a Work Capability Assessment by condition. Information on how a health condition affects their ability to perform everyday tasks is gathered by asking claimants to complete UC50/ESA50 (Limited Capability for Work Questionnaire).

In PIP, UC and ESA there are no specific claims processes designed for individual health conditions such as muscular dystrophy however the Department takes seriously the need to support vulnerable claimants with form completion as follows:

a) For PIP

As part of the PIP New Claims processes all customers, including those with muscular dystrophy, are asked if they have the support they need to make their claim and complete the application process. Claimants are offered additional support where appropriate and this is noted on their records to ensure they continue to receive the support they need throughout the PIP process.

b) For UC

If a claimant needs help with the completion of the UC50 there is help available from the Health Assessment Advisory Service.

We want the application process for Universal Credit to be as quick and easy as possible to ensure that claimants receive their money at the earliest opportunity. Comprehensive support is available to claimants to use our digital service, however we recognise there will be occasions when people are unable to make or maintain their claim online, so telephone support is available.

Universal Credit has been designed with a diverse range of claimants in mind and in these instances where digital access is not possible, information normally available through a claimant’s online account will be communicated in an alternative format, which is best suited to an individual’s circumstances. The initial verification can include a home visit to support a claimant with making their claim and completing any other administrative tasks required to ensure that they receive the correct payment.

Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have supported over 200,000 individuals through ‘Help to Claim’ since April 2019, offering tailored and practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. ‘Help to Claim’ is available online, on the phone and face-to-face in locations including Jobcentres and Citizen’s Advice Bureaux.

c) For ESA

For new claims to ESA, assistance with form completion takes place over the telephone. For New Style ESA claims, Visiting Officer support is available to help complete claim forms if this cannot be done through support from family, friends and 3rd parties or via support from a Work Coach in the Jobcentre.

If a claimant needs help with the completion of the ESA50 there is help available from the Health Assessment Advisory Service - if the claimant is deemed vulnerable we can consider requesting support by means of a DWP Visiting Officer.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether there are financial provisions in place for (a) agency workers, (b) people on temporary contracts and (c) other employees who do not receive statutory sick pay in the event that their employers ask them to stay away from the workplace due to coronavirus concerns.

Those whose employers ask them to stay away from the workplace due to coronavirus concerns, who do not qualify for Statutory Sick Pay, may be able to claim Universal Credit and/or new-style Employment and Support Allowance. Those who do qualify for Statutory Sick Pay will not be eligible for new-style Employment and Support Allowance but may still qualify for Universal Credit depending on their circumstances.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the February 2020 Joseph Rowntree Foundation report entitled UK Poverty 2019-2020 that 56 per cent of people living in poverty were also in a working household in 2018; and if she will make a statement.

There is clear evidence about the importance of work in tackling poverty now and in the future. For example, a child growing up in a home where all adults are working is around 5 times less likely to be in poverty than a child in a household where nobody works. The majority of people in in-work poverty either work solely part-time, are the single earner in a couple, or are full-time self-employed.

Delivering a sustainable long-term solution to poverty means building a strong economy and ensuring that the benefit system works with the tax system and the labour market to support employment and higher pay. There are over 1 million fewer workless households compared with 2010, with around 730,000 fewer children in workless households, and over 3.8 million more people have entered work, averaging around 1,000 people a day. Around three-quarters of the growth in employment since 2010 has been in full-time work. Our unemployment rate is now less than half the Euro area average. Around three-quarters of the growth in employment since 2010 has been in full-time work, substantially reducing the risk of poverty.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported that Universal Credit is likely to help an extra 300,000 members of working families out of poverty.

Universal Credit is designed to help people move into work faster, stay in work longer and spend more time looking to increase their earnings. It provides more financial help with childcare costs (eligible claimants are able to claim up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, compared to 70% on the legacy system), a dedicated Work Coach, and removes the 16-hour ‘cliff edge for those who are working. We are confident that, as UC reaches more working families, we will see more people working full-time and ultimately achieving independence from the State.

We will continue to reform the welfare system so that it promotes work as the most effective route out of poverty and is fairer towards those who receive it and the taxpayers who pay for it. We also want to identify opportunities to create a highly productive workforce, improving progression prospects for the lowest paid people so everyone has the right skills to meet the UK’s future demand. That is why we are delivering a significant programme of research and testing to build the evidence of how to overcome the obstacles that people face so that they can improve their earnings and career prospects.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to encourage private businesses to be more accessible to people with disabilities.

The Government has made a commitment to publish a new National Strategy for Disabled People in 2020, focusing on removing barriers to ensure disabled people can lead a life of opportunity and fully participate in British society.

Business has a vital role to play in making its products and services more accessible. In support of that objective, I have appointed 18 Sector Champions to use their influential status and leadership to drive change across in individual business sectors. The sectors currently covered are Advertising, Banking, Broadcast Media, Gaming, Hotels, Leisure (Physical Activity), Live Music, Retail, Tourism, Transport - Airports, Buses and Trains, Arts and Culture, Insurance, Technology, Countryside and Heritage, Web Accessibility, Brand and Design, and Products and Spaces. In addition, the Retail Forum was established to improve accessibility and inclusion of its premises and services for disabled people.

The Government is also working to support people with disabilities who are in work or wish to work. Over 16,000 employers have signed up to the Disability Confident scheme, which provides employers with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace. The Access to Work scheme offers a discretionary grant of up to £59,200 per year for in-work support above the level of reasonable adjustments for people whose disability or health condition affects the way they do their job.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 vaccines have been disposed of that were (a) out of date (b) unused to date.

The information requested is not currently centrally held. Work is ongoing across the vaccination programme to standardise and increase the information available for management purposes.

We have put in place robust mitigations throughout the vaccination programme to reduce wastage, manage expiry dates, and avoid vaccine destruction.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of complaints submitted to the General Medical Council were upheld for (a) BAME NHS doctors and (b) all NHS doctors in the last 12 months; and what steps he is taking to ensure that processes and procedures within the General Medical Council do not discriminate against ethnic minorities.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has a number of processes in place to support the fairness and transparency of its investigation process and its fitness to practise decisions. We continue to work with the GMC to ensure it provides robust assurance about its processes.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the covid-19 traffic light quarantining rules apply to fans attending the European Championship Final at Wembley on 11 July 2021.

The Government's border restrictions apply to fans intending to travel from overseas to attend the UEFA European Championships (EURO 2020) Final on 11 July. Any fans who have travelled or transited through a ‘red’ or ‘amber’ list country in the last 10 days, must have arrived in the UK in time to complete their full testing and quarantine requirements. Only once they have been cleared from quarantine can they attend the final at Wembley. If someone seeks to enter the country with the clear intention of breaching quarantine, they may be denied entry and their tickets may be cancelled.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the guidance for visiting patients in (a) care homes and (b) hospices in respect of the covid-19 outbreak.

We regularly review and assess COVID-19 visiting guidance for inpatient settings (including hospices) and residential care home settings to ensure access to visitors, whilst balancing the risks and safety of patients and residents. Guidance has been informed by clinical advice throughout the pandemic in order to ensure it is up to date and effective in keeping outbreaks to a minimum whilst allowing residents and patients to have meaningful visits.

Guidance on visiting in care homes is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes.

The Department engages with partners, including Public Health England, representative organisations and care providers, to understand the impact and effectiveness of care home visiting guidance in terms of allowing some visiting whilst preventing incursion of infection in care homes wherever possible, and inform any updates required. The Care Quality Commission has reported limited instances of providers not being able to follow visiting guidance. There has been little evidence of increased outbreaks in care homes as a result of more visits.

Most hospices are independent, charitable organisations, with visiting policies at the discretion of the hospice manager. We produce guidance on testing in hospices, including for visiting, which is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-hospices.

The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise the challenge hospices face in allowing families to spend as much time as possible with their loved one in the last few weeks of life while minimising the risks of COVID-19 transmission for other patients, visitors and staff. NHS England and NHS Improvement have published guidance on end of life care, including how COVID-19 may affect visitation, which is available at the following link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/end-of-life-care/

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the guidance for care home visiting differs with that for hospice visiting in respect of covid-19 outbreak restrictions.

Care homes and hospices are different settings and their residents have different care needs. For this reason, guidance must differ for each other these settings in respect of visiting during COVID-19 outbreaks. Hospices provide care for people from the point at which their illness is diagnosed as terminal to the end of their life. Most hospices are independent, charitable organisations, with visiting policies at the discretion of the hospice manager.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including the ambulance service as an emergency service rather than an essential service.

No such assessment has been made. The ambulance service is an emergency service. National Health Service ambulance trusts are category one responders under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the progress made on (a) preventing and (b) treating all types of brain tumours.

The Government, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), announced £40 million of funding over five years for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Mission. This funding will help the Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence to develop a one-year curriculum to train specialist brain tumour oncologists. The NIHR is also collaborating with key medical research charities to bring together industry and researchers and ensure that patients continue to benefit from charity-funded research.

The NIHR is also engaging with UK Research and Innovation colleagues, to maximise the effectiveness of Government budgets, in generating and translating these new scientific discoveries as into new treatments and diagnostics for patients. A 2018 review of evidence suggested that approximately 2.5% of brain and central nervous system cancers are attributable to modifiable causes. The majority of these are attributed to excess weight.

Public Health England supports local authorities and the National Health Service to commission weight management services that are based on and align with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance for weight management. These types of activities may help prevent brain tumours attributable to modifiable causes.

Treatment decisions for brain tumours should always be made by doctors based on a patient’s individual clinical needs and preferences. Brain tumours can be treated using a number of treatment modalities, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as appropriate to the tumour type, size and position. These treatments fall within the scope of NHS England direct commissioning responsibilities for specialised services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the remainder of the £40 million funding for brain tumour research announced by his Department as part of the establishment of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission Brain Tumour Research is disbursed to support scientific research on brain tumours; and if he will provide funding to increase the number of NHS staff qualified to provide services and support to brain tumour patients.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is continuing to encourage applications for research in this difficult area. The NIHR is also planning and funding workshops via the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission to support researchers in submitting high quality research applications in order to increase this small research community.

Spending Review 2020 provides £260 million to continue to increase the 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. Full details on funding allocations towards NHS workforce budgets, including Health Education England, in 2021-22 will be published in due course. This will cover the whole cancer workforce including those providing services for brain cancer patients.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support sole traders who are excluded from the workplace covid-19 testing scheme.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne) to Question 168813 on 24 March.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of prioritising people with myalgic encephalomyelitis for covid-19 vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has not identified any robust data to indicate that, as a group, persons with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome are at higher risk from COVID-19, therefore those under 50 years old with this condition are not prioritised for phase one of the programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has issued guidance to UK nationals working overseas who have lost their job during the covid-19 pandemic and who cannot afford the cost of covid-19 quarantine.

For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of the managed quarantine charge, there is an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. This is available for individuals who receive income-related benefits and they will be required to pay back the charge in 12 monthly instalments.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether retired General Practitioners have been asked to assist and develop the efficient delivery of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

Retired general practitioners have been asked to offer their help through the National Health Service Bring Back scheme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to recruit student nurses, who are already trained to administer vaccines, as part of the covid-19 vaccination programme; and whether that recruitment would contribute towards their university course placement hours.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council re-introduced emergency standards that enable final year nursing students to undertake up to 100% of their time in clinical practice. Final year nursing students are able to choose whether or not to move into clinical placements which count towards their learning outcomes. Approved education institutions retain oversight of the students and where they are placed, which could include working on the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to introduce asymptomatic covid-19 testing for relatives of hospital patients to allow visitations.

There are no plans at present to introduce a blanket policy on COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic hospital visitors. However, we have introduced targeted asymptomatic testing for visitors to maternity scans and end of life care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason those under the age of 5 do not count in the meet up rules when compared with higher age limits in other home nations.

We have put in place exemptions to social contact restrictions to facilitate support for those who need it most and to mitigate the greatest risks of isolation. A parent or guardian of a child under five years old is less likely to be able to leave their child in alternative care arrangements whilst they take up outdoor exercise with another person. Exempting children under five years old from the gathering limit thereby ensures that parents and guardians of very young children are not disproportionately impacted by the restrictions. Further extending any exemptions at this stage would pose a risk to transmission rates. We will continue to keep the restrictions under review.

We continue to work with the devolved administrations to seek a coordinated approach.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to introduce covid-19 testing for asymptomatic hospital visitors.

There are no plans at present to introduce a blanket policy on COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic hospital visitors. However, we have introduced targeted asymptomatic testing for visitors for maternity scans and in end of life care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the North East and Yorkshire region's covid-19 vaccine supply via primary care is planned to be halved next week.

There have been no specific plans to do so.

In England, the Vaccines Deployment Programme Board led by NHS England and NHS Improvement ensures that the distribution and supply of vaccine reflects each region’s requirements.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to suspend the Units of Dental Activity targets for dental practices for the duration of the January 2021 covid-19 restrictions.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have set a 45% dental activity target. This target is based upon clinical advice and modelling from the office of the Chief Dental Officer and has taken into consideration robust adherence to infection prevention and control guidance and social distancing requirements. Furthermore, data on the percentages of activity dental practices have achieved to date supports the view that the target can be safely attainable.

National Health Service commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate and the reinstatement of shielding during the national lockdown. There are currently no plans to review or change the unit of dental activity targets for January to March 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to minimise the potential risk of (a) suicide and (b) mental health issues among young people as a result of the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

The Department of Health and Social Care continues to work closely with the Department for Education, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England (PHE) and a wide range of stakeholders to support all people’s mental wellbeing and mental health. We are working with them to ensure that children and young people and their parents or carers know what support is available.

To support children and young people’s mental wellbeing, we launched in September our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme. It has supported education staff to respond to the emotional and mental health pressures some children and young people may be feeling as a result of COVID-19.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will support Trial Development Days run by (a) the National institute for health research (NIHR) and (b) Cancer Research UK to offer advice and understanding of the methods that are required for clinicians to meet the standards for acceptance for the NIHR grant.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service (RDS) provides advice and support to research teams to develop and submit high quality applied health and care grant applications to the NIHR and other national peer-reviewed funding programmes offering specialist advice on all aspects of an application. There is online research support resources available at the following link:

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/researchers/apply-for-funding/how-to-apply-for-project-funding/

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how his Department plans to contact frontline health and social care workers who do not work in an NHS setting in order for them to receive a covid-19 vaccination.

Local vaccination providers, including hospital trusts and Primary Care Networks, are working with employers of eligible health and social care staff, as well as other frontline occupations specified in the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations’ guidance, to arrange vaccinations. Nationally the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are also working with staff groups and representative bodies to ensure that both employers and staff receive accurate information about the delivery mechanisms and the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps people should take who wish to request a covid-19 test and who do not have internet access or an email address.

There are a number of ways individuals can access testing without an email address or internet access. Individuals can ask someone they trust who has a mobile number or email address, for example, a family member to book a test or receive their results. If this is not possible, individuals can contact 119 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 0300 303 2713 in Scotland to book a test at their nearest test site and to receive their results, either via a call back to a landline or by contacting 119 once the results are available. We are working to further improve the accessibility of testing via non digital routes.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to introduce regular asymptomatic testing for covid-19 for hospice staff.

Hospices across the country have played a vital role in the COVID-19 response, helping to provide more capacity for the National Health Service and continuing to provide care to those who need it. Regular asymptomatic testing on a weekly basis for clinical hospice staff was introduced from 4 December. Hospices are now able to order polymerase chain reaction tests through our online portal and we would encourage all hospices to do so. This is in addition to the existing testing available to all symptomatic health and care staff as a priority, including hospice staff.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if any changes have been made to the interim advice on priority groups for covid-19 vaccination published by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on 25 September 2020.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has been reviewing data on clinical risk factors associated with serious disease and mortality from COVID-19. The JCVI updated its interim advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination on September 25 and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-25-september-2020/jcvi-updated-interim-advice-on-priority-groups-for-covid-19-vaccination

This advice remains under constant review by the Committee and will be updated at the appropriate time after considering the latest evidence on COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether staff working in (a) neurological care centres and (b) other specialist care homes will be prioritised for covid-19 vaccination.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme is based on the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The JCVI is an independent expert advisory committee to the Government.

For the first phase, the JVCI have advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, followed by frontline health and social care workers, including hospice staff and staff working in neurological and other specialist care homes, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors, including underlying health conditions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether hospice staff will be prioritised for covid-19 vaccination.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme is based on the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The JCVI is an independent expert advisory committee to the Government.

For the first phase, the JVCI have advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, followed by frontline health and social care workers, including hospice staff and staff working in neurological and other specialist care homes, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors, including underlying health conditions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what definition of care home applies in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation's interim advice on priority groups for covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has based its advice on the data it has reviewed from a number of sources including the Office for National Statistics and Public Health England. For the purposes of COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation, the definition of care homes as all care home premises licensed and registered with the Care Quality Commission, applies.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether hospices will be included within the definition of care home in the interim advice on priority groups for covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee and Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has based its advice on the data it has reviewed from a number of sources including the Office for National Statistics and Public Health England. For the purposes of COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation, the definition of care homes as all care home premises licensed and registered with the Care Quality Commission, applies. This definition does not include hospices.

Hospices are included in the JCVI’s advice as part of their prioritisation of frontline health and social care workers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason home care workers who visit multiple extremely clinically vulnerable people per week are not routinely tested for covid-19.

Home care workers employed by Care Quality Commission-registered organisations are able to access weekly PCR tests, which can be self-administered at home. This will help identify whether any home care workers have COVID-19 asymptomatically and thereby provide further protection – in addition to the use of personal protective equipment to those they care for.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of using Leeds as a pilot area for testing visitors at care homes for covid-19.

The trial began on 16 November across 20 care homes in three local authorities: Cornwall, Devon and Hampshire. Testing for visitors is being rolled out across England from 2 December.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will publish the evidence underpinning the Government guidance dated 5 November 2020 on visiting care homes.

We have updated our guidance over time as our scientific understanding of the virus grows. We work with Public Health England, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) Social Care Sub-Group and other relevant bodies to closely monitor national and international evidence, to ensure best practice is reviewed and can be applied. SAGE publishes its papers routinely and are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies

We have also worked closely with a range of stakeholders who represent the sector to ensure that the recent guidance update encourages and enables care providers to facilitate visiting while keeping residents, staff and visitors as safe as possible.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to enable people with mental health illnesses to form a support bubble with another person outside their household even if they do not live alone during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

We are keen to ensure that the most vulnerable have the support they need. We are ensuring that support groups can go ahead including for vulnerable people, new parents, survivors of crime, and those with or recovering from addictions.

People may visit a public open space for the purposes of open-air recreation to promote physical or mental health or emotional wellbeing. This can be done alone, with a person’s bubble or household, or with one other person from another household.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to support people with ADHD during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to healthcare leaders on 31 July 2020 setting out the actions required for phase three of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes re-stating targets for clinical commissioning groups to increase investment in services, including those for neurodivergent people such as people who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It also asks systems to maintain the growth in the number of children and young people accessing care, ensure all services are restored and advertised, and proactively review all patients in community health services, including asking general practitioners to ensure these patients are identified on their registers.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to increase the uptake by services throughout England of the NICE guidance on Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: diagnosis and management, NG87, last updated on 13 September 2019.

During 2019 the Department worked with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and their Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Implementation Working Group to look at how the current NICE guidance and quality standard on ADHD were being implemented and to identify and disseminate examples of best practice in respect of care and support for people with ADHD. The Department is considering the working group’s findings in discussion with NICE and other key partners.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) service provision, (b) support services and (c) waiting times for treatment for adults with suspected or confirmed ADHD.

No such assessment has been made. There is currently limited data available at national level on the provision of services for people with Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder (ADHD). There is also no established national data collection regarding waiting times for adults with suspected or confirmed ADHD. NHS Digital are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to look at how the collection and reporting of data on ADHD at national level can be improved.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason (a) supermarkets and (b) petrol stations are not required to use the NHS QR Code for track and trace.

There is a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 in premises where customers and visitors spend a long time in one place and potentially come into sustained, close contact with other people outside of their household such as pubs, bars and restaurants and close contact services. There is a lower risk where services are taken off site immediately.

In supermarkets, customers generally move around the space rather than congregate, and are expected, by law, to wear face coverings. QR code posters for NHS Test and Trace are therefore not required for the entrance to a supermarket or other retail outlet. Venues that are not required by law to display a National Health Service QR code poster may still choose to do so as part of the effort to fight coronavirus.

Further guidance, including a full list of establishments that must request contact details from staff, customers and visitors, and display an official NHS QR code poster is published at the following link:

www.gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will allocate increased funding to tinnitus research.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including tinnitus. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. Information on individual projects funded by the NIHR can be found at the following link:

https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of people returning from the EU have been given (a) temperature checks and (b) other covid-19 tests at UK airports in the last three months.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much the Government has spent on advertising campaigns promoting public health messages in each month since February 2020.

The Department does not hold financial data at the level requested to provide the information.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is providing to adults in West Yorkshire with mental health issues experienced while under local restrictions.

We recognise that during these uncertain and unusual times it is very normal to be experiencing distress or anxiety or to be feeling low.

We have released tailored guidance to help people manage the impact on their mental wellbeing. People can go to the ‘Every Mind Matters’ website and GOV.UK for advice and tailored, practical steps that they can take to support their wellbeing and manage their mental health during this pandemic.

National Health Service mental health services, including those in West Yorkshire, have remained open for business throughout this time, including delivering support digitally and over the phone where possible. For those with severe needs or in crisis, all NHS mental health providers, including those in West Yorkshire, have established 24 hours a day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) covid-19 related and (b) non-covid-19 related deaths there were in each providers care homes in each month from February to August 2020.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) funding from the public purse he plans to allocate to and (b) support he plans to provide to GPs to manage potential increases in demand for their services as a result of the health effects of long-term covid-19 symptoms.

The National Health Service and the wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of COVID-19 infection, including the prevalence, severity and duration of symptoms, and how best to support recovery. The National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation have invested £8.4 million in the Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID), led by Christopher Brightling at the University of Leicester.

The NHS is working to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but still have problems with breathing, mental health problems or other longer-term complications. As part of this, in July the NHS launched the ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service, a personalised programme to support the recovery of people who have been in hospital or suffered at home with the virus. The research currently underway will continue to inform future NHS service design and provision.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to end the increased risk of maternal death for Black women.

Work to reduce health inequalities around maternal mortality rates is being led by Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, Chief Midwifery Officer. This includes understanding why mortality rates are higher, considering evidence about what will reduce mortality rates and taking action.

The NHS Long Term Plan outlines plans to reduce health inequalities and address unwarranted variation in maternity care. Targeted and enhanced continuity of carer can significantly improve outcomes for women. The Long Term Plan sets out that 75% of black women will receive continuity of carer from midwives by 2024.

NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to Local Maternity Systems on 22 June 2020 to ask them to take four specific actions to minimise COVID-19 risk for minority ethnic women and their babies: increase support for at-risk pregnant women; reach out and reassure pregnant black, Asian and minority ethnic women with tailored communications; minimise the risk of Vitamin D insufficiency; and ensure correct ethnicity and postcode data are collected.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to pay the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s annual registration fees for nurses working during the covid-19 outbreak .

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the independent regulator of nurses and midwives in the United Kingdom, and nursing associates in England. The NMC’s regulatory activities are primarily funded by annual registration fees, currently set at £120 per year. There are no current plans to subsidise the annual registration fee for existing registrants.

The Department has been working closely with the NMC to support the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. On 30 March the NMC set up a temporary register to increase the number of nurses and midwives available to respond to the pandemic. There is no registration fee for nurses and midwives who are on the temporary register.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of adults smoking in beer gardens in the presence of children aged under 16 on the health of those children.

No assessment has been made to date.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of vaping on the transmission on covid-19.

There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is more likely to be transmitted via passive exposure to cigarette smoke or e-cigarette vapour. However, being in close proximity to anyone with an active infection would carry a risk of infection regardless of whether they are smoking or vaping.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the continuation of work relating to (a) obesity and (b) smoking after the dismantling of Public Health England.

Alongside work to establish the National Institute for Health Protection, the Government will continue to focus on health improvement and preventing ill-health with support from the expert teams currently located in Public Health England (PHE), who will continue with their excellent work. We do not envisage any changes to where those responsibilities will sit before spring 2021. We will be engaging with an external stakeholder advisory group to develop options on where PHE’s health improvement functions would be best placed in order to support the public health system and improve the public’s health.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 3.33 in the NHS Long Term Plan, what progress his Department has made on the implementation of support packages for children with ADHD.

NHS England wrote to healthcare leaders on 30 July 2020 setting out the actions required for phase 3 of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes re-stating targets for clinical commissioning groups to increase investment in services for people with a learning disability and autism in line with the Mental Health Investment Standard. It also asks systems to maintain the growth in the number of children and young people accessing care, ensure all services are restored and advertised, and proactively review all patients in community health services and asking general practitioners to ensure these patients are identified on their registers.

We recognise that there remains more to do to improve diagnosis and support for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 2 July 2020 to Question 68456, if he will publish the membership of the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Implementation Working Group within the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

At the request of the Department, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) worked with NHS England and NHS Improvement to convene a national working group on supporting the implementation of NICE recommendations on the diagnosis and management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This is a multidisciplinary group, made up of service users, national policy leads, commissioners, providers, and professional organisations, and includes representatives from:

- NICE;

- The Department of Health and Social Care;

- NHS England and NHS Improvement;

- Public Health England;

- Health Education England;

- The Department for Education;

- NHS Digital;

- The Ministry of Justice;

- Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust;

- AADD-UK;

- ADHD Foundation;

- The Maudsley Hospital (national service);

- The Royal College of Occupational Therapists;

- Oxford ADHD and Autism Centre;

- The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health;

- The Royal College of Psychiatrists;

- University College London;

- The Royal College of Nursing;

- Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust;

- The University of Exeter;

- Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Strategic Clinical Network;

- North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust;

- Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust; and

- Greater Manchester Health and Care Commissioning.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward the start date of the winter Flu vaccine from the usual time of September.

It is not possible to bring forward the start date of the seasonal flu vaccination programme, due to the time it takes to produce the flu vaccine.

The manufacturing of the flu vaccines is a complex biological process. In February, each year, the World Health Organization makes recommendations on the composition of the flu vaccine for the northern hemisphere based on its international surveillance programme. It takes six-eight months to manufacture the vaccines and following regulatory clearance they start to become available to service providers at the start of the flu season in September.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has published on low-cost face coverings.

In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. People can buy reusable or single-use face coverings and may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering. Guidance on how to make a face covering have been published online at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering.

In addition, the Government is running a major proactive communications campaign on face coverings to alert the public where they are now required to wear face coverings and educate the public on how to correctly wear one.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to issue updated guidance on the attendance by (a) partners, (b) friends and (c) doulas at midwifery appointments for pregnant women.

The National Health Service is making arrangements to ensure that women are supported and cared for safely through pregnancy, birth and the period afterwards during this pandemic.

Decisions on partners attending scans and appointments is subject to local discretion by trusts and other NHS bodies. Local maternity teams will be able to advise women on their policy on partners attending antenatal appointments including scans.

Guidance produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is clear that women should be encouraged to have one birth partner, who has no symptoms of COVID-19, present with them during any type of labour and birth, unless the birth occurs under general anaesthetic. The guidance is reviewed on a weekly basis in light of any new evidence or changes in policy.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure that sole carers can form support bubbles with households with more than one person.

If people live with their carer, in other words are not single adult households, then they should only form an exclusive support bubble with a single adult household. Households that are not in areas where local lockdown measures in place can meet in groups of up to two households in any location or in any setting (or a household support bubble if they have one) and this includes staying overnight. This allows for people, including sole carers, to utilise their support network for a variety of reasons, although they should socially distance where possible and practical. When doing this they should take particular care to maintain excellent hygiene – washing hands and surfaces – when using shared facilities like bathrooms.

Guidance on meeting people from outside of your household has been published and can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has a policy on how many local lockdowns can take place concurrently in different cities before a decision on a further full lockdown of the UK is made in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The decision on restrictions is not purely one made on case numbers and rates. It is also important to look at the pattern of transmission, the geography involved and whether the local and national assessment is that the outbreak is under control. A variety of indicators are used in considering levels of risk, including but not limited to incidence rates, positivity rate, Public Health England exceedance data, outbreaks data, 111 referrals, hospital admissions and mortality rates. With effect from 5 November until the start of December new national measures restrictions will be introduced. We must do this to curtail the exponential growth in hospitalisations and deaths. At the end of the period, we will look to return to a local and regional approach, based on the latest data.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what training hospitality staff will be given on (a) GDPR procedures and (b) data collection when collecting names and addresses for covid-19 track and trace purposes.

NHS Test and Trace is a key part of the country’s ongoing COVID-19 response. If we can rapidly detect people who have recently come into close contact with a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19, we can take swift action to minimise transmission of the virus. This is important as lockdown measures are eased and will help us return to a more normal way of life and reduce the risk of needing further lockdowns in the future.

The Government has published data that needs to be collected for Test and Trace purposes, and how organisations should do this in a way that is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Businesses should collect this information in a way that is manageable for them, and any training that is provided should reflect this – including maintaining compliance with GDPR.

The guidance is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department will extend payments to student nurses from 31 July 2020 to the end of September 2020.

The Government is extremely grateful to all student nurses who have supported the COVID-19 response, by opting into a paid placement for their time in practice at the frontline during the pandemic.

Health Education England (HEE) has worked alongside the Council of Deans of Health, NHS Employers and NHS trade unions to agree a collective approach and provide further clarity for students undertaking paid placements.

Any student , who is in the last six months of their programme and on a paid placement, will be fully paid until the end of their contract, unless otherwise agreed. By the end of July most final year students can qualify as registered nurses and start full time work, increasing their pay. For students in year two or the first part of their final year, employers and universities will work with them to bring paid placements to a close by the 31 August. This will be part of a voluntary learning agreement between student, placement provider and university. HEE has published an agreed Frequently Asked Questions document.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the track and trace scheme.

The Government launched NHS Test and Trace on 28 May 2020. This includes enhanced contact tracing which brings together testing, contact tracing and outbreak management into an end-to-end service.

We have recruited 27,000 contact tracing staff in England to support this service. These staff are a mix of call handlers and health professionals. These staff are in addition to existing public health experts from Public Health England (PHE) and local government. PHE staff are not employed exclusively as ‘contact tracers’.

Final agreed contract values of procuring the call handling service will be published in the individual Contract Award Notices in the Official Journal of the European and we publish certain information on Contracts Finder about contracts awarded.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many contacts the NHS Test and Trace scheme has received on average each day since its introduction.

Between the launch of NHS Test and Trace on 28 May and 5 August, we identified 53,427 people who tested positive in England during this period. 78.2% (41,254) of the people who tested positive for coronavirus and were transferred to NHS Test and Trace were reached by our contact tracers and asked to share details of their close contacts. Where contact details were provided, 89.1% (214,890) of close contacts were reached and advised to self-isolate.

Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-test-and-trace-england-and-coronavirus-testing-uk-statistics

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the advice provided on shielding is the same on both the Gov.uk and the NHS information websites.

We are working across organisations to ensure a harmonised approach so that all forms of guidance and advice on shielding, both online and sent by letter to patients are consistent and up to date.

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to follow the updated guidance at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prescriptions for (a) Epidyolex and (b) unlicensed cannabis-based medicines were issued for people with epilepsy by the NHS in each month since November 2018.

The information requested is not held by the Department. Prescription data collected by the NHS Business Services Authority does not include what condition the medicine has been prescribed for.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support research into cannabis-based medicines for epilepsy.

Guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions of cannabis-based medicines for severe treatment resistant epilepsy and other conditions. We are working hard with the health system, industry and researchers to improve the knowledge base available. The link to the guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng144

Central to this, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with partners to deliver the recommendations from the NHS process evaluation report entitled ‘Barriers to Accessing Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal Use’. Progress has been made as follows:

- On 20 December 2019 a letter was published reminding prescribers of General Medical Council guidance on the prescribing and use of unlicensed medicines – and to clarify the procedure for prescribing and supplying cannabis-based products for medicinal use. This complements training material put in place by Health Education England for all healthcare professionals. A link to the letter can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/guidance-prescribing-cannabis-based-products-medicinal-use.pdf

- To support research, the National Institute for Health Research has run two research calls for applications on medicinal cannabis for epilepsy. Following these a workshop was held in November 2019 including applicants, NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Department and other research experts on a study for treatment resistant paediatric epilepsy. We expect this to have significantly cut the time required to design a study and gain funding agreement;

- Funding was fast-tracked by NHS England and NHS Improvement and was available from 6 January 2020 for patients who fulfil the criteria for the recently published NICE Technology Appraisals for the use of cannabidiol (Epidyolex) in conjunction with clobazam for adjuvant treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet Syndrome, two rare forms of refractory epilepsies. This will improve access to licensed cannabis-based products for appropriate patients;

- A new Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Network was launched in February 2020. This offers timely and evidence-based specialist advice and guidance from a United Kingdom national expert panel to support local discussions in relation to the treatment of refractory epilepsy and suitability of cannabis-based medicines; and

- A patient registry is being developed with input from specialist clinicians and other advisory bodies, to monitor patient outcomes.

We have also changed the Government policy on imports to allow import of cannabis-based medicines in anticipation of prescriptions, since 9 March 2020. This aims to improve continuity of supply for those patients that have been prescribed these products.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to (a) cannabis-based medicines and (b) unlicensed medicinal products for children with severe and treatment-resistant conditions where clinically appropriate.

Guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions of cannabis-based medicines for severe treatment resistant epilepsy and other conditions. We are working hard with the health system, industry and researchers to improve the knowledge base available. The link to the guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng144

Central to this, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with partners to deliver the recommendations from the NHS process evaluation report entitled ‘Barriers to Accessing Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal Use’. Progress has been made as follows:

- On 20 December 2019 a letter was published reminding prescribers of General Medical Council guidance on the prescribing and use of unlicensed medicines – and to clarify the procedure for prescribing and supplying cannabis-based products for medicinal use. This complements training material put in place by Health Education England for all healthcare professionals. A link to the letter can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/guidance-prescribing-cannabis-based-products-medicinal-use.pdf

- To support research, the National Institute for Health Research has run two research calls for applications on medicinal cannabis for epilepsy. Following these a workshop was held in November 2019 including applicants, NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Department and other research experts on a study for treatment resistant paediatric epilepsy. We expect this to have significantly cut the time required to design a study and gain funding agreement;

- Funding was fast-tracked by NHS England and NHS Improvement and was available from 6 January 2020 for patients who fulfil the criteria for the recently published NICE Technology Appraisals for the use of cannabidiol (Epidyolex) in conjunction with clobazam for adjuvant treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet Syndrome, two rare forms of refractory epilepsies. This will improve access to licensed cannabis-based products for appropriate patients;

- A new Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Network was launched in February 2020. This offers timely and evidence-based specialist advice and guidance from a United Kingdom national expert panel to support local discussions in relation to the treatment of refractory epilepsy and suitability of cannabis-based medicines; and

- A patient registry is being developed with input from specialist clinicians and other advisory bodies, to monitor patient outcomes.

We have also changed the Government policy on imports to allow import of cannabis-based medicines in anticipation of prescriptions, since 9 March 2020. This aims to improve continuity of supply for those patients that have been prescribed these products.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including cannabis-based medicines in the remit of the proposed Innovative Medicines Fund.

Guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions of cannabis-based medicines for severe treatment resistant epilepsy and other conditions. We are working hard with the health system, industry and researchers to improve the knowledge base available. The link to the guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng144

Central to this, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with partners to deliver the recommendations from the NHS process evaluation report entitled ‘Barriers to Accessing Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal Use’. Progress has been made as follows:

- On 20 December 2019 a letter was published reminding prescribers of General Medical Council guidance on the prescribing and use of unlicensed medicines – and to clarify the procedure for prescribing and supplying cannabis-based products for medicinal use. This complements training material put in place by Health Education England for all healthcare professionals. A link to the letter can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/guidance-prescribing-cannabis-based-products-medicinal-use.pdf

- To support research, the National Institute for Health Research has run two research calls for applications on medicinal cannabis for epilepsy. Following these a workshop was held in November 2019 including applicants, NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Department and other research experts on a study for treatment resistant paediatric epilepsy. We expect this to have significantly cut the time required to design a study and gain funding agreement;

- Funding was fast-tracked by NHS England and NHS Improvement and was available from 6 January 2020 for patients who fulfil the criteria for the recently published NICE Technology Appraisals for the use of cannabidiol (Epidyolex) in conjunction with clobazam for adjuvant treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet Syndrome, two rare forms of refractory epilepsies. This will improve access to licensed cannabis-based products for appropriate patients;

- A new Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Network was launched in February 2020. This offers timely and evidence-based specialist advice and guidance from a United Kingdom national expert panel to support local discussions in relation to the treatment of refractory epilepsy and suitability of cannabis-based medicines; and

- A patient registry is being developed with input from specialist clinicians and other advisory bodies, to monitor patient outcomes.

We have also changed the Government policy on imports to allow import of cannabis-based medicines in anticipation of prescriptions, since 9 March 2020. This aims to improve continuity of supply for those patients that have been prescribed these products.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on implementing the recommendations contained in the report published by NHS England and NHS Improvement, entitled Barriers to accessing cannabis-based products for medicinal use on NHS prescription, published in March 2019.

Guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions of cannabis-based medicines for severe treatment resistant epilepsy and other conditions. We are working hard with the health system, industry and researchers to improve the knowledge base available. The link to the guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng144

Central to this, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with partners to deliver the recommendations from the NHS process evaluation report entitled ‘Barriers to Accessing Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal Use’. Progress has been made as follows:

- On 20 December 2019 a letter was published reminding prescribers of General Medical Council guidance on the prescribing and use of unlicensed medicines – and to clarify the procedure for prescribing and supplying cannabis-based products for medicinal use. This complements training material put in place by Health Education England for all healthcare professionals. A link to the letter can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/guidance-prescribing-cannabis-based-products-medicinal-use.pdf

- To support research, the National Institute for Health Research has run two research calls for applications on medicinal cannabis for epilepsy. Following these a workshop was held in November 2019 including applicants, NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Department and other research experts on a study for treatment resistant paediatric epilepsy. We expect this to have significantly cut the time required to design a study and gain funding agreement;

- Funding was fast-tracked by NHS England and NHS Improvement and was available from 6 January 2020 for patients who fulfil the criteria for the recently published NICE Technology Appraisals for the use of cannabidiol (Epidyolex) in conjunction with clobazam for adjuvant treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet Syndrome, two rare forms of refractory epilepsies. This will improve access to licensed cannabis-based products for appropriate patients;

- A new Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Network was launched in February 2020. This offers timely and evidence-based specialist advice and guidance from a United Kingdom national expert panel to support local discussions in relation to the treatment of refractory epilepsy and suitability of cannabis-based medicines; and

- A patient registry is being developed with input from specialist clinicians and other advisory bodies, to monitor patient outcomes.

We have also changed the Government policy on imports to allow import of cannabis-based medicines in anticipation of prescriptions, since 9 March 2020. This aims to improve continuity of supply for those patients that have been prescribed these products.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's press release of 18 December 2019, All nursing students on courses from September 2020 will receive a payment of at least £5,000 a year which they will not need to pay back, when student nurses will receive that payment.

Students can expect to receive their first instalments of their non repayable maintenance grant funding from November 2020 once universities have confirmed to the NHS Business Services Authority that eligible students have commenced their studies for the 2020/21 academic year. As with student loan payments, the new maintenance grant funding will be phased over the academic year and will be paid in three equal instalments. This will provide students with a consistent flow of funding throughout their academic year. The NHS Business Services Authority will publish guidance for students as soon as possible.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that when possible the NHS procures personal protective equipment from local small and medium-sized enterprises.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government efforts of British industry to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) for the health and social care sectors. We have identified opportunities and sourced new supply channels for materials to make PPE at pace, enabling new manufacturing to commence. The Government is also working to support the scale-up of engineering efforts for small companies capable of contributing to supplies.

More than 30 deals have been struck with companies, including several small and medium enterprises, to manufacture and deliver PPE in the United Kingdom. We are also working with over 175 new suppliers to deliver at the scale and pace the UK requires. Around 20% of all PPE will be manufactured in the UK by the end of the year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the (a) accuracy and (b) reliability of covid-19 modelling commissioned by his Department.

Part of the scientific advice provided to inform the United Kingdom’s response to COVID-19 is informed by a number of infectious disease models developed by world-leading academic and public health institutions under the Government’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M). SPI-M members use the latest available data on the COVID-19 epidemic to inform their modelling, and different institutions use different approaches and methodologies to bring together all plausible insights.

The SPI-M group regularly compare and scrutinise the modelling methods used by individual institutions to ensure accuracy and reliability, whilst considering any reasonable uncertainty. The Royal Society’s Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic group of academics have provided further challenge where possible, through rapid reviews of work from SPI-M modellers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the guidance for people with heart disease is updated to include the effects of covid-19 on heart disease sufferers.

In partnership with NHS England and NHS Improvement, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has developed heart disease guidelines and evidence summaries with support from clinical specialists, the specialist societies and Royal Colleges to help the National Health Service and social care to respond quickly to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement are accelerating some of the positive lessons learnt from the pandemic, such as the enhanced use of digital technology for cardiac rehabilitation and a greater application of remote consultations, to bring forward the delivery of some of the ambitions outlined within the Long Term Plan for patients with heart disease.

In parallel, to support cardiac services in England during the pandemic and restoration period, a national Cardiac Network has provided system support in collaboration with the Getting It Right First Time team, so that there is consistent advice to clinical teams on restoring services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason why the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has requested that laboratories pause processing self-collect finger-prick blood samples for covid-19 antibody testing.

Some United Kingdom providers such as high street pharmacies and private healthcare providers offer COVID-19 antibody testing for members of the public.

The test involves collecting a fingerprick blood sample into a small container following a set of instructions. The container is then sent to a laboratory for analysis and the results are returned direct to the person who took the test, with an indication of the reliability of the result.

The laboratory tests are CE marked and safe for use on blood drawn from the vein by a healthcare professional but have not yet been validated by the manufacturer of the test to be used with a fingerprick blood sample. The sample collection kits have not yet been validated for home use and we cannot be sure that lay people collecting samples themselves at home currently have sufficient support to collect samples in a way that will enable a laboratory to process to a reliable result.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to issue guidance to front line NHS and care workers on the reuse of personal protective equipment.

Public Health England published ‘COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)’ updated guide on 17 April. This advises that suitable decontamination arrangements for some PPE items should be obtained from the manufacturer, supplier or local infection control. This guidance also included advice on when PPE can be reused.

Public Health England’s guide can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control/covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to increase the (a) pay and (b) statutory sick pay of carers during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are incredibly proud of all our staff in social care. We are working hard to ensure that carers feel supported and safe to continue the fight against COVID-19.

We have announced £1.6 billion of funding for local authorities to help support adult social care providers and staff to respond to COVID-19. This includes the cost of maintaining income as far as possible for those that are unable to work. This aims to ensure that carers who are unwell or self-isolating do not lose out financially because they are doing the right thing. This is on top of measures that allow the payment of Statutory Sick Pay from the first day of sickness or isolation.

In addition, eligible employers will be able to reclaim up to two weeks of statutory sick pay paid for absences relating to COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to amend the Abortion Act 1967 to allow one doctor, nurse or midwife to certify abortion procedures while the medical profession is under strain due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has no plans to amend the requirement for two doctors to certify abortion procedures under the Abortion Act 1967 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Abortion is classed as an essential service.

We have put in place two temporary measures in England to ensure continued access to abortion services: women and girls are able to take both pills (Mifepristone and Misoprostol) for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation in their own homes, without the need to first attend a hospital or clinic (subject to eligibility following a telephone or e-consultation with a clinician); and registered medical practitioners are able to prescribe both pills for the treatment of early medical abortion up to 10 weeks from their own homes.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) his Department and (b) NHS Trusts have ordered covid-19 testing kits from Novacyt; and if he will make a statement.

Testing is a crucial part of the United Kingdom’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are working on multiple fronts to deliver additional testing capacity into the system.

We are making provision to secure testing kits both to meet current demand and scale our capacity. This includes securing testing kits from a variety of sources. The identities of suppliers are subject to confidential commercial agreements.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the guidance on social distancing published by Public Health England on 16 March 2020, whether patients with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases are considered as being at increased risk of severe illness from covid-19; and whether those patients will receive direct advice from the NHS on the steps they need to take to keep themselves safe.

One of the groups of people that the National Health Service advises to be at high risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 is those receiving immunosuppression therapies, enough to significantly increase risk of infection.

The advice for those classed as high risk is to follow the Government’s guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.

The NHS has been contacting those considered to be at high risk since 23 March 2020 with specific advice about the actions they should take. However, it is not possible to identify all clinically high-risk individuals through existing central databases, particularly those receiving specialist treatments or where disease severity would support the application of general social distancing advice. General practitioners and specialists are identifying and contacting patients who, may fall into the clinically high-risk group.

Patients are encouraged to visit Gov.UK for full advice on protecting themselves if they are at high risk from coronavirus.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 testing kits he has ordered from Biopanda Reagents.

Testing is a crucial part of the United Kingdom’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are working on multiple fronts to deliver additional testing capacity into the system


We are making provisions to secure testing kits both to meet current demand and scale our capacity. This includes securing testing kits from a variety of sources. The suppliers and the number of tests is subject to confidential commercial agreements and we are unable to confirm the number.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to provide accessible information on covid-19 to sign language users within the deaf community.

Information published on GOV.UK is available in accessible formats including British Sign Language.

Media announcements are being broadcast with British Sign Language interpreters.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what steps he is taking to ensure NHS staff have adequate supplies of protective equipment.

It is the Government’s priority that the National Health Service has appropriate equipment to respond to COVID-19, and the Department are working closely with NHS England and the devolved administrations to ensure this.

The United Kingdom maintains stockpiles of protective equipment for healthcare staff who may come into contact with patients with the virus.

These stocks are being monitored daily, with additional stocks being ordered where necessary.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Sativex for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

The Department has made no recent assessment.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) most recent assessment of Sativex was published in November 2019 and is available on the NICE website at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng144/chapter/Recommendations#spasticity

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking with the media to inform the public of the health effects of covid-19.

We have been working closely with partners in the media – including through regular press briefings with the Chief Medical Officer to ensure the latest advice on COVID-19 is widely accessible.

Ministers across Government including the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Prime Minister, as well as infectious disease experts at Public Health England have spoken to the media frequently to ensure the public are kept well informed.

On top of this, a public health campaign was launched on 2 February to ensure people have access to the latest advice in relation to coronavirus. This includes targeted national television, radio, social media and newspaper advertisements.

The campaign advises on the best way for the public to protect themselves against COVID-19, through carrying tissues, and hand washing.

It was refreshed on 4 March to include the latest messaging on handwashing with water and soap for 20 seconds.

All of our advice is published on Gov.uk/coronavirus, alongside daily updates with confirmed numbers of tests, positive cases and deaths.

Our public health advice is regularly shared with local authorities, schools, general practitioner practices, and pharmacies to ensure they can display the advice in their own settings.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Taskforce for Lung Health’s five year plan to improve respiratory health.

The National Health Service has worked closely with the Taskforce for Lung Health to design the respiratory ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The national respiratory programme was developed using the recommendations from the Taskforce and further close collaboration will ensure alignment. The key objectives that address the recommendations in the Taskforce’s report include improvements in early and accurate diagnosis; pulmonary rehabilitation; medications management; and self-management.

Separately to the respiratory programme, NHS funded smoking cessation interventions will also address recommendations from the Taskforce.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional funding he plans to allocate to (a) hospice and (b) palliative care services in the next five years.

No specific discussions have taken place. On 20 August 2019, the Government announced £25 million in funding to help alleviate pressures on hospices and boost local palliative care services, and to provide for new services such as out-of-hours support, respite care and specialist community teams. Clinical commissioning groups resource allocations were uplifted to reflect the new funding in October 2019, with clear guidance to work collaboratively to assign the money to hospices and palliative services as a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) across their STP footprint.

This non-recurrent funding is for hospices and palliative services and relates to 2019/20 only. NHS England’s expectation is that, as the NHS Long Term Plan progresses and more of the Government’s £33.9 billion additional investment in the National Health Service becomes available to the front-line, a separate funding stream should not be required in future years.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer on 30 September 2019 to Question HL17641, on Palliative Care: Finance, what discussions he has had with representatives from NHS England on its review of the decision to not continue a separate funding stream for hospice and palliative care services beyond 2019-20.

No specific discussions have taken place. On 20 August 2019, the Government announced £25 million in funding to help alleviate pressures on hospices and boost local palliative care services, and to provide for new services such as out-of-hours support, respite care and specialist community teams. Clinical commissioning groups resource allocations were uplifted to reflect the new funding in October 2019, with clear guidance to work collaboratively to assign the money to hospices and palliative services as a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) across their STP footprint.

This non-recurrent funding is for hospices and palliative services and relates to 2019/20 only. NHS England’s expectation is that, as the NHS Long Term Plan progresses and more of the Government’s £33.9 billion additional investment in the National Health Service becomes available to the front-line, a separate funding stream should not be required in future years.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to reduce the costs to patients of hospital television services.

National Health Service providers are locally responsible for the provision of bedside television and similar services. The Department is not party to the contracts which exist between the service providers and the individual NHS trusts. If patients do not wish to or are unable to afford the cost of the bedside television, they should still be able to watch the free to view television in the hospital day room or communal areas.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the age profile was of (a) all NHS midwives and (b) those NHS midwives identified as nationals of an EU member state at the (i) most recent month for which figures are available and (ii) the equivalent month in each year since 2010.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)1, but not staff working in primary care or in general practitioner (GP) surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

The attached tables show the number of EU27 and all nationality midwives in National Health Service trusts and CCGs broken down by age bands.

Note:

1CCGs are NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services for their local area. They are made up of a governing body directly employed by the CCG and local GP practice members within the area of the CCG.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of NHS clinical negligence liability over the last 10 years.

NHS Resolution manages clinical negligence and other claims against the National Health Service in England. NHS Resolution has supplied the following information.

Financial Year

Clinical Schemes total provisions (£000s)

2009/10

14,899,455

2010/11

16,639,494

2011/12

18,619,999

2012/13

22,690,517

2013/14

25,655,208

2014/15

28,277,786

2015/16

56,082,162

2016/17

64,676,682

2017/18

76,702,791

2018/19

83,070,576

Notes:

- The values included above include all four clinical schemes managed by NHS Resolution – Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts, Existing Liabilities Scheme, Ex-Regional Health Authority and Department for Health and Social Care clinical.

- The ‘clinical negligence liability’ is known as the provision in accounting terms. The provision represents the estimated value of all known claims, together with an actuarial estimate of those incurred but not yet reported, which are claims which may be brought in the future but have not yet (and may not) be brought and which may settle or be withdrawn over future years.

The year-on-year rises in clinical negligence costs are eating into resources available for front-line care; this is unsustainable. This is despite our substantial safety programmes.

The Department is working intensively with the Ministry of Justice, other Government departments and NHS Resolution, all of whom are committed to addressing this issue.

This is a complicated issue and the work is ongoing. We will bring forward a publication in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps NHS Resolve has taken since 2017 to tackle the increase in clinical negligence liability.

The rising costs of clinical negligence are a major concern and something we are committed to tackling, given that National Health Service funds spent on clinical negligence are resources not available for front-line care.

NHS Resolution manages clinical negligence and other claims against the NHS in England. NHS Resolution launched a new five-year strategy in 2017 aimed at delivering fair resolution and learning from harm to improve safety, following which it has:

- Launched an Early Notification scheme for the most serious obstetric incidents to get closer to the point of incident so that they can get support to families when they need it and share learning more rapidly;

- Introduced the Maternity Incentive Scheme which encourages improvement in maternity and neonatal services by incentivising a bundle of safety actions informed by research and agreed with system partners;

- Increased the use of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution to resolve claims without the need for expensive litigation; and

- Refined their approach to learning from claims to drive safety improvement.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to review prescription charges for (a) Parkinson's disease and (b) other ongoing, degenerative, medical conditions.

The Department has no plans to change the list of medical exemptions from prescription charges.

Extensive arrangements are already in place to help people access National Health Service prescriptions. These include a broad range of NHS prescription charge exemptions for which someone with Parkinson’s disease or other ongoing medical conditions may qualify. People on a low income, who do not qualify for an exemption, may be eligible for full or partial help with prescription charges through application to the NHS Low Income Scheme. To support those with the greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption or help through the Low-Income Scheme, patients can benefit from a prescription pre-payment certificate. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just £2 per week.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to (a) reduce the stigma associated with bereavement and (b) encourage the discussion of grief; and if he will make a statement.

We are working with the National Health Service to improve the quality and provision of bereavement counselling available across the country and reduce variation.

In 2017 the National Bereavement Alliance in partnership with Ambitions Partnership produced ‘A Guide to Commissioning Bereavement Services in England’ to highlight the importance of practical and emotional support and to support commissioners in the provision of effective practical and emotional bereavement support.

In 2018, ‘Learning from deaths: Guidance for NHS trusts on working with bereaved families and carers’, was published, providing advice to service providers regarding expected practice on how to engage, and work effectively with the bereaved following a death.

A children and young people’s palliative and end of life care service specification was developed in 2018 by NHS England and NHS Improvement in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, to support improvements to services, care and experience. Work is underway to develop a national service specification for all aspects of end of life care covering community, hospital, hospice and tertiary care and which highlights the need for good bereavement and pre-bereavement care, including for children and young people.

Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care: A national framework for local action 2015-2020, published by the National Palliative and End of Life Care Partnership, presents a framework for local action based on collective experience and analysis of the many reviews and reports in this area. The framework looks at how variation in palliative and end of life care can be tackled and makes clear that good end of life care encompasses support to help bereaved people manage the impact of a loved one’s death, including their loss and grief.

Advice to people on coping with bereavement, grief and loss recommends that people should not think they are alone and try talking about their feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor. This is available on the NHS website at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/coping-with-bereavement/

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking with NHS England to (a) reduce variation in bereavement support and (b) improve the adequacy of provision of that support throughout England.

We are working with the National Health Service to improve the quality and provision of bereavement counselling available across the country and reduce variation.

In 2017 the National Bereavement Alliance in partnership with Ambitions Partnership produced ‘A Guide to Commissioning Bereavement Services in England’ to highlight the importance of practical and emotional support and to support commissioners in the provision of effective practical and emotional bereavement support.

In 2018, ‘Learning from deaths: Guidance for NHS trusts on working with bereaved families and carers’, was published, providing advice to service providers regarding expected practice on how to engage, and work effectively with the bereaved following a death.

A children and young people’s palliative and end of life care service specification was developed in 2018 by NHS England and NHS Improvement in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, to support improvements to services, care and experience. Work is underway to develop a national service specification for all aspects of end of life care covering community, hospital, hospice and tertiary care and which highlights the need for good bereavement and pre-bereavement care, including for children and young people.

Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care: A national framework for local action 2015-2020, published by the National Palliative and End of Life Care Partnership, presents a framework for local action based on collective experience and analysis of the many reviews and reports in this area. The framework looks at how variation in palliative and end of life care can be tackled and makes clear that good end of life care encompasses support to help bereaved people manage the impact of a loved one’s death, including their loss and grief.

Advice to people on coping with bereavement, grief and loss recommends that people should not think they are alone and try talking about their feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor. This is available on the NHS website at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/coping-with-bereavement/

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to expand (a) practical and (b) emotional support beyond designated suicide bereavement care for people affected by bereavement.

We are working with the National Health Service to improve the quality and provision of bereavement counselling available across the country and reduce variation.

In 2017 the National Bereavement Alliance in partnership with Ambitions Partnership produced ‘A Guide to Commissioning Bereavement Services in England’ to highlight the importance of practical and emotional support and to support commissioners in the provision of effective practical and emotional bereavement support.

In 2018, ‘Learning from deaths: Guidance for NHS trusts on working with bereaved families and carers’, was published, providing advice to service providers regarding expected practice on how to engage, and work effectively with the bereaved following a death.

A children and young people’s palliative and end of life care service specification was developed in 2018 by NHS England and NHS Improvement in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, to support improvements to services, care and experience. Work is underway to develop a national service specification for all aspects of end of life care covering community, hospital, hospice and tertiary care and which highlights the need for good bereavement and pre-bereavement care, including for children and young people.

Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care: A national framework for local action 2015-2020, published by the National Palliative and End of Life Care Partnership, presents a framework for local action based on collective experience and analysis of the many reviews and reports in this area. The framework looks at how variation in palliative and end of life care can be tackled and makes clear that good end of life care encompasses support to help bereaved people manage the impact of a loved one’s death, including their loss and grief.

Advice to people on coping with bereavement, grief and loss recommends that people should not think they are alone and try talking about their feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor. This is available on the NHS website at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/coping-with-bereavement/

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government's 2017 response to the Review of Choice in End of Life Care, what progress his Department has made on ending variation in bereavement care by 2020.

The funding and delivery of National Health Service bereavement services is a local matter. Bereavement care is a key part of the provision of good end of life care as set out in the Government’s end of life care Choice Commitment and Government Response to the Review ‘One Year On’ published in September 2017.

Health Education England, in partnership with Skills for Care and Skills for Health, published a refreshed End of Life Care Core Skills Education and Training Framework in March 2017. This aims to standardise end of life care training and education, including around bereavement care.

The importance of bereavement care is also reflected in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Quality Standard on end of life care, and other NICE end of life care guidance, which commissioners should take into account when planning services for local populations. Further information is available at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs13/resources/end-of-life-care-for-adults-pdf-2098483631557

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to expand the National Bereavement Care Pathway for pregnancy and baby loss to other forms of bereavement.

Thirty two healthcare settings, predominantly hospitals in England have piloted the National Bereavement Care Pathway over the past two years and have seen real changes for parents and professionals in their trusts. Following the outcome of independent evaluations, the Pathway is now being rolled out across the country and there are 43 pilot sites now live at National Health Service trusts.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to help ensure that (a) families and (b) NHS staff throughout England have access to suicide bereavement services by 2023-24.

On 28 October 2019, I announced that, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, over £1 million is being invested this year to roll out dedicated bereavement support in 10 areas (including West Yorkshire and Harrogate) to care for people in the aftermath of a family member or friend’s suicide. This support will be made available across the country by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the compliance of bereavement support service delivery with NICE quality standards.

We have made no such assessment. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence quality standards represent best practice and clinicians and healthcare professionals are expected to take them into account.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what proportion of the Afghan evacuees by the UK are employees of (a) non-governmental organisations and (b) charities; and what proportion of those evacuees, excluding wives and dependents, are women.

We do not currently hold the specific data which has been requested. However, we can confirm that between 15 and 29 August, the UK evacuated over 15,000 people from Afghanistan. That includes: over 8,000 British Nationals, close to 5,000 Afghans who loyally served the UK, along with their dependents, and around 500 special cases of particularly vulnerable Afghans, including campaigners for women's rights, human rights defenders, Chevening scholars, journalists, judges and many others. All these figures include dependants.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the UK Government has plans to supply covid-19 vaccines direct to authorities in West Papua.

The UK's G7 Presidency has championed equitable access to vaccines, and in June the Prime Minister announced at the G7 Leader's Meeting that the UK will share 100 million doses within the next year, 30 million of those by the end of 2021. 80% of these will go to COVAX, which remains best-placed to allocate vaccines to where they will be most effective. To date, COVAX has delivered 11.7 million vaccines in Indonesia. These have been distributed across the country, including the provinces of Papua and West Papua. The Foreign Secretary met with Health Minister Budi in April this year during his visit to Indonesia, and also discussed joint efforts to tackle Covid-19 with Foreign Minister Marsudi at the G20 summit on 29 June.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he had with the Indonesian President and Foreign Minister relating to human rights in West Papua during their visit in April 2021.

During the Foreign Secretary's visit to Jakarta on 6-7 April he attended the Third Indonesia - UK Partnership Forum. The joint statement from this dialogue highlighted both countries' commitment to promoting international law and the Rules Based International System, including democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Foreign Secretary discussed the UK's position on Papua with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. The UK fully respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia and regards the provinces of Papua and West Papua as an integral part of Indonesia.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether the transfer of Moroccan citizens into occupied Western Sahara is a breach of the Geneva conventions.

As the Foreign Secretary stated on 11 December 2020, the UK regards the status of Western Sahara as undetermined. We support UN-led efforts to achieve a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of whether Morocco’s annexation or Western Sahara a breach of international law.

As the Foreign Secretary stated on 11 December 2020, the UK regards the status of Western Sahara as undetermined. We support UN-led efforts to achieve a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Pakistani counterpart on (a) the alleged abductions of children such as Maira Shahbaz and Farah Shaheen, (b) forced marriage and (c) forced conversion to Islam in that country.

The UK Government strongly condemns the forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls in Pakistan.

We regularly raise our concerns on these issues with the Government of Pakistan. Most recently, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon raised our human rights concerns, including Freedom of Religion or Belief, with Pakistan's Special Representative for Religious Harmony, Tahir Ashrafi, on 23 March 2021. Lord Ahmad also raised these concerns with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 20 February 2021. Pakistan remains a FCDO Human Rights Priority Country.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will support President Macron's call for Azerbaijan to withdraw forces which have breached the Armenian border in the Syunik Province.

The UK Government is closely monitoring the situation on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border following an increase in tensions. At the OSCE Permanent Council on 20 May we welcomed the ongoing communication between the parties and urged them to de-escalate the situation peacefully.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to the UN Security Council to advocate for the release of Saharawi civilian prisoners in Moroccan prisons.

Human rights is a UK priority around the world, including in Morocco, and we raise human rights issues with Morocco accordingly. The UK and Morocco have regular discussions on human rights, including prison conditions. The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2548 on 30 October 2020. The resolution stresses the importance of improving the human rights situation in Western Sahara and the Tindouf camps, and encourages the parties to work with the international community to develop and implement independent and credible measures to ensure full respect for human rights, bearing in mind their relevant obligations under international law.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to the UN Security Council to call for an end to the illegal extraction of natural resources from Western Sahara against the interests and wishes of the indigenous Saharawi.

The UK notes the UN legal view from 2002, which stated that commercial activity in Western Sahara (including the exploration for, and exploitation of natural resources) is not inherently illegal but must not disregard the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara. We also note the European Court of Justice ruling of December 2016 on the applicability of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement to Western Sahara. The Association Agreement was subsequently amended to comply with the ruling following EU consultations with a wide spectrum of Western Saharan representatives, stake-holders, civil society, and other organisations. The UK-Morocco Association Agreement replicates the effects of the existing EU-Morocco Association Agreement, including on the current territorial application and products originating in Western Sahara subject to controls by customs authorities of Morocco.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support vulnerable women, children and the elderly in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

In Tigray, our priority remains to support civilians affected by the conflict particularly the most vulnerable including women, children and the elderly. We are working with our partners to understand how aid is reaching those most in need and we continue to advocate for unhindered humanitarian access and the protection of civilians.

In response to the crisis in Tigray the UK has allocated £15.4m to humanitarian partners. The UK is funding critical services for survivors of sexual gender-based violence is also supporting the supply of dignity kits to women and girls.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

We are concerned about the fighting in Tigray and have consistently urged all parties to avoid conflict spill-over into neighbouring regions, prioritise the protection of civilians and security and allow unfettered humanitarian access. We have, and will continue to advocate that a political process is essential to bring a full end to fighting and a sustainable settlement for Tigray. The Foreign Secretary raised these points when he met with Prime Minister Abiy on 22 January and pressed for a political dialogue to bring a lasting peace to Tigray. I also pressed for political dialogue to end the conflict when I spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK on 24 February. A joint humanitarian and political team from the British Embassy in Addis Ababa visited Mekelle on 5 March. They met with the provisional administration of Tigray, mayor of Mekelle, humanitarian agencies and people displaced by the violence. The Embassy team heard harrowing accounts of human rights violations, the challenges of aid delivery and how some of the £15.4m of UK Aid is helping to support those affected by the Tigray conflict. The Government of Ethiopia must act now to protect its people.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the supply of humanitarian, food, and medical assistance to people affected by the war in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

The UK has been consistent in calling for free and unfettered humanitarian access to 4.5 million people in need. The Foreign Secretary raised the need for humanitarian access to Tigray with Prime Minister Abiy during his recent visit to Ethiopia and pressed for a political dialogue to bring lasting peace to the region. I re-enforced the urgency of the need for humanitarian access when I spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador on 24 February.

The UK is working closely with humanitarian and development agencies to make sure aid reaches civilians affected by the fighting. UK-funded aid agencies in Tigray are delivering support in challenging circumstances, including food, shelter, water and healthcare. A joint humanitarian and political team from the British Embassy in Addis Ababa visited Mekelle on 5 March. They met with the provisional administration of Tigray, mayor of Mekelle, humanitarian agencies and people displaced by the violence. The Embassy team heard harrowing accounts of human rights violations, the challenges of aid delivery and how some of the £15.4m of UK Aid is helping to support those affected by the Tigray conflict. The Government of Ethiopia must act now to protect its people.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to (a) his Indonesian counterpart and (b) the international community on the recent comments made by General Hendropriyono that two million West Papuans be transmigrated to Manado.

The UK Government fully respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia, including the provinces of Papua and West Papua, and notes the continued efforts on behalf of the Indonesian government to invest in the economic and social development of both provinces in recent years. We continue to support efforts to address the needs and aspirations of the people in both provinces. General Hendropriyono is no longer an Indonesian government official and we understand that his comments do not reflect official Indonesian government policy. Ministers regularly engage with their Indonesian counterparts on a range of bilateral issues, including Papua.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2021 to Question 142052 on Western Sahara: Armed Forces, how many (a) police, (b) Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire staff and (c) soldiers make up that security presence.

We are unable to provide a detailed breakdown of the Moroccan security presence in Western Sahara.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western (MINURSO) has taken towards fulfilling its mandate to organise a referendum on self-determination in the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara.

The UN Secretary General provides regular reports to the UN Security Council on the situation concerning Western Sahara, including the activities of MINURSO. The latest report, dated 23 September 2020, is available on the UN Security Council website.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many Moroccan soldiers are stationed in the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara; and what the locations are of those soldiers.

Morocco maintains a significant security presence in Western Sahara, primarily in fortified positions along a berm running the entire length of the territory.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to (a) the Ugandan Government and (b) the international community on the arrest of Uganda presidential candidate Robert Kyagulany and the subsequent deteriorating human rights situation in Uganda.

During the electoral period in Uganda, the UK had urged that the elections should be free, fair, credible and transparent as I [Minister Duddridge] outlined in my tweet on 13 January, so as to respect the rights of all Ugandans to express their views in a peaceful manner. I [Minister Duddridge] have also raised the importance of transparent elections directly with the Ugandan High Commission on 12 January and will continue to do so. Staff at the British High Commission observed the conduct of the elections and will monitor all events closely. As I [Minister Duddridge] and the British High Commissioner stated in our tweets on 14 January, we are concerned that the recent internet shutdown in Uganda impacted the transparency of the elections and broader freedom of expression. We called for the Government of Uganda to resume services immediately and understand the shutdown has now been lifted as of 18 January. Following the Presidential election results on 16 January, I issued a statement expressing my concerns about the overall political climate in the run up to the elections and during the electoral process as well as urging the Government of Uganda to meet international human rights commitments.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to (a) encourage free and fair elections and (b) protect the right to protest in Uganda, following the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulany and the protests that have followed.

During the electoral period in Uganda, the UK had urged that the elections should be free, fair, credible and transparent as I [Minister Duddridge] outlined in my tweet on 13 January, so as to respect the rights of all Ugandans to express their views in a peaceful manner. I [Minister Duddridge] have also raised the importance of transparent elections directly with the Ugandan High Commission on 12 January and will continue to do so. Staff at the British High Commission observed the conduct of the elections and will monitor all events closely. As I [Minister Duddridge] and the British High Commissioner stated in our tweets on 14 January, we are concerned that the recent internet shutdown in Uganda impacted the transparency of the elections and broader freedom of expression. We called for the Government of Uganda to resume services immediately and understand the shutdown has now been lifted as of 18 January. Following the Presidential election results on 16 January, I issued a statement expressing my concerns about the overall political climate in the run up to the elections and during the electoral process as wel