Andrew Gwynne Portrait

Andrew Gwynne

Labour - Denton and Reddish

Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

(since December 2021)
Home Affairs Committee
11th May 2020 - 7th Mar 2022
Co-National Campaign Coordinator
14th Jun 2017 - 6th Apr 2020
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
9th Jan 2018 - 6th Apr 2020
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
14th Jun 2017 - 9th Jan 2018
Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
7th Oct 2016 - 14th Jun 2017
Campaigns and Elections Chair
11th Feb 2017 - 14th Jun 2017
Shadow Minister (Health)
7th Oct 2011 - 28th Jun 2016
Shadow Minister (Transport)
8th Oct 2010 - 7th Oct 2011
Procedure Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 18th Jan 2010
Crossrail Bill
14th Nov 2007 - 18th Nov 2007


Department Event
Monday 23rd May 2022
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
23 May 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Tuesday 14th June 2022
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Jun 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 4th July 2022
09:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
4 Jul 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 27th April 2022
Elections Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 152 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 306 Noes - 213
Speeches
Tuesday 26th April 2022
Smokefree 2030
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Nokes. I begin by thanking the hon. Member for Harrow …
Written Answers
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Obesity: Health Services
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the suspension of the £100 million …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 2nd December 2021
Closure of TSB Denton branch
That this House regrets the announcement by TSB that it intends to close a further 70 of it's branches and …
Bills
Wednesday 29th June 2016
Disability Equality Training (Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Drivers) Bill 2016-17
A Bill to make the completion of disability equality training a requirement for the licensing of taxi and private hire …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 23rd November 2020
8. Miscellaneous
From 8 October 2020, an unpaid Director of the Great Britain China Centre, a non-departmental public body established to support …
EDM signed
Wednesday 26th January 2022
Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone
That this House notes that some 1,200 deaths a year are attributable to poor air quality in Greater Manchester; believes …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Andrew Gwynne has voted in 420 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Andrew Gwynne voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Labour No votes vs 176 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
View All Andrew Gwynne 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
Toby Perkins (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Education)
(28 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
(26 debate interactions)
Matt Western (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Education)
(25 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(142 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(71 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(50 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Andrew Gwynne's debates

Denton and Reddish 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 Denton and Reddish signature proportion
Petitions with most Denton and Reddish signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

We demand the Government restore England’s publicly funded, publicly provided NHS by reversing all privatising legislation, ending ongoing PFI contracts, and scrapping plans for Integrated Care Systems and for-profit US-style ‘managed care’.


Latest EDMs signed by Andrew Gwynne

26th January 2022
Andrew Gwynne signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 26th January 2022

Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone

Tabled by: Tony Lloyd (Labour - Rochdale)
That this House notes that some 1,200 deaths a year are attributable to poor air quality in Greater Manchester; believes that, on that basis, movement towards establishing a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Greater Manchester is vital; stresses that a CAZ must be properly resourced to prevent it simply becoming …
15 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 14
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
2nd December 2021
Andrew Gwynne signed this EDM as a sponsor on Friday 3rd December 2021

Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week

Tabled by: Amy Callaghan (Scottish National Party - East Dunbartonshire)
That this House recognises Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week running from 1 to 7 December; understands Crohn’s & Colitis UK aim to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around these very serious and incurable conditions; notes that each day of Crohn’s Awareness Week a platform will be available for anyone …
26 signatures
(Most recent: 24 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 14
Labour: 6
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Andrew Gwynne's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Andrew Gwynne, 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.


Andrew Gwynne has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Andrew Gwynne has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Andrew Gwynne


A Bill to make the completion of disability equality training a requirement for the licensing of taxi and private hire vehicle drivers in England and Wales; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 25th November 2016
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Date TBA

A Bill to require certain public procurement contracts let by public authorities to include a commitment by the contractor to provide apprenticeships and skills training; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 1st November 2013

Andrew Gwynne has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


525 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
25 Other Department Questions
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what further discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on banning conversion therapy in all circumstances following the withdrawal of over 100 LGBTQ+ organisations from the Government's Safe To Be Me conference.

The Government is committed to bringing forward legislation, when Parliamentary time allows, to ban conversion therapy. We are currently analysing responses to our recent public consultation.

The Government’s actions to protect people from conversion therapy extend beyond legislating. We are procuring a support service for victims and those at risk via a helpline and website which will provide initial pastoral support, and signposting to services such as counselling and advice about emergency housing.

The Government has reluctantly taken the decision to cancel this summer’s Safe To Be Me conference. We have been proud to work alongside civil society partners, businesses and others to develop ambitious plans for the conference and appreciate the time and effort that all stakeholders have put into this.

We are disappointed that the conference will no longer be going ahead and remain committed to strengthening LGBT rights and freedoms. We will continue to support human rights defenders globally and to influence and support countries on the path to decriminalisation.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what feedback local authorities and sponsoring hon. Members will receive on unsuccessful bids to the Levelling Up Fund.

On Wednesday 27 October, the Chancellor announced the outcome of the first round of the Levelling Up Fund, which will see £1.7 billion invested in 105 local infrastructure projects across the UK. Citizens across the UK can expect to see projects getting underway from early 2022.

Those applicants that were unsuccessful in the first round have been contacted. Unsuccessful applicants, who passed the gateway assessment stage, will be offered feedback on their applications.

We will open round 2 in spring 2022 and will share further details in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he expects to open a second round of applications for Levelling Up funding.

On Wednesday 27 October, the Chancellor announced the outcome of the first round of the Levelling Up Fund, which will see £1.7 billion invested in 105 local infrastructure projects across the UK. Citizens across the UK can expect to see projects getting underway from early 2022.

Those applicants that were unsuccessful in the first round have been contacted. Unsuccessful applicants, who passed the gateway assessment stage, will be offered feedback on their applications.

We will open round 2 in spring 2022 and will share further details in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether bids to the Levelling Up Fund not announced in the Budget schemes are formally rejected or are held in abeyance for consideration in a further round.

On Wednesday 27 October, the Chancellor announced the outcome of the first round of the Levelling Up Fund, which will see £1.7 billion invested in 105 local infrastructure projects across the UK. Citizens across the UK can expect to see projects getting underway from early 2022.

Those applicants that were unsuccessful in the first round have been contacted. Unsuccessful applicants, who passed the gateway assessment stage, will be offered feedback on their applications.

We will open round 2 in spring 2022 and will share further details in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021, when he plans to publish details of the application process for the Levelling up parks' fund.

The £9 million Levelling Up Parks Fund will create over 100 green spaces across the UK on land which is unused, undeveloped or derelict. Further details on the fund will be announced in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what input he has into the allocation of Restoring Your Railways funding as part of the wider levelling-up agenda; and whether he has seen the bid for the line between Ashton-under-Lyne and Stockport, serving Denton and Reddish South stations.

My Department has regular input into the Restoring Your Railway Programme at official and Ministerial level. The former Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, the Hon Member (Luke Hall MP), was on the Restoring Your Railways Ideas Fund Panel which considered the bid for the line between Ashton-under-Lyne and Stockport.

The outcomes were announced on 27 October and the Hon Member's bid to the Ideas Fund for development funding was successful.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to make an announcement relating to the Levelling-up fund bid for a start-up business and employment hub at the former Reddish baths building in Stockport.

Outcomes from the first round of bids for the Levelling Up Fund were announced on 27 October.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the role of local civic pride projects in the levelling-up agenda; and if he will bring forward plans for funding park, public realm and local environmental improvements, as part of that agenda.

Levelling up is about empowering local leaders and communities to seize their own destiny; boosting living standards, particularly where they are lower; spreading opportunity and improving public services, particularly where they are weak; and restoring local pride in places across the UK. As the most recent part of this agenda, we are investing £9 million to level up urban green spaces across the UK through the Levelling Up Parks Fund. Grants will be given to, and administered by, local authorities, to deliver new green spaces in over 100 of the neighbourhoods most deprived of green space.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to increase investment in jobs, skills and transport infrastructure in parts of the Denton and Reddish constituency; and if he will meet with the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish to discuss plans to level-up communities within the Denton and Reddish constituency.

Spending Review demonstrated Government's commitment to Levelling up by supporting community priorities. £1.7 billion was confirmed for the first 107 successful places within the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund. The Greater Manchester area will receive £112.8 million of this first wave, including £19.87 million to regenerate Ashton Town Hall, bordering the Honourable Gentleman’s constituency.

Government recognises that local transport networks, particularly public transport, have been a weakness holding back the productivity of city regions outside London. That's why we have created City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements (CRSTS), providing major city regions with the freedom to address local challenges and improve services. At the Spending Review, we announced £5.7 billion of CRSTS funding for 8 city regions, with Greater Manchester, including Denton and Reddish, receiving the largest single allocation of £1.07 billion. Over the coming months, Transport for Greater Manchester will begin to develop its programme business cases to confirm how their portion of the fund will be used.

Also announced at the Budget was Restoring Your Railways funding to reinstate a passenger rail line between Ashton-under-Lyne and Stockport, which the Honourable Gentleman personally campaigned for. I congratulate him on the success of this campaign and look forward to seeing these proposals develop over the coming months.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Coastal Powerhouse Manifesto published on 16 September 2021 by Maritime UK and the Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group.

We appreciate Maritime UK and the Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group's detailed and insightful Coastal Powerhouse manifesto and we recognise the value of the recommendations made. We welcome the continuous engagement of the sector as we are progressing with our levelling up agenda. In this respect, we share the view expressed on the need to continue the strong partnership that exists between Government and key stakeholder groups.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what support he is providing to the UK’s coastal communities.

We have continued to make significant progress in supporting coastal communities in a number of areas, demonstrated by the Coastal Communities Fund now having supported 359 projects, totalling over £229 million since 2012, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities across the country including in coastal areas.

Further to this, our coastal areas have already benefited from over £600 million through successful bids into Town Deals and the Future High Streets Fund. Of the 101 towns receiving a Town Deal, 22 of them are coastal towns.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the rate of recovery of footfall in retail premises in urban areas and the impact of that rate of recovery on urban economies following the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department engages regularly at both Ministerial and official level with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on a range of joint issues affecting urban areas, including the recovery of footfall in the retail sector and recovery following the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government is providing support to local leadership with a High Streets Task Force, giving them expert advice to support their high streets and town centres to adapt and thrive. Over five years this is providing hands-on support to local areas to develop data-driven innovative strategies and connect local areas to relevant experts. The Task Force has set up a Sector Leaders Group and a Professional Research and Data Group, who are playing a vital role in supporting the recovery of our local economies by providing intelligence and evidence to support the High Street Tasks Force and Government in its response to the pandemic. The Professional Research and Data Group provides regular data analysis, including footfall trends, on the Task Force website (https://www.highstreetstaskforce.org.uk/).

More broadly, our ambition is to ensure that town and city centres continue to flourish now and in the future. On 15 July, we published the Build Back Better High Streets Strategy, where we committed to continue working with the sector on its long-term strategic needs to ensure that businesses are profitable, resilient, innovative and support local economies in socially and environmentally responsible ways.

The Government also set up the Urban Centre Recovery Task Force last year to consider the impact of covid-19 on our cities and offer recommendations on practical measures that government could take to help cities adapt and take advantage of new opportunities. This includes the permanence of any changes, how to support city economies to adapt and how to take advantage of any opportunities, with a focus on regeneration, repurposing, housing and other relevant areas such as planning.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of creating a £7 billion sustainable urban futures fund to support local leaders to invest in (a) infrastructure improvements, (b) new housing projects and (c) town centres to support the economic recovery from the covid-19 outbreak in urban areas.

This Government is committed to supporting local leaders to create sustainable urban centres following Covid-19. For example, the National Home Building Fund (NHBF) was announced at the 2020 Spending Review and brings together existing housing land and infrastructure funding streams into a single, flexible, more powerful pot. This will support the government's ambition to deliver 1 million homes over the Parliamentary term and the 300k homes per year. £4.8 billion of the funding brings together existing capital programmes across land and infrastructure and confirms a continued commitment to the £400 million Brownfield Fund

The department is investing over £10 billion in local growth funds, including the Towns Fund and Levelling Up Fund, to deliver regeneration across the UK. Additionally, the Build Back Better High Streets strategy was published in July which sets out Government's long-term plan to support the evolution and regeneration of all high streets across every part of the UK.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings in the report published on 10 September 2021 by the Local Government Association, entitled A vision for urban growth and recovery, comparing the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on local and rural areas and the long-term fiscal security of urban communities.

We appreciate the Local Government Association detailed and insightful ‘Vision for Urban Growth and Recovery’ report and we recognise the value of the recommendations made. We welcome the continuous engagement with the sector as we are progressing our levelling up agenda. In this respect, we share the view expressed on the need to continue the strong partnership that exists between Government and key stakeholder groups.

Britain’s cities are at the heart of our national economy, accounting for more than 60% of jobs, productivity and taxes, despite accounting for less than a tenth of land. As we look towards the new normal, cities and towns across the UK will continue to be powerhouses across the UK, driving economic growth and of crucial importance to the Government’s levelling up agenda.

The report highlights the significant and more pronounced impact of covid-19 on urban centres than non-urban centres. We recognise that the impacts of covid-19 have been significant on health, the economy and our society, but most keenly felt across our urban centres. The immediate focus of policy making in the last eighteen months has been to support individuals and businesses through the pandemic and to promote the quickest recovery and is therefore why our package of support for businesses through this period totals over £352billion, including through business grants, the coronavirus loan schemes and Job Retention Scheme.

In Government, we are keen to continue working with the Local Government Association and partners from right across the public and private sectors to deliver our levelling up agenda for our urban centres and beyond, and continue to welcome such insightful, relevant and comprehensive engagement.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has for increasing clarity in the planning system on housing options for older people.

This Government seeks to unite and level up the country, ensuring opportunity is available for all, and our plans to modernise the planning system are an important part of this.

We are continuing to reflect on the 43,000 consultation responses and engage with stakeholders across the system. The Response will be published shortly and I look forward to engaging with Members on it.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to increase the supply of housing with care.

Offering vulnerable people a better choice of accommodation to suit their changing needs can help them live independently and feel more connected to their communities. This Government is committed to the provision of suitable homes for older people, including extra care housing, which contributes to levelling up across communities. Housing-with-care allows individuals to choose where they want to live, with whom, how they can best be supported, and what happens in their home. Both the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department of Health and Social Care provide capital funding to incentivise their supply. Our planning rules already mean councils must consider the needs of older people when planning for new homes. In 2019, we published guidance to help councils implement the National Planning Policy Framework policies.

We are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, where 10 per cent of delivery over the course of the programme will be used to increase the supply of much needed specialist or supported housing, including retirement housing. The Department of Health and Social Care are also continuing to subsidise new supply of specialist housing for older and disabled people through the Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) Fund.

The Government's plan for health and social care, announced on Tuesday 7 September, also recognised the important role of housing, and supported housing in particular, in providing care and support to people in the community.

We continue to work closely with the older people's housing sector and across Government to look at how we can further support its growth. I look forward to engaging with representatives in the sector further and value their insight.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the debate on Covid-19: Effect on Retirement Communities of 1 July 2021, Official Report, column 147WH, if he will establish a task force on housing-with-care.

Both my Department and the Department of Health and Social Care are committed to further improving the diversity of housing options available to older people. We are engaging closely with both the sector and a range of other stakeholders on this issue. This includes considering the merits of different engagement and delivery models including proposals from the sector for a cross-Government taskforce.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to his in-person meeting with the Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa on 17 June 2021, whether he had discussions on human rights in Bahrain during that meeting.

The Crown Prince and I discussed a wide range of matters. We regularly raise human rights issues with the Government of Bahrain and continue to engage with the Government of Bahrain to support its reform agenda.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 171542, whether he has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on implementing the recommendations made by Baroness Cumberlege in First Do No Harm - The report of the IMMDS Review; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the Hon Member to the Written Ministerial Statement of 11 January 2021 (HCWS692) made by my Hon Friend the Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health. The Government will respond in full to the report later this year.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
15th Oct 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the Answers to Questions 98904, 101251 and 101252, what discussions members of the House of Commons Commission have had with the members of the House Service on (a) the decision on the House Twitter account to no longer cover Divisions, (b) other changes to that Twitter account and (c) the compatibility of those changes with (i) the objective in the Strategy for the House of Commons Service 2016-21 of involving and inspiring the public and (ii) other objectives in that strategy.

The Commission has had no discussions with House Service staff regarding the House of Commons Twitter account. The account is managed by the House of Commons Communications Office, part of the House Service, and it is for the House Service to take any decisions about its content.

A core task of the House Service is to support the House of Commons, its committees, and individual members of all parties and their staff. As such, its commitment to, and perception of, impartiality is critical.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
9th Oct 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 8 October 2020 to Question 98904, if the Commission will discuss (a) the decision on the House Twitter account to no longer cover Divisions, (b) other changes to that Twitter account and (c) the compatibility of those changes with (i) the objective in the Strategy for the House of Commons Service 2016-21 of involving and inspiring the public and (ii) other objectives in that strategy.

The Commission has no plans to consider the House of Commons Twitter account. The account is managed by the House of Commons Communications Office, part of the House Service, and it is for the House Service to take any decisions about its content.

A core task of the House Service is to support the House of Commons, its committees, and individual members of all parties and their staff. As such, its commitment to, and perception of, impartiality is critical.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
9th Oct 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 8 October 2020 to Question 98904, what consultation the Commission has carried out with (a) hon. Members, (b) members of the public and (c) other stakeholders on the decision to stop the House of Commons Twitter service covering the results of divisions.

The Commission has no plans to consider the House of Commons Twitter account. The account is managed by the House of Commons Communications Office, part of the House Service, and it is for the House Service to take any decisions about its content.

A core task of the House Service is to support the House of Commons, its committees, and individual members of all parties and their staff. As such, its commitment to, and perception of, impartiality is critical.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
5th Oct 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what discussions the Commission has had on (a) the decision that the House Twitter account is no longer to cover Divisions, (b) other changes to that account and (c) the compatibility of those changes with (i) the objective in the Strategy for the House of Commons Service 2016-21 of involving and inspiring the public and (ii) other objectives in that strategy.

The Commission has not discussed this matter. The priority of the House Service is to provide the results of divisions as speedily as possible while maintaining its impartiality and not becoming part of the commentary. The House has recently invested in a number of new ways of keeping the public updated on Parliamentary business and division results, including further development of Parliament Live TV and UK Parliament Now, and the House of Commons Twitter account regularly links to these to keep followers updated.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
1st Jul 2020
To ask the hon. Member for City of Chester, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of asking the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to consider delaying the periodic Ward Boundary Reviews in (i) Tameside and (ii) Stockport for 12 months to allow those councils to focus on covid-19 prevention and community support activity.

Since the imposition of lockdown restrictions the Local Government Boundary Commission for England has had extensive dialogue with those councils included in its electoral review programme. This includes Tameside and Stockport.

The Commission initially paused input from councils for three months where councils felt it would help them deal with their response to COVID-19. It is in continuing dialogue with councils to reach mutually acceptable timetables for carrying out electoral reviews. Those timetables are tailored to the individual council. A number have already been agreed. Some are proceeding broadly according to their original timetable, others have more significant extensions. Once agreed those timetables are subject to ongoing review to take account of future changes in circumstances faced by individual councils.

29th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of employees with epilepsy working for Government departments.

Data on the number of staff across the Civil Service with epilepsy is not held centrally. The Annual Civil Service Employment Survey which is used to produce Civil Service Statistics, collects diversity information on Civil Servants including disability status but does not specify the type of disability.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect of the notice period for the 2021 covid-19 lockdown on the ability of wholesale distributors to effectively make business plans.

Throughout this crisis, the government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services across the UK. We are aware of the challenges faced by the wholesale sector, and the foodservice wholesale sector in particular. Officials have been working closely with the wholesale sector to understand the scale of the challenge. The Government has made a range of support available to wholesalers, and continues to consider the needs of the sector.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the answer of 1 October 2020 to Question 94353, and with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what plans the Government has to delay the 2021 local elections in England.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing covid-secure bingo halls to open in areas under Tier 3 local covid alert level restrictions once the national covid-19 lockdown ends.

For areas which move in future to a Tier 3 Level, we will work with local leaders to agree measures specific to that area’s situation.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the 2021 local elections in England being conducted through all-postal votes.

The UK Government is of the view that it would not be appropriate to impose an all-postal vote for the local and mayoral elections in England, and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales, in May 2021. All-postal voting increases fraud risks, and removes choice from voters who wish to cast their vote in person.

Postal voting on demand already allows any registered elector to apply for a vote by post.

The Government is working with the electoral administrators and Public Health England to identify and resolve challenges involved in delivering the May 2021 elections, including ensuring polling stations are safe and covid-secure places to vote. People will be able participate in the polls safely, and in a way of their choice, whether by post, proxy or in-person.

This work is outlined in my recent letter to Electoral Returning Officers, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-from-chloe-smith-mp-to-returning-officers

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 13 March 2020 to Question 27615, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of publishing an updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities on gov.uk to reflect new responsibilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQs 57314, 57315, 57316 and 57317 on 15 June 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Government plans to release updated guidance on marriages during the covid-19 outbreak.

As stated in 'Our Plan To Rebuild', the Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, the Government is examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups to better facilitate small weddings.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 25034, how many times Ministerial responsibilities have changed since 11 October 2019 when the last updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities was published on gov.uk.

Ministerial responsibilities change for a variety of reasons, including following changes in appointments. Details of ministerial responsibilities can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Updates to the List of Ministerial Responsibilities document are made periodically to reflect the Government as it stands on the day of publication. An update will be published in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 25033, what criteria the Government uses to determine when to publish an updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities on gov.uk.

Ministerial responsibilities change for a variety of reasons, including following changes in appointments. Details of ministerial responsibilities can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Updates to the List of Ministerial Responsibilities document are made periodically to reflect the Government as it stands on the day of publication. An update will be published in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of Civil Service Fast Stream entrants graduated less than a year before starting the programme in each of the last five years.

We do not cross-tabulate information relating to the year of graduation for candidates recommended for appointment. This could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The Civil Service does not have post-programme tracking by grade for completed Fast Streamers.

The next Civil Service Fast Stream Annual Report will be published in due course. This report will include indicators.

Further information can be found in previous reports.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of civil servants at each grade are graduates of the Civil Service Fast Stream programme.

We do not cross-tabulate information relating to the year of graduation for candidates recommended for appointment. This could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The Civil Service does not have post-programme tracking by grade for completed Fast Streamers.

The next Civil Service Fast Stream Annual Report will be published in due course. This report will include indicators.

Further information can be found in previous reports.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when his Department plans to publish the next Civil Service Fast Stream Annual Report.

We do not cross-tabulate information relating to the year of graduation for candidates recommended for appointment. This could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The Civil Service does not have post-programme tracking by grade for completed Fast Streamers.

The next Civil Service Fast Stream Annual Report will be published in due course. This report will include indicators.

Further information can be found in previous reports.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what indicators are used to measure the effectiveness of the Civil Service Fast Stream programme.

We do not cross-tabulate information relating to the year of graduation for candidates recommended for appointment. This could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The Civil Service does not have post-programme tracking by grade for completed Fast Streamers.

The next Civil Service Fast Stream Annual Report will be published in due course. This report will include indicators.

Further information can be found in previous reports.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2020 to Question 21909, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of setting targets for the publication of the List of Ministerial Responsibilities; and if he will take steps to publish an updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities on GOV.UK within two weeks of any change to ministerial responsibilities.

Further to my answer of 3rd March 2020 to PQ21909, the Government has no plans to introduce a specific publication target.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2020 to Question 21909, how many times ministerial responsibilities have changed since 11 October 2019 when the last updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities was published on GOV.UK.

Ministerial responsibilities change for a variety of reasons, including following changes in appointments. An updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities will be published in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what targets he has set for the publication of an updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities on the gov.uk website after changes to ministerial responsibilities; and how often these targets have been met since the 2017 General Election.

The Government does not set targets for the publication of the list of Ministerial Responsibilities. However, details of Ministerial responsibilities can be found on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/ministers).

The List of Ministerial Responsibilities document has been updated periodically to reflect the Government as it stood on the day of publication. The history of updates can be seen on the ‘Government Ministers and responsibilities’ page on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-ministers-and-responsibilities).

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate his Department has made of the rise in energy standing charges; and what steps he plans to take to prevent further rises.

The standing charge is a daily flat rate that suppliers charge their customers to cover the cost of providing a live supply regardless how much energy they use. It includes charges from network companies for using pipes and power lines to carry gas and electricity supplies, the maintenance and installation of meters and billing and accounting. A small proportion of the standing charge also goes towards Government initiatives that help vulnerable households and reduce carbon emissions. Ofgem requires energy suppliers to separate out the standing charge from a tariff’s energy unit rate so consumers can see what the different charges amount to.

For millions of households the level of standing charge is protected by the energy price cap rate set by Ofgem. While the setting of tariffs is a commercial matter for individual supply companies, the energy unit rate and the standing charge together for a supplier’s default and standard variable tariffs must not exceed the level of the price cap. For consumers looking for a new fixed deal for their energy, suppliers can offer a range of tariffs including some with a low or even a zero standing charge and a higher energy unit rate to attract low energy users.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effect of the increase in the energy price cap on domestic consumers.

We have announced a package of support worth £9.1 billion, which will help over 28 million households. This includes a £150 Council Tax rebate for bands A-D, £144 million discretionary funding for local authorities and £200 energy bill reduction for every household.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the price cap increase on the level of demand for support from household customers with dual fuel energy.

Our Energy Price Cap remains in place, protecting millions of households from sudden price spikes. We are also supporting the most vulnerable and low-income households with the cost of fuel bills through initiatives such as the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the level of accessibility to Covid Recovery Scheme loans for small and medium-sized businesses that are requesting amounts of less than £50,000.

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) is open to businesses requesting amounts of less than £50,000. The minimum facility size varies in the RLS, starting at £1,000 for asset and invoice finance, and £25,001 for term loans and overdrafts. As of 7 December 2021, the British Business Bank’s RLS portal showed that 29% of businesses had applied for a facility of less than £50,000. Note that the portal is continually updated and some lender data is still to be captured.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he is providing to increase the UK’s green shipbuilding capabilities.

The Department is supporting the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, as well as a range of research and innovation programmes to develop technologies that will have spill-over benefits in various markets, including the shipbuilding sector.

The Department is also supporting several green shipping projects, including hydrogen ferry trials in Orkney and a hydrogen refuelling port on Teesside,. Innovate UK is also facilitating the delivery of the Department for Transport’s £20 million Clean Maritime Demonstration Programme to bring forward green propulsion solutions for the maritime sector.

In addition, the Department is working closely with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to ensure that UK shipyards are aware of the organisation’s funded programmes and facilities, so that they have the opportunity to access these.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional steps his Department is taking to support businesses and residents in Denton and Reddish constituency affected by the rise in energy prices.

The energy price cap will protect millions of domestic customers, including the residents of Denton and Reddish in the Northwest of England, this winter. The Government is also supporting low income and fuel poor households with their energy bills. The Warm Home Discount provides eligible households with a £140 rebate off their winter energy bills. The Winter Fuel and Cold Weather payments will help ensure those most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months.

The Government recognise the impact rising energy price will have on businesses of all sizes. The Government and Ofgem, the independent regulator are in regular contact with business groups and energy suppliers to understand the challenges they face and explore ways to protect businesses.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a 2040 target for floating wind deployment.

A Government priority is the growth of offshore wind to 2030 and beyond. The Government is committed to supporting the development of floating offshore wind, as reflected in our ambitious target of 1GW of floating wind by 2030.

Floating offshore wind projects will be eligible to bid in the next Contract for Difference allocation round, which will open in December 2021. The Government recently announced a minimum allocation for floating offshore wind in this round. This approach will provide the foundation for investment in a sustainable, competitive UK based supply chain.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of increasing the Government's 2030 floating wind deployment target.

A Government priority is the growth of offshore wind to 2030 and beyond. The Government is committed to supporting the development of floating offshore wind, as reflected in our ambitious target of 1GW of floating wind by 2030.

Floating offshore wind projects will be eligible to bid in the next Contract for Difference allocation round, which will open in December 2021. The Government recently announced a minimum allocation for floating offshore wind in this round. This approach will provide the foundation for investment in a sustainable, competitive UK based supply chain.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to support the development of the geo-engine in the UK.

Titan Electricity based in Birkenhead manufacture the geo-engine for extracting power from the heat in extracted natural gas. This low-carbon power can be used to separate carbon dioxide and other contaminants from the natural gas and return them underground for long term storage.

The geo-engine could help achieve the ambitious decarbonisation targets set in the North Sea Transition Deal for offshore gas published by BEIS in March. This commits the UK offshore oil and gas sector to a carbon dioxide production emission reduction of 10% in 2025, 25% in 2027, and 50% in 2030 compared to a 2018 baseline.

Geo-engine has benefited from innovation support in its development through UK Research and Innovation. For example, Innovate UK funded Croft Filters in conjunction with Titan Electricity to develop a gas filter which will withstand the extremely hostile conditions the geo-engine will operate within.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether guidance issued by his Department to local authorities relating to the £425 million discretionary business grant funding announced in Budget 2021 will include reference to wholesale distribution businesses.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an additional £425m will be made available via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) meaning that more than £2bn has been made available to Local Authorities since November 2020.

Local Authorities are responsible for managing grants schemes locally and determining eligibility. Local Authorities can determine how much funding to provide to businesses from the discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant funding provided, and exactly which businesses to target. They may choose to target business who have not been mandated to close but have had their trade adversely affected. It is for Local Authorities to determine the best use of the Additional Restrictions Grant in their area, this is reflected in the guidance published on the 4th March for both Local Authorities and Businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the inclusion in guidance issued to local authorities of instructions to include wholesale distribution businesses in the eligibility for the £425 million discretionary business grant funding announced in the 2021 Budget on the financial viability of those businesses.

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. Local Authorities are responsible for managing grants schemes locally and determining eligibility.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) continues to enable Local Authorities to put in place discretionary business support. Local Authorities are free to provide support that suits their local area including to support those businesses not required to close but which have had their trade severely affected by the restrictions and those businesses that fall outside the business rates system such as market traders.

This grant scheme forms part of a wider package of support, including business loans and the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme, to assist businesses during this unpresented time.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the inclusion in guidance issued to local authorities instructions to include wholesale distribution businesses in the eligibility for the £425 million discretionary business grant funding announced in the 2021 on the levelling up agenda.

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.

The discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) forms part of a wider package of support for business that have been mandated to close and also had their trade adversely affected by the Coivd-19 Restrictions. Local Authorities can determine how much funding to provide to businesses from the discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant funding provided, and exactly which businesses to target.

Levelling up is central to the Government’s agenda and we are working with local leaders to ensure every region, city and town will recover from Covid-19 and ultimately level up. The pandemic has rightly necessitated resources across Whitehall and in local government being re-allocated to tackling Covid-19 and on economic recovery. The Spending Review announced a £27 billion investment towards transport, energy and digital communications this year to level up the country.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department has made on negotiating mutual recognition agreements with the EU that would apply to mountain professionals.

The recognition of professional qualifications, including for mountain professionals, is important for individuals wishing to practise their chosen profession outside the jurisdiction in which they qualified. It is for this reason that UK negotiators worked hard to secure a best-in-class Free Trade Agreement with the EU, in which the recognition of professional qualifications is covered.

We have secured a framework under which regulators and professional bodies from across the UK and EU may agree arrangements on the recognition of professional qualification (such as Mutual Recognition Agreements) covering the UK and all 27 EU Member States. Once an arrangement is adopted by the Partnership Council under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, UK professionals will be able to use the terms outlined in the arrangement to secure recognition of their professional qualifications within EU Member States. The Department has set up a unit to assist regulators and professional bodies negotiating these arrangements.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether and in what circumstances (a) foot health practitioners and (b) chiropodists and podiatrists are permitted to practise during the national covid-19 lockdown in England that has been in place since 5 January 2021.

Foot health practitioners, chiropodists and podiatrists can continue operating under the National Lockdown regulations.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of (a) extending eligibility for the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs to social clubs and (b) providing back payments to those clubs.

The Christmas Support Payment was put in place specifically to help pubs without a significant food offering, whose businesses were severely impacted by the local restrictions over the festive period. The scheme eligibility period ended on 28 December 2020 and the closing date for applications is 12 January 2021.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Local Government Association on ensuring that local authorities administer grant funding to wholesalers as part of the Plan for Jobs five per cent discretionary fund in line with the recommendations in clause 23 of the Additional Restrictions Grant Guidance for Local Authorities.

There has been close engagement with the local government sector, including the Local Government Association, throughout the design and implementation of grant support for businesses since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

The Additional Restrictions Support Grant is a discretionary fund and local authorities are free to determine which support best fits their area.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with Debenhams on their redundancy process during the covid-19 outbreak.

Officials are in regular contact with Debenhams.

Whilst we cannot protect every job during this crisis, we continue to do everything we can to help people get through and back into work.

We know this continues to be a worrying time for their employees and families, and we stand ready to support them in any way we can.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on employers using money from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to make redundancy payments.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants cannot be used to cover redundancy payments. The Government wants to ensure that employees do not lose out on their employment rights because they have been furloughed. New legislation which commenced on 31 July will ensure that pay received in relation to statutory redundancy pay, statutory notice pay, unfair dismissal compensation and pay for short-time working are based on an employee’s normal pay, rather than their furlough pay (potentially 80% of their normal wage).

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, whether employers should calculate (a) redundancy and (b) notice pay based on (i) employees' salary; and what the relevance of payments through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to those calculations.

During this difficult period, we urge employers to exercise discretion and not use the Job Retention Scheme to make someone redundant on less favourable terms than they would otherwise have received.

The provisions relating to calculation of redundancy and notice pay under the Employment Rights Act continue to apply when an individual is on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Employees who are dismissed due to redundancy and who satisfy certain qualifying conditions are statutorily entitled to a lump sum from their employer, based on their age, length of service and contractual weekly earnings, subject to a statutory upper limit, payable at, or soon after, the dismissal date.

Employees are also eligible for notice pay if they have worked for at least one month for their employers. The entitlements include one week’s notice if employed between one month and 2 years and an additional week’s notice for each year employed more than 2 years, capped at 12 weeks.

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, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling pubs and bars to host music performances from the 4 July 2020 in accordance with covid-19 social distancing guidelines.

Following my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement, all pubs, restaurants, bars, and cafes in England can begin to offer services to customers from Saturday 4 July as long as they follow the safer working guidelines.

Guidance is clear that venues should not permit indoor performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience.

Indoor performances or loud music can increase the risk of aerosol transmission from either the performer(s) or their audience.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of a new industrial site reclamation scheme to help bring regional strategic employment sites forward for development.

Officials in the Department recently met with Greater Manchester Combined Authority and will continue discussions on plans for Tameside and the vision for the city region.

The Government has made funding available to support these types of scheme. This includes £663.4 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund 1, 2 and 3 to Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, of which £3.5 million went to the Tameside Minors project for highway and rail access improvements, as well as cycle links.

Tameside will soon have the opportunity to apply for further funding to support local regeneration. This includes a further round of the Future High Streets Fund to welcome proposals from local authorities to change their high streets. There are also plans to enable further places to benefit from the Towns Fund.

It is vital that we have well-resourced, efficient, and effective planning frameworks in place to unlock regeneration, investment, and business growth. Our ambitions build on the Government’s recent Planning White Paper, which aims to make the planning system clearer and more accessible. The White Paper includes options to introduce a new planning fee structure to ensure that planning authorities are resourced to improve the speed and quality of decisions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he will meet with (a) the Hon Member for Denton and Reddish and (b) officers from Tameside Council to discuss plans for bringing the Ashton Moss regional strategic employment site forward for development.

Officials in the Department recently met with Greater Manchester Combined Authority and will continue discussions on plans for Tameside and the vision for the city region.

The Government has made funding available to support these types of scheme. This includes £663.4 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund 1, 2 and 3 to Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, of which £3.5 million went to the Tameside Minors project for highway and rail access improvements, as well as cycle links.

Tameside will soon have the opportunity to apply for further funding to support local regeneration. This includes a further round of the Future High Streets Fund to welcome proposals from local authorities to change their high streets. There are also plans to enable further places to benefit from the Towns Fund.

It is vital that we have well-resourced, efficient, and effective planning frameworks in place to unlock regeneration, investment, and business growth. Our ambitions build on the Government’s recent Planning White Paper, which aims to make the planning system clearer and more accessible. The White Paper includes options to introduce a new planning fee structure to ensure that planning authorities are resourced to improve the speed and quality of decisions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will provide support to Tameside Council to help bring forward the borough’s employment site investment strategy.

Officials in the Department recently met with Greater Manchester Combined Authority and will continue discussions on plans for Tameside and the vision for the city region.

The Government has made funding available to support these types of scheme. This includes £663.4 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund 1, 2 and 3 to Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, of which £3.5 million went to the Tameside Minors project for highway and rail access improvements, as well as cycle links.

Tameside will soon have the opportunity to apply for further funding to support local regeneration. This includes a further round of the Future High Streets Fund to welcome proposals from local authorities to change their high streets. There are also plans to enable further places to benefit from the Towns Fund.

It is vital that we have well-resourced, efficient, and effective planning frameworks in place to unlock regeneration, investment, and business growth. Our ambitions build on the Government’s recent Planning White Paper, which aims to make the planning system clearer and more accessible. The White Paper includes options to introduce a new planning fee structure to ensure that planning authorities are resourced to improve the speed and quality of decisions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when pubs without outdoor space will be allowed to reopen.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out a roadmap in his speech on the 10 May outlining steps, or ‘phases’, to get people in the UK back to work in a way that is safe.

The roadmap sets out our ambition to reopen sections of the hospitality industry, including pubcs, in Step Three of our strategy, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing. Any decision to reopen this sector will be subject to the scientific advice at the time.

We are working at pace to develop safe ways for pubs to reopen at the earliest opportunity it is safe to do so, through our pubs and restaurants taskforce, and this work is progressing well.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of small (a) cafes, (b) restaurants, (c) bars and (d) other hospitality businesses which will be unable to reopen because of social distancing rules due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise the challenges facing this industry during this time. Our extensive package of support continues to be available, including our furlough scheme which has been extended until October, 100% business rates holidays, and tens of bullions of pounds’ worth of business loans and guarantees.

Information regarding the number of hospitality businesses which are currently unable to reopen is not in the public domain and is, therefore, classed as commercially sensitive information.

We are working with the sector at pace to develop guidance on how these businesses can reopen safely. The Pubs and Restaurants working level Technical Group comprised stakeholders from a cross-section of the sector, with representation from trade bodies to small and medium sized operators, unions, as well as the supply chain, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. We consulted these stakeholders due to their expertise and real-life knowledge and experience of the challenges faced by the industry during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This Guidance will be published ahead of time to allow the sector to prepare.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2020 to Question 21910, whether his Department plans to make an assessment of the merits of including measures to decrease the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims to one year in the Employment Rights Bill.

The Government has no plans to make an assessment of the merits of decreasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims to one year. The qualifying period aims to strike the right balance between fairness for employees and flexibility for employers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2020 to Question 19784, whether his Department has evidence of a causal link between increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims to two years and employment and unemployment rates in the UK.

There is a correlation between regulatory frameworks and how an economy performs but it is difficult to attribute a causal link to specific aspects of regulation within the UK’s labour market framework. The Government is committed to making the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business. In the recent Queen’s Speech, we announced that we would bring forward an Employment Rights Bill to deliver the greatest reforms of workers’ rights in over 20 years.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reverting to a one-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims.

At the time of increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims to two years, the policy intention was to increase business confidence in recruiting and retaining staff. The UK now has record levels of employment and the lowest rate of unemployment since 1975.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing additional sector specific support to the tourism and travel industry.

We continue to engage with tourism stakeholders to assess the role of the Government’s unprecedented support measures in supporting the sector through this period. Ministerial colleagues in the Department for Transport are doing the same with the travel sector.

In total, over £25bn has been provided during the pandemic to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks. The Government is continuing to support businesses and individuals - including through various government-backed loans, grants and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. A UK-wide VAT cut for the tourism sectors from 20% to 5% is in place until September 2021, and 12.5% for the rest of the financial year.

The Government published the Tourism Recovery Plan on 11th June. Alongside addressing short and medium term challenges, the plan sets out a long-term framework for how the Government will work with the sector to build back better from the pandemic - and develop a more sustainable, innovative, and data-driven tourism industry.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to findings from Bite Back that young people in the UK are exposed to 15 billion junk food adverts a year online, if the Government will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce statutory online advertising restrictions on junk food, as proposed in its original consultation, at the same time as those for television.

The Covid-19 health crisis has underlined the need to reduce levels of obesity in the general population, and that it is critically important that we encourage healthy eating habits, particularly for our young people. The Prime Minister is clear that this is a priority.

The Biteback 2030 campaign has helped to inform our work to understand the impacts of junk food advertising on young people. Government officials recently attended a session hosted by the Bite Back campaign, and were able to hear first hand from the Biteback Youth Ambassadors on the problem of junk food advertising and its effects in particular on young people.

In 2019 and 2020, the government consulted on bold proposals to restrict HFSS advertising on TV and online, and we will soon publish our response to both consultations. As the government set out in its Tackling Obesity strategy (published in July 2020), we intend to simultaneously legislate for an online restriction and a TV watershed by the end of 2022.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2021 to Question 158881, what assessment his Department has made of whether visa processes for mountain leaders and other similar professionals are as prompt and smooth as possible under the UK's agreement with the EU.

My Department has not made an assessment of how smoothly the visa process for mountain leaders is running. As stated in my previous answer, the Government continues to engage with stakeholders, including the British Association of International Mountain Leaders, to understand their priorities for the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Where this concerns visa processes, this will be fed into the relevant Departments - in this case BEIS and the Home Office.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on financial support for freelance DJs dependent on working at events who have been unable to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS continues to engage with HM Treasury to ensure the needs of our sectors are factored into the developing economic response, and that DCMS sectors, including the live music industry, are supported throughout this time.

The Government recognises the significant challenge the current pandemic poses to many individuals and freelancers working in the music industry, including freelance DJs.

We are working very hard to help freelancers in those sectors access support, including through the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and funding from Arts Council England.

The Government has and will continue to look for ways to improve the SEISS grant and existing support.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement on the UK mountain leaders sector.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) provides a framework under which the UK and the EU may agree Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) on the recognition of professional qualification covering the UK and all 27 EU Member States. Once an arrangement is adopted under the TCA, UK professionals will be able to use the terms outlined in the arrangement to secure recognition for their professional qualifications within EU Member States.

Arrangements are implemented on a profession-by-profession basis and depend upon reciprocal cooperation from both the UK and EU Member States. The framework enables UK and EU professional bodies or authorities to make recommendations on MRAs to the Partnership Council.  Once an arrangement has been adopted, a professional qualified in the UK (e.g. an engineer) will be able to use the terms outlined in the arrangement to secure recognition of their qualifications within an EU Member State.

The Government continues to engage with stakeholders in the tourism sector to hear their priorities for the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Officials are currently engaging with the tourism trade bodies, including the British Association of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML) to gather feedback on priority regulators and qualifications for the tourism sector.

The government will provide help and guidance to UK regulatory authorities and professional bodies to help them benefit from these provisions as well as other recognition paths. Where visas apply, our agreement with the EU contains measures that will help ensure processes are as prompt and smooth as possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January 2021 to Question 135862 on Musicians: Visas, whether the EU offered visa arrangements during negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU which would have allowed UK musicians to tour in the EU visa-free for 90 days.

I refer the honourable member to the Secretary of State’s answer to Written Question 135862 on 14th January.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the provision of financial support for online travel agencies that have not been eligible for business support schemes during the covid-19 outbreak.

We hold regular discussions with Her Majesty’s Treasury and across Government regarding the significant impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the travel sector, including online travel agencies.

The Government has introduced a number of support measures for businesses and individuals through COVID-19, which online travel agencies can access. These include various government-backed loans, as well as the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes.

The Chancellor also announced that Local Authorities in England will be given an additional £594 million discretionary funding to support their local businesses. This builds on the £1.1 billion discretionary funding which local authorities in England have already received to support their local economies and help businesses impacted. The guidance for this funding encourages Local Authorities to develop discretionary grant schemes to help those businesses which - while not legally forced to close - are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions. We encourage local authorities to be sympathetic to applications from businesses such as online travel agents who may not have been eligible for other grants.

We continue to engage with relevant stakeholders, including UKInbound and the Association of British Travel Agents, to assess how we can best support the sector’s domestic and international recovery.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what visa arrangements for touring musicians were offered by the EU during negotiations on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals. We acknowledge that there will be some additional processes for those in creative industries working across the EU now that the transition period has come to an end. However, our agreement with the EU contains Transparency and Procedural Facilitation measures that will help ensure visa processes are as prompt and smooth as possible.

During our negotiations with the EU, the UK proposed measures, reflecting the views of the music industry itself, that would have allowed musicians to travel and perform in the UK and the EU more easily, without needing work-permits. Specifically, we proposed to capture the work done by musicians, artists and entertainers, and their accompanying staff through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors.

In practice this would have delivered an outcome that is closer to the UK’s approach to incoming musicians, artists and entertainers from non-visa national countries, such as EU Member States and the US, who can come to perform in the UK without requiring a visa. Unfortunately, these proposals were repeatedly rejected by the EU.

The EU did not propose and wouldn’t accept a tailored deal for musicians, artists and their support staff to tour across the EU and UK.

Going forward, we will continue our close dialogue with the creative and cultural sectors to ensure that they have the support they need to thrive.The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals, and has engaged extensively with the creative industries and arts sector since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to ensure they are aware of the new requirements.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure visa-free travel for (a) UK musicians touring in the EU and (b) EU musicians touring in the UK.

The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals. We acknowledge that there will be some additional processes for those in creative industries working across the EU now that the transition period has come to an end. However, our agreement with the EU contains Transparency and Procedural Facilitation measures that will help ensure visa processes are as prompt and smooth as possible.

During our negotiations with the EU, the UK proposed measures, reflecting the views of the music industry itself, that would have allowed musicians to travel and perform in the UK and the EU more easily, without needing work-permits. Specifically, we proposed to capture the work done by musicians, artists and entertainers, and their accompanying staff through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors.

In practice this would have delivered an outcome that is closer to the UK’s approach to incoming musicians, artists and entertainers from non-visa national countries, such as EU Member States and the US, who can come to perform in the UK without requiring a visa. Unfortunately, these proposals were repeatedly rejected by the EU.

The EU did not propose and wouldn’t accept a tailored deal for musicians, artists and their support staff to tour across the EU and UK.

Going forward, we will continue our close dialogue with the creative and cultural sectors to ensure that they have the support they need to thrive.The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals, and has engaged extensively with the creative industries and arts sector since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to ensure they are aware of the new requirements.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a live music industry support scheme similar to the Government of Germany's €150 million package for that country's industry.

DCMS appreciates the important role that the live music sector plays in the UK’s cultural economy, and that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to many businesses operating in these sectors.

The Secretary of State announced a major £1.57 billion support package for cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of cultural and creative sectors. This support package will benefit the live music sector, including music venues and many other organisations in the Creative Industries that host live events, to stay open and continue operating.

From 15th August, and as part of the Government’s 5 stage roadmap to get performing arts and live entertainment sectors back up and running as soon as possible, venues and organisations have been able to put on live indoor performances in front of a socially-distanced audience. This is in addition to the earlier announcement that from 11 July we can all enjoy performances outdoors with social distancing.

We are committed to continuing to work with the live events sector to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department has provided to the culture and arts sector in (a) Tameside, (b) Stockport and (c) Greater Manchester during the covid-19 outbreak.

To support the sustainability of the culture and arts sector during the covid-19 outbreak, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

This includes £20 million of financial support for individuals and £140 million of support for organisations, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. To date over 9000 individuals and organisations across the country have been successful in applying for this support. Over £9 million of ACE emergency response funds were awarded to 53 ACE National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) in the North of England, and over £14 million has been awarded in the region in the first two rounds of ACE’s emergency response funds for individuals and non-NPO organisations.

On 5 July, DCMS also announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of sectors, including performing arts and theatres, museums and galleries, heritage sites, live music venues and independent cinema.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to create a tailored support package for the events industry to support that sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that COVID-19 has significantly impacted multiple aspects of the events industry. My officials continue to gather intelligence from the sector and I regularly engage with events stakeholders to monitor the situation through the Visitor Economy Working Group, the Events Industry Board, and the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group.

Government support for the events sector is set out in the International Business Events Action Plan, which was published in June 2019. We will continue to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the sector’s recovery from COVID-19.

Businesses and workers in the events industry can access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package, including the recently extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Bounce Back Loans scheme.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on urgent improvements to Russell Scott Primary School in Denton and Reddish constituency; and whether officials from his Department have met with officers from Tameside Council.

We are aware of the condition issues at Russell Scott Primary School and officials within the department have been engaging with Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council to understand and advise on these issues. The department has committed to review and discuss evidence from any further investigative work or surveys undertaken.

The department provides local authorities with an annual School Condition Allocation (SCA) to invest in improving the condition of their maintained schools. We expect local authorities to effectively prioritise this funding on what they identify to be the most urgent priorities across the school estate, ensuring schools are kept safe and operational.

For the financial year 2021-22, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council has been allocated £1,328,013 in SCA funding. Allocations for the financial year 2022-23 will published in due course.

In addition to annual condition funding, the department has launched a ten-year School Rebuilding Programme. We have announced the first 100 schools that will benefit from the programme as part of a commitment to 500 projects over the next decade.

We recently consulted on how to prioritise future places on the programme. We plan to set out our response to the consultation and details of further rounds of the programme early this year.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the accessibility of support services available to parents.

The government has prioritised support for children and families in the Spending Review. The government has announced a £300 million package to transform services for parents and babies, carers and children in half of local authorities in England, helping to deliver our levelling up ambitions.

It includes funding to create a family hub network, for each local authority to publish their Start for Life offer, support for breast feeding, parent-infant relationships and parenting programmes. It also includes a smaller number of pilots to trial and evaluate innovative workforce models needed to support babies and families.

Family hubs are a way of joining up locally to improve access to services, the connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and putting relationships at the heart of family help.

£50 million will be available for parenting support. The department will ensure online parenting programmes are available to new parents in the 75 selected local authorities, alongside additional targeted support to families most in need. The department will set out more detail in due course, including on which parenting programmes will be available in the selected local authorities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to ensure that parents are part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.

The government has prioritised support for children and families in the Spending Review. The government has announced a £300 million package to transform services for parents and babies, carers and children in half of local authorities in England, helping to deliver our levelling up ambitions.

It includes funding to create a family hub network, for each local authority to publish their Start for Life offer, support for breast feeding, parent-infant relationships and parenting programmes. It also includes a smaller number of pilots to trial and evaluate innovative workforce models needed to support babies and families.

Family hubs are a way of joining up locally to improve access to services, the connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and putting relationships at the heart of family help.

£50 million will be available for parenting support. The department will ensure online parenting programmes are available to new parents in the 75 selected local authorities, alongside additional targeted support to families most in need. The department will set out more detail in due course, including on which parenting programmes will be available in the selected local authorities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on securing funding for parental support services in the 2021 Spending Review.

The government has prioritised support for children and families in the Spending Review. The government has announced a £300 million package to transform services for parents and babies, carers and children in half of local authorities in England, helping to deliver our levelling up ambitions.

It includes funding to create a family hub network, for each local authority to publish their Start for Life offer, support for breast feeding, parent-infant relationships and parenting programmes. It also includes a smaller number of pilots to trial and evaluate innovative workforce models needed to support babies and families.

Family hubs are a way of joining up locally to improve access to services, the connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and putting relationships at the heart of family help.

£50 million will be available for parenting support. The department will ensure online parenting programmes are available to new parents in the 75 selected local authorities, alongside additional targeted support to families most in need. The department will set out more detail in due course, including on which parenting programmes will be available in the selected local authorities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to expand its support services for parents.

The government has prioritised support for children and families in the Spending Review. The government has announced a £300 million package to transform services for parents and babies, carers and children in half of local authorities in England, helping to deliver our levelling up ambitions.

It includes funding to create a family hub network, for each local authority to publish their Start for Life offer, support for breast feeding, parent-infant relationships and parenting programmes. It also includes a smaller number of pilots to trial and evaluate innovative workforce models needed to support babies and families.

Family hubs are a way of joining up locally to improve access to services, the connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and putting relationships at the heart of family help.

£50 million will be available for parenting support. The department will ensure online parenting programmes are available to new parents in the 75 selected local authorities, alongside additional targeted support to families most in need. The department will set out more detail in due course, including on which parenting programmes will be available in the selected local authorities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of Action for Children’s online Parent Talk resource for parents.

The government has prioritised support for children and families in the Spending Review. The government has announced a £300 million package to transform services for parents and babies, carers and children in half of local authorities in England, helping to deliver our levelling up ambitions.

It includes funding to create a family hub network, for each local authority to publish their Start for Life offer, support for breast feeding, parent-infant relationships and parenting programmes. It also includes a smaller number of pilots to trial and evaluate innovative workforce models needed to support babies and families.

Family hubs are a way of joining up locally to improve access to services, the connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and putting relationships at the heart of family help.

£50 million will be available for parenting support. The department will ensure online parenting programmes are available to new parents in the 75 selected local authorities, alongside additional targeted support to families most in need. The department will set out more detail in due course, including on which parenting programmes will be available in the selected local authorities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Action for Children’s research entitled Parenting through the Pandemic, published on 21 October 2021.

The government has prioritised support for children and families in the Spending Review. The government has announced a £300 million package to transform services for parents and babies, carers and children in half of local authorities in England, helping to deliver our levelling up ambitions.

It includes funding to create a family hub network, for each local authority to publish their Start for Life offer, support for breast feeding, parent-infant relationships and parenting programmes. It also includes a smaller number of pilots to trial and evaluate innovative workforce models needed to support babies and families.

Family hubs are a way of joining up locally to improve access to services, the connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and putting relationships at the heart of family help.

£50 million will be available for parenting support. The department will ensure online parenting programmes are available to new parents in the 75 selected local authorities, alongside additional targeted support to families most in need. The department will set out more detail in due course, including on which parenting programmes will be available in the selected local authorities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on parents.

The department recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak has been challenging for pupils and their families. The department has been regularly surveying parents and carers of school pupils throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. This has helped to inform our response on a range of issues and is also helping to shape our education recovery. The reports from these surveys were published on 29 October 2021 on gov.uk and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/parent-and-pupil-panel-omnibus-surveys.

The department also commissioned a bespoke sub-study as part of the Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) which explored the experiences of the children and their parents during the COVID-19 outbreak. This has helped to inform our response on a range of issues. It is important to note that while this report documents the experiences of children and their parents in the SEED study covered by the COVID-19 outbreak, the department cannot conclude from these analyses that their experiences were as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, these findings cannot be used to evaluate specific government policies including those in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The report from this survey was published on 29 October 2021 on gov.uk and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-education-and-development-coronavirus-covid-19-study.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak the department has worked to help parents support their children’s education. The department has published guidance that sets out what they need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges. This guidance is updated regularly and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. The guidance includes links to online resources to aid parents in supporting their child’s mental health and wellbeing as the department acknowledges that some children may be experiencing feelings of anxiety, stress or low mood as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

During periods of restricted attendance, schools have remained open to both vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers, ensuring that those parents who work in key sectors could continue to provide vital services. For those pupils learning from home the department recognises the challenges this has presented to parents and have published guidance which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supporting-your-childrens-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19. To support access to remote education, the department has distributed over 1.35 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people as part of a £400 million investment. The department has ensured that children who usually receive benefits-related free school meals have had access to this support during periods of restricted attendance and provided a National Voucher Scheme to support eligible pupils required to stay at home. Over £450 million of voucher e-codes had been redeemed into supermarket gift cards for families during this period. The department has continued to ensure that eligible pupils are offered good quality lunch parcels when they are required to stay home.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2021 to Question 51628 on Children in Care, for what reasons the Department does not account for the outcomes of children placed in care across borders; and if the Department will reconsider conducting research into the long-term outcomes of children placed across borders.

Statistically, the department collects data on placement type, reason for placement change and three separate pieces of information in relation to the locality of placements. The location data includes:

  • Information about the distance the child is placed away from their home postcode
  • Whether the placement is located inside or outside their responsible local authority
  • The country of the placement (England, UK or otherwise)

Figures on placements, distance from the home placement and the location of the placement, inside or outside the council boundary, were published in the underlying data, ‘National - children looked after at 31 March by placement type, distance of placement and locality of placement’ of the statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2019 to 2020’ at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions/2020.

It is the duty of the local authority to ensure placements are suitable for the young people in their care. Alongside this, Virtual School Heads have a statutory duty to promote the educational attainment of the children in their local authority's care, wherever they live or are educated. This includes children who are placed out of area. Virtual School Heads manage additional funding of £2,345 per looked-after child, that we have provided through the pupil premium plus.

This government is committed to making a real difference to the needs, experience and outcomes of those supported by children’s social care. To do this, we need to make fundamental changes to the current system. That is why we launched the bold, broad and independently led Care Review, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform systems and services. The government will respond to the recommendations made by the review once it concludes.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of (a) the adequacy of secondary-level education attainment of pupils in Denton, Greater Manchester and (b) the level of demand for a new free school in that area.

There are two secondary schools in Denton, Greater Manchester: St Thomas More Roman Catholic College, a voluntary aided school, and Denton Community College, a local authority maintained school. Both are judged good by Ofsted. Attainment and progress at Denton Community College were below average for the three years up to 2019. At St Thomas More, attainment was above local and national averages for the three years up to 2019 and progress was at or above average for the three years up to 2019. Further detail is available at: https://www.get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/.

The latest published School Capacity Data (SCAP19) shows that Tameside has a 3% (456 place) surplus for the 2021/22 academic year. Forecasts suggests a growth in demand in the area with an estimated 2% (326 place) shortfall by academic year 2023/24. The council has confirmed to us that they intend meeting the future demand through expanding existing schools, and we are working with them on this.

There are currently no free schools in the pipeline in Tameside. Further free school waves will be considered as part of the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will keep the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish informed of any proposal relating to the Two Trees High School site in Denton.

Local authorities require the Secretary of State for Education’s consent to dispose of their school playing field land under section 77 of The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSFA) and Schedule 1 of the Academies Act 2010.

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (the Council) applied for consent to dispose of the Two Trees High School site in 2016. Officials sought clarification on several issues in August 2017. No formal response was received from the Council and there have been no recent discussions with the Council as to the use of the closed school site.

The Council’s 2016 application has now been closed and the Council would need to re-apply to seek consent to dispose of the site. The site was last used by a maintained school in May 2015 so the requirement for the Council to seek consent will expire in May 2023 (for consent under the Academies Act) and May 2025 (for consent under the SSFA).

Any new application under the SSFA would be considered by the School Playing Fields Advisory Panel, whose role is to provide an independent recommendation to the Secretary of State for Education. Sport England has an observer on the Panel and their comments would be considered as part of the decision-making process.

The department will keep the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish updated should the council re-apply.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to consult with Sport England on the future disposal of the former Two Trees High School site in Denton.

Local authorities require the Secretary of State for Education’s consent to dispose of their school playing field land under section 77 of The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSFA) and Schedule 1 of the Academies Act 2010.

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (the Council) applied for consent to dispose of the Two Trees High School site in 2016. Officials sought clarification on several issues in August 2017. No formal response was received from the Council and there have been no recent discussions with the Council as to the use of the closed school site.

The Council’s 2016 application has now been closed and the Council would need to re-apply to seek consent to dispose of the site. The site was last used by a maintained school in May 2015 so the requirement for the Council to seek consent will expire in May 2023 (for consent under the Academies Act) and May 2025 (for consent under the SSFA).

Any new application under the SSFA would be considered by the School Playing Fields Advisory Panel, whose role is to provide an independent recommendation to the Secretary of State for Education. Sport England has an observer on the Panel and their comments would be considered as part of the decision-making process.

The department will keep the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish updated should the council re-apply.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the process is for Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council to be able to dispose of the former Two Trees High School site in Denton.

Local authorities require the Secretary of State for Education’s consent to dispose of their school playing field land under section 77 of The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSFA) and Schedule 1 of the Academies Act 2010.

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (the Council) applied for consent to dispose of the Two Trees High School site in 2016. Officials sought clarification on several issues in August 2017. No formal response was received from the Council and there have been no recent discussions with the Council as to the use of the closed school site.

The Council’s 2016 application has now been closed and the Council would need to re-apply to seek consent to dispose of the site. The site was last used by a maintained school in May 2015 so the requirement for the Council to seek consent will expire in May 2023 (for consent under the Academies Act) and May 2025 (for consent under the SSFA).

Any new application under the SSFA would be considered by the School Playing Fields Advisory Panel, whose role is to provide an independent recommendation to the Secretary of State for Education. Sport England has an observer on the Panel and their comments would be considered as part of the decision-making process.

The department will keep the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish updated should the council re-apply.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has had any recent discussions with Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council on the declassification of the former Two Trees High School site in Denton for education use.

Local authorities require the Secretary of State for Education’s consent to dispose of their school playing field land under section 77 of The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSFA) and Schedule 1 of the Academies Act 2010.

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (the Council) applied for consent to dispose of the Two Trees High School site in 2016. Officials sought clarification on several issues in August 2017. No formal response was received from the Council and there have been no recent discussions with the Council as to the use of the closed school site.

The Council’s 2016 application has now been closed and the Council would need to re-apply to seek consent to dispose of the site. The site was last used by a maintained school in May 2015 so the requirement for the Council to seek consent will expire in May 2023 (for consent under the Academies Act) and May 2025 (for consent under the SSFA).

Any new application under the SSFA would be considered by the School Playing Fields Advisory Panel, whose role is to provide an independent recommendation to the Secretary of State for Education. Sport England has an observer on the Panel and their comments would be considered as part of the decision-making process.

The department will keep the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish updated should the council re-apply.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 6 September 2021 to Question 41094 on Children in Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of conducting research into the long-term outcomes for children placed across borders.

The department has not made an assessment in this area. Where possible, local authorities should provide accommodation that is within their local area as moving a child away from their home area is not a decision to be taken lightly. There are clear statutory requirements in place to safeguard young people, and it is the responsibility of the placing local authority and Directors of Children’s Services who must approve all distant placements.

Statistically, the department collects data on placement type, reason for placement change and three separate pieces of information in relation to the locality of placements. The location data includes:

  • information about the distance the child is placed away from their home postcode
  • whether the placement is located inside or outside their responsible local authority
  • the country of the placement (England, UK or otherwise).

Figures on placements, distance from the home placement and the location of the placement, inside or outside the council boundary, were published in the underlying data ‘National - children looked after at 31 March by placement type, distance of placement and locality of placement’ of the statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2019 to 2020’ at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions/2020.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria his Department uses to determine whether to allocate funding for urgent building work to a primary school building that has been found to be structurally unsafe.

Local authorities receive an annual School Condition Allocation to invest in capital maintenance and upgrades across the schools for which they are responsible. This funding should be used to ensure their schools are kept in safe, working order. The Department will always engage with those responsible for school buildings to discuss particular issues and provide support on a case by case basis, considering the relevant circumstances, including severity of need.

The Department has also launched a new School Rebuilding Programme with a commitment to 500 projects over the next decade. The Department is currently consulting on how to prioritise future places on the programme and expects that there will be opportunities for evidence of severe condition, including structural issues, to be submitted for consideration. Further details and the criteria for prioritisation will be set out in due course.

The Department is in ongoing discussions with Tameside Council regarding the condition of a primary school in Denton and Reddish.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the structural safety of school buildings in Denton and Reddish constituency.

Local authorities receive an annual School Condition Allocation to invest in capital maintenance and upgrades across the schools for which they are responsible. This funding should be used to ensure their schools are kept in safe, working order. The Department will always engage with those responsible for school buildings to discuss particular issues and provide support on a case by case basis, considering the relevant circumstances, including severity of need.

The Department has also launched a new School Rebuilding Programme with a commitment to 500 projects over the next decade. The Department is currently consulting on how to prioritise future places on the programme and expects that there will be opportunities for evidence of severe condition, including structural issues, to be submitted for consideration. Further details and the criteria for prioritisation will be set out in due course.

The Department is in ongoing discussions with Tameside Council regarding the condition of a primary school in Denton and Reddish.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if (a) he or (b) a Minister in his Department will urgently meet the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish to discuss the dangerous structural condition of a primary school in Denton and Reddish constituency.

Local authorities receive an annual School Condition Allocation to invest in capital maintenance and upgrades across the schools for which they are responsible. This funding should be used to ensure their schools are kept in safe, working order. The Department will always engage with those responsible for school buildings to discuss particular issues and provide support on a case by case basis, considering the relevant circumstances, including severity of need.

The Department has also launched a new School Rebuilding Programme with a commitment to 500 projects over the next decade. The Department is currently consulting on how to prioritise future places on the programme and expects that there will be opportunities for evidence of severe condition, including structural issues, to be submitted for consideration. Further details and the criteria for prioritisation will be set out in due course.

The Department is in ongoing discussions with Tameside Council regarding the condition of a primary school in Denton and Reddish.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether emergency funding is available to local authority primary schools in the event that school buildings are found to be structurally unsafe.

Local authorities receive an annual School Condition Allocation to invest in capital maintenance and upgrades across the schools for which they are responsible. This funding should be used to ensure their schools are kept in safe, working order. The Department will always engage with those responsible for school buildings to discuss particular issues and provide support on a case by case basis, considering the relevant circumstances, including severity of need.

The Department has also launched a new School Rebuilding Programme with a commitment to 500 projects over the next decade. The Department is currently consulting on how to prioritise future places on the programme and expects that there will be opportunities for evidence of severe condition, including structural issues, to be submitted for consideration. Further details and the criteria for prioritisation will be set out in due course.

The Department is in ongoing discussions with Tameside Council regarding the condition of a primary school in Denton and Reddish.

21st Jun 2021
What assessment he has made of the adequacy of catch-up funding for disadvantaged pupils.

All children have had their education disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, but it is likely that disadvantaged and vulnerable groups will have been hardest hit.

Since 2011 we have spent more than £20 billion to provide Pupil Premium funding for school leaders to use, based on the needs of their disadvantaged pupils. Between 2011 and 2019, the attainment gaps between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils narrowed by 13% at age 11 and 9% at age 16.

On top of this funding, we increased core schools funding by £2.6 billion last year and are increasing core schools funding by £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to 2019-20.

In addition, over the past year we have made three major interventions to support education recovery, totalling over £3 billion additional spend: £1 billion in June 2020, a further £700 million in February 2021 and our latest £1.4 billion package announced in June 2021.

Recovery programmes have been designed to allow early years, school and college leaders the flexibility to support those pupils most in need, including the most disadvantaged. The latest announcement expands our reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear our investment will have a significant impact for disadvantaged children, high quality tutoring and great teaching.

We are providing over £1.5 billion for tutoring programmes, including an expansion of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), an ambitious scheme that supports schools to access targeted tutoring intervention for disadvantaged pupils who have missed out on learning due to school closures. We will also provide greater flexibility to schools to make it easier for them to take on local tutors or use existing staff to supplement those employed through the NTP. This new blended offer ensures that the NTP works for all disadvantaged children, giving schools the flexibility to choose what type of approach best suits their needs and those of individual pupils.

The £302 million Recovery Premium has been weighted so that schools with more disadvantaged pupils receive more funding and includes £22 million to scale up proven approaches to reduce the attainment gap.

We have also invested more than £400 million to provide internet access and over 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure that covid-19 restrictions on youth residential and summer camps are lifted as soon as possible and in line with other leisure activities.

Since 17 May all out of school settings, which would include youth residentials and summer camps, have been able to undertake residential visits for children. These settings can currently do so in groups of six, or two households, including at least one member of staff. From 21 June these settings will be able to do so in groups of 30 children, in line with the position for school residential visits. The Department has provided updated guidance on ‘Protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children’, which sets out how providers can conduct residential visits safely. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has received advice from the scientific community, in particular from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its subgroups, when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the outbreak. Gathering in larger groups, including as part of residential visits, does increase the risk of transmission. COVID-19 spreads more easily indoors, especially over prolonged periods, for example, in shared sleeping arrangements, which increases the risk of residential visits. The Department continues to keep these restrictions under constant review and will ensure they remain proportionate to the threat to public health posed by COVID-19.

As new evidence or data emerges, the Government will act accordingly to ensure that all settings have the right safety measures in place.

The advice on residential visits will be reviewed again in advance of Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using calculated grades to award Access to Higher Education qualifications in line with those calculated grades being used for the award of other qualifications as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We want all students to progress to the next stage of their lives, including students taking the Access to Higher Education qualification. Calculated grades are not being used for awarding any qualifications this year and given the wide range and diverse nature of qualifications, one approach to awarding cannot be taken for all qualifications.

Assessments for Access to Higher Education qualifications are continuing where possible and will continued to be marked and graded by tutors. However, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education recognises that in some exceptional circumstances the assessments may need to be adapted to meet the needs of students and are allowing the diploma to be awarded using alternative evidence.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on academic freedom.

Tougher legal measures to strengthen free speech and academic freedom at universities in England have been announced by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, on 16 February, to stamp out unlawful ‘silencing’ on campuses. The new measures set out in the February 2021 policy paper will ensure that our universities are places where free speech can thrive.

We engaged with other government departments on the policy paper prior to being laid in parliament. Officials and ministers will continue to work together to ensure that government commitments are met.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will extend the provisions of The School Admissions (England) (Coronavirus) (Appeals Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 beyond the expiry date of 31 January 2021.

The temporary regulations introduced in April 2020 contain provisions allowing school admission appeal hearings to be heard by telephone or video conference, or to be decided based on written submissions only.

The regulations were due to expire on 31 January 2021. However, due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak and the continuation of social distance rules, we have introduced another set of temporary regulations (The School Admissions (England) (Coronavirus) (Appeals Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations 2021) which extend the temporary provisions until 30 September 2021.

These will come into force on 31 January 2021 and updated guidance will be published. We will keep the temporary arrangements under review.

The temporary regulations and guidance only apply where it is not reasonably practicable to comply with the School Admission Appeals Code for a reason relating to the incidence or transmission of COVID-19. This means the temporary arrangements are available to use when they are needed – when they are not, the duty to comply with the The Schools Admission (Appeal Arrangements) (England) Regulations 2012 and the School Admission Appeals Code remains.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reforming the schools appeals process in line with the temporary changes during the covid-19 outbreak.

Temporary regulations to amend the school admission appeals process were introduced in April 2020 to address the fact that the COVID-19 outbreak meant admission appeals could not go ahead in line with the existing statutory requirements.

Due to the ongoing nature of COVID-19 and the continuation of social distancing rules, we have introduced another set of temporary regulations which will extend the temporary provisions until 30 September 2021.

We will continue to monitor and review the impact of the temporary arrangements and will take account of feedback from local authorites, schools and parents when considering whether there is scope for wider reform of the appeals process in the longer term. Any proposals for permanent changes would require changes to legislation which would include a full public consultation and all changes would be subject to parliamentary approval.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support his Department is providing to wraparound and holiday childcare providers who have seen a loss of earnings as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the value that wraparound and holiday childcare providers offer, in particular with supporting vulnerable children and supporting our critical workers to continue to work. That is why we have ensured these providers can continue to remain open for the duration of the national lockdown for all vulnerable children and young people; and for all children of critical workers, where it is to enable their parents or carers to work, search for work, to undertake training or education, or to attend a medical appointment or address a medical need.

We recognise that the wrapround childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason why the Government has made a range of financial packages available, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, to support private businesses, who have been adversely affected by COVID-19; details of which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder. Depending on their circumstances, businesses may be eligible for tax relief, loans or cash grants through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In addition, as part of the £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors recently announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Government is making a discretionary fund of £594 million available for local authorities and the devolved administrations to support businesses that might be affected by the new lockdown restrictions, but that are not part of the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors. Wraparound childcare providers should apply to their local authorities to determine if they are eligible for this funding.

Given the importance of ensuring that vulnerable children and critical workers can access the support and childcare that they need, I also wrote to Directors of Children’s Services in all local authorities in England in December to strongly encourage them to consider whether wraparound childcare providers can be supported using grants that have been made available to local authorities. This includes the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, and which will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays this year. Local authorities will be able to use these grants to arrange childcare provision through a range of settings, providing valuable support to families on lower incomes and giving them the opportunity to access rewarding activities alongside healthy meals over the school holidays.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to meet with sector representatives from the wraparound and holiday childcare sector to discuss the effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision and so does not routinely collect data on the number of providers in operation.

However, ensuring sufficiency of childcare provision for critical worker parents and carers remains a government priority. This is why we have ensured that wraparound childcare providers, and other providers of out-of-school activities, can continue to remain open for the children of critical workers during the current national lockdown to allow critical worker parents or carers to work or to search for work, to undertake training or education, or to attend a medical appointment or address a medical need.?? Vulnerable children and young people can also continue to access wraparound childcare and other out-of-school settings during the national lockdown. The guidance on protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs, and other out of school settings during the COVID-19 outbreak will shortly be updated to outline the measures providers should put in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible if they continue to offer face-to-face provision during the national lockdown. It is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Schools may also continue to open up or hire out their premises for use by external wraparound childcare providers, such as after-school or holiday clubs, that offer provision to children of critical workers and/ or vulnerable children. We have also ensured that schools that operate their own breakfast and after school clubs can continue to run wraparound provision for those attending school full-time. Doing so, will support critical workers to undertake their jobs, and help to safeguard the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people. We are encouraging schools that can, to maintain their wraparound childcare provision for this reason, and we will be publishing guidance to support them in doing so shortly.

The department has engaged and met with representatives from the wraparound childcare sector on a regular basis, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 and protective measures on the sufficiency of childcare provision, and will continue to do so. In addition, our Real-time assessment of community transmission (REACT) teams , comprising education and social care staff from both the Department for Education and Ofsted, are working closely with local authorities and will act as a valuable source of intelligence on the sufficiency of wraparound childcare places for the children of critical workers, and for vulnerable children and young people during the current national lockdown.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the closure of wraparound and holiday childcare services on the ability of key workers to attend work during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision and so does not routinely collect data on the number of providers in operation.

However, ensuring sufficiency of childcare provision for critical worker parents and carers remains a government priority. This is why we have ensured that wraparound childcare providers, and other providers of out-of-school activities, can continue to remain open for the children of critical workers during the current national lockdown to allow critical worker parents or carers to work or to search for work, to undertake training or education, or to attend a medical appointment or address a medical need.?? Vulnerable children and young people can also continue to access wraparound childcare and other out-of-school settings during the national lockdown. The guidance on protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs, and other out of school settings during the COVID-19 outbreak will shortly be updated to outline the measures providers should put in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible if they continue to offer face-to-face provision during the national lockdown. It is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Schools may also continue to open up or hire out their premises for use by external wraparound childcare providers, such as after-school or holiday clubs, that offer provision to children of critical workers and/ or vulnerable children. We have also ensured that schools that operate their own breakfast and after school clubs can continue to run wraparound provision for those attending school full-time. Doing so, will support critical workers to undertake their jobs, and help to safeguard the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people. We are encouraging schools that can, to maintain their wraparound childcare provision for this reason, and we will be publishing guidance to support them in doing so shortly.

The department has engaged and met with representatives from the wraparound childcare sector on a regular basis, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 and protective measures on the sufficiency of childcare provision, and will continue to do so. In addition, our Real-time assessment of community transmission (REACT) teams , comprising education and social care staff from both the Department for Education and Ofsted, are working closely with local authorities and will act as a valuable source of intelligence on the sufficiency of wraparound childcare places for the children of critical workers, and for vulnerable children and young people during the current national lockdown.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of closures in the wraparound care sector due to financial unviability on the (a) learning and (b) development of children.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision or routinely collect data on closures of providers. The department does not, therefore, have a recent assessment of the effect of closures on the learning and development of children.

However, we recognise that before and after-school provision plays an important role in providing enriching activities for children and promoting their wellbeing, as well as being an important source of additional childcare for working parents and carers. That is why we have sought exemptions for this sector in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 to ensure that wraparound childcare is able to remain open at all tiers, and that parents can continue to access this provision for their children as normal. We have published further updated guidance for providers who run before and after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings for children on the protective measures that should be in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We have also been encouraging schools to resume their breakfast and after-school club provision, where possible, since the start of the autumn term. As part of our guidance to schools on full opening, we have provided them with guidance to support them in reopening this valuable provision. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#wraparound-provision-and-extra-curricular-activity.

In addition, our REACT teams, comprising education and social care staff from both the Department for Education and Ofsted, are working closely with local authorities and will act as a valuable source of intelligence on the sufficiency of wraparound childcare places in local areas. We have also been in close communication with several wraparound providers since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak and we will continue this communication over the coming months.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with universities on ensuring that pupils from schools in the north of England do not miss out on places at high-ranking universities as a result of having to self isolate due to the covid-19 outbreak at the time of interviews or entrance exams.

The government is working closely with partners across the education sector, and with higher education providers, to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and the disruption it has caused to young people’s education, including for those who will be taking exams and applying to university next year.

Universities understand the unprecedented difficulties that students have faced this year. Whilst, as autonomous institutions, they are in charge of their own admissions arrangements, the government has asked that universities be as flexible as possible. We will continue to make every effort to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on young people’s education, so that they are well placed to progress to the next stage of their lives, wherever they live and whatever choices they make.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October to Question 105309, what assessment he has made of the effect of the withdrawal of teaching bursaries for arts, English and humanities subjects on the ability of people (a) switching careers and (b) from less affluent backgrounds to train to teach those subjects.

The bursaries offered for initial teacher training (ITT) are reviewed before the start of the annual recruitment cycle. In doing this, several factors are considered, including forecast economic conditions, previous recruitment, and teacher supply needs in each subject. Being able to change bursary amounts gives flexibility in responding to the need to attract new teachers and ensures money is spent where it is needed most.

In the academic year 2019/20, the postgraduate ITT targets in history (127% of target), geography (119% of target) and English (110% of target) were exceeded. Teaching remains an attractive proposition for graduates, including those in arts, English and humanities subjects. As a result, the Department has decided to focus the bursaries for the academic year 2021/22 on subjects where it is expected that it will be hardest to attract sufficient applicants.

Trainee teachers on tuition fee-funded ITT routes can apply for a tuition fee loan so they do not have to pay the fee upfront. They can also apply for a maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional funding is also available depending on individual circumstances, such as the Childcare Grant.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on levels of teacher recruitment of the withdrawal of teaching bursaries for arts, English and humanities subjects.

The Department reviews the bursaries that we offer for initial teacher training (ITT) before the start of the annual recruitment cycle. In doing this, we take account of a number of factors including forecast economic performance, the number of graduates, and teacher supply need in each subject. Being able to change bursary amounts gives us the flexibility to respond to the need to attract new teachers and means we are spending money where it is needed most.

In academic year 2019/20 we exceeded the postgraduate ITT targets in history (127 per cent of target), geography (119 per cent of target) and English (110 per cent of target). Final recruitment figures for 2020/21 are not yet available but between February and September this year there has been a 32 per cent increase in applications for those looking to enter the classroom compared to the equivalent period last year: https://www.ucas.com/data-and-analysis/ucas-teacher-training-statistical-releases.

Teaching remains an attractive proposition for all graduates, including those in arts, English and humanities subjects. As a result, we have decided to focus the bursaries we are offering for academic year 2021/22 on subjects where we expect it will be hardest to attract sufficient applicants.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to update guidance for schools to ensure that health risks for teachers who shielded during the covid-19 lockdown are minimised.

On 2 July the Department published guidance to help schools prepare for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full time from the beginning of the autumn term. This guidance is kept under review and updated as necessary. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The guidance includes information on school workforces and the public health advice schools must follow to minimise the risks of COVID-19 transmission. The public health advice in the guidance makes up a Public Health England endorsed ‘system of controls’, building on the hierarchy of protective measures that have been in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. When implemented in line with a revised risk assessment, these measures create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.

Shielding measures were paused from 1 August. Clinically vulnerable and extremely clinically vulnerable staff are able to return to school. While in school they should follow the advice in the Department’s guidance to minimise the risks of transmission. This includes taking particular care to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene, minimising contact and maintaining social distancing where possible.

The Department recommends that school leaders discuss any concerns individuals may have around their particular circumstances and reassure staff about the protective measures in place.

2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Answer to the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish in the oral statement on Education settings: Autumn opening on 2 July 2020 and his Department's document, Guidance for full opening - schools, published on 2 July 2020, what funding will be made available to schools that will be required to make significant adaptations to their site to enable the safe return of all pupils in September.

The Government intends all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. On 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for this. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

As stated in our guidance, schools should use their existing resources when making arrangements to welcome all children back for the autumn. There are no plans at present to reimburse additional costs incurred as part of that process.

Schools have been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to COVID-19, between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half term holidays. Schools have also continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20.


24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding for local authorities to cover additional costs incurred to ensure that early years settings can re-open safely as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

We have worked closely and have regular conversations with the HM Treasury on support for nurseries, pre-schools and childminders during what must be a worrying and uncertain time.

On 17 March, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirmed the government will continue to pay funding to local authorities for the free entitlements for two-, three- and four-year-olds, providing reassurance for early years settings in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

A package of support is available for individuals and businesses which will benefit childcare providers, including a business rates holiday, business interruption loans, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and help for the self-employed. Details of support available for childcare providers are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#funding.

On 24 May 2020, we published a planning guide for early years and childcare settings. The guidance sets out considerations for settings as they prepared to open to more children and the protective measures to put in place to limit the transmission of COVID-19. It was developed in consultation with early years sector bodies and providers from a variety of different settings and is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-early-years-and-childcare-settings-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-early-years-and-childcare-settings.

We are continuing to work with the sector to understand how the early years sector can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available for those returning to work now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2020
What assessment he has made of the adequacy of financial support for early years providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

We know this is a challenging time for many businesses.

I am in continual contact with early years sector organisations through regular meetings and working groups and are feeding those messages right into the heart of government.

This year we plan to pay £3.6 billion into early years entitlements.

We will continue to ensure that early years providers get the best possible support from the numerous government schemes.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the mental health needs of BAME children; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers and officials in the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care are meeting regularly to discuss the effect of the changes to education and how to provide support for mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

We are aware that there is emerging evidence that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals can be more severely affected than the general population by COVID-19. We also know that people from BAME backgrounds are more at risk of experiencing mental health and wellbeing issues and that they access mental health care less than people from white backgrounds.

NHS England and Improvement is working closely with BAME experts, health professionals, Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) partners and others to support rapid knowledge and information sharing to encourage timely access to NHS mental health services, and just as importantly, good BAME experiences within those services.

In May, the Department of Health and Social Care announced £4.2 million for mental health charities, including Young Minds to enable them to continue to support people experiencing mental health challenges at this time. The department then provided a further £5 million of additional funding for mental health charities to support adults and children, including charities that offer some support to children and young people from BAME communities, such as the What? Centre, which supports young people with furthering their understanding of race, culture and identity in relation to mental health.

The Department for Education has been working closely with health partners to provide resources and update guidance to support and promote all children and young people’s mental health during the outbreak and to prepare for the return of pupils and students. We have encouraged schools to focus on mental wellbeing as pupils return and published a list of resources to help those supporting children at home, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/online-science-pe-wellbeing-and-send-resources-for-home-education#mental-wellbeing.

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

Guidance on safeguarding in education settings includes specific information on mental health and is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-safeguarding-in-schools-colleges-and-other-providers.

Guidance and for parents and carers to support their children’s education during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supporting-your-childrens-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

As pupils return, schools will need to be especially sensitive to the needs and wellbeing of BAME members of staff, BAME parents and BAME pupils. The department’s guidance to schools sets out that they should ensure they have considered the impact on staff and pupils with protected characteristics, including race and disability, in developing their approach.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support sixth form education in (a) England and (b) Greater Manchester during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

From the week commencing 15 June, the Department has asked schools with sixth forms and further education providers, which includes sixth form colleges, to offer some face-to-face support to pupils in Year 12 and to 16-19 students in the first year of a two-year study programme. Remote education should, however, remain the predominant mode of education for these students at this time. This applies schools in all parts of England.

Whilst we are unable to welcome back more sixth form students at this time, we have recently announced that other students under 19 years old can be offered a face-to-face meeting before the end of the summer term, where it would be beneficial. As long as this happens in line with wider protective measures guidance, and guidance on the numbers of pupils permitted on-site at any one time, we would encourage this where possible.

Our priority is to ensure that sixth form students can progress as planned, including starting university, moving into apprenticeships or securing a job.

We have published a planning guide for secondary schools (including those with sixth forms) to help school leaders to prepare and decide arrangements, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools.

We have also published guidance for further education providers, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/maintaining-education-and-skills-training-provision-further-education-providers.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) continues to be in regular dialogue with all sixth form colleges in Greater Manchester to establish their plans to continue to support sixth form learners.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on sixth form students in (a) England and (b) Greater Manchester.

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

From the week commencing 15 June, the Department has asked schools with sixth forms and further education providers, which includes sixth form colleges, to offer some face-to-face support to pupils in Year 12 and to 16-19 students in the first year of a two-year study programme. Remote education should, however, remain the predominant mode of education for these students at this time. This applies schools in all parts of England.

Whilst we are unable to welcome back more sixth form students at this time, we have recently announced that other students under 19 years old can be offered a face-to-face meeting before the end of the summer term, where it would be beneficial. As long as this happens in line with wider protective measures guidance, and guidance on the numbers of pupils permitted on-site at any one time, we would encourage this where possible.

Our priority is to ensure that sixth form students can progress as planned, including starting university, moving into apprenticeships or securing a job.

We have published a planning guide for secondary schools (including those with sixth forms) to help school leaders to prepare and decide arrangements, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools.

We have also published guidance for further education providers, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/maintaining-education-and-skills-training-provision-further-education-providers.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) continues to be in regular dialogue with all sixth form colleges in Greater Manchester to establish their plans to continue to support sixth form learners.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to issue pedagogical guidance on safe socially-distanced play-based learning for reception pupils.

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

The Department for Education has published guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings to prevent the spread of coronavirus, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

The Department has also provided information on planning what to teach, and how, in the case of a phased return of some children into mainstream primary schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools#planning-what-to-teach-and-how.

It sets out that the priorities for young children at this time should be resocialisation into school routines; speaking and listening, and regaining momentum in particular with early reading.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to set targets for hedgerow expansion in the forthcoming review of the 25 year Environmental Improvement Plan.

Hedgerows are one of the most important ecological building blocks in our farmed landscape. They maintain the distinctive character of our countryside, providing crucial habitats and food for wildlife. Our primary tools to deliver environmentally beneficial hedgerow management and hedgerow creation are the Environmental Stewardship and Countryside Stewardship schemes. Our future farming schemes will also incentivise the planting and sustainable management of hedgerows across England.

We are required by the Environment Act 2021 to set a legally binding target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, alongside other biodiversity targets we are currently consulting on. In order to meet our world leading species abundance target, we will need to create more, better joined up habitats, which will include hedgerows. We are also consulting on a target to create or restore in excess of 500,000 ha of wildlife-rich habitat outside protected sites by 2042. We propose that hedgerows should be one of the wildlife-rich habitats included in this target.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in light of the proposed Environment Act targets published by his Department on 16 March 2022 to increase tree canopy and woodland cover from 14.5 per cent to 17.5 per cent of total land area in England by 2050, what assessment he has made of the (a) tree canopy cover provided by existing hedgerow trees and (b) potential area enhanced hedgerow trees could provide in the future by 2050.

Hedgerows are one of the most important ecological building blocks in our farmed landscape. They maintain the distinctive character of our countryside, providing crucial habitats and food for wildlife. The trees that appear in hedgerows and outgrown hedges are defined as 'linear features in the National Forest Inventory', which details all tree cover in Britain. Forest Research's ' Tree Cover Outside Woodland in Great Britain', 2017, reported the last comprehensive inventory and is due to be updated again in 2022/23. This will act as the proposed target's baseline for trees outside woodlands, including hedgerow trees, and both losses and gains from that baseline will be accounted for.

Along with the proposed tree target, the Environment Act 2021 requires us to set a world leading target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, alongside other biodiversity targets we are consulting on. The species abundance target will require creating more, better joined up habitats, which will include hedgerows to help tackle the causes of decline and drive actions to deliver nature recovery. We also propose that hedgerows should be one of the wildlife-rich habitats in our proposed legally binding target to create or restore in excess of 500,000 hectares of a range of wildlife-rich habitat outside protected sites by 2042.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to her meeting of 9 March 2022 with the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish, what steps she expects the Environment Agency to take in response to further reports of pollution in the River Tame arising from illegal pollutants being discharged into the tributary Wilson Brook.

Following information received through further reports of pollution at Wilson brook, Hyde Park on Thursday 17 March 2022, the Environment Agency (EA) attended Hyde Park to investigate. The pollution was traced to a point upstream of a local industrial estate. The EA investigation into this incident is ongoing, and it will be attending the location again this week to further progress its investigation. Should this uncover further lines of enquiry, further investigations to understand the source, pathway, cause and nature of the pollution will commence.

If the EA identifies any offences attributable to a suspect, then enforcement action will be taken in line with its offence response options available here:

Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) offences - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Taking into consideration alongside its Enforcement and Sanctions Policy:

Environment Agency enforcement and sanctions policy - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The EA has also been in contact with local businesses in that area to ensure they are acting responsibly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what changes to the Service Level Agreement have been made between Border Force and the Animal and Plant Health Agency since December 2021.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Border Force (BF) teams do not have a Service Level Agreement in place. AHPA and BF have an operational agreement for the Port of Dover.

Dover BF officers continue to make referrals to the APHA officers. There has been one change to the operational agreement. This change means that Dover BF will no longer hold the vehicle/consignment for more than 30 minutes. If APHA is unable to deploy staff to attend within 30 minutes the vehicle/consignment will be released. Details of the vehicle, person responsible for the animals and the consignment will be provided to APHA to follow up retrospectively.

If APHA attend within 30 minutes and identify non-compliance, UK Dover will not support this part of the process. APHA will be required to request assistance to manage any issues as required from the Port of Dover Police or Kent Police, if they are not present.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will meet with the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish to discuss tackling microplastic pollution in the River Tame.

Defra and the Environment Agency (EA) are working with academia, National Highways, and the UK water industry to improve our understanding of the scale of the microplastic pollution problem, to identify the key sources, and to evaluate the efficiency of different wastewater treatment processes in removing microplastics from wastewater effluent before it is discharged to the water environment.

My officials met with Professor Jamie Woodward earlier this year to discuss his latest study on microplastics in the River Tame. We will consider the outcomes of this study, alongside other new and emerging research in this field, when developing policy options for tackling microplastic pollution.

The EA has made no assessment of the level of microplastic pollution in the River Tame specifically. There is currently no statutory requirement for the EA to undertake this activity. However, in 2018 the EA undertook an investigation on the River Tame to identify whether there were any permitted activities based in the Tame catchment with the potential to discharge microplastics or plastic into the watercourse, which led to recommendations to an operator in the catchment. This operator has since surrendered its permit and relocated.

I invite the hon. Member to write to me with regard to meeting to discuss microplastic pollution in the River Tame.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the level of microplastic pollution in the River Tame, Greater Manchester.

Defra and the Environment Agency (EA) are working with academia, National Highways, and the UK water industry to improve our understanding of the scale of the microplastic pollution problem, to identify the key sources, and to evaluate the efficiency of different wastewater treatment processes in removing microplastics from wastewater effluent before it is discharged to the water environment.

My officials met with Professor Jamie Woodward earlier this year to discuss his latest study on microplastics in the River Tame. We will consider the outcomes of this study, alongside other new and emerging research in this field, when developing policy options for tackling microplastic pollution.

The EA has made no assessment of the level of microplastic pollution in the River Tame specifically. There is currently no statutory requirement for the EA to undertake this activity. However, in 2018 the EA undertook an investigation on the River Tame to identify whether there were any permitted activities based in the Tame catchment with the potential to discharge microplastics or plastic into the watercourse, which led to recommendations to an operator in the catchment. This operator has since surrendered its permit and relocated.

I invite the hon. Member to write to me with regard to meeting to discuss microplastic pollution in the River Tame.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the study of microplastic pollution in the River Tame, Greater Manchester published by Professor Jamie Woodward, University of Manchester.

Defra and the Environment Agency (EA) are working with academia, National Highways, and the UK water industry to improve our understanding of the scale of the microplastic pollution problem, to identify the key sources, and to evaluate the efficiency of different wastewater treatment processes in removing microplastics from wastewater effluent before it is discharged to the water environment.

My officials met with Professor Jamie Woodward earlier this year to discuss his latest study on microplastics in the River Tame. We will consider the outcomes of this study, alongside other new and emerging research in this field, when developing policy options for tackling microplastic pollution.

The EA has made no assessment of the level of microplastic pollution in the River Tame specifically. There is currently no statutory requirement for the EA to undertake this activity. However, in 2018 the EA undertook an investigation on the River Tame to identify whether there were any permitted activities based in the Tame catchment with the potential to discharge microplastics or plastic into the watercourse, which led to recommendations to an operator in the catchment. This operator has since surrendered its permit and relocated.

I invite the hon. Member to write to me with regard to meeting to discuss microplastic pollution in the River Tame.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 2 November 2021 to Question 65537 on Export Health Certificates, what steps his Department is taking with the British Veterinary Association to increase veterinary capacity for Animal Health Certificate requirements; and what information his Department holds on the number of veterinary practises with capacity to issue AHCs.

The Animal Health Certificate (AHC) format is mandated by the EU, and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has taken steps to help Official Veterinarians (OVs) complete them including by developing a model AHC together with accompanying printable guidance and associated training. APHA has publicised the availability of the training relating to completing AHCs. The model AHC is easily available on-line and can be accessed by all qualified OVs at any time.

We have been engaging with the British Veterinary Association to develop additional guidance to support vets in completing and issuing AHCs. This includes the development of a 'checklist', which can be used in addition to the comprehensive guidance already available to vets, and an explainer video that will guide vets through a worked-up AHC example.

The number of Official Veterinarians (working in private practice) who are able to issue AHCs is currently 7,896. Defra does not hold information on the related number of veterinary practices that are able to issue AHCs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) simplify the application process for Animal Health Certificates for pet owners wishing to bring pets into the EU and (b) incentivise vets to take the requisite courses to issue Animal Health Certificates.

The United Kingdom (UK) has now been formally ‘listed’ as a ‘Part 2’ third country for the purposes of the EU pet travel regulations, which means that new rules now apply to pet movements from Great Britain (GB) to the EU and Northern Ireland (NI). These rules are governed by the EU Pet Travel Scheme, including those relating to certification for travel to the EU and NI.

Defra has been clear that there are no animal health or biosecurity justifications for these additional rules to travel to the EU or NI. 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, including the requirement for an Animal Health Certificate (AHC).

Our advice for pet owners and users of assistance dogs travelling is that they should continue to contact their vet at least one month in advance to ensure their pet has the correct vaccinations and paperwork to travel abroad. The costs of completing and issuing an AHC are commercial decisions, set by individual veterinary practices.

APHA has publicised the availability of the required training course and has made it easily available on-line. As of 13 July 2021, there are 7,387 Official Veterinarians in Great Britain authorised by APHA to issue Animal Health Certificates. COVID travel restrictions have previously decreased demand for AHCs to allow pets to travel with their owners from January this year; however, we are not aware of any concerns about there being insufficient numbers of authorised OVs to meet expected demand for AHCs in the future as travel restrictions continue to lift.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the 2021 covid-19 lockdown on the level of stocks retained by food service wholesalers.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Swansea East on 25 January 2021, PQ 138473.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the level of financial support available for the companion animal welfare sector in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

The welfare of companion animals remains a priority for Defra throughout the coronavirus pandemic. My department continues to work closely with the companion animal welfare sector to understand the concerns of the sector and address how organisations that work with companion animals have been affected by Covid-19.

The Government has announced various measures to help businesses and charities cope in these strained times whilst remaining completely focussed on managing and eradicating the virus. Organisations can apply for the full range of COVID-19 support measures that the government has made available:

www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

There has been a change to the eligibility criteria for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). The CBILS requirement for a small to medium-size enterprise to generate more than 50% of its income from trading has been removed for registered charities.

The Charity Commission has also issued comprehensive guidance on running a charity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Details can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector. This includes advice for Trustees on managing financial difficulties with respect to use of reserves, restricted funds and provisions to help businesses continue operating and avoid insolvency during this period of economic uncertainty.

In addition to this, we have worked closely with the sector through the Canine and Feline Sector Group and National Equine Welfare Council to agree and update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations, and other animal charities and businesses. This has enabled them to undertake core operations as far as possible, whilst maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Defra remains committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what procedures his Department has put in place to monitor compliance with (a) litter and (b) graffiti regulations in relation to public land by (i) the Department for Transport, (ii) Highways England and (iii) Network Rail.

The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse sets out statutory standards for the removal of litter and refuse from relevant land and highways. It also sets out advisory standards for local authorities for graffiti removal, but there are no statutory requirements to remove graffiti.

Damaging property by leaving graffiti is an offence of criminal damage. Neither Highways England nor Network Rail has enforcement powers in respect of either littering or graffiti.

In 2018, Defra commissioned an independent survey of roadside litter on those parts of the Strategic Road Network (SRN) where Highways England is responsible for maintenance but the local authority is responsible for clearing litter. The results have been shared with relevant local authorities and will be used in policy development.

The Department for Transport published the Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the SRN. The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice. Highways England performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Transport and (b) Highways England on litter and graffiti on the motorway network.

The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.

DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice[1]. Highways England’s performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836953/litter-strategy-annual-report-2018-2019a.pdf.

The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.

Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.

Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.

DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Transport and (b) Highways England on litter and graffiti on the strategic trunk road network.

The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.

DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice[1]. Highways England’s performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836953/litter-strategy-annual-report-2018-2019a.pdf.

The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.

Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.

Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.

DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Transport and (b) Network Rail on litter and graffiti on railway land and structures.

The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.

DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice[1]. Highways England’s performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836953/litter-strategy-annual-report-2018-2019a.pdf.

The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.

Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.

Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.

DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government’s anti-litter strategy in relation to Government-owned and Government Agency-owned land; and if he will make a statement.

The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.

DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice[1]. Highways England’s performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836953/litter-strategy-annual-report-2018-2019a.pdf.

The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.

Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.

Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.

DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of (a) the variety of food provided in food parcels to shielding individuals and (b) whether that variety can provide a well-balanced and nutritional diet.

The emergency food parcels are a standardised package designed to be suitable for the majority of people. They contain a basic selection of food and other essential items. The contents of the food parcels have been reviewed by nutritionists and are based on, and broadly in line with, the national food model, the Eatwell Guide. We are currently working with nutritionists to make recommendations as to how to improve the nutritional content of these, and increase variety in any future food parcels.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with representatives of the mobile catering industry on the support this industry may be able to provide to society during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. The Government has regular engagement across the industry including the delivery to home sector and the industry continues to monitor the situation closely, taking the necessary steps to address issues where they arise. Following a significant spike in consumer demand, we have now seen stock levels in supermarkets improve. To support the food sector, the government temporarily relaxed competition law and regulations relating to driver hours and delivery times so that the sector could work together to keep putting food on the shelves.

We are working quickly to support those who need help getting essential food supplies, and we are working with retailers and the voluntary sector to ensure that people are supported to shop for others safely. We welcome the actions that industry is taking, including hiring more staff, and prioritising delivery slots and shopping times for those that need them most. We are grateful for the extensive support and positive collaboration that the industry has shown.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what support she is providing to increase UK exports of clean maritime technologies.

I refer the Hon. Member for Denton and Reddish to the answer I gave to the Hon. Member for Newport West on 27 Oct 2021, UIN: 59048.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the duration of accessibility to the Bus Recovery Grant beyond April 2022.

We have provided unprecedented support for local transport during the pandemic. For bus, operators and local authorities have received funding through the £1.5bn Coronavirus Bus Service Support Grant, and the ongoing £226.5m Bus Recovery Grant.

We recognise the ongoing challenges faced by operators and Local Transport Authorities and discussions on how best to support them are underway.

To assist in the short term, the Department is making available an additional £29m in recovery funding this financial year, on top of the previously announced £226.5m. This will be provided through the Bus Recovery Grant in the form of an uplift to recipients, including operators and LTAs. This will assist the sector in maintaining high service levels.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support bus providers that may be unable to offer full services after the cessation of the Bus Recovery Grant in April 2022.

We have provided unprecedented support for local transport during the pandemic. For bus, operators and local authorities have received funding through the £1.5bn Coronavirus Bus Service Support Grant, and the ongoing £226.5m Bus Recovery Grant.

We recognise the ongoing challenges faced by operators and Local Transport Authorities and discussions on how best to support them are underway.

To assist in the short term, the Department is making available an additional £29m in recovery funding this financial year, on top of the previously announced £226.5m. This will be provided through the Bus Recovery Grant in the form of an uplift to recipients, including operators and LTAs. This will assist the sector in maintaining high service levels.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the impact of the cessation of the Bus Recovery Grant in April 2022 on the ability of bus services to maintain levels of service.

We have provided unprecedented support for local transport during the pandemic. For bus, operators and local authorities have received funding through the £1.5bn Coronavirus Bus Service Support Grant, and the ongoing £226.5m Bus Recovery Grant.

We recognise the ongoing challenges faced by operators and Local Transport Authorities and discussions on how best to support them are underway.

To assist in the short term, the Department is making available an additional £29m in recovery funding this financial year, on top of the previously announced £226.5m. This will be provided through the Bus Recovery Grant in the form of an uplift to recipients, including operators and LTAs. This will assist the sector in maintaining high service levels.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the value for money to the public purse of (a) protecting existing levels of bus provision and (b) rebuilding bus service provision from a passenger base which may be up to 30 per cent lower than before the covid-19 outbreak, as reported by the Urban Transport Group in Continuing COVID Funding Support for Urban Public Transport, published in February 2022.

The Department has conducted analysis on current service levels and future passenger trends, informed by input of stakeholders such as the Confederation of Passenger Transport and the Urban Transport Group. We are currently discussing with HMT the costs and benefits of extending the Bus Recovery Grant scheme.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the impact of the cessation of the Bus Recovery Grant on the UK's ability to meet net zero objectives.

The Secretary of State for Transport frequently has discussions with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on a wide range of issues. In July 2021 we published the Transport Decarbonisation Plan – the first such Plan in the world – which sets the transport sector on the path to net zero by 2050. Commitments set out in the plan include ending the sale of all new non zero emission road vehicles by 2040, delivering the supporting charging infrastructure network, delivering the National Bus Strategy, which will improve services and support the delivery of zero emission buses and required infrastructure, and investing £2bn in active travel with the aim of half of all journeys in our towns and cities being cycled or walked by 2030.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average length of time taken by the DVLA is to remove an untaxed vehicle once reported; and if he will take steps to accelerate the process of removing the untaxed vehicle with registration SB07 ZWK, abandoned outside St Anne's Church on St Anne's Road Denton, which has been reported on 27 August, 30 September and 25 October 2021 by Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) wheel clamping contractor covers the whole of the UK and visits different areas on a daily basis. Officials will bring the vehicle mentioned to their attention and ask them to visit the area specified as soon as possible.

However, the removal of abandoned vehicles is the responsibility of the relevant local authority. At times an overlap in enforcement activity may occur as an abandoned vehicle may also be unlicensed.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the (a) potential role of Restoring Your Railways bids in improving connectivity between areas of higher unemployment to areas of employment growth, and (b) economic impact of improving connectivity between Denton, Reddish and (i) Ashton Moss strategic employment site, (ii) the Stockport town centre mayoral development corporation, (iii) the Manchester regional centre and (iv) Manchester international airport and Airport City strategic employment site.

I would like to congratulate the Hon Member on his successful bid to the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund for restoring passenger services on the rail line from Ashton-under-Lyne to Stockport. The Department has not made a detailed assessment of the economic impacts of improving connectivity in the area at this stage, though I look forward to working with Transport for Greater Manchester to explore these issues as they develop the case further.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to make an announcement relating to the Restoring Your Railways fund bid for the line between Ashton-under-Lyne and Stockport, serving Denton and Reddish South stations.

The Hon Member will have seen that we announced outcomes to the third round of the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund in the Autumn Budget, and that his bid for Ashton to Stockport has been successful.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support he is providing to increase the number of shore power installations and charge point facilities at UK ports.

The Government is allocating funding under its Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition to projects including on shore power, and will consult this year on the appropriate steps to support and, if needed, mandate the uptake of shore power in the UK.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, what plans he has to invest in additional maritime decarbonisation initiatives.

The Spending review launched on 7 September by the Chancellor of the Exchequer will conclude alongside an Autumn Budget on 27 October. It would be premature for me to comment on any plans for further investment in maritime decarbonisation before a settlement has been agreed.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the level of economic development that investing in maritime decarbonisation may provide to the UK’s coastal communities.

To date the Department for Transport has funded a £1.5m competition for innovation in clean maritime and provided £93,897 in grant support through the 2019 Department’s Transport Technology Research Innovation Grant (TRIG) Programme to early stage research projects related to clean maritime. In 2020 the TRIG programme provided almost £90,000 to clean maritime projects. Under this programme the Department will allocate up to £400,000 this year to 13 projects in zero emission shipping.

In March this year Government launched a Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) to decarbonise the maritime sector. The CMDC will allocate up to £23m in R&D funding to 55 projects comprising of feasibility studies and trials in zero emission shipping technologies, accelerating the development of zero emission technology and infrastructure in the UK.

The Government has carefully considered all industry submissions, including the proposals published by Maritime UK. The Spending review launched on 7 September by the Chancellor of the Exchequer will conclude alongside an Autumn Budget on 27 October. It would be premature for me to comment on any plans for further investment in maritime decarbonisation before a settlement has been agreed.

The Department has made no assessment of the level of economic development that Government funding for maritime decarbonisation may provide to the UK’s coastal communities. However, in 2019, alongside the Clean Maritime Plan, the Department published an assessment which identified that low and zero emissions shipping could result in potential economic benefits to the UK of around £360-£510 million per year by the middle of the century.

Maritime UK has published its views that investment in maritime decarbonisation could in future create jobs in all four nations of the United Kingdom, particularly in coastal communities with a tradition of maritime economic activity, including shipbuilding.

Industry research estimates that in 2017 the UK maritime sector as a whole directly supported more than 220,000 jobs for UK employees.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he made of the implications for his policies of Maritime UK’s proposal for investment in maritime decarbonisation as part of the upcoming Spending Review.

To date the Department for Transport has funded a £1.5m competition for innovation in clean maritime and provided £93,897 in grant support through the 2019 Department’s Transport Technology Research Innovation Grant (TRIG) Programme to early stage research projects related to clean maritime. In 2020 the TRIG programme provided almost £90,000 to clean maritime projects. Under this programme the Department will allocate up to £400,000 this year to 13 projects in zero emission shipping.

In March this year Government launched a Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) to decarbonise the maritime sector. The CMDC will allocate up to £23m in R&D funding to 55 projects comprising of feasibility studies and trials in zero emission shipping technologies, accelerating the development of zero emission technology and infrastructure in the UK.

The Government has carefully considered all industry submissions, including the proposals published by Maritime UK. The Spending review launched on 7 September by the Chancellor of the Exchequer will conclude alongside an Autumn Budget on 27 October. It would be premature for me to comment on any plans for further investment in maritime decarbonisation before a settlement has been agreed.

The Department has made no assessment of the level of economic development that Government funding for maritime decarbonisation may provide to the UK’s coastal communities. However, in 2019, alongside the Clean Maritime Plan, the Department published an assessment which identified that low and zero emissions shipping could result in potential economic benefits to the UK of around £360-£510 million per year by the middle of the century.

Maritime UK has published its views that investment in maritime decarbonisation could in future create jobs in all four nations of the United Kingdom, particularly in coastal communities with a tradition of maritime economic activity, including shipbuilding.

Industry research estimates that in 2017 the UK maritime sector as a whole directly supported more than 220,000 jobs for UK employees.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what further support his Department plans to provide to help decarbonise the UK’s maritime sector.

To date the Department for Transport has funded a £1.5m competition for innovation in clean maritime and provided £93,897 in grant support through the 2019 Department’s Transport Technology Research Innovation Grant (TRIG) Programme to early stage research projects related to clean maritime. In 2020 the TRIG programme provided almost £90,000 to clean maritime projects. Under this programme the Department will allocate up to £400,000 this year to 13 projects in zero emission shipping.

In March this year Government launched a Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) to decarbonise the maritime sector. The CMDC will allocate up to £23m in R&D funding to 55 projects comprising of feasibility studies and trials in zero emission shipping technologies, accelerating the development of zero emission technology and infrastructure in the UK.

The Government has carefully considered all industry submissions, including the proposals published by Maritime UK. The Spending review launched on 7 September by the Chancellor of the Exchequer will conclude alongside an Autumn Budget on 27 October. It would be premature for me to comment on any plans for further investment in maritime decarbonisation before a settlement has been agreed.

The Department has made no assessment of the level of economic development that Government funding for maritime decarbonisation may provide to the UK’s coastal communities. However, in 2019, alongside the Clean Maritime Plan, the Department published an assessment which identified that low and zero emissions shipping could result in potential economic benefits to the UK of around £360-£510 million per year by the middle of the century.

Maritime UK has published its views that investment in maritime decarbonisation could in future create jobs in all four nations of the United Kingdom, particularly in coastal communities with a tradition of maritime economic activity, including shipbuilding.

Industry research estimates that in 2017 the UK maritime sector as a whole directly supported more than 220,000 jobs for UK employees.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will waive the two yearly Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card training requirement for HGV drivers to help increase the size of the HGV workforce.

There is no two-yearly training requirement for driver certificates of professional competence. New lorry drivers obtain driver certificates of professional competence in a testing process alongside HGV driving tests. In order for professional drivers to retain their entitlements, they are required to complete 35 hours (five days’ worth) of periodic training every five years. The requirements are in legislation. The Department is considering this issue alongside taking other measures in the context of the lorry driver workforce.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 8 March 2021 to Question 159299, if his Department will provide funding to cover all or part of the re-sit fee for learners whose driving theory test certificate has expired during the covid-19 lockdown.

There are no current plans to provide funding or waive the charge of a theory test for those whose theory test certificates have expired, given that candidates will have already received the service for which they paid.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) pays its contractor, Pearson, per theory test delivered. If candidates were exempted from having to pay for a retake then the DVSA and in turn other fee payers would incur these costs. This would be unfair to fee payers who would not benefit from the arrangement.

In addition, applications for a re-test would need to be validated and systems amended to remove the requirement for payment in these cases. The DVSA’s focus should rightly be on developing solutions to address the backlog of practical driving tests that has arisen as a result of the pandemic.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answers of 11 January 2021 to Questions 131200 and 131201, if he will ask Highways England to mark England’s historic county boundaries on the strategic roads network in line with the Government's guidance on Celebrating the historic counties of England dated 16 July 2019.

Pursuant to the Answers to Questions and 131200 and 131201, the Department has no plans to ask Highways England to implement historic county boundary signs on the Strategic Road Network (SRN).

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the answer of 11 January 2020 to Question 131200 on Road Signs and Markings: Cultural Heritage, what steps his Department is taking to implement the Government's guidance on Celebrating the historic counties of England dated 16 July 2019, on the motorway and trunk road network through Highways England.

Pursuant to the answer to Questions 127499, 127500 and 127501, the Department has no plans to ask Highways England to implement historic county boundary signs on the Strategic Road Network (SRN).

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answers of 14 December 2020 to Questions 127499, 127500 and 127501, what steps his Department is taking to support the implementation of the Government's guidance on Celebrating the historic counties of England dated 16 July 2019.

The Department for Transport has permitted the use of historic county boundary signs through the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016. Guidance is provided to local authorities in DfT Circular 01/2016 and in Chapter 7 of the Traffic Signs Manual. Decisions on whether to place such signs are for local authorities.

DfT Circular 01/2016 is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-signs-regulations-and-general-directions-2016-an-overview

The Traffic Signs Manual is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-signs-manual

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2020 to Question 127502, whether the £1 million fund for Control Period 6 (1 April 2019-31 March 2024) is specifically for brick repair and de-vegetation work on the Stockport rail viaduct and no other projects.

The £1 Million fund for Control Period 6 (1 April 2019 – 31 March 2024) is specifically for the upkeep of the Stockport Rail Viaduct, including brick repair, de-vegetation work and maintenance of rainwater goods (downpipes, weep pipes and troughing along the construction joints).

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of encouraging local authorities and Highways England to mark the historic boundaries of the County Palatine of Lancaster, which are still extant administrative boundaries for certain Duchy purposes, in accordance with section 3.47 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016.

The decision on whether to mark historic county boundaries on road signs is for each local highway authority, or, in the case of the Strategic Road Network, for Highways England, to consider. Highways England has no plans to install any such signs.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will take steps to mark the boundaries of the historic county Palatine of Lancaster and of historic Cheshire on the M60 and M67 motorways through Stockport and Tameside in accordance with section 3.47 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016.

The decision on whether to mark historic county boundaries on road signs is for each local highway authority, or, in the case of the Strategic Road Network, for Highways England, to consider. Highways England has no plans to install any such signs.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of marking England’s historic county boundaries on the motorway network in accordance with section 3.47 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016.

The decision on whether to mark historic county boundaries on road signs is for each local highway authority, or, in the case of the Strategic Road Network, for Highways England, to consider. Highways England has no plans to install any such signs.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to restore the Stockport rail viaduct.

Stockport Viaduct is a vital part of the railway infrastructure and Network Rail take seriously the responsibility to maintain it in safe working order. They carry out detailed examinations of the structure and address any defects or problems these highlight. This year Network Rail have spent £50k on repairing the brick work in areas highlighted by their examinations.

Network Rail have a specific £1m fund for Control Period 6 (1 April 2019- 31 March 2024) to be used on brick repair and de-vegetation work on the viaduct.

Network Rail look to manage any graffiti on the viaduct in accordance with their policies and will review any specific areas of concern and will take action where appropriate.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with Network Rail on the condition of the Stockport rail viaduct.

No recent discussions have taken place with Network Rail on the condition of the Stockport rail viaduct.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will ask Network Rail to set out a timetable for (a) the removal of graffiti, (b) the restoration of the brickwork and (c) the removal of overgrowth and vegetation on the Stockport rail viaduct.

Stockport Viaduct is a vital part of the railway infrastructure and Network Rail take seriously the responsibility to maintain it in safe working order. They carry out detailed examinations of the structure and address any defects or problems these highlight. This year Network Rail have spent £50k on repairing the brick work in areas highlighted by their examinations.

The main vegetation growth on the viaduct is buddleia which is challenging to manage as it grows so quickly. Network Rail have a specific £1m fund for Control Period 6 (1 April 2019- 31 March 2024) to be used on brick repair and de-vegetation work on the viaduct.

The viaduct is a listed structure in recognition of its importance to Stockport’s industrial heritage. Network Rail look to manage any graffiti on the viaduct in accordance with their policies and will review any specific areas of concern and will take action where appropriate.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will ask Highways England to set out a timetable for the removal of graffiti from gantries and road signs on the M60 motorway through Stockport.

Highways England aims to remove from sight the graffiti currently on its structures in Stockport within the next three months.

Highways England is working closely with the Department to tackle the issue of graffiti on structures along the strategic road network in England. Graffiti on these structures is removed from sight within twenty-four hours of being reported if it is offensive, obscene, blasphemous or racist. Non-offensive graffiti, as appears along the M60 through Stockport, would normally be removed from sight at a later date, when Highways England is undertaking other works in the area in order to minimise disruption to road users, or as part of Highways England’s regular cycle of clean and sweep activity.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will ask Network Rail to remove the graffiti from the parapet of the Windmill Lane railway bridge in Denton, first reported to them by the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish in September 2019.

My officials have been in contact with colleagues in Network Rail who, in turn, I understand, have been in touch with your office. Network Rail apologise that this issue took so long to rectify.

I can confirm that the local maintenance team visited the site and cleaned the graffiti over the weekend of 12/13 December 2020.

Network Rail colleagues have confirmed they have updated your office of actions taken.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 16 November 2020 to Question 114087 on Transport for Greater Manchester and Transport for London: Finance, how much funding his Department has allocated to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in each of the last 10 years.

Payments to Greater Manchester Combined Authority and associated bodies (Transport for Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority and Greater Manchester Public Transport Executive) over the last 10 years amount to £1.709.5bn.

Financial Year

10/11

11/12

12/13

13/14

14/15

15/16

16/17

17/18

18/19

19/20

20/21

Total

Amount (£m)

171.1

266.2

188.9

139.4

180.3

178.4

113.2

66.4

65.3

133.3

207.0

1,709.5

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding (a) Transport for London and (b) Transport for Greater Manchester has received from the Government for (i) capital projects and (ii) general operations in each of the last 10 years.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has paid £883,925,106 (£884M) directly to Transport for London over the last 10 years. DfT has made payments directly to Transport for Greater Manchester totalling £347.6m in the last 10 years. DfT also makes payments to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority who then pay Transport for Greater Manchester for their required transport needs.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to reform taxi and private hire licensing.

The Department is supporting licensing authorities to make use of their extensive existing powers through the recently issued Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards and will consult on updated best practice guidance on other matters later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implied zebra crossings on side roads.

The layout of zebra crossings is prescribed in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 (TSRGD). Under TSRGD, a zebra crossing must consist of black and white stripes, give-way lines, zig-zag markings and yellow globes. TSRGD also requires a driver or cyclist to give way to anyone on the crossing.

Installation of zebra crossings is the responsibility of the local traffic authority. A zebra crossing consisting only of black and white stripes, as proposed by Transport for Greater Manchester, would not meet the requirements of TSRGD, and as such pedestrians would have no right of way when using it.

The Department is aware that Transport for Greater Manchester have been carrying out some research to support their suggestion to introduce simplified zebra crossings at side roads in Manchester, but this has been paused during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Zebra crossings have been in use for a long time in this country, they are widely recognised and understood, and have a good road safety record, and the Department has no plans to change their design.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to include Madeira on the list of countries and territories with no self-isolation on arrival in England during the covid-19 pandemic.

Our approach to travel corridors has been guided by the science and we have worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking will minimise the risk of importing COVID-19 cases, while helping to open our travel and tourism sector. The Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Chief Medical Officer, has developed an approach to assessing the public health risk associated with inbound travel from specific countries and territories. The resulting categorisation methodology has been informed by a number of factors including an estimate of the proportion of the population that is currently infectious in each country, trends in virus incidences and deaths, transmission status and international epidemic intelligence. We have also considered issues such as the testing capacity of each country and the quality of the data available.

Although Madeira was not included in the travel corridors announced on 3 July, the Health Regulations relating to the self-isolation requirements remain under constant review. The next formal review will be on 27 July 2020.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 68683 on Roads: Greater Manchester, what steps he plans to take to introduce measures complementary to the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan to reduce air pollution on the Trunk Road Network in (a) Tameside and (b) Stockport.

We are working across Government, including with Highways England, and with local authorities, to deliver our 2017 Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations and achieve compliance as quickly as possible.

The Mottram Moor link road and A57(T) to A57 link road, which Highways England is due to start construction on in the current road period, will contribute to improvements in air quality in the area.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 68683 on Roads: Greater Manchester, what assessment he has made of the air quality for communities living alongside the Strategic Highway Network in (a) Tameside and (b) Stockport for which Highways England is responsible.

The Pollution Climate Mapping model is used alongside measurements from the Automatic Urban and Rural Network to assess levels of air pollutants for major urban roads across the UK and report compliance with legal limits for nitrogen dioxide. One, local authority managed, section of road in Tameside, has been identified as exceeding legal nitrogen dioxide limits in the latest national modelling. Five sections of road in Stockport, one Highways England managed and four local authority managed, have been identified as exceeding legal nitrogen dioxide limits in the latest national modelling. As set out in response to Question 72845/72846 we are working across Government, including with Highways England, and with local authorities, to deliver our 2017 Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations and achieve compliance as quickly as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 68683 on Roads: Greater Manchester, whether Highways England is legally responsible for managing air quality from its strategic network for the purpose of the UK's legal obligations on clean air.

For purpose of the air quality Directive (2008/50/EC), DEFRA on behalf of the Government are the competent authority. In 2017 the Government published its Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations (The Plan) which set out plans to achieve compliance as quickly as possible.

Highways England is legally required, under the Infrastructure Act 2015 and its Licence, to comply with (or have due regard to) relevant Government policy, which includes the Government’s plans and policies on air quality, and has been commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) to deliver its part of The Plan. The Infrastructure Act also obliges Highways England to comply with DfT’s Road Investment Strategy (RIS). The current (second) RIS sets out DfT’s expectations for environmental outcomes to be in line with (but not limited to) The Plan, and sets key performance indicators in relation to air quality, including compliance with legal nitrogen dioxide limits as soon as possible. The Office of Rail and Road monitors Highways England’s compliance with its obligations as set out in the RIS and Licence, and has enforcement powers in respect of these obligations.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 68683 on Roads: Greater Manchester, whether Highways England will be fined for breaching clean air obligations to communities adjoining the strategic highway network.

We are working across Government, including with Highways England, and with local authorities, to deliver our 2017 Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations and achieve compliance as quickly as possible, without recourse to fines.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 68683 on Roads: Greater Manchester, whether local authorities will be fined for breaching clean air obligations to communities adjoining the strategic highway network.

We are working across Government, including with Highways England, and with local authorities, to deliver our 2017 Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations and achieve compliance as quickly as possible, without recourse to fines.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of transferring responsibility for the strategic highway network to Transport for Greater Manchester to ensure a co-ordinated and strategic approach to the management of the network across the city-region.

The second Road Investment Strategy, published in March, commissioned Highways England to carry out a study into the role of the strategic road network in urban areas. This study will consider the merits of changes in road ownership as well as other options to improve coordination of urban road networks such as that in Greater Manchester.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in relation to strategic pop-up cycle routes in the city-region.

The Department has regular discussions with the Mayors of Combined Authorities including Greater Manchester Combined Authority. To help fund measures such as pop-up cycle lanes, the Department has allocated Greater Manchester Combined Authority £3,174,000 from tranche 1 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund and indicatively allocated £12,697,000 from tranche 2. The Department also issued new network management duty guidance to all local authorities in May with advice on measures to reallocate road space, both to encourage active travel and to enable social distancing.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timeframe is for work to commence on the reconstruction of the bridge at St Anne’s Road, Denton, at Junction 2 of the M67; and if he will make a statement.

Pursuant to the answer to Question 60714, Highways England intends to commence survey work on the bridge between July and December 2020. Enabling works, including opening the closed section of St Anne’s Road to allow implementation of the diversion route, are intended to start in April 2021. Highways England will start main demolition and construction work in October 2021, with construction lasting for two years. It has no further update on the proposed works at this time.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to include the trunk road network in the proposed Greater Manchester Clean Air strategy; and if he will make a statement.

The government and Highways England continue to work with Greater Manchester authorities to finalise their plans to improve air quality as set out in the 2017 UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. We have no current plans to include any parts of the Strategic Road Network in a charging clean air zone.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he plans to take in response to local authorities that do not follow Government statutory guidance on reallocating road space in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Local authorities are responsible for ensuring any changes to their road networks are made with regard to the statutory Network Management Duty guidance published on 9 May. This sets out the steps Government expects local authorities to take to reallocate road space to cycling and walking in response to Covid-19. The Department is not responsible for policing what local authorities implement on their roads.

Alongside the guidance, the Department announced emergency active travel funding of £225 million, to help local authorities make changes to their roads to enable more walking and cycling, and to enable social distancing. Any bids for this funding that are not in line with the statutory guidance will not be granted.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Highways England on removing litter on the Junction 2 on-sliproad to the M67 in Denton.

The Secretary of State for Transport has had no such discussions with Highways England on removing litter at Junction 2 on-slip road to the M67 in Denton.

Highways England have confirmed that any restoration measures are required to take place within the timescales set out in the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse. This states that any areas with special circumstances that falls below grade B, such as carriageways, verges and central reservations of motorways and trunk roads, must be restored back to grade A standard within twenty-eight days or as soon as reasonably practicable. Highways England expect to remove litter from the entry slip road within the next three weeks.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timescale is for the reconstruction of the bridge at St Anne’s Road, Denton at Junction 2 of the M67; and if he will make a statement.

The timing of the delivery of the project is subject to a number of factors involving other parties. Highways England intends to commence survey work between July and December 2020.

Enabling works, including opening the closed section of St Anne’s Road to allow implementation of the diversion route, are intended to start in April 2021.

The aim is to start the main demolition and construction work in October 2021, with construction lasting for two years.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to encourage employers to undertake covid-19 health and safety risk assessments for severely immunocompromised employees.

COVID-19 remains a public health issue. There is no longer a requirement for every business to consider COVID-19 in their risk assessment or have COVID-19 control measures in place. The United Kingdom Health Security Agency has published guidance on reducing the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, in the workplace.

For people in England who are immunosuppressed (including employees), the Department of Health and Social Care has published guidance entitled: ‘COVID-19: guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk’.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department is issuing to employers to support their immunocompromised staff to work safely from their place of work after the existing covid-19 infection control measures are lifted.

The Department of Health and Social Care have the lead and alongside UK Health Security Agency released guidance on COVID-19: guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk . This was most recently updated on 25 February 2022. In order to assist employers, the Health and Safety Executive provides a link to this guidance on its website.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to communicate with employers on advice for immunosuppressed people to continue to work from home.

In December 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care and UK Health Security Agency released guidance on COVID-19: guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk . This included advice to work from home if possible. If a person is unable to work from home, they should speak to their employer about what temporary arrangements they can make to reduce that person’s risk.

In order to inform employers of this, the Health and Safety Executive updated it’s guidance Protect vulnerable workers - Working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to include a section on workers who are immunosuppressed and the advice mentioned above.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have been affected by the underpayment of benefits after transitioning from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance in Denton and Reddish constituency.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 19th January to question number 104377.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 28 October 2021 to Question 62643 on Universal Credit, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of reforming the universal credit assessment period and payment structure; and what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the Court of Appeal Judgement of 22 November 2020 [2020] EWCA Civ 778.

The Department has no plans to change either Universal Credit assessment periods or payment structures. They are fundamental parts of the design, reflecting payment patterns in the world of work, where the majority of people are paid monthly. Ensuring similarities between paid employment and receiving benefits eliminates an important barrier which could prevent claimants from adjusting to paid employment.

The Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Johnson and others, handed down on 22 June 2020, ruled that the way the Department calculated Universal Credit awards involving earnings in an assessment period was a correct application of the regulations, but that the Department’s position of not considering the impact on the small number of specific cases of those paid calendar monthly who are affected by ‘a non-banking day salary shift’ should change.

The Court of Appeal Judgment was narrowly focussed on calendar monthly paid claimants who are affected by a ‘non-banking day salary shift’ resulting in two payments being counted in one assessment period, none in another and the loss of a work allowance. The legislation changes we made to remedy these cases came into force on 16th November 2020 and allow us to move one of these monthly payments to the assessment period where there is none. Moving an additional four-weekly payment from the assessment period with two payments would not have the same effect, but would simply mean there would be two payments in a different assessment period.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Prime Minister's answer to the Oral Question asked by the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk on 3 November, Official Report, col 912, what options the Government is assessing to ensure that 1950s-born women receive fair pensions.

Under this Government, the full yearly amount of the basic State Pension is now over £2,050 higher than in 2010. For future pensioners, auto-enrolment into workplace pensions has transformed pension saving for millions of workers and our 50 plus: choices agenda aims to maximise the labour market opportunities for people to earn and save for longer.

Auto-Enrolment has been especially transformative for women, low earners and young people, who have historically been poorly served by or excluded from workplace pensions. Between 2012 and 2020 participation for private sector eligible women increased from 40% to 86% (equal to men) and double what it was in 2012.

The Reforms to the State Pension in 2016 put measures in place to improve State Pension outcomes for most women. Over three million women stand to receive an average of £550 more per year by 2030 as a result.

Pension Credit also provides invaluable financial support for the most vulnerable pensioners. We are undertaking a range of actions to raise awareness and increase take up.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that universal credit claimants who are paid every four weeks and who may on occasion receive a double payment in one assessment period are not penalised.

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit and the amount of Universal Credit paid each monthly assessment period will reflect, as closely as possible, the actual circumstances of a household in that assessment period, including any earnings reported by the employer. As Universal Credit is paid monthly, those who are also paid their earnings on a monthly basis will normally get one payment in each assessment period. For those who are paid differently such as four weekly the frequency of their pay will impact on the amount of Universal Credit they will receive.

Those who are paid four-weekly will normally get one payment in each assessment period and their Universal Credit will reflect the four weekly amount they are paid. For one assessment period a year they will receive two four-weekly payments. This is because there are 12 assessment periods a year and those who are paid four-weekly will receive 13 payments a year. As their income rises in that assessment period, Universal Credit is reduced and this is in line with the long standing general principle of means-tested benefits. However, whilst the Universal Credit amount will reduce in the assessment period where the household has received two payments of four-weekly earnings, they will still have the benefit of the higher income from their earnings.

The Universal Credit assessment period and payment structure are fundamental parts of its design. Universal Credit reflects payment patterns in the world of work. Ensuring similarities between paid employment and claiming benefits eliminates an important barrier which could prevent claimants from adjusting to paid employment.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 September 2021 to Question 41749 on State Retirement Pensions: Administrative Delays, what the average waiting time is for initial payments as at 9 September 2021.

This information is only available at disproportionate cost to The Department for Work & Pensions.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 September 2021 to Question 41749 on State Retirement Pensions: Administrative Delays, when she first became aware of the backlog; and what steps her Department took to notify those people facing payment delays.

The number of State Pension claims awaiting processing increased as a result of Pandemic and its consequences.

We are prioritising any State Pension claims that are currently overdue and claims where the customer is close to their date of entitlement.

We send an SMS text message to customers to let them know that their claim has been received and is being processed, with written confirmation of their award by post.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will reform the three-year award duration for claims made under the Special Rules for Terminal Illness and bring it in line with longer ongoing awards available under the normal rules.

For the majority of cases made under the SRTI, people are given three year awards. This approach is based on a recommendation from an expert advisory group, initially for DLA, but later adopted in other benefits. The three year awards given to SRTI claims strikes a balance that recognises making a prognosis is not an exact science and that people who do live longer than expected should continue to receive the support provided to them by benefit system, while also enabling those who live for much longer than expected, to be looked at afresh in light of their circumstances as they come towards the end of their award. The majority of claims made under the special rules sadly do not reach three years but for those that do, we want to ensure that people are receiving the right level of support.

As part of the health and Disability Green Paper consultation, we are consulting on reform of assessments and seeking views on policy proposals. Following the consultation, detailed proposals will then be brought forward in a White Paper next year, setting out how we can better enable people to take up work and live more independently, and outline the changes we want to make to the benefits system to better address structural and delivery challenges.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether there have been any reported delays in processing initial payments for those who have reached state pension age.

Normal service will be resumed by the end of October 2021.

The Department is working hard to clear backlogs which have occurred by reason of the Covid Pandemic and staffing issues which have now been rectified.

Hundreds of additional staff are currently being redeployed.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury's oral contribution of 22 June 2021, Official Report, column 745, what recent assessment she has made of state pension inequality in respect of the ongoing Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigation and women born in the 1950s.

All Ombudsman are independent of government. It would be inappropriate to comment while the PHSO investigation is ongoing.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the (a) Foreign Secretary, (b) Secretary of State for International Trade and (c) Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Canadian Government’s request for a reciprocal social security agreement.

There have been no discussions on the Canadian Government’s request for a reciprocal social security agreement.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions were held with the Government of Canada before the UK Government that Government's request for a reciprocal pensions uprating agreement.

The UK has not had any recent discussions with the Government of Canada on reciprocal pensions uprating agreements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to increase the number of people with epilepsy entering employment.

Government’s Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people, including those with health conditions get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and to build the skills they need to get into work. This includes £895m for 13,500 additional Work Coaches who have been successfully recruited. The Restart Programme will support individuals who have been unemployed for over 12 months and through regular, personalised support providers will work with participants to identify the best way to support them into sustained employment.

From April 2021, the Disability Employment Advisors (DEA) Direct Support will be strengthened to include an element of Direct Support to customers with health condition or disability who require additional support over and above the ESA and Universal Credit core offer. DEA Direct Support will deliver work focussed bespoke support to move individuals with a disability or health condition towards a work outcome.

If employees with epilepsy need workplace support beyond the cost of reasonable adjustment, Access to Work can help. Access to Work is supporting thousands more people with disabilities and health conditions than ever before. In 2019, Access to Work funded tailored and flexible support for 43,000 people, a 20% increase on the previous year.

We also, through Disability Confident, provide employers with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps the Government has taken to publicise the Payment Exception Service to people who are eligible to use it.

The Payment Exception Service is available in limited circumstances when customers are unable to provide us with bank account, building society, credit union, internet based or basic bank account details. Information about this service is publicised on https://www.gov.uk/payment-exception-service.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support the Government is providing to people aged over 55 who have lost their jobs as a result of the covid-19 pandemic to retrain and re-enter employment.

The department is supporting people of all ages back in to work. The Government’s Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people, including those aged 50 and over, get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and to build the skills they need to get into work. This includes £895m to recruit an additional 13,500 Work Coaches which DWP is on track to achieve by Quarter 1 of 2021/22; a £150m increase in the Flexible Support Fund which will also boost the capacity of the Rapid Response Service to help those facing redundancy move into other jobs; and £10m for a new online support through the Job Finding Support Service which will provide tailored one-to-one job finding support to the recently unemployed.

The Government aims to increase the number of Sector based Work Academy programme placements, supporting unemployed claimants of all ages through training, work experience and a guaranteed interview for a real job. We are also investing £238m into Job Entry: Targeted Support (JETS) to offer new support to those who have been made unemployed for three months.

To support the long term unemployed, £2.9 billion is being invested in the Restart Programme, which is due to go live from summer 2021. The Restart Programme will support individuals who have been unemployed for 12 months plus and through regular, personalised support providers will work with participants to identify the best way to support them into sustained employment.

The Department also has a network of 50 PLUS Champions (formerly Older Claimants Champions) throughout all of the 34 Jobcentre Plus districts. These Jobcentre Plus staff work collaboratively with Work Coaches to raise the profile of over 50s claimants, highlighting the benefits of employing them and sharing best practice.

Further, Government recognises the importance of planning effectively for the future and in encouraging productive workplace conversations. We therefore launched a webpage in 2019 to promote the mid-life MOT, which offers support from the National Careers Service, Public Health England and Money and Pensions Service to those considering a change in career by encouraging them to take stock across the key areas of skills, health and financial planning.

The Department for Education continues to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) (£1.34bn in 2019/20 and 2020/21). The principal purpose of the AEB is to engage adults and provide the skills and learning they need to equip them for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. It enables more tailored programmes of learning to be made available, which do not need to include a qualification, to help those furthest from learning and in the workplace.

Government is providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) for the National Skills Fund to help adults learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future, which will start in financial year 2021/22. The National Skills Fund will support adults to learn and reach their potential in the labour market. It will complement other provision available for adults, such as through the Adult Education Budget and other recent reforms to adult skills provision and funding.

The Skills Bootcamps, which are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving adults aged 19 and over the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. Skills Bootcamps have the potential to transform the skills landscape for adults and employers.

These were launched in West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, and Liverpool City Region in September 2020, initially focusing on digital skills such as software development, digital marketing, and data analytics. Registrations opened in December 2020 for the Skills Bootcamps in the Leeds City Region, Heart of South West (Devon and Somerset) and Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, with delivery set to begin in early 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the average time it will take for her Department to process a personal independence claim during the period of the new national lockdown that commenced in England in January 2021.

As throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, we are committed to ensuring that people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment in a timely manner. We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to review all available evidence.

We are currently operating within expected levels. Average clearance times from initial claim to a decision being made for new claims are currently 16 weeks (October 2020).

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 7 December 2020 to Question 123540, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the Health Service Ombudsman's investigation into potential maladministration in her Department's communication of changes to women’s state pension age.

It would not be appropriate to comment on the possible implications of an ongoing Ombudsman’s investigation.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's investigation into potential maladministration in her Department's communication of changes to women’s State Pension age.

No discussions have taken place.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of Government programmes on the employment prospects of the over-60s.

The department is supporting people of all ages back in to work. The Government’s recently announced Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people, including older workers, get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and to build the skills they need to get into work. This includes £895m to double the number of Work Coaches in Jobcentre Plus by March 2021; a £150m increase in the Flexible Support Fund which will also boost the capacity of the Rapid Response Service to help those facing redundancy move into other jobs; £40m for a new online support service will provide tailored one-to-one job finding support to the recently unemployed.

The Government also aims to triple the number of sector-based work academy programme placements, supporting unemployed claimants of all ages through training and work experience to find a job. A further £95m will expand the Work and Health programme to offer new support to those who have been made unemployed.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department has published for employers to support employees suffering from the long-term effects of covid-19.

Research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 is ongoing. However, it is clear that for some of those who have survived, the virus and the treatment they have received to combat it will have a lasting impact on their health.

Employers have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers including making reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage. DWP’s new Employer Help site provides advice on employment of disabled people, explaining how Access to Work and Disability Confident can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

The law is clear: to discriminate directly, or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex or disability, race or ethnicity is unlawful. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the coronavirus pandemic.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that claimants suffering from long-term effects of covid-19 can access appropriate welfare support.

I refer the Rt. Hon. Member to the answer given to question UIN:78723.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether there has been a reduction in Special Rules for Terminal Illness claims for universal credit as a result of her Department's change to the online application question on terminal illness in May 2019; and if she will make a statement.

The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost. Data exists in the system that would require matching across a number of data sets, which is a substantial piece of work. The required information is therefore not all readily available to analysts in a format that would enable them to undertake the analysis and quality assure the figures, to answer this PQ in the timescales.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department’s review of how the welfare system works for people with a terminal illness includes issues relating to universal credit for terminally ill people.

In July 2019, the then DWP Secretary of State announced an in-depth evaluation of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life and those with the most severe conditions.

The evaluation included three strands of research:

  • hearing directly from claimants, clinicians and charities about their first-hand experiences;
  • considering international evidence to find out what works in other nations and the support they provide; and
  • reviewing current Departmental performance to better understand how the Special Rules for Terminal Illness and severe conditions processes operate and perform.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of a future jobs fund to assist with job creation in (a) Tameside and (b) Stockport.

DWP is engaging cross-government to understand supply & demand across the labour market throughout and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

We are in discussions with other Government Departments and a range of stakeholders to explore all options to ensure the right support is in place for individuals who have been adversely impacted by COVID that will meet the needs of the individual as well as local priorities.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish the findings of the review into how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life and those with severe conditions, announced on 11 July 2019.
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department undertook an impact assessment prior to the suspension of the £100 million of funding for weight management services, announced on 4 March 2021.

While no formal impact assessment has been undertaken, the Department considered the impact of the suspension of this funding alongside the costs of ‘COVID-19 Response: Living with COVID-19’ within existing budgets. We remain committed to addressing the causes of poor diet, obesity and inactivity and supporting people living with obesity to achieve a healthier weight.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the suspension of the £100 million of funding for weight management services, announced on 4 March 2022, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of that suspension on other weight management services run by local authorities that were already established prior to the announcement of extra funding in 2021.

The Adult Weight Management Services Grant distributed for use in 2021/22 was in addition to local authorities’ existing expenditure on adult tier 2 behavioural weight management services from the Public Health Grant. This funding must be used to commission new or expand existing services and was not intended to replace other funding. In 2022/23, the total Public Health Grant to local authorities is £3.417 billion. Decisions on how the Public Health Grant is spent are made by individual local authorities.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the suspension of the £100 million of funding for weight management services announced on 4 March 2021, whether the Government has plans to reinstate that funding at a future date.

While some healthy weight programmes will continue, the reduction will include £35 million which was to be provided to local authorities for weight management services. Future funding will be subject to the normal business planning processes.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the suspension of funding for weight management services, announced on 4 March 2022, whether that suspension is in respect of the £35 million additional funding provided to local authorities as part of the £100 million announced in 2021 or the entire £100 million that was announced.

While some healthy weight programmes will continue, the reduction will include £35 million which was to be provided to local authorities for weight management services. Future funding will be subject to the normal business planning processes.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to publish the full independent quality audit carried out at the Wolverhampton site of Immensa laboratories; who conducted that audit; and when that audit was conducted.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it is currently subject to legal professional privilege.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the equalities impact assessment for the Government's Living with covid strategy.

The COVID-19 Taskforce has advised that the Government is unable to provide the information requested as it relates to the formulation of Government policy.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department undertook an impact assessment prior to the suspension of the £100 million of funding for weight management services, announced on 4 March 2021.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 20 April 2022 to Question 151008 on Coronavirus: Drugs, what specific local issues the National Health Service was aware of are; and which local areas have reported issues in distributing antiviral and retroviral treatment.

Since December 2021, COVID Medicines Delivery Units (CMDUs) have provided antiviral or monoclonal antibody treatments to over 40,000 patients in England at highest risk of hospitalisation as result of COVID-19.

Organisations hosting CMDUs have been asked to increase resourcing and continue to prioritise the highest risk patients in light of higher case numbers due to the prevalence of the Omicron variant. There have also been reports of limited awareness of the new service in some localities. Local commissioners have been asked to ensure that general practitioner practices and local NHS services provide information to patients and ensure timely referrals. Further guidance and information has been issued to consultants, primary care and NHS 111. NHS England and NHS Improvement are engaging with local teams and stakeholder groups to raise awareness and support delivery of the service.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the total number of (a) people who are at high risk of severe illness from covid-19 and (b) people in their households.

In England, it is estimated that the number of patients eligible for COVID-19 therapies in the community to reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalisation, is more than 1.3 million people. No specific estimate on the number of people in these households has been made.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure that severely immunocompromised patients have access to Evusheld following the award of conditional marketing authorisation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency; and what his timeframe is for the first patients to start to receive that treatment.

Evusheld was granted conditional marketing approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on 17 March 2022. However, the positive trial data was published prior to the emergence of the Omicron variant and the MHRA’s approval has indicated uncertainty over the appropriate dose needed for protection against Omicron, for which there is no clinical data.

Understanding the efficacy of Evusheld against the Omicron variant is necessary prior to any procurement or deployment. Whilst the UK Health Security Agency continues to test the efficacy of Evusheld against the Omicron variant, the Department and the National Health Service are also conducting reviews to identify appropriate patient cohorts and approaches to the potential deployment of pre-exposure prophylaxis.  This is in addition to continuous monitoring of alternative potential prophylactic therapies. Currently, immunocompromised patients are a priority cohort receiving novel effective COVID-19 treatments. Sotrovimab, a neutralising monoclonal antibody and antiviral drugs are available for patients who are at high risk of progression to severe COVID-19, hospitalisation or death.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commit to making (a) Evusheld and (b) other preventative treatments available via the NHS for prophylactic use for people who are at high risk of severe illness from covid-19 as soon as possible.

Evusheld was granted conditional marketing approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on 17 March 2022. However, the positive trial data was published prior to the emergence of the Omicron variant and the MHRA’s approval has indicated uncertainty over the appropriate dose needed for protection against Omicron, for which there is no clinical data.

Understanding the efficacy of Evusheld against the Omicron variant is necessary prior to any procurement or deployment. Whilst the UK Health Security Agency continues to test the efficacy of Evusheld against the Omicron variant, the Department and the National Health Service are also conducting reviews to identify appropriate patient cohorts and approaches to the potential deployment of pre-exposure prophylaxis.  This is in addition to continuous monitoring of alternative potential prophylactic therapies. Currently, immunocompromised patients are a priority cohort receiving novel effective COVID-19 treatments. Sotrovimab, a neutralising monoclonal antibody and antiviral drugs are available for patients who are at high risk of progression to severe COVID-19, hospitalisation or death.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of patients admitted to hospital with covid-19 have blood cancer or a blood disorder in the most recent period for which figures are available.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has made an assessment of the adequacy of surge capacity in the supply of existing and upcoming covid-19 treatments in the event of future waves and variants of that disease.

The Government has procured 4.98 million courses of oral antivirals, including 2.75 million courses of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, co-packaged as Paxlovid, 2.23 million courses of molnupiravir and 100,008 courses of the monoclonal antibody sotrovimab. The National Health Service also has access to remdesivir, tocilizumab, sarilumab and dexamethasone. Procured volumes are based on clinical advice, assessment of patient cohort sizes and modelled demand in the event a future wave or emerging variant of concern. Stock levels are regularly monitored to ensure sufficient volumes are available to meet current and projected demand, including sufficient surge capacity.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the Government suspended the Disability and Health Charity Communication Forum; and how patient organisations can communicate patients' concerns and experiences in respect of covid-19 to the Government.

The Disability and Health Charity Communication Forum was administered by the National Resilience Hub External Affairs team which has since been disbanded. Patient organisations can communicate any concerns and experiences directly with the Department. We continue to meet with stakeholders, including patient organisations, on a regular basis.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether asymptomatic people who are at greater risk from covid-19, including immunocompromised, clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable people, can access free lateral flow tests.

Asymptomatic lateral flow device testing will continue in some high-risk settings where infection can spread rapidly while prevalence is high. Free symptomatic testing will continue for patients in hospital, for whom a test is required for clinical management or to support treatment pathways and those eligible for COVID-19 treatments as they are at higher risk of serious illness. It is also available for individuals who live or work in high-risk closed settings, such as some National Health Service and social care settings and prison and other places of detention to minimise outbreaks.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the rising cost of living on public health outcomes.

We have made no specific assessment. The health disparities white paper, due later this year, will set out actions to reduce the gap in health outcomes between different areas and communities.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his planned timetable is for the publication of the technical guidance on the implementation of the Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021.

We have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on improving health and wellbeing, including measures to reduce obesity. Regulations made on 2 December 2021 will require medium and large businesses, those with 50 or more employees, to restrict the promotion of products high in fat, salt or sugar. These regulations will come into force in October 2022.

The implementation guidance was published on 6 April 2022. The guidance was developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities to provide further clarification on which businesses and products are in scope of the Regulations.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the Government's plan to restrict promotions on food and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS); and whether these regulations are still due to come into force in October 2022.

We have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on improving health and wellbeing, including measures to reduce obesity. Regulations made on 2 December 2021 will require medium and large businesses, those with 50 or more employees, to restrict the promotion of products high in fat, salt or sugar. These regulations will come into force in October 2022.

The implementation guidance was published on 6 April 2022. The guidance was developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities to provide further clarification on which businesses and products are in scope of the Regulations.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to include school and community-based early intervention provision for children and young people including play and creative arts therapy and counselling in forthcoming reforms to the Mental Health Act 1983, in addition to the autism, closed ward and clinical measures detailed in the White Paper on Reforming the Mental Health Act.

The reforms to the Mental Health Act 1983 follow the recommendations made by the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act chaired by Sir Simon Wessely. However, school and community-based early intervention provision for children and young people fall outside the scope of these reforms. The provision of these services is a matter for local commissioners.

We are improving early intervention provision for children and young people through the introduction of mental health support teams in schools and colleges. In 2022/23, 25% of the country will have access to mental health support teams, which will increase to 399 teams covering an estimated three million children and young people or approximately 35% of pupils by 2023/24.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to monitor the prevalence of long covid among the population.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Blackburn (Kate Hollern MP) on 10 November 2021 to Question 70273.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the timeframe for Evusheld being available for eligible patients following its recent MHRA approval.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it is commercially sensitive. Any public announcement on the procurement of treatments would be made after an agreement is reached with companies.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of reports of clinically vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable and immunosuppressed people experiencing challenges in accessing antiviral or retroviral treatments.

The National Health Service is aware of some local issues and continues to support general practitioners, NHS 111 and hospital specialists to assist eligible patients to access an urgent assessment for these treatments by COVID-19 Medicine Delivery Units (CMDUs). All CMDUs have arrangements for treating patients at weekends. The Department continues to work with NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve patients’ access to COVID-19 treatments.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to publish the full independent quality audit carried out at the Wolverhampton site of Immensa laboratories; and if his Department will publish provide details of that audit, including (a) who carried it out and (b) when they did so.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to research on the marketing of no and low alcohol drinks in the UK published by the Institute of Alcohol Studies, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of alcohol producers using those products to strengthen their brands.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates the advertising of alcohol products through the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice Codes. The rules within these Codes apply to advertisements featuring or referring to alcoholic drinks containing more than 0.5% alcohol by volume. The rules also apply to advertisements, while not specifically for alcoholic drinks, which have the effect of promoting them, such as soft drinks advertised as mixers. The ASA is currently consulting on new rules and guidance to regulate the advertising of alcohol alternative products. It will consider how these products should be marketed responsibly, including safeguarding people under the age of 18 years old and how such marketing intersects with current alcoholic products regulation. The consultation is open until 5 May 2022.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his department is taking to support research into intra-nasal covid-19 vaccines.

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR and UK Research and Innovation have funded rapid research to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including on nasal administration of vaccines. Approximately £580,000 in funding was awarded to Imperial College London towards a study looking at safety and lower airway immunogenicity of two candidate COVID-19 vaccines administered to the respiratory tract. Additionally, the NIHR is providing infrastructure support to two phase one studies in this area, including the study at Imperial College London. As the largest public funder of health and care research, the NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including intra-nasal COVID-19 vaccines.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the current reproduction number or R-rate is of (a) chlamydia, (b) gonorrhoea and (c) syphilis.

The current reproduction number or ‘R’ of chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis is not known, as R number estimates for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) require behavioural information which cannot be easily measured.

The calculation of R for a typical STI differs from many other infections, in that it does not depend only on the population density of susceptible people, but rather the transmission probability per sexual partner and the number of sexual partners during a period of time, as well as the time spent in the infectious state. The value of R differs between different sexual networks and groups at higher risk of STIs as well as over time and cannot be generalised to the overall population.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on the potential merits of including the option to book a sexual health appointment via the NHS app.

We have not yet had specific engagement with stakeholders on integrating additional sexual health services on the NHS App. However, the App can be used to book a range of primary care appointments online, which may include sexual health appointments if these are offered by the local practice. We are aiming to test and introduce new ways of integrating additional services and make them available to users through the NHS App.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on preparing the way for the use of injectable PrEP to prevent HIV.

There have been no recent discussions. As outlined in our HIV Action Plan published in December 2021, the Department’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will work with NHS England and NHS Improvement and other partners to monitor the potential use of injectable pre-exposure prophylaxis as the evidence to support its effectiveness becomes available.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government’s sexual health strategy will set aspirations to (a) reduce the R- rate of and (b) set reduction rate plans for (i) chlamydia, (ii) gonorrhoea and (iii) syphilis.

We are developing a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy for England, which will be published later this year. The Strategy will set out our plans to improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes and wellbeing, including tackling sexually transmitted infections (STIs). As part of the Strategy’s development process, we are currently considering the control of STIs. The reproduction or ‘R’ numbers for various STIs will not be included in the Strategy, as the R number for a typical STI differs from many other infections and cannot not easily measurable or generalised to the overall population. Factors include the population density of susceptible people, transmission probability per sexual partner and the number of sexual partners during a period of time, as well as the time spent in the infectious state.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department plans to issue on protecting immunosuppressed and clinically extremely vulnerable people from covid-19 in the workplace after 1 April 2022.

On 25 February 2022, updated public health advice was issued for those previously considered as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), which is available at the following link:

https://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

Most people considered as CEV are advised to follow general guidance, in addition to any further advice from their general practitioner or consultant. Guidance was also issued for those whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

Enhanced protections such as those offered by treatments, additional vaccinations and potentially other non-clinical interventions may benefit this cohort. For workplace concerns, people should speak to their employer about what arrangements can be made to reduce their risk.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to update its guidance, Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), to include people who are immunosuppressed or clinically extremely vulnerable.

The existing ‘Working Safely’ guidance will be withdrawn from 1 April 2022. The UK Health Security Agency will publish public health advice for employers, describing the actions that employers may take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections in the workplace.

Whilst there will no longer be a requirement for employers to carry out a COVID-19 specific health and safety risk assessment for their workplace, businesses and employers should continue to comply with their existing obligations, including their duty of care to protect the health safety and welfare of their employees and other people who might be affected by their business.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how his Department plans to use the covid-19 antibody drug, Evusheld, in the event that it receives MHRA approval.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for St Albans (Daisy Cooper MP) on 7 March 2022 to Question 131326.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timeframe is for reaching an agreement with relevant companies on the purchase of doses of the covid-19 antibody drug, Evusheld.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for St Albans (Daisy Cooper MP) on 7 March 2022 to Question 131326.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much of his Department's budget is planned to be allocated to funding covid-19 community testing and surveillance studies.

The Spending Review 2021 confirmed £9.6 billion for COVID-19 programmes and related health spending, including testing. Detailed business planning is underway to prioritise COVID-19 expenditure therefore specific funding allocations for community testing and surveillance studies have not yet been agreed.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the (a) name and (b) proportion of the £50 million funding for research into long-covid of each study that will be supported by that funding.

The following table shows the research projects funded through research calls for the long term effects of COVID-19 and by the National Institute for Health Research through its funding streams, with the proportion of the £50.97 million investment received.

Project description

Percentage of investment

REACT-Long COVID (REACT-LC) programme

10.7%

Non-hospitalised Children & young people (CYP) with Long Covid (The CLoCk Study)

3.6%

Therapies for Long COVID in non-hospitalised individuals: From symptoms, patient reported outcomes and immunology to targeted therapies (The TLC Study)

4.4%

Characterisation, determinants, mechanisms and consequences of the long-term effects of COVID-19: providing the evidence base for health care services

18.8%

Development of a robust T cell assay to retrospectively diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection and IFN-γ release assay as diagnostic and monitoring assay in Long COVID patients

0.7%

Explaining why long COVID patients experience breathlessness and a reduced ability to exercise

3.5%

The immunologic and virologic determinants of long COVID

1.5%

Understanding and treating ‘brain fog’

2.4%

Immune analysis of Long COVID to inform rational choices in diagnostic testing and therapeutics

1.1%

Understanding and using family experiences of managing long COVID to support self- care and timely access to services

1.1%

Quality-of-life in patients with long COVID: harnessing the scale of big data to quantify the health and economic costs

1.3%

Optimising standards of care for long COVID in hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and at home

6.7%

Using Activity Tracking and Just-In-Time Messaging to Improve Adaptive Pacing: A Pragmatic Randomised Control Trial

0.6%

ReDIRECT: Remote Diet Intervention to Reduce long Covid symptoms Trial

2.0%

Co-designing personalised self-management support for people with Long Covid

2.2%

Percutaneous Auricular Nerve Stimulation for Treating Post-COVID Fatigue (PAuSing-Post-COVID Fatigue)

1.3%

Developing and testing the best ways to diagnose, treat and provide rehabilitation for people with long COVID

13.3%

Impact of COVID-19 vaccination on preventing long COVID: a population-based cohort study using linked NHS data

0.4%

Long COVID Core Outcome Set (LC-COS) project

0.3%

UK evaluation of NHS support post-hospitalisation for COVID19 to inform service development and achieve holistic, integrated, equitable and cost-effective services

1.0%

Post-hospital COVID-19 Study (PHOSP-COVID)

16.5%

HEAL-COVID - a study to develop treatments for COVID-19 that reduce the longer-term death and disability

6.9%

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department spent on free covid-19 testing in January 2022, broken down by test type.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it is commercially sensitive.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department spent on free lateral flow tests in January 2022.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it is commercially sensitive.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2022 to Question 131118, on what date further advice will be given to people who are clinically vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable and immunocompromised eligible for free covid-19 lateral flow tests beyond 1 April 2022.

We are currently considering which at risk groups should continue to be eligible for free testing. We will provide further information as soon as possible.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to effectively disseminate information about the recall of contaminated Alimentum formula to prescribing clinicians.

On 20 February 2022 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) published a product recall information notice (PRIN) for two infant formula products Elecare Similac and Alimentum Similac, due to concerns of possible contamination with Salmonella Newport. These products are produced in the United States of America and imported into the United Kingdom. The PRIN was updated on 22 February to include possible contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii.

The FSA has published and disseminated advice to parents that anyone who has purchased or been prescribed any of the products included in the recall should not feed it to their baby and should return it to the place it was purchased or obtained. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has also shared information on the recall and asked healthcare professionals to contact all patients who have been dispensed the impacted batches immediately.

On 4 March 2022, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issued a National Patient Safety Alert to notify clinicians and ensure any affected products are safely disposed of in pharmacies and other settings, and that patients who have been prescribed these products are contacted. The UKHSA’s regional health protection teams and local authorities have been advised of the incident through the standard communication channels and active case finding is ongoing. The UKHSA is working with the Department, the FSA, NHS England, local authorities and the devolved administrations to ensure system-wide communications on the product recall.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on the recall of contaminated Alimentum formula.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is coordinating a multi-agency response regarding the recall of contaminated infant formula. The UKHSA is engaging with the Department, the Food Standards Agency, NHS England, local authorities and the devolved administrations.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to tackle the resale of prescription only formula feeds through online auction sites.

Formula feeds, along with other items from Part XV of the Drug Tariff, are not prescription only medicines (POM) and most can be purchased from a pharmacy as foods or food supplements, as well as being prescribed if a general practitioner decides it is clinically appropriate to do so. As they are not POM, there is no restriction in medicines legislation relating to providing these to another person, whether or not for sale.

Food business operators are required to undertake a product recall where there may be unsafe product placed on the market. It is responsibility of the business to ensure that withdrawn and recalled products are handled appropriately. Activities to prevent the resale of any affected product that has been subject to a recall would be overseen by the relevant local authority to ensure that no product is re-sold and the product is destroyed. The Food Standards Agency monitors online sales platforms for any affected products and requests their removal from sale when found.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is considering prophylactic use of antivirals for the immunocompromised to protect those people from covid-19.

The Department continues to consider the prophylactic use of antivirals for the immunocompromised. The RAPID C-19 collaboration has enabled multi-agency oversight of national and international trial evidence as it emerges for COVID-19 therapies, in potential treatment and prophylactic indications. The evidence has strongly supported treatment use, although the evidence on prophylactic use will continue to be reviewed.

Later this spring, there will be a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) sub-study as part of the PANORAMIC national study, which will investigate the effect of prescribing oral antivirals to those who are a household contact of a COVID-19 positive individual. In addition, the PROTECT-V study is trialling sotrovimab and niclosamide as prophylactic drugs administered over a six-month period in vulnerable renal and immunosuppressed patients.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will introduce a cap on the cost of covid-19 tests.

We have no plans to do so. Manufacturers and retailers should have autonomy to set pricing and pack sizes for lateral flow device tests.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the viability of the PANORAMIC national study once participants are no longer able to access free covid-19 tests.

From 1 April 2022, limited symptomatic testing will be available for a small number of at-risk groups. The forthcoming testing strategy will provide further details, including for patients who may be eligible to enrol in the PANORAMIC study.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department will provide free covid-19 tests to immunocompromised people.

From 1 April 2022, free lateral flow device testing for the general public in England will no longer be available. There will be some limited testing available for a small number of at-risk groups. The Government will provide further information on eligible groups in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what process his Department is putting place for people acquiring free-of-charge covid-19 tests from 1 April 2022.

From 1 April 2022, free asymptomatic testing will end with the exception of some at risk groups. We will provide further details on eligible groups in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people taking part in the PANORAMIC study will continue to receive free covid-19 tests.

From 1 April 2022, limited symptomatic testing will be available for a small number of at-risk groups. The forthcoming testing strategy will provide further detail, including for patients who may be eligible to enrol in the PANORAMIC study.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of prophylactic use of antivirals for the immunocompromised in tackling covid-19.

The RAPID C-19 collaboration has enabled multi-agency oversight of national and international trial evidence as it emerges for COVID-19 therapies for potential treatment and prophylactic indications. While to date the evidence has most strongly supported treatment use, the evidence around prophylactic use will be reviewed.

As part of the PANORAMIC national study, there will be a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) sub-study which is expected to begin later in spring. This PEP sub-study will investigate the effect of prescribing oral antivirals to those who are a household contact of a COVID-19 positive individual. In addition, the PROTECT-V study is trialling sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody treatment and niclosamide, an antihelminthic drug, as prophylactic drugs administered over a six-month period in vulnerable renal and immunosuppressed patients.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how an immunocompromised person who tests positive for covid-19 can access one of the covid-19 treatments.

In England, 1.3 million of the highest risk patients are eligible to receive the monoclonal antibody sotrovimab or antiviral drugs paxlovid, molnupiravir or remdesivir. Eligible patients who receive a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or lateral flow device test result will be contacted by a clinician from a COVID Medicines Delivery Unit to discuss treatment suitability. The clinician will be responsible for assessing the patient and deciding which treatment option is most appropriate for the patient and their existing condition.

In addition, over 20 million people are eligible for the antiviral molnupiravir through the PANORAMIC national study. This study is open to individuals in the United Kingdom who have received a positive PCR test, are aged 50 years old and over or are aged 18 to 49 years old with an underlying medical condition that can increase the risk of developing severe COVID-19.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether revised covid-19 guidance will include an update on support for people who are immunosuppressed.

On 25 February 2022, the Government issued updated guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

Enhanced protections such as those offered by treatments, additional vaccinations and potentially other non-clinical interventions may also benefit those who are immunosuppressed.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will include a specific responsibility for immunocompromised and clinically extremely vulnerable people in the portfolio of a Minister in his Department.

I have portfolio responsibility for policy relating to people who are immunosuppressed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to continue to make covid-19 lateral flow tests freely available to clinically extremely vulnerable people to allow them to continue to benefit from covid-19 antivirals within their treatment window.

From 1 April 2022, there will be limited symptomatic testing available for a small number of at-risk groups. We will set out further details on which groups will be eligible in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to communicate advice for immunosuppressed people to continue to work from home.

The Government has issued guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19. This includes advising people in these groups to work from home where possible or, where that is not possible, to discuss with employers what temporary arrangements can be made to reduce risk at work. The guidance is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of patients in hospital in critical care with covid-19 are severely immunosuppressed; and if he will provide a breakdown of their conditions.

This information is not held centrally.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of patients in hospital with covid-19 are severely immunosuppressed; and if he will provide a breakdown of their conditions.

This information is not held centrally.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps (a) people with cystic fibrosis and who have had a lung transplant and (b) other people who are immunocompromised should take to access their fourth covid-19 vaccine; and what steps he is taking to improve clarity on how that information is recorded.

Where an individual has received their third primary dose, they are eligible for a fourth booster dose from three months after the third dose. An individual’s general practitioner (GP) or hospital specialist will invite them for their booster when eligible. Appointments can be booked online or via a walk-in vaccination site, with an accompanying letter from a GP or their hospital specialist inviting them for a booster vaccination. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine-people-with-severely-weakened-immune-system/

Those with cystic fibrosis and who have received a recent lung transplant and others with a severely weakened immune system should discuss their individual circumstances with their clinical team. We have also provided resources and additional information to charities and patient organisations representing those with severely compromised immune systems, including patients with cystic fibrosis and who have also received a lung transplant.

All doses administered to severely immunosuppressed citizens are recorded in the approved Point of Care systems. Fourth doses are recorded as booster vaccinations with the date administered on the patient’s vaccine record in addition to the third primary dose.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish any risk assessments carried out by SAGE and the UK Health Security or any other bodies on the potential impact of plans to remove the legal requirement for people who test positive for covid-19 to self-isolate on (a) people who are severely immunosuppressed and therefore less or not protected by vaccines and (b) formally clinically vulnerable people.

The COVID-19 Taskforce has advised that the Government is unable to provide the information requested as it relates to the formulation of Government policy.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish any risk assessments carried out by SAGE and the UK Health Security Agency on the potential impact of the removal of covid-19 measures announced on 19 January 2022 on (a) people who are severely immunosuppressed and therefore less or not protected by vaccines and (b) formally clinically extremely vulnerable people.

The COVID-19 Taskforce has advised that the Government is unable to provide the information requested as it relates to the formulation of Government policy.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance has been issued to clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable people who may be required to attend a mandatory face to face appointment with the Department for Work and Pensions.

People previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to follow general guidance, while considering additional precautions to reduce their risk of infection. Updated public health advice was issued on 24 December 2021 for those previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable, which is available at the following link:

https://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

We have also issued guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19, which is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

We will continue to keep this guidance under review.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to resume referrals from GPs to (a) Kings College Hospital Trust and (b) Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital for treatment of long covid; and for what reason South East London clinical commissioning group made the decision to pause acceptance of referrals.

In response to a surge in COVID-19-cases, Kings College Hospital NHS Trust temporarily suspended all non-urgent outpatient services, including post-COVID-19 services. These services are expected to reopen shortly. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust also temporarily suspended post-COVID-19 services, which have now re-opened.

Treatment for patients already in the post-COVID-19 pathway was not paused and continued in the community or in acute services as required and virtual follow-up appointments were maintained.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the NHS has written to all people who are deemed at highest risk of becoming seriously ill with covid-19 and eligible for antiviral and antibody treatments to inform them of their eligibility for treatment.

In England, approximately 1.3 million individuals have been pre-identified as potentially eligible for new COVID-19 treatments under the clinical access policy. These treatments are used to reduce the risk of deterioration or hospitalisation from COVID-19 infection.

The majority of patients will have received a letter or email informing them of their eligibility from NHS England and NHS Improvement. However, some potentially eligible patients are not centrally identifiable using national databases, such as those who are newly diagnosed and some cancer patients. Those patients are being contacted directly by their consultants.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government conducted an assessment of the impact of lifting Plan B COVID-19 restrictions on Clinically Vulnerable and Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people prior to its announcement on 19 January 2022.

Plan B measures are being removed as we believe it is safe and proportionate to do so.

The Government ended the Shielding Programme on 15 September 2021. People who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to follow general guidance, while considering extra precautions to reduce the chance of infection. We issued updated public health advice on 24 December 2021 for people who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable which is available at the following link:

https://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

Guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19 is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

NHS England and NHS Improvement have written to general practices and hospital trusts in England to raise awareness of this new guidance.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of (a) levels of access to antiviral and antibody treatment for the clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable and (b) provision of priority PCR covid-19 tests for those groups.

From 16 December 2021, up to 1.3 million of the highest risk patients in England have been able to access antiviral or antibody treatments COVID-19 treatments from COVID Medicines Delivery Units.

Deliveries of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing kits continue to be made to the highest risk patients in England. Any high risk patients who have not yet received these kits can contact 119 or book an in-person testing appointment. Over 20 million patients in the United Kingdom can access antivirals via the PANORAMIC national study, if they have a positive test result, are aged 50 years old and over or are 18 to 49 years old with an underlying health condition that can increase the risk of developing severe COVID-19.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the levels of data communication between the Northern Ireland Vaccine Management System and NHS England.

NHS Digital has established bi-directional live data flows to share vaccination data between England and Northern Ireland to update both the general practitioner (GP) record and NHS COVID Pass status. Individuals who have received one or more of their primary course or booster doses in Northern Ireland can access these details via the NHS COVID Pass, provided they are registered with a GP in England or otherwise have a National Health Service number. An in-person appointment to update their status is not required. Residents in Northern Ireland who received a vaccination dose in England can access their vaccination records via COVID-19 certification services in Northern Ireland.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's policy is on vaccinated individuals who move from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland to England, but are unable to access an NHS Covid Pass as a result of vaccination data not being aligned between devolved nations and England.

If an individual moves from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland where they were previously registered with a general practitioner (GP) and registers with a new GP in England, this vaccination data may not appear in the NHS COVID Pass. In these circumstances, individuals should book a face to face appointment at a selected list of vaccination centres in England. This service registers vaccines administered in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and overseas. Following an appointment, the NHS COVID Pass should record these doses within five days.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the recommended covid-19 guidance will be for clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable patients after Plan B restrictions are lifted on 26 January 2022.

The Government ended the shielding programme on 15 September 2021. People previously considered as clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to follow general guidance, while considering extra precautions to reduce the risk of infection. Updated public health advice for people who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable was issued on 24 December 2021, which is available 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

Guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19 is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

NHS England and NHS Improvement have written to general practices and hospital trusts in England to raise awareness of this new guidance.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that covid-19 vaccines are utilised prior to reaching their expiry date.

Robust mitigations have been put in place to reduce wastage. Stock levels have been closely monitored at a regional, system and site level with deliveries adjusted accordingly. This includes keeping stock back in the supply chain and encouraging sites to reallocate stock at a local level, rather than draw from central stores. Vaccine deliveries have been carefully managed in line with site capacity, population density and available supply, to ensure that any vaccine being delivered would be used within as short a timeframe as possible.

Following recent discussions with Pfizer and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to healthcare providers on 17 January 2022 setting out that certain unpunctured and undamaged Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines’ post thaw shelf-life has been extended from 31 days to 45 days.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the rate of covid-19 vaccine wastage is; and what assessment he has made of whether that rate will change in the coming months.

The rate of COVID-19 vaccine wastage is not available in the format requested. Therefore, no assessment of future wastage has been made.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable people are provided adequate information in respect of covid-19 booster vaccinations.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are in regular contact with groups representing people in at risk groups to provide the latest information on booster vaccinations. The current guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/who-is-at-high-risk-from-coronavirus/

NHS England and NHS Improvement also provide information directly to National Health Service systems and general practitioner practices in particular. On 4 January 2022, a letter was sent to NHS systems highlighting new guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness if they become infected with COVID-19. The letter is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/information-on-the-governments-additional-covid-19-advice-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/

Those in at-risk groups are also featured in targeted advertising campaigns for the vaccination programme. This is supported by a large-scale marketing campaign, including TV, radio, press partnerships, social media and digital/social media takeovers. There is also ongoing engagement with stakeholders, community groups and faith leaders to reinforce the vaccine messaging among ethnic minority communities, patient groups and disproportionately impacted communities.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to encourage Integrated Care Boards to publish board papers and minutes.

Integrated care boards (ICBs) will be subject to the transparency requirements set out in the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960. This requires meetings to be open to the public, including making the time and location of meetings public and sharing an agenda on request.

The Health and Care Bill includes a requirement that ICBs must specify in their constitution the arrangements to be made for ensuring transparency in relation to the decisions of the board and the manner in which they are made. NHS England will also publish guidance if it is deemed necessary to ensure the accountability and transparency of ICBs.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on local authorities of the delay in notifying those bodies of their public health grant allocations for 2022-23.

No assessment has been made. We understand that Local Authorities need certainty to plan, and local authority public health grant allocations for 2022/23 will be confirmed shortly. The public health grant for 2022/23 will be protected in real-terms, taking into account the inflation forecast set out by the Office for Budget Responsibility in October 2021.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date the local authority public health grant allocations for 2022-23 will be publicly released.

No assessment has been made. We understand that Local Authorities need certainty to plan, and local authority public health grant allocations for 2022/23 will be confirmed shortly. The public health grant for 2022/23 will be protected in real-terms, taking into account the inflation forecast set out by the Office for Budget Responsibility in October 2021.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the definition of real terms protection is in regards to local authority public health funding for 2022-23.

No assessment has been made. We understand that Local Authorities need certainty to plan, and local authority public health grant allocations for 2022/23 will be confirmed shortly. The public health grant for 2022/23 will be protected in real-terms, taking into account the inflation forecast set out by the Office for Budget Responsibility in October 2021.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 10 January 2022 to Question 94304, on Coronavirus: Screening, what options her Department is actively considering.

The availability of polymerase chain reaction tests, whether through the home channel or in-person appointments at test sites, is continually monitored to ensure a manageable flow of tests to the laboratory network. We have also expanded our laboratory processing capacity and implemented temporary surge testing capacity when required.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of suspending the provision of free covid-19 lateral flow tests.

There are regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a range of issues relating to the response to COVID-19. As announced on 21 February, from 1 April 2022, free access to asymptomatic and symptomatic tests for the public in England will end. We will continue to make testing available for a small number of at-risk groups. Further details on eligible groups will be made available in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued for people who test positive for covid-19 using a lateral flow test within 90 days of receiving a previous positive test; and whether that guidance has been updated in the context of scientific research that suggests that a person can contract the delta variant and then be reinfected with the omicron variant within 90 days.

Updated guidance was issued on 24 February 2022, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-people-with-covid-19-and-their-contacts/covid-19-people-with-covid-19-and-their-contacts

Those with any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. Positive lateral flow device tests within 90 days of a previous infection can be indicative of a possible reinfection, including with the Omicron variant. Those who have previously received a positive COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result, are advised not to take another PCR test within 90 days of this result, unless they develop new symptoms of COVID-19. It is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after the period of active COVID-19 infection.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had any discussions with Cabinet colleagues on repurposing covid-19 PCR testing sites for other medical tests, once they are no longer required.

There have been no specific discussions. The future use of COVID-19 testing sites has not yet been determined.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment the Government has made of the adequacy of covid-19 PCR testing site provision; and what plans he has to change the level of that provision over the next 12 months.

There are currently more than 1,000 test sites in the United Kingdom and on average, a person travels less than two and a half miles to access a test site. We work with local authorities and other stakeholders to ensure sites are located appropriately and meet local demand. Future decisions regarding the provision of test sites will be led by expert clinical advice.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the need for ongoing financial support for covid-19 testing capacity, and in particular support for the Lighthouse Lab in Glasgow, beyond March 2022..

The Department has secured resourcing to extend critical COVID-19 services, including testing, beyond March 2022. On 15 December, the UK Health Security Agency wrote to all Lighthouse Laboratories to confirm continued support and the intention to renew contracts.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to develop contingency plans for use in the event that covid-19 PCR testing capacity is exceeded.

We are keeping COVID-19 testing capacity under close review and actively considering options in the event that the system struggles to meet demand. We are also working with our existing providers to increase capacity in the current network further over the coming weeks.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase PCR testing capacity following the rise in Omicron covid-19 variant cases.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the National Health Service and the UK Health Security Agency have built a United Kingdom wide laboratory network with capacity to process 848,000 polymerase chain reaction tests per day. Following the spread of the Omicron variant, we increased testing capacity by 200,000 tests per day. Some of this capacity came online the week commencing 20 December. We have also transitioned to the new Omicron mutation target assay in nine of our ten labs (as of 10 December), providing 3-4 times increased capacity and detection.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what urgent steps his Department is taking to reschedule planned surgeries that were cancelled during October and November 2021 as a result of shortages of beds and staff.

The National Health Service continues to prioritise those patients with the highest clinical need alongside those who have been waiting the longest. Where cancellations have been unavoidable, all efforts are being made to rebook patients who have been affected as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of local authority funding deficits on regional public health outcomes.

We have made no such specific assessment. At the Spending Review, the Government announced an approximately £1.6 billion additional grant in the Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit for the next three years. This will allow councils to increase spending on public services, such as supporting families, children’s and adults’ social care. We have also made available over £12 billion to local government since the start of the pandemic to address the costs and impacts of COVID-19.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase S gene regional testing capacity to identify cases of the omicron variant of covid-19.

We have no current plans to do so. Five out of 10 Lighthouse Laboratories currently have S-gene target failure (SGTF) capacity, representing a coverage of approximately 50 to 60% of the network. However, nine out of 10 laboratories have implemented a genotype reflex assay which offers a much greater specificity of detection for Omicron than SGTF. We are working to rapidly expand coverage of the genotyping assay to up to 100% of our Lighthouse Laboratory network.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase hospital bed capacity over the winter months.

The National Health Service will receive an extra £5.4 billion this year to support its response to COVID-19, which includes £478 million to continue the enhanced hospital discharge programme to increase bed capacity and support patient flow through hospitals. This is in addition to an extra £1 billion to tackle the elective care backlog, with more than £8 billion allocated for the next three years, which could provide approximately nine million additional checks, scans and procedures.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
What plans he has to prioritise cancer diagnosis, care and treatment during winter 2021-22.

Cancer has remained a priority for the National Health Service throughout the pandemic and the vast majority of services have been maintained. This will continue into the winter. Over the winter, we will aim to sustain the progress made and prepare for future challenges, while ensuring the NHS does not come under unsustainable pressure. Anyone experiencing potential symptoms of cancer should contact their general practitioner as soon as possible.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to support care homes that risk losing losing staff due to the proposed mandatory covid-19 vaccination guidelines.

We have ensured social care workers are prioritised for COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. In addition to repeat care home visits by vaccination teams, we have introduced priority access at vaccination centres for social care workers and unpaid carers which is available now at walk-in sites. The regulations on vaccination requirements in care homes included a 16-week grace period to provide time for staff to be vaccinated and also for care homes to manage staff transition, if necessary. We also made guidance available through partners to support local authorities with capacity and workforce planning.

We have put in place a range of measures to support local authorities and care providers address workforce capacity pressures. On 10 December 2021 we announced £300 million to support local authorities and care providers to recruit and retain staff through winter. This is in addition to the existing £162.5 million Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund. We have also launched a new phase of our national recruitment campaign which will run until March 2022.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what further steps his Department is taking to ensure that care home (a) staff and (b) residents are protected from covid-19 infection transmitted by visitors.

We have issued guidance on care home visiting during the pandemic, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

To ensure both care home staff and residents are protected from COVID-19 infection, we expect care homes to ask visitors to take steps including booking appointments, taking a test on the day of their visit, wearing a mask throughout and washing their hands thoroughly on arrival. Care homes are also asked to develop a dynamic risk assessment for how visits are managed, including consideration of infection prevention and control measures and ventilation.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients with Long Covid have waited longer than 18 weeks for referral to the Post Covid Assessment Service in (a) England, (b) each region of England and (c) each NHS Trust.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publishes monthly activity data and demographic information for patients referred to a post COVID-19 assessment clinic, by region and in England, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-post-covid-assessment-service/

The following table shows the number of accepted referrals to post COVID-19 assessment clinics from July 2021 in England and at a regional level. Data at National Health Service trust level is not available.

NHS England region

5 July – 1 August 2021

2 August – 29 August 2021

30 August– 26 September 2021

England

5,029

4,846

5,182

East of England

574

580

491

London

740

797

761

Midlands

1,139

1,347

1,497

North East and Yorkshire

1,012

85

785

North West

424

671

552

South East

805

426

605

South West

335

240

354

From October 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published information on waiting times from referral to an initial assessment. A table showing initial specialist assessments by waiting time for England and at a regional level between 30 August and 26 September 2021 is attached. Data at NHS trust level is not available. Data on waiting times for the period between 2 to 29 August 2021 is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-post-covid-assessment-service/

These are new clinics and as a result there will be variation in the maturity of services. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with clinics to support them to reduce waiting times. As this is a relatively new data collection, some variation may be attributable to incomplete data submissions and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to improve data quality.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the waiting time for treatment for people diagnosed with Long Covid in (a) England, (b) each region and (c) each NHS Trust in each of the last 12 months for which data is available.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publishes monthly activity data and demographic information for patients referred to a post COVID-19 assessment clinic, by region and in England, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-post-covid-assessment-service/

The following table shows the number of accepted referrals to post COVID-19 assessment clinics from July 2021 in England and at a regional level. Data at National Health Service trust level is not available.

NHS England region

5 July – 1 August 2021

2 August – 29 August 2021

30 August– 26 September 2021

England

5,029

4,846

5,182

East of England

574

580

491

London

740

797

761

Midlands

1,139

1,347

1,497

North East and Yorkshire

1,012

85

785

North West

424

671

552

South East

805

426

605

South West

335

240

354

From October 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published information on waiting times from referral to an initial assessment. A table showing initial specialist assessments by waiting time for England and at a regional level between 30 August and 26 September 2021 is attached. Data at NHS trust level is not available. Data on waiting times for the period between 2 to 29 August 2021 is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-post-covid-assessment-service/

These are new clinics and as a result there will be variation in the maturity of services. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with clinics to support them to reduce waiting times. As this is a relatively new data collection, some variation may be attributable to incomplete data submissions and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to improve data quality.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many Long Covid referrals were made in (a) England, (b) each region and (c) each NHS Trust in each of the last 12 months for which data is available.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publishes monthly activity data and demographic information for patients referred to a post COVID-19 assessment clinic, by region and in England, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-post-covid-assessment-service/

The following table shows the number of accepted referrals to post COVID-19 assessment clinics from July 2021 in England and at a regional level. Data at National Health Service trust level is not available.

NHS England region

5 July – 1 August 2021

2 August – 29 August 2021

30 August– 26 September 2021

England

5,029

4,846

5,182

East of England

574

580

491

London

740

797

761

Midlands

1,139

1,347

1,497

North East and Yorkshire

1,012

85

785

North West

424

671

552

South East

805

426

605

South West

335

240

354

From October 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published information on waiting times from referral to an initial assessment. A table showing initial specialist assessments by waiting time for England and at a regional level between 30 August and 26 September 2021 is attached. Data at NHS trust level is not available. Data on waiting times for the period between 2 to 29 August 2021 is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-post-covid-assessment-service/

These are new clinics and as a result there will be variation in the maturity of services. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with clinics to support them to reduce waiting times. As this is a relatively new data collection, some variation may be attributable to incomplete data submissions and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to improve data quality.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department collects on waiting times for people diagnosed with Long Covid.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publishes monthly activity data and demographic information for patients referred to a post COVID-19 assessment clinic, by region and in England, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-post-covid-assessment-service/

The following table shows the number of accepted referrals to post COVID-19 assessment clinics from July 2021 in England and at a regional level. Data at National Health Service trust level is not available.

NHS England region

5 July – 1 August 2021

2 August – 29 August 2021

30 August– 26 September 2021

England

5,029

4,846

5,182

East of England

574

580

491

London

740

797

761

Midlands

1,139

1,347

1,497

North East and Yorkshire

1,012

85

785

North West

424

671

552

South East

805

426

605

South West

335

240

354

From October 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published information on waiting times from referral to an initial assessment. A table showing initial specialist assessments by waiting time for England and at a regional level between 30 August and 26 September 2021 is attached. Data at NHS trust level is not available. Data on waiting times for the period between 2 to 29 August 2021 is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-post-covid-assessment-service/

These are new clinics and as a result there will be variation in the maturity of services. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with clinics to support them to reduce waiting times. As this is a relatively new data collection, some variation may be attributable to incomplete data submissions and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to improve data quality.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the Long Covid clinics that are operating in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published a list of post-COVID assessment services for patients in England, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/post-covid-syndrome-long-covid/

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of people with Long Covid in England.

The Department uses estimates provided by the Office for National Statistics which states that as of 2 October 2021, 1,036,000 people living in private households in England were experiencing self-reported symptoms for more than four weeks and 731,000 people for at least 12 weeks.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of increasing the proportion of funding allocated to the social care sector through the planned Health and Social Care Levy, given that less than half of the announced funding has been earmarked for social care services over the next three years.

The Department considered the wider needs of the health and care system in relation to the Levy announced on 7 September, with £5.4 billion over three years for adult social care. The Government confirmed it is providing councils with £1.6 billion of new grant funding per year for social care and other services in this Spending Review period. This settlement also assumes councils will have flexibility to increase the adult social care precept by 1% per year, which will provide up to an additional £1.7 billion in council tax receipts over the three years.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding of the Health Foundation's Paper entitled Why greater investment in the public health grant should be a priority, published on 5 October 2021, that there has been a 14 per cent reduction in sexual health funding between 2015 to 2020, if he will make it his policy to increase funding for sexual health services.

We have allocated more than £3 billion to local authorities in England to fund public health services in 2021/22, including sexual and reproductive health. The forthcoming Spending Review will set out funding for these services in future years.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to fully fund sexual health services in England in the upcoming Spending Review.

We have allocated more than £3 billion to local authorities in England to fund public health services in 2021/22, including sexual and reproductive health. The forthcoming Spending Review will set out funding for these services in future years.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the level of unmet need for sexual health services in England.

No national assessment has been made. The Government has mandated local authorities to commission comprehensive open access sexual health services through the Public Health Grant. It is for individual local authorities to decide their spending priorities based on an assessment of local need, taking account of their statutory duties.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 April 2021 to Question 3942 on Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Independent Review, what Government progress the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Review is monitoring as at 14 June 2021.

The information is not collected in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 April 2021 to Question 175736, on Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Independent Review, whether he has had discussions with the Prime Minister on implementing the recommendations made in the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, First Do No Harm.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has regular discussions with all Cabinet colleagues to discuss Departmental priorities, including the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the number of people that have used the Your COVID Recovery online service since July 2020.

Since July 2020, over 1.2 million users have accessed the ‘Your Covid Recovery’ service.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the number of patients who have received an assessment through the NHS post-COVID assessment service since Oct 2020.

Referral data for NHS England and NHS Improvement’s ‘long’ COVID-19 assessment services is experimental and has not yet been validated. NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently working with regions and systems to develop and refine processes to collect activity and demographic data for the assessment clinics. From summer 2021, activity data on referral, number of assessments, waiting times and the onward patient journey will be published monthly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) are being offered the covid-19 vaccine in some areas of the country and not in others.

To date, chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) has not been identified as a condition that makes an individual clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 or would place an individual at increased clinical risk. It is likely that some people with CFS/ME are being offered vaccines because they are eligible through other means such as their age or they have other underlying health issues that would it put them at increased clinical risk.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on moving people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) into priority group 6 for the covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent body made up of scientific and clinical experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.

The JCVI’s advice is that to date, chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis has not been identified as a condition that would place an individual at increased clinical risk to COVID-19 and therefore eligible for vaccination in priority group six. The JCVI’s advice is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation-advice-on-priority-groups-for-covid-19-vaccination-30-december-2020

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with his Department on implementing the recommendations made by the Cumberlege report, First Do No Harm: the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to my Written Ministerial Statement of 11 January 2021 (HCWS692).

The Government will respond in full to the report later this year.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make a comparative assessment of the effectiveness of the supply of covid vaccination vials to (a) the Manchester Etihad Stadium mass vaccination site and (b) Primary Care Network sites in (a) Tameside and Glossop CCG and (b) Stockport CCG.

There are no specific plans to do so.

Each region is given an allocation of vaccine based on national levels of supply and plans submitted by local systems, which is allocated to vaccination sites. The plans are based on a range of criteria, including previous activity, population and the remaining number of people in the eligible cohorts. Each Primary Care Network site receives their own supply and work has been carried out with local clinical commissioning group colleagues to ensure that vaccine supply aligns with the number of registered patients in the priority cohort groups.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with vaccination sites across the country to ensure that supplies are replenished as required and to ensure an adequate and consistent supply of vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of covid-19 vaccination wastage levels at the (a) Manchester Etihad Stadium mass vaccination and (b) Primary Care Network sites in (i) Tameside and Glossop CCG and (ii) Stockport CCG.

We have made no such assessment of vaccine wastage at those sites.

No vaccines should be wasted. All vaccination centres should have a backup list people in the cohorts currently being vaccinated, who can be called in case doses would be wasted. If no members of the currently vaccinated cohorts are available, it is recommended that members of the priority cohorts next in line be vaccinated.

In the unlikely case the above is not possible, in line with Enhanced Service Specification, individuals present on site should be vaccinated based on clinical judgement. The Enhanced Service Specification is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/12/C0917-Covid-19-Enhanced-Service-ES-Specification-1-December-2020.pdf

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS England shares data with local Primary Care Networks to avoid duplication and confusion relating to invitations for the covid-19 vaccine.

To record vaccinations, a National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) is being used as the national register for COVID-19 vaccinations. At the point that someone receives their vaccine, this information will be recorded on the NIMS system and onto a patient’s general practitioner record. National letters include information for individuals booked or received a first vaccination and options of booking via the national booking service or waiting to be contacted locally.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2021 to Question 134382, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of ensuring that unused covid-19 vaccines are offered to (a) police officers and (b) other key workers.

If there are ‘spare’ doses available from existing allocations for eligible cohorts, the priority list should be worked through including using the doses starting with those in Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) groups five and six. In very rare instances where no one from any of the JCVI priority groups are available, the spare dose should be administered based on clinical judgement on who is appropriate to receive the dose.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 February 2021 to Question 149746 on Sodium Valproate, what the terms of reference are for his Department's assessment of recommendation 4 of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

Recommendation 4 of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety (IMMDS) Review, which relates to redress schemes, gives the Government the parameters for its assessment. In undertaking it, the Government will continue to utilise the wealth of information captured by the review as well as other relevant information. A full response to this and other outstanding recommendations of the IMMDS Review will be set out later in 2021.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the Government has decided not to implement recommendation 3 of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review to create a new independent Redress Agency for people harmed by medicines and medical devices.

The Government has no current plans to establish a redress agency as set out in recommendation three of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review. The Government is able to establish redress schemes on individual issues without the need for a new organisation and has done so several times.

We have prioritised a new safety regime for devices to reduce the risk of harm occurring.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that people with asthma are included in priority group 6 for covid-19 vaccination.

An individual with a more severe case of asthma may have been included in the clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) group, in which case they will be vaccinated in priority group four.  Those with asthma not identified for inclusion in the CEV group, that require continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission, will be vaccinated in priority group six. Adults with mild asthma who do not meet the inclusion criteria would not be included within the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s priority group six.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of women that have missed out on immediate breast reconstruction since April 2020.

This information is not available in the format requested. Information regarding completed specific treatment pathways is only published annually.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the July 2020 Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report entitled First Do No Harm, what plans he has to create a new independent redress agency for people harmed by medicines and medical devices.

The Government has no current plans to do so.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of women that are awaiting breast reconstruction surgery.

This information is not available in the format requested. Information regarding completed specific treatment pathways is only published annually.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of women that have had their breast reconstruction surgery delayed since April 2020.

This information is not available in the format requested. Information regarding completed specific treatment pathways is only published annually.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to put support in place for people under the age of 18 with long covid.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided a £10 million investment package to support people, including children and young people, with ‘long’ COVID-19. As part of the investment, 69 post-COVID-19 assessment service centres are operational across England. A further 12 assessment centres are expected to be available shortly. These clinics will be crucial in helping medical experts to assess, diagnose and treat thousands of people suffering the debilitating long-term consequences of the virus.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what preparations his Department is making for the increase in numbers of people with long covid following the winter 2020-21 spike in covid infections.

In October 2020, NHS England announced a £10 million investment package to support people with ‘long’ COVID-19. As part of the investment, 69 post-COVID-19 assessment service centres are operational across England to assess people with long-term effects of COVID-19 and direct them to effective treatment pathways. Seven trusts in the Greater Manchester area are already providing clinics. A further 12 long COVID-19 assessment service centres are expected to launch in early 2021 nationally.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published a clinical case definition of long COVID-19 in October 2020 and evidence-based clinical guidelines for medical staff treating people with long COVID-19 in December 2020. This is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng188

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing statutory regulation of (a) training and (b) professional standards for foot health practitioners.

The Government has no plans to extend statutory regulation to foot health practitioners. The statutory regulation of healthcare professionals should only be used where the risks to public and patient protection cannot be addressed in other ways, such as through employer oversight or accredited voluntary registration.

Foot health practitioners can register with the Alliance of Private Sector Practitioners, which is a voluntary register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA). The PSA sets standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredits those registers that meet the standards. Accreditation provides assurance that a voluntary register is well run - for example, by ensuring that registrants are required to meet high standards of personal behaviour, technical competence and, where relevant, business practice.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that clinically vulnerable emergency service workers are prioritised for the covid-19 vaccine.

NHS England and Improvement have set out Operational Guidance on the Vaccination of Frontline Health and Social Care Workers. This includes all frontline social care workers directly working with people clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 who need care and support irrespective of where they work, whether they care for clinically vulnerable adults or children or who they are employed by. All frontline healthcare staff who are eligible for seasonal influenza vaccination should be offered a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes paramedics and ambulance drivers. If an emergency worker is not included due to their occupation but is eligible for prioritisation due to their age or clinical risk, then they will be vaccinated in the according priority group.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce bureaucracy for medical professionals who volunteer to administer the covid-19 vaccine.

We are streamlining the process for registering medical professionals who wish to volunteer as vaccinators. There are no delays in the COVID-19 vaccination programme caused by accrediting volunteers or returners.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of issuing Government guidance that clinically vulnerable people should work from home until they have received a covid-19 vaccination.

The four-week period of national restrictions ended on 2 December and the tiering system has now been reintroduced.

Clinically vulnerable people are advised to work from home if possible. If this is not possible, they can go to work, but their employer must ensure that the workplace is Covid-secure.

We have no plans to issue guidance advising clinically vulnerable people to work from home until they have received a covid-19 vaccination.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending maternity exemption certificates for people who have not been able to use them during the covid-19 lockdowns.

The Government has no current plans to extend the period of maternity exemption certificates during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the legalisation of the supplement Agmatine for medical purposes.

Agmatine is a substance that is classified as a novel food in the European Union. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) can confirm Agmatine is not present in any licensed medicines in the United Kingdom and there have been no clinical trials using agmatine either.

In order for the MHRA to authorise a medicine for use in the UK, a manufacturer has to apply to obtain a marketing authorisation. The MHRA makes its decision to approve a licence for a product based on demonstration of safety, quality and efficacy. Thus far, the MHRA has not received any application for Agmatine to be used for medical purposes.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on implementing the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report entitled First Do No Harm, published on 8 July 2020.

The Government welcomes the report and we are considering Baroness Cumberlege’s recommendations carefully. We will update Parliament before the end of the year.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of NHS staff who are line-managed by close family members.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for (a) breast cancer patients and (b) NHS England of making permanent the reductions introduced during the covid-19 outbreak to (i) the number of doses of radiotherapy and (ii) cycles of adjuvant trastuzumab during treatment.

Breast cancer treatments are advancing all the time. Despite the pandemic, this year is no exception with developments having been made in both radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments – both of which are likely to benefit breast cancer patients and the National Health Service as follows:

- The publication of the 10-year results of the FAST Trial, which looked at five fraction radiotherapy to treat early breast cancer, is an exciting breakthrough which enables people with breast cancer to be treated much more quickly and conveniently meaning fewer visits to hospital. All NHS radiotherapy providers in England are adopting this approach; and

- The PERSEPHONE trial evaluated the use of trastuzumab over a six month period versus a 12 month period to evaluate non-inferiority. In response to the pandemic, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence developed interim guidance which recommended the use of the six month schedule. This approach means that patients attend hospital for a shorter overall period in order to reduce the risk of infection to vulnerable patients.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle flu vaccine shortages in (a) Tameside and (b) Stockport.

There is no national shortage of the flu vaccine. We have sufficient vaccine for over 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s local team are currently unaware of any specific issues with shortages in Tameside or Stockport.

General practitioners and pharmacists are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season. In addition, the Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available from November.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been referred to the Your COVID Recovery programme.

Your COVID Recovery is a two-phase endeavour with phase 1 being available now and is an open, publicly available site containing general information on all aspects of recovering from COVID-19 including physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing, and signposting to other agencies. The only data collected on this are the numbers of interactions on the website.

Phase 2 will be launched this autumn and will be available to people who are assessed and referred by a health care professional. It is the intention that these people will be assessed once they have completed a tailored online programme.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of giving NHS staff paid leave when they are required to self-isolate.

It is essential for infection control purposes that staff members who should self-isolate, do so. To support this, we have issued guidance to employers to ensure all National Health Service staff, including those who would normally need to be physically present at an NHS facility to fulfill their role and who are unable to work from home, continue to receive full pay should they be required to self-isolate as a result of public health advice.

Our guidance states that employers should use their usual methods for calculating full pay using agreed processes at a local level and in line with NHS terms and conditions. The full guidance on self-isolation can be found on the NHS Employers’ website at the following link:

https://www.nhsemployers.org/covid19/staff-terms-and-conditions/self-isolation

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in which local authorities the Your COVID Recovery programme is currently available; and if he will provide a timetable for the launch of the programme in areas that are not currently covered.

Your COVID Recovery is an online tool being developed in two phases. Phase 1 was launched earlier this summer to enable patients and their families or carers to access further information around recovering post COVID-19. It provides a holistic approach to health and wellbeing and includes information on areas including mental health and wellbeing, to physical strength and returning to work. The development of Your COVID Recovery has been clinically led and by rehabilitation experts, with the support of recovered COVID-19 patients.

Phase 1 of the website is live and publicly available at the following link:

www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk

It covers all aspects of care following an individual having had COVID-19 either in an acute or community setting.

Phase 2 is the virtual rehabilitation aspect of the platform and will be launched later in the autumn.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for the understanding of long-term covid-19 symptoms of contacting people who tested positive for covid-19 four weeks later to ask whether they have returned to baseline health.

The Government, as well as our expert scientific groups, continues to monitor and assess data from a wide variety of sources to better understand the disease course of COVID-19.

In July, the National Health Service launched the ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service to support the recovery of people who have been in hospital or suffered at home with the virus. This is a two-phase endeavour with Phase 1 being available as an open, publicly available site containing general information on all aspects of recovering from COVID-19, including physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. Phase 2 will be launched this autumn and will be available to people who are assessed and referred by a healthcare professional.

The National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation have also invested £8.4 million in the Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID), which seeks to understand why some patients develop longer-term health problems. This is one of the world’s largest comprehensive research studies into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the research study into the long-term health effects of covid-19 on hospitalised patients announced on 5 July 2020.

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 the University of Leicester. The study is one of the world’s largest comprehensive research studies into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients.

The study is well underway and has established a national platform to integrate research and clinical service. The first patient was recruited on 10 August. The study has received approval from the Research Ethics Committee and obtained ISRCTN registration. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN10980107

The researchers have also established nine expert working groups and a Patient, Public Involvement Group to ensure the value of the patient voice is maximised and integrated in PHOSP-COVID.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has for research into the long-term effects of covid-19 on people who contracted the virus but were never hospitalised.

The Department is aware of reports that those with milder illnesses of COVID-19 can experience ongoing symptoms. In light of these findings, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care convened a roundtable meeting with researchers and clinicians – including those specialising in community health – to establish what more can be done to understand and mitigate the long-term health effects of COVID-19.

We recognise the need for further research into the longer-term effects of the virus in those who did not require hospitalisation, and the Department is considering options for future work in this area.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to prisons on protecting the health and safety of prisoners held permanently in their cells as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England has published guidance for managing COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention. The guidance was updated on 4 August and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-prisons-and-other-prescribed-places-of-detention-guidance

All prison healthcare providers are expected to operate in line with this guidance.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people experiencing long-term effects of covid-19.

Research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 and the number of people likely to be experiencing them, is ongoing. However, it is clear that for some of those who have survived, the virus and the treatment they have received to combat it will have a lasting impact on their health.

On 4 July the Government announced a research study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, which is being led by UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research. The findings will support the development of new strategies for clinical and rehabilitation care, including personalised treatments based on the particular disease characteristics that a patient shows, to improve their long-term health.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the size of waiting lists for CAMHS services in (a) England and (b) Greater Manchester, and if he will make a statement.

Data on waiting list sizes is not available.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to respond to the letter from UK members of the Body Politic Covid-19 Support Group of 29 March 2020 on support for individuals experiencing long-term ill health after contracting covid-19.

We have no record of receiving the letter of 29 March 2020.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who the members are of the National HIV Expert Group that is responsible for the National HIV Action Plan, announced on 30 January 2019.

Following the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s announcement in January 2019, the National AIDS Trust and Terrence Higgins Trust are leading an independent commission on ending new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. The HIV Commission is chaired by Dame Inga Beale and includes experts from public health and academic communities. This work is being supported by Public Health England.

The HIV Commission will publish its recommendations later this year and the Government will convene an expert group to develop an action plan to end new HIV transmissions after it receives the recommendations. Membership of the expert group and the publication date of the National HIV Action Plan will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date the National HIV Action Plan will be published.

Following the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s announcement in January 2019, the National AIDS Trust and Terrence Higgins Trust are leading an independent commission on ending new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. The HIV Commission is chaired by Dame Inga Beale and includes experts from public health and academic communities. This work is being supported by Public Health England.

The HIV Commission will publish its recommendations later this year and the Government will convene an expert group to develop an action plan to end new HIV transmissions after it receives the recommendations. Membership of the expert group and the publication date of the National HIV Action Plan will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the HIV Expert Group and National HIV Action Plan, announced on 30 January 2019.

Following the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s announcement in January 2019, the National AIDS Trust and Terrence Higgins Trust are leading an independent commission on ending new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. The HIV Commission is chaired by Dame Inga Beale and includes experts from public health and academic communities. This work is being supported by Public Health England.

The HIV Commission will publish its recommendations later this year and the Government will convene an expert group to develop an action plan to end new HIV transmissions after it receives the recommendations. Membership of the expert group and the publication date of the National HIV Action Plan will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that children and young people who do not meet the threshold for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service support have access to mental health and wellbeing support during summer 2020.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for the City of Durham (Mary Foy MP) on 23 June 2020 to Question 903710.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much the Government paid to transfer the CARE badge brand rights from the CARE Badge Community Interest Company to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

The CARE Badge Community Interest Company transferred the brand rights for the CARE logo to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care free of charge.

When this transfer took place, the Government purchased the remaining stock of badges held by the previous brand owner. As of 19 June, 15,000 of these badges, or about 95% of the amount purchased from the previous rights holder, have been distributed at no cost to social care providers or members of the workforce.

Additional badges have been procured and we expect to be able to start delivery of these badges in July. Details of how they will be distributed to people working in social care who want to wear this badge with pride will be available in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many CARE badges have been (a) produced and (b) distributed by his Department since the transfer of the CARE badge brand rights to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

The CARE Badge Community Interest Company transferred the brand rights for the CARE logo to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care free of charge.

When this transfer took place, the Government purchased the remaining stock of badges held by the previous brand owner. As of 19 June, 15,000 of these badges, or about 95% of the amount purchased from the previous rights holder, have been distributed at no cost to social care providers or members of the workforce.

Additional badges have been procured and we expect to be able to start delivery of these badges in July. Details of how they will be distributed to people working in social care who want to wear this badge with pride will be available in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that essential workers who visit the homes of people who are shielding from covid-19 (a) have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and (b) wear PPE during those visits.

The Government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding taking into account that COVID-19 disease levels have decreased over the last few weeks. People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing.

Any essential carers or visitors who support people who are shielding with their everyday needs can continue to visit unless they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell). Essential carers should follow advice on good hygiene and should keep two metres away where close or personal contact is not required and where this is possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of demand for mental health services for children and young people since the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps his Department is taking to (a) mitigate and (b) manage demand during that outbreak.

Mental health providers are offering support to children and young people using digital and remote approaches to continue assessment and treatment as part of the wider support across the whole system supporting children and young people including education settings, local authorities, the voluntary care sector and other services.

We are working with the National Health Service and Public Health England, service users, academics and the voluntary sector to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 and plan for how to support the public’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to achieve the goal set out in the NHS Long Term Plan of ensuring that all children and young people who need specialist mental health care can access it.

We remain committed to delivering the ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan, building on the progress to date. The National Health Service is on track to deliver its end 2020/21 target for expanding children and young people’s specialist services and is on track to deliver the roll-out of mental health support teams in schools and colleges across 20-25% of areas in England by 2023/24.

Supporting children and young people’s mental health during and after the pandemic is a priority for the NHS and providers are offering support using digital and remote approaches to continue assessment and treatment during social distancing measures.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th May 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what recent assessment the Commission has made of the effectiveness of the functioning of the hybrid procedures for the House.

The Commission has made no formal assessment of the effectiveness of the implementation of hybrid proceedings in this House. The Speaker, as Chair of Commission, continues to work with the Procedure Committee, which is undertaking a review of the operation of hybrid proceedings, in order to ensure a wide range of Members’ views are taken into account. A group of officials regularly meets to review planning for the services provided by the House to ensure they are commensurate with the needs of Members and other users of the Estate.

I should like to put on record the Commission’s appreciation for the work by the staff of the House and the Parliamentary Digital Service in delivering, at great speed, such radical changes to the way the House operates, which have allowed it to discharge its key functions under extraordinary circumstances.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that vulnerable people (a) living with cancer and (b) who have recently had chemotherapy can obtain the information and support they need in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service will contact patients that are at high risk of getting seriously ill with COVID-19 from Monday 23 March 2020. This will include patients with certain types of cancer, and those that are receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

NHS England and NHS Improvement suggest that patients read the advice given on the NHS website at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Further advice can be found on the MacMillan website at the following link:

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/get-help/physical-help/cancer-and-coronavirus

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure (a) people living with cancer and (b) other vulnerable people can continue to receive care and support in their homes during the delay phase of the Government's response to covid-19.

On 24 March the Government implemented shielding as a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. They are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions, which put them at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include those with specific cancers, including; those who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer; those with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment; those having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer and those having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors. More information on sheltering can be found at the following link:

https://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

Those at high risk will be contacted by the National Health Service by 29 March 2020. Key workers including those who provide social care are following their own guidance measures to ensure they can still perform their roles without increasing the risk of spread. More guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the risks that covid-19 poses to people with cancer.

On 24 March the Government implemented shielding as a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. They are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions, which put them at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include those with specific cancers, including; those who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer; those with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment; those having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer and those having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors. More information on sheltering can be found at the following link:

https://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

Those at high risk will be contacted by the National Health Service by 29 March 2020. Key workers including those who provide social care are following their own guidance measures to ensure they can still perform their roles without increasing the risk of spread. More guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will request NHS Digital to routinely publish waiting times for joint replacement surgery as part of NHS England's Consultant-led referral to treatment waiting times dataset.

A maximum waiting time of 18 weeks from referral to elective treatment, including for joint replacement surgery, is the existing National Health Service access standard.

Data on waiting times for joint replacement surgery is already published on a monthly basis by NHS England and NHS Improvement. A detailed breakdown of the waiting times for different specialities are available on the NHS website.

A clinically-led review of NHS access standards is ongoing. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s final recommendations to the Government are due by the Spring and the Government will carefully consider these recommendations.

The Government is providing an additional £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24 to support measures set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. Additionally, a reform of outpatient services is underway that will reduce the need for patients to attend unnecessary face to face appointments, saving patients time and freeing up medical and nursing time.

This funding increase and clinical reform will reduce the demand on services while also growing capacity, thereby allowing increasing amounts of planned surgical activity. This in turn will decrease the waiting list and help get the NHS back on track to delivering performance standards.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish an action plan with proposed timeframes to (a) improve access and (b) reduce waiting times to joint replacement surgery and to reduce waiting times.

A maximum waiting time of 18 weeks from referral to elective treatment, including for joint replacement surgery, is the existing National Health Service access standard.

Data on waiting times for joint replacement surgery is already published on a monthly basis by NHS England and NHS Improvement. A detailed breakdown of the waiting times for different specialities are available on the NHS website.

A clinically-led review of NHS access standards is ongoing. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s final recommendations to the Government are due by the Spring and the Government will carefully consider these recommendations.

The Government is providing an additional £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24 to support measures set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. Additionally, a reform of outpatient services is underway that will reduce the need for patients to attend unnecessary face to face appointments, saving patients time and freeing up medical and nursing time.

This funding increase and clinical reform will reduce the demand on services while also growing capacity, thereby allowing increasing amounts of planned surgical activity. This in turn will decrease the waiting list and help get the NHS back on track to delivering performance standards.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she will take to ensure that Russian Oligarchs are unable to exploit loopholes in sanctions imposed on that group by the Government.

The new dedicated 'Kleptocracy Cell' in the National Crime Agency (NCA) will target criminal sanctions evasion and corrupt assets hidden in the UK. The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) works extremely closely with the NCA, and this includes close cooperation on sanctions breaches.  The vast majority of the designations made on 15 March were made possible under new powers in the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act. This has given the Government the ability to immediately designate individuals and entities under an urgent procedure, while evidence is gathered to sanction them under standard processes.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department has taken to encourage Saudi Arabia to normalise relations with Israel.

The United Kingdom warmly welcomed the normalisation agreements between Israel and Arab partners Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan. The Foreign Secretary made clear her commitment to the Abraham Accords at both the recent UK-Israel Strategic Dialogue on 29 November, and subsequently at the Gulf Cooperation Council-United Kingdom Foreign Ministers' Meeting on 20 December. The UK is working with regional partners to ensure the Abraham Accords are an enduring success, and continue to encourage other countries who have not yet normalised to do so.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 15 November 2021 to Question 71291, whether the Government has encouraged the Mauritanian Government to normalise diplomatic relations with Israel in bilateral meetings.

The United Kingdom warmly welcomed the normalisation agreements between Israel and Arab partners Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan. The Foreign Secretary made clear her commitment to the Abraham Accords at both the recent UK-Israel Strategic Dialogue on 29 November, and subsequently at the Gulf Cooperation Council-United Kingdom Foreign Ministers' Meeting on 20 December. The UK is working with regional partners to ensure the Abraham Accords are an enduring success, and continue to encourage other countries who have not yet normalised to do so.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 15 November 2021 to Question 71288, whether the Government has encouraged the Omani Government to normalise diplomatic relations with Israel in bilateral meetings.

The United Kingdom warmly welcomed the normalisation agreements between Israel and Arab partners Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan. The Foreign Secretary made clear her commitment to the Abraham Accords at both the recent UK-Israel Strategic Dialogue on 29 November, and subsequently at the Gulf Cooperation Council-United Kingdom Foreign Ministers' Meeting on 20 December. The UK is working with regional partners to ensure the Abraham Accords are an enduring success, and continue to encourage other countries who have not yet normalised to do so.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2021 to Question 60364 on Iraq: Israel, whether the UK has encouraged the Iraqi Government to normalise diplomatic relations with Israel in bilateral meetings.

The United Kingdom warmly welcomed the normalisation agreements between Israel and Arab partners Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan. The Foreign Secretary made clear her commitment to the Abraham Accords at both the recent UK-Israel Strategic Dialogue on 29 November, and subsequently at the Gulf Cooperation Council-United Kingdom Foreign Ministers' Meeting on 20 December. The UK is working with regional partners to ensure the Abraham Accords are an enduring success, and continue to encourage other countries who have not yet normalised to do so.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the most recent Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and the Palestinian Authority, what representations officials in her Department have made to representatives of the Palestinian Authority on the glorification of Fadi Al-Qunbar, Baha Alyan and Alaa Abu Jamal as martyrs on official Palestinian Authority TV news on 26 June 2021.

Our partnership with the Palestinian Authority (PA) includes a commitment from the Palestinian leadership to adhere to the principle of non-violence and to tackle any language and actions that could incite violence or hatred. We have a regular dialogue with the PA in which we reiterate the need for both sides to prepare their populations for peaceful coexistence, including by promoting a more positive portrayal of each other.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 25 January 2021 to Question 143050 on Palestinians: Textbooks, how many mistakes in educational material published by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency UNRWA have been identified by UNRWA since 1 January 2020.

We strongly condemn all forms of violence and incitement to violence. We accompany our support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) with stringent attention to implementation of their neutrality policy, including how they apply this to textbooks and other learning material to ensure they reflect UN values. We understand that UNRWA has continued to review and address any education materials in breach of its policies. We remain confident that UNRWA has taken the issue seriously and has taken steps to improve their risk management system and quality assurance of educational materials.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to promote diplomatic normalisation between Israel and Mauritania.

The United Kingdom (UK) warmly welcomed the normalisation agreements between Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan. These were historic steps which saw the normalisation of relations between friends of the UK. The United Kingdom will continue to encourage further dialogue between Israel and other countries in the region, to work towards a more peaceful and prosperous future for Israelis, Palestinians and citizens across the region.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to encourage diplomatic normalisation between Israel and Oman.

The United Kingdom (UK) warmly welcomed the normalisation agreements between Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan. These were historic steps which saw the normalisation of relations between friends of the UK. The United Kingdom will continue to encourage further dialogue between Israel and other countries in the region, to work towards a more peaceful and prosperous future for Israelis, Palestinians and citizens across the region.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how her Department defines the distinction between the military wing and the political wing of Hamas.

Hamas' military wing has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK since 2001 and the UK maintains a no contact policy with Hamas in its entirety.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 5 February 2018 to Question 125954 on Palestinians: Schools, whether the Government has made representations to the Palestinian Authority on concerns over the naming of a school after Salah Khalaf.

We have been clear that incitement to hatred or violence is unacceptable from all parties. We will continue to raise concerns about this with the PA and continue to urge all parties to condemn incitement wherever and whenever it occurs.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 18 October 2017 to Question 107709 on Palestinians: Overseas Aid, whether the Government made representations to the Palestinian Authority on concerns over the naming of summer camps after Dalal Mughrabi; and what assessment she has made of the effect of those representations on the decision not to rename those the summer camps.

We have been clear that incitement to hatred or violence is unacceptable from all parties. We will continue to raise concerns about this with the PA and continue to urge all parties to condemn incitement wherever and whenever it occurs.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what cross-border peacebuilding projects the UK supports in Israel and the Palestinian Territories; and how much funding the Government has allocated to each of those projects.

The Cabinet Office publishes Conflict Security and Stability Fund annual programme summaries on GOV.UK at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/conflict-stability-and-securit