Andrew Rosindell Portrait

Andrew Rosindell

Conservative - Romford

Foreign Affairs Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Panel of Chairs
22nd Jun 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee
5th Jan 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Foreign Affairs Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Panel of Chairs
29th Jun 2010 - 3rd May 2017
Foreign Affairs Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)
3rd Jul 2007 - 6th May 2010
Opposition Whip (Commons)
10th May 2005 - 3rd Jul 2007
Constitutional Affairs
5th Jan 2004 - 12th Jul 2005
Regulatory Reform
16th Jul 2001 - 12th Jul 2005
Vice-Chair, Conservative Party
1st Jul 2004 - 1st Jul 2005
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
23rd May 2002 - 15th Dec 2003
Statutory Instruments (Select Committee)
23rd May 2002 - 15th Dec 2003


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 24th May 2022
14:00
Foreign Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: The FCDO’s approach to state level hostage situations
24 May 2022, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
The Rt Hon. the Lord Hammond of Runnymede
At 3.30pm: Oral evidence
Rachel Briggs - Chief Executive Officer at The Clarity Factory
Brian Jenkins - Senior Advisor at Rand Corporation
View calendar
Department Event
Tuesday 21st June 2022
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
21 Jun 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (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 Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 295 Conservative Aye votes vs 1 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 306 Noes - 213
Speeches
Monday 25th April 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
Will my right hon. Friend assure me that as the Government rightly help those most in need from Ukraine, they …
Written Answers
Tuesday 26th April 2022
Corporation Tax
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether a disputes resolution mechanism agreed as part of the Organisation for Economic …
Early Day Motions
Monday 25th April 2022
Anzac Day 2022
That this House remembers the heroic campaign that followed the landings of Allied forces at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, on 25 …
Bills
Monday 1st November 2021
Public Houses (Electrical Safety) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require public houses to have annual electrical safety tests; to make associated provision about licensing, insurance and …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 1st November 2021
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Honorary Consulate for the Republic of San Marino
Address of donor: Baird House, 15-17 St Cross St, …
EDM signed
Monday 28th February 2022
Jamal Edwards MBE
That this House remembers the life and achievements of Jamal Edwards MBE, a musical pioneer, entrepreneur, author and philanthropist born …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 4th March 2020
June Bank Holiday (Creation) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to make provision for an annual national public holiday on the Friday nearest to 23 June; and for …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Andrew Rosindell has voted in 398 divisions, and 21 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 35 Conservative No votes vs 305 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 29 Conservative Aye votes vs 318 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 300 Noes - 318
22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 297
22 Mar 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 253
10 Feb 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 24 Conservative No votes vs 327 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 526 Noes - 24
9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 318 Noes - 303
19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 34 Conservative No votes vs 319 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 308
6 Jan 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative No votes vs 322 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 524 Noes - 16
1 Dec 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 53 Conservative No votes vs 290 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 291 Noes - 78
4 Nov 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 308 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 516 Noes - 38
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
17 Jun 2020 - Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 23 Conservative Aye votes vs 283 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 31 Noes - 400
8 Jun 2020 - Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative No votes vs 207 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 231 Noes - 16
10 Mar 2020 - Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 36 Conservative Aye votes vs 301 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 282 Noes - 306
27 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 320 Noes - 256
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
28 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 321 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
30 Nov 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 259 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 36
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 38 Conservative No votes vs 271 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 441 Noes - 41
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Rosindell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 60 Conservative No votes vs 258 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
View All Andrew Rosindell Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(11 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
(6 debate interactions)
Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
(5 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(21 debate contributions)
Department for Transport
(12 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Andrew Rosindell's debates

Romford 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 most Romford signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

The Government must introduce legislation to abolish greyhound racing, via managed shutdown of activities, and ensure welfare of redundant dogs through a levy on the industry. In 2019 Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) data confirmed 4970 injuries & 710 deaths (14 per week).

The maximum penalty for failure to stop after an incident is points and a 6-month custodial sentence. Causing death by careless/dangerous driving is between 5-14 yrs. The sentence for failing to stop after a fatal collision must be increased.

The offence of causing 'death by dangerous driving' should be widened to include: failure to stop, call 999 and render aid on scene until further help arrives.


Latest EDMs signed by Andrew Rosindell

25th April 2022
Andrew Rosindell signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Monday 25th April 2022

Anzac Day 2022

Tabled by: Andrew Rosindell (Conservative - Romford)
That this House remembers the heroic campaign that followed the landings of Allied forces at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, on 25 April 1915; joins all Australians and New Zealanders in commemorating the bravery of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who, together with their British colleagues and others sacrificed so …
2 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2022)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
22nd February 2022
Andrew Rosindell signed this EDM on Monday 28th February 2022

Jamal Edwards MBE

Tabled by: Rupa Huq (Labour - Ealing Central and Acton)
That this House remembers the life and achievements of Jamal Edwards MBE, a musical pioneer, entrepreneur, author and philanthropist born in Luton, raised in Acton, who never forgot his roots; recognises that Jamal’s work had a tremendous impact on music in the UK, notably launching SBTV, a ground-breaking platform that …
38 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Mar 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 27
Scottish National Party: 4
Conservative: 3
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Andrew Rosindell's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Andrew Rosindell, 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 Rosindell has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Andrew Rosindell

Monday 15th November 2021
Thursday 11th June 2020

12 Bills introduced by Andrew Rosindell


A Bill to make provision for and in connection with the giving of penalty notices for certain offences in relation to animals and animal products.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 28th April 2022 and was enacted into law.


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision for the imposing of restrictions on assets owned by persons involved in conduct that gives support and assistance to terrorist organisations in the United Kingdom for the purpose of securing compensation for citizens of the United Kingdom affected by such conduct


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 7th February 2018
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Date TBA

A Bill to require public houses to have annual electrical safety tests; to make associated provision about licensing, insurance and enforcement; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to establish rights to keep dogs and other animals in domestic accommodation; to make provision about the protection of the welfare of dogs and other domestic animals; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 14th October 2020
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision about the freezing and seizing of assets belonging to states or organisations who sponsor or perpetrate acts of terrorism for the purposes of enabling compensation to be paid to the British victims of such terrorism; to provide a definition of British victims for the purpose of eligibility for such compensation; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 2nd November 2016
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision for a national public holiday marking the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee in 2017 and to establish a framework to ensure that the United Kingdom, its overseas territories and Crown dependencies appropriately commemorate this occasion; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 7th March 2017
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision for the re-establishment of the control and sovereignty of policy, administration and all other matters relating to the United Kingdom’s borders with the European Union and to the entry and exit to the United Kingdom of foreign nationals; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 15th September 2015


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 25th November 2014

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to establish a Commission to establish and maintain a national register of places within the United Kingdom, including but not limited to countries, counties, cities, towns, villages and hamlets, with a permanent identity defined by historical, social and geographical boundaries, separate from existing administrative and electoral boundaries; to grant each such place the right to its own coat of arms, flag and other symbols of local identity; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 15th January 2014

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to allow subjects of Her Majesty’s realms to enter the United Kingdom through a dedicated channel at international terminals, to ensure that all points of entry to the United Kingdom at airports, ports and terminals display prominently a portrait of Her Majesty as Head of State, the Union Flag and other national symbols; to rename and re-establish the UK Border Agency as ‘Her Majesty’s Border Police’; and to enhance the Agency’s powers to protect and defend the borders of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 11th July 2012

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to repeal the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991; to require the introduction of compulsory microchipping of dogs; to make provision relating to the welfare of dogs and public safety around dogs; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 27th July 2010

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State annually to prepare and publish a list of the festivals and commemorations which will take place in the year 10 years after publication; to indicate which days will be designated as Bank or Public Holidays; to make provision to enable local communities to observe significant occasions; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 13th December 2011

1365 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
22 Other Department Questions
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of taking steps to encourage landlords to offer housing credits or equity in the housing that they are renting to tenants.

We have not made an assessment of this. We are committed to giving tenants in the private rented sector greater security and will be publishing a White Paper later this Spring to set out more details on how we will abolish section 21 evictions that allow a landlord to evict a tenant without providing a reason.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to increase housing security for retired pensioners.

The Department is committed to ensuring older people can live in the right kind of homes that suit their needs, in places where they want to live. A new government taskforce, as announced in the Levelling Up White Paper, will look at the ways we can provide greater security, choice and quality of housing for older people. Further details on the scope of the taskforce work will be confirmed in due course.

The Department will also publish a White Paper this Spring, which will set out proposals to create a fairer private rented sector and we will bring forward legislation in due course. We recognise that the change in size and makeup of the private rented sector, with an increasing number of older people now renting their homes, means there is a growing need for longer and more stable tenancies. As part of the package of reforms, we intend to repeal Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 to improve security for tenants by putting an end to evictions where the landlord does not have to give a reason.

We will also give consideration to the impact of our reforms on people with protected characteristics, including the impact on older people.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many houses are recorded as (a) empty or (b) second homes for the purposes of council tax in (i) Romford constituency, (ii) the London Borough of Havering and (iii) Greater London.

We publish data on the number of empty homes and second homes for the purposes of council tax at a local authority level. Figures for Greater London can be aggregated from the local authority level data provided in the ‘Data’ tab.

The latest council tax base data, from a snapshot taken in October 2021, can be found at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1032557/Local_Authorities_Council_Taxbase_2021_Drop_down.xlsx . Empty properties can be found in Line 15 and second homes can be found in Line 11.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department's review of the National Planning Policy Framework will require applicants for (a) new developments or (b) changes of use to assess impacts of noise from all external sources on the intended occupiers of a development.

We have made clear that we expect planning policies and decisions to make sure proposed developments are appropriate for their location, taking noise impacts into account. In the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), we introduced the agent of change principle, which places the duty to consider and provide suitable mitigation for significant adverse noise effects on the applicant for new development, not existing businesses and community facilities


We have also published Planning Practice Guidance on noise, to help local authorities consider how to apply the agent of change principle in practice. The principles of this guidance can be used to assist in fulfilling the ‘prior approval’ requirements for certain changes of use with regard to noise management


There are no plans to change the agent of change principle in any future review of the NPPF.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will make an assessment of the impact on individual house prices in 2021 of net international migration.

The Department does not plan to make an assessment of the impact on individual house prices in 2021 of net international migration.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will ensure that Ministers and officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs working on the impact of noise are consulted in any review of the National Planning Policy Framework.

I thank the honourable gentleman for his interest in this important issue. I am happy to assure him that we will work closely with our ministerial colleagues and officials at DEFRA in undertaking any review of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that new developments in Essex (a) protect the local environment and (b) are in-keeping with the historic style of the county.

Our National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment. The Environment Act's new requirements for biodiversity net gain will ensure that most types of new development will deliver improvements of 10 per cent, or more, for biodiversity.

The National Design Guide and National Model Design Code provide guidance to local councils to help them set standards of good design. The guidance advocates for new development that relates well to the site and surroundings, and is positively influenced by the history and heritage of the wider area.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent steps his Department has taken with local communities to organise celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

On 6 January 2022, the Secretary of State wrote to all local authority leaders and chief executives in the United Kingdom to outline how councils may wish to support their communities in celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The letter specifically referenced Street Parties, the Big Jubilee Lunch, Beacon Lighting, events in local authority owned amenities, the use of the Platinum Jubilee Emblem, The Queen’s Green Canopy, the City Status Competition, local pageants, and broadcasting in public spaces of the television feed of the celebrations. The letter provided councils with links to further information and guidance in support of any plans which they may wish to make.

The letter also encouraged councils to promote the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's Platinum Jubilee website. This website features an interactive events map, to which people and organisations can add their own Jubilee themed events, thereby making it easier to identify and promote events running locally.

On 4 October 2021 the Department updated its guidance on organising street parties; in his letter of 6 January the Secretary of State recommended that street parties be encouraged and suggested that relaxing road closure rules would be important to make it as easy as possible for street parties to take place.

The Department issues a daily Local Government Bulletin to council leaders, chief executives and senior officials. This has regularly included items on Jubilee events and guidance and will continue to do so in the coming months.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to support people relocated to the UK under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy to integrate into society.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is working with departments including the Home Office to support people relocated to the UK, to integrate into UK society.

Please see my Dear Colleague letter of 23 December 2021 outlining our support and my statement to the House on 6 January 2022, to be found here: Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme - Hansard - UK Parliament.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to progress made on the construction of the Elizabeth Line, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of additional investment in areas of Romford beyond the town centre.

Romford will benefit from the progress being made in the delivery of the Elizabeth Line. The Elizabeth Line comes under the remit of the Mayor of London and Transport for London is responsible for delivering the project.

The Elizabeth Line is already delivering significant benefits right across the UK, including strong UK-based supply chain, new trains and services to Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield. The Elizabeth line will transform the rail network in London, carrying up to 200 million passengers a year, increasing the capacity of the network by 10%, reducing overcrowding, and helping deliver £42 billion of investment.

On the August 2020, Crossrail Limited announced that the central section of the railway will open in the first half of 2022 with initial services between Abbey Wood and Paddington Elizabeth line stations. The Elizabeth line is in the complex final stages of delivery.

Following the opening of the central section, full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west and between Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east, will be introduced.

The London Borough of Havering is also benefitting from £13.2 million from the Local Growth Fund (delivered through the Local Economic Action Partnership); two lots of £231,057 from the Reopening High Streets Safely and Welcome Back Funds; and £3.8 million from the Community Renewal Fund.

In addition to funding already secured, more of the Government’s £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund is to be made available over the coming months, with round two bidding set to open in Spring 2022. Whilst Havering was unsuccessful in securing a share of the £1.7 billion round one funding, we encourage unsuccessful bidders to reapply.

Today, the Government published the Levelling Up White Paper that builds on existing action being taken across Government, setting out a new policy regime that will drive change for years to come.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what support he will make available to leaseholders in flats with ACM cladding that are in buildings less than 11 metres high.

Longstanding independent safety advice is clear that height is a crucial factor in assessing risk. The Building Safety Bill will deliver improvements across the entire built environment, including for buildings under 11m.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an estimate of the number of buildings under 18 metres where a third-party is demanding an ESW1 certificate in contravention of Government requirements.

The EWS1 process is not a statutory requirement. Government supports the independent report published on 21 June 2021, that EWS1 certificates should not be required for buildings below 18 metres in height. However, the decision of when or whether to ask for an EWS1 remains with the relevant mortgage lender. We continue to challenge industry on the use of the EWS1 process.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of BN(O) arrivals in the UK who have found full time employment.

The DLUHC Hong Kong BN(O) Welcome Programme seeks to support BN(O) status holders as they make their homes and lives in the UK - this includes finding employment. Our network of Welcome Hubs across the UK can provide support and practical advice, alongside the Welcome Pack, published on GOV.UK in both English and Cantonese, which provides guidance on searching for employment.

The BN(O) route is a generous offer that the Government is making to BN(O) status holders and their dependants, and who are expected to be self-sufficient. To be eligible for the BN(O) route, applicants must prove they are able to sustain themselves and their families in the UK for six months, allowing time to settle in the UK and seek employment. However, we do recognise and expect that BN(O) status holders will want to contribute to UK society as soon as possible, and we appreciate the challenges of finding full-time employment and that this may take time. To further support BN(O) status holders into employment, we announced £2.6 million of Voluntary Community Social Enterprise (VCSE) grant funding in July, and we are presently assessing applications for the funding. These grant schemes will see various integration initiatives, including employability support based on best practice with a focus on skills, employment sustainability and combating under-employment.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps has his Department taken to support into employment Hong Kongers with BN(O) passports who are struggling to find jobs.

The DLUHC Hong Kong BN(O) Welcome Programme seeks to support BN(O) status holders as they make their homes and lives in the UK - this includes finding employment. Our network of Welcome Hubs across the UK can provide support and practical advice, alongside the Welcome Pack, published on GOV.UK in both English and Cantonese, which provides guidance on searching for employment.

The BN(O) route is a generous offer that the Government is making to BN(O) status holders and their dependants, and who are expected to be self-sufficient. To be eligible for the BN(O) route, applicants must prove they are able to sustain themselves and their families in the UK for six months, allowing time to settle in the UK and seek employment. However, we do recognise and expect that BN(O) status holders will want to contribute to UK society as soon as possible, and we appreciate the challenges of finding full-time employment and that this may take time. To further support BN(O) status holders into employment, we announced £2.6 million of Voluntary Community Social Enterprise (VCSE) grant funding in July, and we are presently assessing applications for the funding. These grant schemes will see various integration initiatives, including employability support based on best practice with a focus on skills, employment sustainability and combating under-employment.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much and what proportion of the £43 million support package for BN(O) arrivals has been spent.

In April, DLUHC launched a £43 million UK-wide Welcome Programme for 2021-22 to support British National (Overseas) [BN(O)] status holders as they arrive in the UK and settle into their new communities.

We have distributed £3.6 million to establish a network of 12 virtual Welcome Hubs across the UK, helping to coordinate support and offer practical advice to BN(O) status holders In July, we announced £2.6 million of Voluntary Community Social Enterprise (VCSE) grant funding to support the integration of BN(O) status holders further through employment, mental health and wellbeing initiatives. We are presently assessing applications for this funding.

£30.7 million is also available to local authorities in England to provide targeted English language provision, and where needed, destitution support for those BN(O) status holders whose circumstances change. A further £5.8 million has been provided to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland through the Barnett formula.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Crown Dependencies on their contribution to and participation in the COP26 conference.

The UK Government represents the interests of UK Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including in negotiations at the annual Conference of the Parties (COP).

We are working with the Crown Dependencies to ensure that their perspectives are accurately represented. In June, I met with representatives from the governments of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey to discuss preparations for COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether her Department has made an assessment of the effect of participation in training sessions based on Critical Race Theory on local authority employees.

In the Written Ministerial Statement of 15 December 2020, HCWS652, the Government outlined how unconscious bias training fails to deliver value for taxpayers' money and is ineffective. We indicated that it will be phased out in the Civil Service, and encourage the wider public sector to do the same.

Similar principles can be applied to "critical race theory" training, which is a controversial political ideology. Councils should be seeking to keep council tax down, and focus resources to supporting frontline services and covid recovery.

Moreover, the application of critical race theory to municipal public services threatens to undermine integration and community cohesion, by exaggerating differences within local communities; instead, councils should be seeking to build and strengthen a shared local and national identity across class, colour and creed.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th May 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to ensure the future of St. Paul's Cathedral.

The Church Commissioners and other National Church Institutions have been in regular contact with the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral throughout the pandemic as they have with all the Anglican cathedrals in England. The Church Commissioners made additional financial support available to all cathedrals and dioceses throughout the pandemic over and above the financial support they regularly make available.

The Third Church Estates Commissioner, Dr Eve Poole, has also been in touch with both the Dean and the Chair of Council of St Pauls in the wake of recent headlines and conversations about the additional specific needs of St Paul's are ongoing. Currently, the Church Commissioners are aware that St Paul's Cathedral has received the following financial support during the pandemic from the Church Commissioners and the Government. This does not account for any support received through the Government's furlough scheme:

Church Commissioners Financial Support to St Paul's Cathedral

Dean and 2 Residentiary Canons - Standard Grant

£158,000

Cathedral Sustainability Grant - staff and administration

£172,000

Heritage Trade and Skills Grant

£96,500

Music Grant - Lay Clerks

£131,000

Government Financial Support to St Paul's Cathedral

Culture Recovery Fund round 1 & 2

£3 million

Culture Recovery Fund Capital Works Grant

£320,000

The pandemic has impacted the finances of all cathedrals and churches right across the country to varying degrees, and this is not an experience unique to the Church of England. However, the Church of England is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of 45% of all grade one listed buildings in the country and the lack of in-person worshipers, educational visits and events have impacted not just the charitable giving and income of all cathedrals and churches but also the social and community and education work the Church supports and funds. Prior to the pandemic, the 'House for Good' report by the National Churches Trust showed clearly the positive social and economic impact a church and cathedral have on their local community, with over 70% of parishes operating over 35,000 social action projects across the country.


The Church of England is grateful to the Government for the continued support of DCMS via the Culture Recovery Fund. The Church looks forward to the opportunity to engage with the Government to look at the future sustainability of its buildings following the publication of the Government's Taylor Review: Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals 2017.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, if he will list his Engagements for St. George’s Day on 23 April 2021.

My engagements are still to be finalised, and will be announced in due course. I can inform my hon. Friend that the Cross of St George will be proudly flying alongside the Union Flag in Downing Street.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment her Department has made of the levels of discrimination against Chagossians living in the UK.

The Race Disparity Unit has made no assessment of the levels of discrimination against Chagossians living in the UK. The Government is clear that no one in this country should have to endure racism and we are committed to building a fairer Britain and taking the action needed to address disparities wherever they exist. This includes considering carefully the recommendations of the report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities that was published on 31 March.

Those who feel they have been discriminated against should contact the Equality Advisory Support Service for help and advice.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, when the Government plans to fill the position of the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

An appointment will be announced in due course.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Attorney General, how many offenders involved in violent knife crime have engaged in a charge bargain to lessen their sentence in each of the last three years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of the number of people illegally carrying knives who have been charged with the offence or offences of manslaughter. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

There is no system of plea bargaining in courts in England and Wales. It may be appropriate for a plea to be accepted to alternative charges in some cases. However, the CPS do not capture any data on cases where this occurs centrally; therefore, the information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost. The CPS uses the Code for Crown Prosecutors to decide the charge and the Attorney General’s guidelines on acceptance of pleas, in deciding whether to accept a guilty plea to a lesser charge. In both its Legal Guidance on Offensive Weapons and the Knife Crime Practical Guidance, the CPS state that the weapon offence should be charged in addition to the substantive offence.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Attorney General, how many people illegally carrying knives have been charged for manslaughter in the last five years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of the number of people illegally carrying knives who have been charged with the offence or offences of manslaughter. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

There is no system of plea bargaining in courts in England and Wales. It may be appropriate for a plea to be accepted to alternative charges in some cases. However, the CPS do not capture any data on cases where this occurs centrally; therefore, the information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost. The CPS uses the Code for Crown Prosecutors to decide the charge and the Attorney General’s guidelines on acceptance of pleas, in deciding whether to accept a guilty plea to a lesser charge. In both its Legal Guidance on Offensive Weapons and the Knife Crime Practical Guidance, the CPS state that the weapon offence should be charged in addition to the substantive offence.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Attorney General, whether she has had discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the legal basis to extending the scope of the public consultation for an online advertising ban of foods high in fat, salt or sugar to communication and marketing restrictions to brands’ and companies’ own websites and social media channels.

This policy is led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The Law Officers regularly meet ministerial colleagues to discuss important issues of common interest.

However, it is a fundamental and longstanding principle of our system of government that the fact that the Law Officers have advised (or not advised) and the content of any such advice is, by convention, not disclosed outside Government, without their consent.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to honour the veterans during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The Government is totally committed to championing our veterans, and ensuring they have the support they need to thrive in civilian life. We recently launched a new Veterans' Strategy Action Plan, which sets out our commitments to the veteran community.

To mark the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen’s accession, a commemorative medal, the Platinum Jubilee Medal, will be awarded to those serving in the Armed Forces and certain other public services on 6th February 2022, and who have completed the required five years’ service. This approach is consistent with that taken for the Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department has taken to (a) implement the Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative and (b) help ex-service men and women secure employment.

We have successfully piloted the Great Place to Work scheme across six government Departments and have commenced the roll out of this initiative across Departments for all Civil Service roles, including Senior Civil Servant positions by the end of March 2022. During the pilot phase, the scheme received 3,000 applications, made 155 appointments to roles and saw 180 successful applicants placed on a reserve list.

The new Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan outlines over 60 commitments funded by over £70 million from departments across Government, including initiatives to make sure veterans are able to find quality employment after leaving service.

These commitments build on recent progress and support to encourage employers to recruit veterans, such as the National Insurance contribution holiday for employers of Service leavers and the Defence Employer Recognition scheme. We have committed to promoting pathways into careers in public service for veterans, such as teaching and in the uniformed and health services and introduced a fast-track recruitment scheme for veterans wishing to become prison officers.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 2 July 2021 to Question 21838 on World War II: Channel Islands, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of transferring the documents from the Nazi Occupation of the Channel Islands that were subject to legal exemptions to the National Archives.

The Cabinet Office no longer holds files on this subject. Records from this period transferred to The National Archives (TNA) are listed on its online catalogue. Any closures or retentions can be requested via the FOI process and quoting the file reference on TNA's catalogue.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the UK holds classified documents that relate to the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands during the Second World War.

Government records from this period will have been transferred (subject to any legal exemptions) to The National Archives under the Public Records Act and will be listed on their catalogue which is available online.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jun 2021
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 removing all covid-19 restrictions on weddings pending a negative lateral flow test in line with large sporting events.

From 21 June, there is no longer a maximum number of attendees at weddings set out in law. Instead, the number of attendees at weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place.

The Government committed to explore whether and how COVID-status certification might be used to reopen our economy, reduce restrictions on social contact and improve safety. As set out in the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021,’ the Government will set out its conclusions on the COVID-status Certification Review in advance of Step 4 of the Roadmap, in order to inform the safe reopening of society and the economy.

An update on the Roadmap Reviews was published on 5 April and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021-reviews-terms-of-reference/roadmap-reviews-update.


The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster further updated via a Written Ministerial Statement on 29 April 2021, which can be found below: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-04-29/hcws947

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th May 2021
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on determining the number of attendees allowed at a wedding ceremony by how many people the venue can safely accommodate and not a numerical limit in line with funeral restrictions during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Events Research Programme aims to examine the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from attendance at events and explore ways to enable people to attend a range of events safely. To achieve this, the programme will explore how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions (actions that people can take to mitigate the spread of coronavirus) can inform decisions on safely lifting restrictions at events from Step 4. The initial research pilots have already started and are taking place throughout May.

At Step 4, which will be no earlier than 21 June, the Government aims to remove all limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme and the Social Distancing Review. Further guidance will be issued ahead of Step 4.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of removing covid-19 restrictions on funeral services before 20 April 2021.

We understand that losing a loved one is always a very difficult time. Throughout the pandemic, restrictions on funerals have sought to balance the needs of the bereaved with the need to minimise the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, the government has had to take the difficult decision to put measures in place to ensure funerals can continue whilst reducing risk, particularly if vulnerable people wish to attend.

The Government is taking a gradual and cautious approach to removing restrictions on end of life gatherings, guided by science and the data. Further information can be found in the guidance for arranging or attending a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-a-funeral-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-a-funeral-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what support his Department is providing to people without access to a computer to ensure that they can access the paper forms for the 2021 census.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans his Department has to (a) allocate additional funding and (b) take other additional steps to facilitate local elections going ahead in May 2020.

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

We continue to work closely with the electoral community 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.

The Government is also bringing forward additional measures to extend the ability to appoint a proxy, so that those that are affected by Covid-19 in the days before the poll are still able to make their voice heard.

Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what legislation regulates the establishment of organisations in the UK by overseas political parties.

The government welcomes open and transparent engagement in the UK. Depending on what the established organisation seeks to do, there are different applicable regulations regarding the activities that such an organisation could undertake.

If the organisation is political in nature then a variety of legislation could apply. If it seeks to make political donations then it would need to be compliant with the rules set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) 2000 and the Representation of the People Act 1983. Only those with a genuine interest in UK electoral events can donate to candidates, campaigners and political parties.

If the organisation seeks to act as a third-party campaigner at UK elections then it would need to comply with the rules on third-party campaigning set out in the PPERA.

If the organisation engages with financial activities then it would need to comply with the UK financial regulatory framework.

From a security perspective, there are rules around the type of activity that groups set up in the UK may undertake. Organisations set up to conduct illegal activities, for example offences related to spying, sabotage and related crimes, would be subject to a range of enforcement legislation such as the Official Secrets Acts. There are also rules around proscribed terrorist organisations.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect on national security of the establishment of front organisations in the UK by overseas political parties.

The Intelligence and Security Agencies produce and contribute to regular assessments of the threat posed by Hostile State Activity, including around potential interference in UK democratic processes. We keep such assessments under review and, where necessary, update them in response to new intelligence.

It is and always will be a priority for this Government to secure the UK’s democracy against all forms of interference, whilst welcoming transparent political participation and debate. The Defending Democracy programme brings together government, civil society and private sector organisations. As announced in the Queen’s Speech, we will bring forward new legislation to provide the security services and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to disrupt hostile state activity.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to increase awareness of the details of the Government's guidelines on meeting friends and family and the need to maintain social distancing with people outside of support bubbles.

The government recognises how difficult it has been for people to be cut off from their family and friends in recent months. This has been necessary to help us all control the virus and save lives. We have published detailed guidance on gov.uk which explains how you can now see people you do not live with, while protecting yourself and others from coronavirus.

We developed a national cross-government campaign to increase awareness of all coronavirus-related guidance and provide information and reassurance to the public. The campaign uses national advertising including TV, social media, radio, poster and signage advertising as well as other media channels in all four nations of the UK.

We have also partnered with over 600 national, regional and local newspaper titles to help amplify public information on critical coronavirus messaging and ensure it reaches all communities.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many business start-ups there have been in Romford constituency since 2015.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) continuing need for green levies on energy bills and (b) the financial impact of green levies on consumers.

According to Ofgem, environmental and social policy costs have totalled 25.48 percent on electricity bills and 2.46 percent on gas bills in 2020. However, over the past 10 years their net effect has been to reduce consumer energy bills.

These levies fund vital support schemes and energy efficiency measures which benefit low income and vulnerable households, as well as investing in the UK’s home-grown renewable energy sector.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the impact of green levies on the cost of energy to consumers.

According to Ofgem, environmental and social policy costs have totalled 25.48 percent on electricity bills and 2.46 percent on gas bills in 2020. However, over the past 10 years their net effect has been to reduce consumer energy bills.

These levies fund vital support schemes and energy efficiency measures which benefit low income and vulnerable households, as well as investing in the UK’s home-grown renewable energy sector.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to end British reliance on Russian gas.

The Government has diverse and flexible sources of gas supply which ensures that households, businesses, and heavy industry get the energy they need. The Government meets around half of the UK’s annual gas supply through domestic production and most imports come from reliable suppliers such as Norway. Less than 3% of our gas was sourced from Russia in 2020 through liquified natural gas.

There are no gas pipelines directly linking the UK with Russia. Unlike other countries in Europe, the UK is not dependent on Russian gas supply.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the implications for its policies of the predictions of industry leaders that one third of fish and chip shops will have to close as a result of escalating costs.

We recognise the impact rising prices will have on businesses of all sizes and the Government is in regular contact with business groups and suppliers to understand the challenges they face and explore ways to protect businesses.

In response to the pandemic we put in place one of the world’s most comprehensive economic responses worth £400 billion, including business grants, loans, business rates relief, and VAT discounts. In total, over £37 billion has been provided to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks. In addition, on 21 December, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a further £1 billion support for businesses most impacted by Omicron across the UK, including a more than £100 million boost to the Additional Restrictions Grant for Local Authorities to support other businesses. We are encouraging councils to provide the funding to businesses as quickly as possible.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Levelling Up White Paper’s commitment to fund Research and Development Hot Spots across the country, what plans his Department has to promote research and development in the London Borough of Havering.

The success of London strengthens our national research and development (R&D) ecosystem, benefitting all UK regions. To this end, the Government is fully committed to the continued success of London’s world-class centres of R&D excellence.

The 2021 Spending Review sees record levels of investment in the UK’s world-leading research base with public spending on R&D increasing by £5 billion per annum to £20 billion in 2024-25.

The substantial uplift to research and science funding will not only allow the UK to build on our existing strengths but will also provide opportunities to grow research and innovation investment across the entire country.

Public R&D funding will continue to be awarded competitively and will be open to universities, businesses and organisations across the whole UK.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to buy and promote products from UK industries for the production of green hydrogen.

The Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan set out the UK Government’s ambition for 5GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030, including both electrolytic (green) and CCUS-enabled (blue) hydrogen.

The Government is clear that in supporting the growth of a hydrogen economy, the government should maximise economic benefits for the UK. The UK’s natural assets, expertise, and innovation ecosystem provide the foundations for a world leading hydrogen sector. The Hydrogen Strategy makes clear the Government expects developers to ensure that competitive UK companies are in a fair position to bid into hydrogen projects, and the Government will actively monitor results. The forthcoming Sector Development Action Plan will set out more detail.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of adopting of green ammonia to help promote the Green agenda.

Green ammonia can play an important role in helping the UK to meet its legally binding carbon budget and net zero commitments. As set out in the UK Hydrogen Strategy and the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, green ammonia (such as that created from hydrogen produced from green electricity or with carbon capture, usage and storage) is likely to play an important role in decarbonising UK domestic and international shipping. Ammonia made from low carbon hydrogen will also be important for decarbonising heavy industrial processes such as the production of fertilisers, and ammonia could provide an accessible and cost-effective method for transporting and storing low-carbon hydrogen for use across the economy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of the Northern Ireland Protocol on the UK Aerospace industry.

The Government continually assesses how UK industry adapts to and makes the most of Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol. The Department is fully engaged with the Northern Ireland Executive and aerospace businesses in Northern Ireland on how to strengthen this already world-class industrial sector. It is the Government’s priority to deal with issues arising from the Protocol and work with the EU to agree solutions that make the Protocol work better for business.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the impact of harnessing the UK's domestic energy potential for gas on levels of domestic energy production.

The UK has a robust domestic supply of gas from the UK Continental Shelf. It has been operating at 90% or more of its potential capacity for gas production throughout the current winter. This Government, through the North Sea Transition Deal, is ensuring that there is a strong role for the sector in making sure resilience is maintained.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential effect of a national retrofit strategy on the level of the UK's reliance on gas.

Natural gas will have an ongoing role to play as the UK decarbonises, however achieving net zero by 2050 means the Government will need to stop burning unabated natural gas in homes and business for heating purposes.

The Government's recently published retrofit strategy, the Heat and Buildings Strategy, signalled its ambition to phase out new natural gas boilers from 2035, with decisions to be taken in 2026 about the potential role of hydrogen boilers as an alternative.

The Government has also committed £3.9 billion of funding over the next 3 years to retrofit UK homes and buildings and is extending the Energy Company Obligation Scheme until 2026.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of offering Government backed loans for fuel costs spread over a number of years.

The Government is monitoring the significant increases in wholesale energy prices closely, and meeting regularly with Ofgem, suppliers and consumer groups to understand the future impact on consumers as well as to discuss potential mitigations.

The Government is committed to protecting energy customers, especially the most vulnerable. The Energy Price Cap will continue to protect consumers, ensuring they pay a fair price for their energy this winter. Low income and fuel poor households will continue to be supported with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount, which provides eligible households with a £140 discount. Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments will ensure that the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes through the winter. Additionally, the Government announced an additional £500 million for local authorities through the new Household Support Fund to support vulnerable households meet daily needs such as utility bills.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the impact of the rise in the cost of fuel on consumers.

The Government is monitoring the significant increases in wholesale energy prices closely, and meeting regularly with Ofgem, suppliers and consumer groups to understand the future impact on consumers as well as to discuss potential mitigations.

The Government is committed to protecting energy customers, especially the most vulnerable. The Energy Price Cap will continue to protect consumers, ensuring they pay a fair price for their energy this winter. Low income and fuel poor households will continue to be supported with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount, which provides eligible households with a £140 discount. Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments will ensure that the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes through the winter. Additionally, the Government announced an additional £500 million for local authorities through the new Household Support Fund to support vulnerable households meet daily needs such as utility bills.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of (a) electrolyser farms and (b) hydrogen pumps in the UK.

The UK Hydrogen Strategy sets out the Government’s approach to supporting low carbon electrolytic (green) hydrogen production alongside other production technologies. Support includes the £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund and the Industrial Decarbonisation and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme which will provide up to £100m of funding allocated in 2022 for electrolytic hydrogen projects, plus a further electrolytic allocation round in 2024.

The Government’s £23 million Hydrogen for Transport Programme is growing the number of publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations across the UK by delivering new stations and upgrading some existing stations, as well as deploying hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the likelihood that shoppers will undertake their Christmas shopping online rather than on the high street as a result of the requirement to wear face coverings introduced on 30 November 2021.

We’ve put in place a measured and proportionate set of restrictions and we believe we have struck the right balance in introducing measures to wear face coverings in certain settings.

The retail sector remains a key part of the high street and physical retail remains an important route to consumers. The excellent Small Business Saturday, which I was pleased to support, took place on 4 December, and provides a great way to celebrate small and micro businesses across the UK, highlighting their importance to our local communities and helping them get back on their feet as we look ahead to the economic recovery.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the long term impact on pubs of covid-19 lockdowns.

Hospitality businesses, such as pubs, which were asked to close during the pandemic to reduce transmission of the virus have reported reduced trading throughout the pandemic period. Official data indicates economic activity in the sector was 31% lower on average throughout the pandemic, relative to pre-COVID levels.[1] However, in Quarter 3 2021, hospitality sector activity surpassed 2019 levels.[2]

In order to support all businesses across the UK economy, including pubs, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have provided businesses with an unprecedented support package of £400 billion, including grants, loans, business rates relief, VAT cuts and the job retention scheme. This includes a total of over £26bn in business grants. The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund is open until March 2022.

[1] Data represents the average quarterly percentage change in Gross Value Added in each sector from Quarter 1 2020 to Quarter 3 2021 relative to Quarter 4 2019.

[2] https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/output/datasets/monthlybusinesssurveymbsturnoverofservicesindustries.

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 assessment his Department has made of the (a) onshore wind needed to reach the new target for decarbonising the electricity by 2035, and (b) implications of that matter for levelling up the economy.

As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, a low-cost, net zero consistent, electricity system is most likely to be composed predominantly of wind and solar, complemented by other low carbon generation technologies such as nuclear and power CCUS to ensure security of supply and a significant increase in flexibility.

However, as set out in the Energy White Paper a sustained increase of locally supported onshore wind in the 2020s and beyond will be required to meet out Carbon Budget 6 target. Onshore wind and other established renewable technologies such as solar PV will be able to compete in the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) allocation round, opening in December 2021. Government is seeking up to 5GW of capacity from established renewables technologies, with a £10m budget, which will support investment in all parts of Great Britain.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support energy companies in the UK.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have held a series of bilateral and roundtable events with a range of larger, smaller and challenger suppliers, and are continuing to engage with these stakeholders regularly to hear about the challenges they currently face.

It is Ofgem, the independent regulator’s responsibility to engage with suppliers considering exiting the market.

In a competitive market, it is normal from time to time for energy suppliers who cannot finance their activities to exit the retail energy market.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people are able to access fuel for their cars.

The temporary reduction to the availability of fuel in September was driven by a sudden increase in demand. There was never a national shortage of fuel, as the industry made clear. Fuel supplies have now returned to normal levels.

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has taken three main steps to assist industry to return forecourt stocks to normal levels:

  • A temporary exemption of industry from the Competition Act 1998 for the purpose of sharing information and optimising supply in the event of a disruption (Downstream Oil Protocol).

  • Deploying the Department’s Reserve Tanker Fleet of fuel tanker vehicles to provide additional capacity to industry; 37 tankers have been made available to hauliers.

  • Working with the Armed Forces to make fuel deliveries; 248 trained Military drivers, along with other support staff, have been made available to hauliers.
Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the UK's floating wind targets ahead of COP26.

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 the ambitious target of 1GW of floating wind by 2030. As announced in the Net Zero Strategy, this will put the UK at the forefront of this new technology that can utilise the North and Celtic Seas – backed by £380 million overall funding for the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector.

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)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to support mathematics research in universities.

The UK is a world leader in mathematics. British mathematicians publish a large volume of highly regarded work. When compared to international colleagues, British mathematicians have the 5th largest share of publications in the world. When looking at the top 1% of most cited publications, UK mathematicians are responsible for the third largest share.

Since January 2020, UKRI has awarded £104 million of additional funding into mathematical sciences, over and above EPSRC’s core Mathematical Sciences Theme budget. The additional funding has funded institutes, small and large research grants, fellowships, doctoral studentships, and postdoctoral awards.

Future funding for mathematical sciences will be decided as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review process.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the effect of the energy price cap on energy companies in the UK.

An Impact Assessment was published alongside the Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Act when it started its passage through Parliament, and Ofgem published their final impact assessment before implementation of the price cap.

Ofgem regularly reviews and sets the level of the price cap so that it reflects the underlying costs of supplying energy and that efficient suppliers can finance their licenced activities. This protects around 15 million British households on default tariffs, saving them between £75 and £100 a year on dual fuel bills.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that umbrella companies do not withhold holiday pay from workers.

The Government has committed to expand state enforcement for agency workers to cover umbrella companies and enforcement of holiday pay for vulnerable workers. This will enable inspectors to investigate relevant complaints involving umbrella companies (such as the withholding of holiday pay) and take action where necessary. This will require primary legislation, which the Government will bring forward in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential economic effect on the wedding industry in the event that covid-19 restrictions are extended for another (a) two and (b) four weeks beyond 21 June 2021.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, including those in the wedding industry, which we keep under regular review.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced that, from 21 June, there will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees. The number of guests will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports that UK solar farms have been built using panels made in Xinjiang province.

We are thoroughly investigating reports of forced labour in the global solar panel supply chain. In January, we announced a comprehensive package of measures to help ensure no UK organisations are complicit in the serious human rights violations being perpetrated against the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.

We reiterate our call for all UK companies, including those using polysilicon in their supply chains, to ensure their supply chains are free of forced labour. We have provided detailed and specific guidance to UK businesses, and we will continue to engage businesses, including on these latest allegations.

We are working with the UK solar sector as a matter of urgency to ensure companies are aware of the relevant legislation and international frameworks on human rights. Solar Energy UK has issued an industry statement, committing to support the development of a supply chain traceability protocol.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure solar panels imported into the UK are not produced in unacceptable working conditions.

We are thoroughly investigating reports of forced labour in the global solar panel supply chain. In January, we announced a comprehensive package of measures to help ensure no UK organisations are complicit in the serious human rights violations being perpetrated against the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.

We reiterate our call for all UK companies, including those using polysilicon in their supply chains, to ensure their supply chains are free of forced labour. We have provided detailed and specific guidance to UK businesses, and we will continue to engage businesses, including on these latest allegations.

We are working with the UK solar sector as a matter of urgency to ensure companies are aware of the relevant legislation and international frameworks on human rights. Solar Energy UK has issued an industry statement, committing to support the development of a supply chain traceability protocol.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much of the energy the UK uses is provided by undersea cables from mainland Europe.

The following table shows net imports from mainland Europe as a proportion of total UK electricity supply for 2017 to 2020. The data for 2020 is provisional; final data will be published at the end of July.

Year

Net imports % of UK electricity supply

2017

4.2 %

2018

5.7 %

2019

6.6 %

2020

5.6 %

Source: Energy Trends tables 5.1 and 5.6

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/electricity-section-5-energy-trends

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to progress the UK to energy independence.

Ensuring that UK homes and businesses have the certainty of secure energy supplies now and in the future is an absolute priority. In terms of electricity, the UK’s main tool for ensuring secure supplies is the Capacity Market, which secures the capacity required to meet peak demand in a range of scenarios through auctions held four years and one year ahead of delivery. The auctions which have taken place this year have secured the majority of the UK’s capacity needs out to 2024/25 at a low cost. Electricity interconnection is also an important part of the UK’s energy strategy, delivering lower costs for consumers, increased energy security, and better integrated low-carbon generation. Moreover, electricity interconnectors can also contribute to security of supply by providing access to a wider pool of generation across different markets.

In terms of gas, the UK benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources, including indigenous production, six international gas pipelines with Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, and three Liquified Natural Gas terminals. This diversity contributes to our strong security of supply and resilience to disruptions (such as severe weather conditions) even for an extended period. The UK also has a number of gas storage facilities, which act as a source of system flexibility when responding to short-run changes in supply and demand.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to make St. George’s Day a public holiday in England.

The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to commemorate a variety of occasions such as cultural, historical and religious events. The current pattern of bank and public holidays is well established and acknowledged.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of adding golf club and premise to the businesses that are eligible to receive the Local Restrictions Support Grant.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed), closed for new applications on 31st March. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget that from 1st April one-off Restart Grants of up to £6,000 for non-essential retail and up £18,000 for hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation businesses will be available to support them to reopen as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed.

Where a business does not meet this criteria, they may be eligible for further grant support via the Additional Restrictions Grant a discretionary scheme, administered by Local Authorities. 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. The Chancellor has announced an additional £425m will be made available via the Additional Restrictions Grant meaning that more than £2bn has been made available to Local Authorities since November 2020.

Local Authorities are responsible for the administration of all Grant Schemes and queries regarding eligibility should be made locally.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance his Department plans to publish for small electronic companies to help them comply with right-to-repair legislation.

The new right to repair provisions in the Government’s forthcoming ecodesign legislation will enable consumers to have their products repaired, including washing-machines and televisions. This will reduce waste and increase the UK’s resource efficiency.

We have worked closely with suppliers of electronic goods to help them understand the new requirements; and guidance will be made available when the legislation is published. We expect the new requirements to have a very limited impact on small electronic companies who produce products that are covered by the legislation. By contrast, the changes present a great opportunity for small repair businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the EU’s decision to continue export controls on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Halifax on the availability of the covid-19 vaccine in the UK.

UK and EU supply chains are interlinked as vaccines have complex supply chains. We are in constant contact with the vaccine manufacturers and remain confident in the continued supply of vaccine for the UK.

We have successfully met our target of offering a first vaccine dose to every person in the top four priority groups by 15 February and are on track to offer a vaccine to all priority cohorts by 15 April, as well as all adults by the end of July.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with employers to ensure that people coming to the UK country from Hong Kong under (a) the BN(O) and (b) other visa schemes are able to secure employment using qualifications obtained in Hong Kong.

The Department has extensive engagement with businesses of all sizes, as well as trade associations and business representative organisations.

Professionals with non-UK professional qualifications may need to have their qualifications recognised by the appropriate regulator or professional body if they want to work in a profession or use professional titles regulated in the UK. Hong Kong British Nationals can seek advice from the UK Centre for Professional Qualifications to find out which regulatory or professional body they should contact and how to get their professional qualification recognised.

Many regulators already have arrangements in place with their Hong Kong and other international counterparts and provide routes to recognition for professionals with qualifications obtained outside the UK.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that all invoices for the Green Homes Grant scheme are paid within two weeks.

The payment process is a four-step process that requires: the customer to confirm the work has been completed, the installer to record the work on the TrustMark database, the scheme administrator to check the conditions of the voucher issued have been met, and then the scheme administrator to make the payment.

We are working with consumers and installers to ensure they are clear on the information and checks required, so that vouchers can be paid as quickly as possible.

The scheme administrator is prioritising the payment of the vouchers and we are continuing to see an increase in the number of vouchers being paid out to installers once work is complete.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the transmission levels of covid-19 at (a) indoor and (b) outdoor weddings.

The Government’s approach to reopening the wedding sector is detailed in “COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021”.

At step 2, weddings receptions will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open). At step 3, weddings receptions can proceed with up to 30 attendees. With appropriate mitigations in place, by Step 4, the Government aims to remove all limits on weddings and other life events, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what economic impact assessment his Department has made of the cap on guests at weddings until 21 June 2021.

BEIS officials and I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce established to represent all parts of the Weddings sector [in England], to understand the impact of the pandemic on jobs and businesses. On 22 February, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister published the Government’s ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’. The roadmap is a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously, starting with education. Across the four steps, the roadmap sets out the sequencing and indicative timing for easing restrictions, including those on the wedding sector.

Over the course of the pandemic, the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, which we keep under regular review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the extension to PAS 2030:17 certifications will be further extended to March 2022 in line with the Green Home Grants scheme extension.

The transitional arrangements which include allowing installations under either the 2017 or 2019 versions of PAS 2030 in the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme have been extended to the 30th June 2021. There are no plans to extend any further, therefore all installers will need to be certified to the updated standard by 30 June 2021. Further information can be found on UKAS's website: https://www.ukas.com/news/ukas-pas-2030-green-homes-communication-to-certification-bodies-extension-of-beis-transition-policy-for-the-ghgvs-to-30-june-2021/.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to ensure UK snowsport instructors can continue to teach in the EU after the transition period.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, British snow sports instructors who have had their qualifications recognised and who are resident or a frontier worker in the EU Member State that recognised them at the end of the Transition Period, will have that recognition protected and will be able to continue to work there. The recognition of UK professional qualifications across all industries (including snow sports instructors) in the EU after the end of the Transition Period is subject to ongoing negotiations with the EU, and the local laws and regulations in Member States.

The Government is in regular contact with a range of stakeholders to ensure regulatory and professional bodies, and those working in regulated professions, make the necessary preparations ahead of the end of the Transition Period. This includes engagement with the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the UK snowsports industry on the rights of UK instructors to teach in the EU after the transition period.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, British snow sports instructors who have had their qualifications recognised and who are resident or a frontier worker in the EU Member State that recognised them at the end of the Transition Period, will have that recognition protected and will be able to continue to work there. The recognition of UK professional qualifications across all industries (including snow sports instructors) in the EU after the end of the Transition Period is subject to ongoing negotiations with the EU, and the local laws and regulations in Member States.

The Government is in regular contact with a range of stakeholders to ensure regulatory and professional bodies, and those working in regulated professions, make the necessary preparations ahead of the end of the Transition Period. This includes engagement with the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the curfew on hospitality venues until 2am on new year's day.

On the 2nd December, the current national measures will end and we will move to a more localised intervention based on three tiers. Under the new tiers, the 10pm closing time for hospitality has been modified to last orders at 10pm and closing time at 11pm. This allows customers to depart gradually and provides greater flexibility.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he made of the potential effect of an extension of the autumn 2020 covid-19 lockdown on (a) businesses and (b) jobs in the hair, beauty and wellness services sector.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister addressed the nation on Monday 23 November setting out Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan. The COVID-19 Winter Plan ensures the current national restrictions can be lifted on 2 December. Close Contact Services will be able to open in all tiers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of the new national covid-19 lockdown restrictions in place from 5 November 2020 on the hair and beauty industry; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a bespoke package of fiscal support for that industry.

We recognise businesses and jobs will be significantly impacted by Covid during the winter. That is why my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that, from 1 November, the Job Support Scheme is being expanded to provide temporary support to businesses whose premises have been legally required to close as a direct result of Covid. This will help businesses by supporting the wage costs of employees and protecting jobs.

We’ve put in place an unprecedented package of support to support impacted businesses, including over £11billion already been paid out through the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund to over 897,000 businesses across the country, with a further £617 million available to councils to use at their discretion to support small businesses which are not eligible for the other grant schemes.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Nov 2020
What steps he is taking to help ensure that Green Homes Grant Scheme improvements offer significant (a) environmental benefits and (b) value for money.

My Rt hon friend the Prime Minister has made clear that energy efficiency is a Government priority. The Green Homes Grant provides economic stimulus, supporting over 80,000 jobs. Through the scheme, households could save up to £600 a year on energy bills.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the November 2020 lockdown restrictions in England on florists that sell Christmas Trees in the run up to Christmas.

The Government recognise that this is a very challenging time for florists, particularly in the peak trading period running up to Christmas.

All shops can continue to offer home delivery and click and collect services to customers?during the national restrictions in place from 5 November.

Retailers are able to benefit from?additional financial measures recently announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, including?the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, extension to the existing Loan Schemes?to January 2021 with the ability to top-up Bounce Back Loans, and cash grants of up to £3,000?per month?for businesses which are closed.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate his Department has made of the average return on investment for lifetime of usage of solar thermal systems; and for what reasons those systems are included in the Green Homes Grant Scheme.

The average return on investment for solar thermal systems will depend on a range of factors including whether the owner of the solar thermal installation is in receipt of grant funding (such as the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive) or not.

The measures in the scheme were chosen because they deliver: demand for the energy efficiency sector, creating and preserving jobs; lasting carbon emission savings that contribute to reaching net zero; energy efficiency installations which are high quality and represent good value for money; and create long-term growth in the energy efficiency supply chain.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) nightclubs and (b) other parts of the night-time economy which still remain closed during the covid-19 outbreak.

We appreciate that the outbreak presents a significant challenge to the owners of nightclubs, which are still required to remain closed. The Government put in place an unprecedented programme of support to help businesses across the economy through the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, loan guarantees, grants, VAT deferral and the forfeiture moratorium. I am currently engaging with the nightclub sector to understand their immediate and longer-term needs.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to tackle the concerns raised by the Glass and Glazing Federation in that organisation's letter to the Government of 14 August 2002 on the Green Homes Scheme.

The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme focuses on those measures which give greatest thermal benefits and carbon reductions, but which consumers are typically less likely to install on their own. Insulating walls, roofs and floors is a more cost-effective way to improve the energy efficiency of homes, which is why it is prioritised under the scheme.

We will continue to review the scheme design and take new information into account. Funding for future energy efficiency initiatives will be determined through the Spending Review in the autumn.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that businesses offering home improvement under the Green Homes Grant scheme receive their PAS 2030 certification as quickly as possible.

It is the responsibility of the TrustMark scheme providers to ensure that organisations are Publicly Available Specification (PAS) certified, although the Department is working closely with TrustMark to ensure that the right information is shared with the scheme providers and their members so they know what they need to do to become certified to the correct level of PAS.

The Green Homes Grant scheme is making a substantial commitment to supply chain development, to bolster the workforce and support the delivery of the scheme, including support and training directed towards gaining required certification.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the average time is for a PAS 2030 certification to be processed once a business applies, in the most recent month for which figures are available.

The amount of time that it takes to receive receives PAS 2030 certification differs depending on the certification body that the business has applied to and the completeness of it application.

Certification can take less than two weeks providing the business has the correct documentation.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will issue guidance on the re-opening of larger event and dinner venues, in particular on the numbers allowed to gather for (a) events and (b) dinners in enclosed spaces.

The Government is continuing to engage with representatives from industry to explore how larger events may be resumed in a COVID-19 secure way, once it is safe to do so. We recognise the challenges events and dinner venues face and we will communicate any updates as soon as possible.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of issuing guidance to high street shops and supermarkets on the price of (a) 3-ply face masks and (b) other personal protective equipment.

The Government is clear that it is absolutely unacceptable to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic for financial gain. The vast majority of businesses have acted responsibly during the national effort to tackle Covid-19.

Reports of profiteering on key products such as masks, other PPE and hand sanitizer have fallen significantly as supply chains return to normal, with suppliers scaling up production and sourcing alternative supplies. BEIS Ministers have met with suppliers, retailers and consumer representatives, and continue to monitor these reports to assess any further steps necessary.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effect of the mandatory wearing of masks in shops on (a) customers and (b) shop workers who are (i) deaf and (ii) hard of hearing that rely on (A) lip reading and (B) facial expressions to communicate.

From 24 July all customers must wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets. This is in addition to the requirement to wear face coverings on public transport.

As is the case for public transport, there will be a range of exemptions set out in law. This will include children under 11 and those with certain disabilities.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to enable landlords to claim vouchers under his newly announced Green Homes Grant scheme; and who will be eligible to apply for funding under that scheme.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Further detail on the scheme will be announced in due course before the full launch.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that any potential investment by Amazon in Deliveroo is limited to ensure that local delivery companies are not forced out by unfair competition.

Competition investigations into mergers are a matter for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is an independent non-Ministerial department. The CMA is currently conducting a review of this transaction. This is being carried out independently.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether energy-efficient windows will be classified as a high priority product in the Green Homes Grant.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Further detail on the range of measures will be announced in the coming days, before the scheme’s full launch.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to make an announcement on the (a) eligibility for and (b) products that will be available under the Green Homes Grant.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Further detail on the range of measures will be announced in the coming days, before the scheme’s full launch.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his oral statement of 8 July 2020, Economic Update, what steps he is taking to support small home improvement businesses in the short-term in the event that people will potentially delay energy improvements until the green homes grant is made available in September 2020.

We are working to finalise the details of the new scheme as quickly as possible, including which measures will be included. We will set out further details over the coming weeks to give consumers and installers greater certainty.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward the start date of the green homes grant, announced in his oral statement of 8 July 2020.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The start date of the scheme was chosen to support effective delivery and beneficial impact. Further detail on the range of measures will be announced in the coming days, before the scheme’s full launch.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with (a) utility companies and (b) banks on removing charges for pensioners who are not comfortable with online billing and do not choose paperless billing options.

I regularly engage with utility providers to address a wide range of issues. Through these conversations I always stress the importance of utility companies and banks serving the needs of all their customers, in particular the elderly and vulnerable, and look forward to raising this specific issue as part of my next engagement.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to enable tanning salons with sunbeds that do not require close contact between customers and staff to reopen.

From 4 July, many close contact services such as hairdressers, pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen provided they adhere to the safer working guidelines. However, others such as tanning salons, beauty parlours and make-up studios remain closed until further notice. The Government recognises that this is difficult for some businesses. Every step is weighed against the evidence, remembering that the more we open up the more vigilant we will need to be.

Our approach to the types of businesses who can reopen is guided by the scientific and medical advice. SAGE provides world-leading scientific advice to the Government. However, making any changes depends on us continuing to meet the five tests.

We will continue to work with those industries that are still closed to understand how best we can reopen them safely, at the right time, guided by the science.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is planning to take to support people with diabetes when they return to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is critical that employers offer safe workplaces. The Government has published guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These guides cover a range of working environments and are available at www.gov.uk/workingsafely.

Nothing in this guidance affects employers’ existing responsibilities under employment and equalities legislation. Employers therefore need to bear in mind the particular needs of different groups or individuals, and make sure that the steps they take to address the risk of COVID-19 do not unjustifiably impact on some groups compared with others.

The safer workplaces guidance provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to encourage the development of tidal power projects.

Renewable electricity generation has more than quadrupled since 2010. A record?52.6%?of electricity came from low-carbon sources in 2018.

We have the world’s largest offshore wind capacity at 9.8GW with CfD auction prices for offshore wind falling by two-thirds between 2015 and 2019.

Tidal energy could still have a potentially important role in the long-term decarbonisation of the UK. It has to reduce its costs sufficiently, however, to compete with other renewable technologies.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 19 May 2020 Question 45020 on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, whether businesses applying for a loan under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme are required to have had revenue in the 2019 fiscal year.

Under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) businesses can apply for a loan of up to 25% of their turnover in the calendar year 2019, from a minimum of £2000 up to a maximum of £50,000. In order to meet this criterion, businesses must have a turnover of at least £8000 from 2019.

If a business was established after 1 January 2019, the 25% limit should be applied to the estimated annual turnover from the date the business started.

The BBLS and CBILS are part of a broad package of support available for SMEs, including rates relief, grants and support for wage packages. Further detail on the support available can be found on the Government’s business support website.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 19 May 2020 to Question 45020 on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, whether he has had discussions with Bounce Back Loan Scheme lenders to encourage them to support viable businesses which did not have any turnover in the 2019 fiscal year.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly meets with lenders, and as part of this addresses feedback on how the Government’s Coronavirus support loan schemes have been working and closely monitors their implementation. This includes regular dialogue with each of the major BBLS lenders.

The BBLS is part of a broad package of support available for SMEs, including rates relief, grants and support for wage packages. Further detail on the support available can be found on the Government’s business support website.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to tackle potential fraud in relation to (a) the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme and (b) Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

It is important that thorough due diligence is conducted by lenders as part of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).

Individual lending decisions are fully delegated to the accredited lenders. As such, fraud checks are subject to each lender’s internal policy. The robustness of these policies is thoroughly tested before a lender can become accredited to the CBILS or the BBLS.

The banks and other financial institutions which have been accredited to lend under the CBILS or the BBLS are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and are required to comply with a number of regulations, including anti-money laundering and ‘know your customer’ rules, designed to combat fraud and other forms of financial crime. The majority of lenders also subscribe to the voluntary Standards of Lending Practice overseen by the independent Lending Standards Board.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that construction companies are able to access sufficient building supplies to continue building work.

The Government is working with the industry to ensure the continued and safe operation of the construction supply chain, and to ensure that firms have access to building materials and products.

The Construction Leadership Council’s Coronavirus Task Force has established a product availability working group, comprised of product manufacturers, builders’ merchants and suppliers, contractors of all sizes, and housebuilders. The Task Force will monitor the supply and demand of products, and identify those in short supply.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the potential suspension of Sunday trading laws on shopworker's wellbeing.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 already recognises Sunday as a special day for many people and entitles employees in shops and betting shops to opt out of working on Sunday if they do not wish to work on a Sunday. Unless Sunday is the only day they have been employed to work, all shop and betting shop employees can opt out of Sunday working at any time by giving their employer three months’ notice, even if they agreed to it in their contract.

We are aware that some large establishments support a temporary relaxation of Sunday Trading laws during the Covid-19 crisis which we are keeping under review, including the impact on workers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing financial support to businesses that are unable to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme because of a low turnover in the last financial year.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) is available to most UK-based businesses, regardless of turnover, who meet the eligibility criteria and who were established on or before 1 March 2020.

However, a business in agriculture, aquaculture or fisheries may not qualify for the full amount if it is a ‘business in difficulty’ as of 31 December 2019. Similarly, if classed as a ‘business in difficulty’ the loan cannot be used for export-related activities.

The size of the loan that is available to a business is linked to its turnover. Small and medium-sized businesses can borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the effect that Amazon's potential investment in Deliveroo could have on traditional takeaway businesses.

Competition investigations into mergers are a matter for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is an independent non-Ministerial department. The CMA is currently conducting a review of this transaction. This is being carried out independently and Ministers do not have a role.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the British Business Bank's Borrower Viability Test does not prevent otherwise viable businesses from accessing the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

In order for a business to be eligible for the CBILS, it must be considered “viable” by the lender prior to the onset of COVID-19. The lender must consider that the applicant (or its business group) has a viable business proposition determined by the lender’s underwriting policies.

The viability test was amended in April to remove the requirement for lenders to include a ‘forward-looking’ element, which required an assessment of whether the business can trade out of the COVID-19 crisis. This means that any concerns over its short-to-medium term business performance due to the uncertainty and impact of COVID-19 cannot be taken into account when a lender is considering an application for a loan.

For smaller value facilities (e.g. those of £30,000 or below), in determining the eligibility of the applicant, lenders may decide to determine the applicant’s credit worthiness based on its internal credit scoring models.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing measures to tackle the difficulties that businesses that use holding companies for accounting purposes have encountered in passing the British Business Bank's Borrower Viability Test to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Individual lending decisions under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) are delegated to over 50 lenders accredited under the Scheme.

The British Business Bank has issued clear guidance to all accredited lenders on assessing viability for CBILS. For example, it includes guidance on assessing group undertakings and Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). It is for the individual lender to determine their own definition of a holding company based on this guidance.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that companies do not dismiss workers who could be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms to continue to keep people on the payroll in these extraordinary times. It is designed to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. All employers are eligible to claim under the scheme and the Government recognises different businesses will face different impacts from coronavirus.

The Department is working with business representative groups and industry contacts to encourage firms to use the Scheme, in particular to retain staff whom they would otherwise have to make redundant.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made assessment of the potential merits of limiting the reasons for workplace dismissal during covid-19 outbreak.

The Government believes that the existing employment rights offer sufficient protection from unfair dismissal, particularly those matters that are considered to be automatically unfair which may be more relevant during these exceptional times. There are a number of reasons why in certain situations a dismissal is likely to be automatically unfair, including reasons such as a request for flexible working; exercising the right to time off for dependants; reasons related to pregnancy and maternity; and, disability discrimination.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effect of covid-19 on business supply chains.

The Government is well prepared for this type of outbreak. We will continue to take all necessary precautions, such as engaging with key industry partners and employer organisations to understand the potential effect of Covid-19 on workers and to discuss their preparedness planning.

On 17 March, the Government announced a major new package of loans and guarantees, which means any good business in financial difficulty that needs access to cash to pay their rent, the salaries of their employees, pay suppliers, or purchase stock, will be able to access a Government-backed loan on attractive terms, with no cap on lending capacity. The Government will make an initial £330 billion of guarantees available – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP.

On 17 March, the Government also announced £20 billion of business rates support and grant funding to help the most affected firms manage their cashflow through this period by:

  • giving all retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months;
  • increasing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000;
  • providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000.
Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce the level of administrative demands placed by the Government on small businesses.

The Government announced the introduction of the Small and Micro Business Assessment (SaMBA) in June 2013. It requires that Impact Assessments provide clear evidence of the potential impact of regulations on small and micro businesses. The default assumption under SaMBA is that there will be a legislative exemption for small and micro businesses where a large part of the intended benefits of the measure can be achieved without including them. As a result of this policy, small firms can have confidence that future regulation will be more manageable for them and that they will not face disproportionate regulatory burdens.

The Department will shortly launch a call for evidence into the impact of regulation on business, which, taken alongside the Reducing Regulation Initiative announced as part of Budget 2020, will inform future policies to further reduce administrative demands on business, with particular attention on small businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help households improve their energy efficiency.

The Clean Growth Strategy set out the aspiration that as many homes as possible will be EPC Band C by 2035 where practical, cost-effective and affordable.

The current iteration of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO3) will upgrade around a million homes for low income and vulnerable households by March 2022. ECO3 and its successor will drive over £5bn of investment in energy efficiency between now and 2028. Furthermore, the Manifesto committed to an additional £6.3bn of public investment to upgrade the energy performance of fuel poor homes and social housing.

Last year, we launched Simple Energy Advice, a new digital and phoneline service to provide homeowners with impartial and tailored advice on how to cut their energy bills and make their homes greener, as well as information on any available financial support.

We also launched two energy efficiency innovation competitions in summer 2019, both aimed at investigating ways to make energy efficiency cheaper and more accessible for householders. The Whole House Retrofit cost reduction trajectory competition made available £9.4 million of funding for projects which demonstrate the potential to reduce costs for Whole House Retrofit. The Green Home Finance Innovation Fund is making nearly £2 million of funding available for a series of projects to develop innovative green mortgage and other lending products, to improve householder access to green finance to support energy efficiency retrofit. We have also committed to consult later this year on requirements for lenders to support homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the Online Safety Bill on the effectiveness of the regulation of harmful online content.

This legislation will create a significant step-change in the experience people have online. The Bill will tackle illegal content and activity; protect children; and give adults greater control of their online experiences, while protecting freedom of expression. The Bill’s systems and processes approach will hold companies to account for holistically considering the design and operation of their services, rather than just responding to events. As a result the Bill will instil a culture of proactive safety and risk management, which will have a substantial positive impact on the regulation of harmful online content.

The Regulatory Policy Committee has issued the Online Safety Bill Impact Assessment with a fit for purpose rating. The Impact Assessment estimated, conservatively, that the Bill will need to reduce a subset of quantified online harms by roughly 2% annually to offset the costs created by the Bill.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the Online Safety Bill on free speech.

Protecting freedom of expression online is a core objective of the Online Safety Bill and we have included significant safeguards to ensure users can engage in robust debate online.

In carrying out their safety duties, all services in scope must consider and implement safeguards for freedom of expression. Ofcom must also carry out its new duties in a way that protects freedom of expression.

The Bill will not require platforms to remove legal content that is accessed by adults. Rather, they will need to be clear what content is acceptable on their services, and enforce the rules consistently. This will prevent the arbitrary removal of harmful content. The Bill also ensures users have effective mechanisms to appeal content takedown. This is a significant improvement on the status quo, where companies remove significant amounts of content with no accountability.

Category 1 services also have additional duties to protect democratic and journalistic content, and must consider whether the public interest in such content outweighs the potential harm it could cause.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what projects her Department has in partnership with the British Overseas Territories; and whether her Department has plans to work with the British Overseas Territories on future projects.

My Department works closely with the Overseas Territories in pursuit of our obligations under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Four of the UK's thirty three World Heritage Sites are situated in the Overseas Territories of Bermuda, Gibraltar, Tristan da Cunha and the Pitcairn Islands, and we will welcome applications from further sites to be considered for the UK's Tentative List when the review is launched this year.

Nine of our Overseas Territories will be represented at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer. I wish each of their teams success.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the context of the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands, what plans her Department has to celebrate the anniversary of that event.

The Falkland conflict was a significant moment in our country’s history and it is vitally important that those who lost their lives are honoured and remembered.

The Royal British Legion will be marking the 40th anniversary of the Falklands conflict with thousands of veterans, civilians, and bereaved families invited to attend an event at the National Memorial Arboretum on Tuesday 14 June 2022. The all-day event will come together with a service of remembrance followed by a reception.

Commemorations will take place around the country from April 2022.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to (a) promote and (b) help protect Greyhound racing.

In January 2019 the government announced an increased funding commitment from bookmakers to support the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s (GBGB) efforts to improve welfare, and since 2021 every member of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) who offers bets on greyhound racing has contributed to the British Racing Greyhound Fund. The BGC represents approximately 90% of the UK’s licensed betting and gaming businesses.

The Government is also aware of the impact of Covid on greyhound racing and a preliminary allocation of £1.4m in loans was made available from the Sports Survival Package to help mitigate it. Greyhound racing has also been eligible to access pan-economy support provided by the government including the business rates holiday for leisure industry businesses, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits for greyhound racing of introducing a mandatory levy on races on a similar basis to horse-racing.

Since 2021, every member of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) who offers bets on greyhound racing has contributed to the British Racing Greyhound Fund. The BGC represents approximately 90% of the UK’s licensed betting and gaming businesses. In the financial year 2020-21, £6.75m was collected from bookmakers' voluntary contributions.

The Government has no current plans to introduce a mandatory levy and will continue to encourage any remaining bookmakers that have not signed up to the voluntary arrangements to follow suit. We expect both the betting and the greyhound racing sectors to make sure that greyhound welfare is safeguarded and remains at the heart of the sport.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if her Department will take steps to promote the singing of the national anthem in the UK.

Although it’s not the place of the government to mandate the singing of the National Anthem, we are delighted that it is regularly sung at occasions throughout the UK such as major sporting events, the Last Night of the Proms and other events at which Members of the Royal Family are present, and of course schools are also free to promote the singing of the National Anthem. The Government supports the singing of the Anthem at any appropriate occasion.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to protect sites with cultural heritage in the London Borough of Havering.

One site has been designated (Grade II status) in Romford within the past two years, and I can confirm that there are two Listing applications under review in the London Borough of Havering: Romford Brewery and Hornchurch War Memorial. Designation highlights a building, site or area's special interest and value to this and future generations and gives it protection under law or policy. A listed building may not be demolished, extended, or altered without special permission from the local planning authority. DCMS Arm’s Length Bodies have also provided funding and other support in the Borough:

  • Historic England continues to provide support to three at-risk sites in this borough, through statutory advice or funding via the Repair Grant and Management Agreement schemes.

  • Four cultural organisations receive regular funding from Arts Council England, two organisations have benefited from Culture Recovery Funding.

  • Since 1994, The National Lottery Heritage Fund has invested more than £12.5m in 66 projects in the London Borough of Havering. The Fund continues to work in partnership with Arts Council England to deliver project funding in Havering through the National Lottery Project Grants programme.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to protect free speech in online spaces.

The upcoming Online Safety Bill will protect freedom of expression online. The largest and riskiest companies, Category 1 services, will no longer be able to remove arbitrarily harmful content. They will need to be clear about what content is acceptable on their services and enforce these rules consistently. Users will have access to effective mechanisms to appeal content that is removed without good reason.

Category 1 services will need to assess their impact on freedom of expression and demonstrate the steps they have taken to mitigate this. They will also have additional duties to protect democratic and journalistic content online.

The government is also taking steps to boost competition in digital markets through the new pro-competition regime for digital markets. This has the potential to support greater choice and plurality in digital services.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential effect of proposed vaccine passports on the nighttime economy in Essex.

The government is committed to ensuring the safety of the public through minimising the risks of transmission of Covid-19 and by encouraging vaccination.

In the Prime Minister’s announcement on the 19th July (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-at-coronavirus-press-conference-19-july-2021) he requested that nightclubs and events where large crowds gather make use of the NHS Covid Pass on a voluntary basis until September. From the end of September 2021 vaccination will become a condition of entry in these circumstances once all adults have been offered the opportunity to receive both vaccination doses.

The evidence gathered from the Events Research Programme found that transmission is most likely when large crowds gather and covid-status certification has been shown to be one method of mitigating this risk.

From 19 July, the government made the NHS COVID Pass available so that individuals can prove their vaccination status. The NHS COVID Pass is available through the NHS App, NHS.UK, and in letter format. Certification for accessing settings through the NHS COVID Pass can be acquired by completion of a full vaccine course, a recent negative test, or proof of natural immunity. Natural immunity is proof of a positive polymerase chain reaction test, lasting for 180 days from the date of the positive test and following completion of the self-isolation period.

The NHS Covid Pass has been designed to be quick and simple to use, so as not to place any significant burden on settings utilising the resource. Guidance on its use can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-pass/

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of vaccine passports on London nightlife.

The government is committed to ensuring the safety of the public through minimising the risks of transmission of Covid-19 and by encouraging vaccination.

In the Prime Minister’s announcement on the 19th July (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-at-coronavirus-press-conference-19-july-2021) he requested that nightclubs and events where large crowds gather make use of the NHS Covid Pass on a voluntary basis until September. From the end of September 2021 vaccination will become a condition of entry in these circumstances once all adults have been offered the opportunity to receive both vaccination doses.

The evidence gathered from the Events Research Programme found that transmission is most likely when large crowds gather and covid-status certification has been shown to be one method of mitigating this risk.

From 19 July, the government made the NHS COVID Pass available so that individuals can prove their vaccination status. The NHS COVID Pass is available through the NHS App, NHS.UK, and in letter format. Certification for accessing settings through the NHS COVID Pass can be acquired by completion of a full vaccine course, a recent negative test, or proof of natural immunity. Natural immunity is proof of a positive polymerase chain reaction test, lasting for 180 days from the date of the positive test and following completion of the self-isolation period.

The NHS Covid Pass has been designed to be quick and simple to use, so as not to place any significant burden on settings utilising the resource. Guidance on its use can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-pass/

14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of restrictions on the online advertising of products that are high in fat, salt and sugar on investment by food manufacturers in UK companies compared with international competitors.

The Impact Assessment published alongside the Government’s consultation response for the 2019 and 2020 consultations on further restricting the advertising of food and drinks products high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) on TV and online estimates that advertisers, including manufacturers, retailers and out of home businesses will have lower returns of around £39m per year as a result of the restrictions.

The restrictions will apply to all companies advertising to UK consumers, whether or not they are UK companies.

The Government is cognisant of the revenue impacts to UK business, but we must act now to reduce the risks obesity presents to us all and act to protect our NHS. It is estimated that obesity-related conditions are currently costing the NHS £6.1 billion per year. The total costs to society of these conditions have been estimated at around £27 billion per year.

Throughout this policy’s development we have been keen to mitigate the impacts on business whilst balancing the vital need to improve the nation’s health. Part of this includes the number of exemptions which are part of the policy. By including these exemptions, such as for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), it keeps the policy proportionate.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to promote Romford's heritage as part of the Historic County of Essex.

Through its Arms Length Bodies, DCMS has taken steps to promote and protect Romford’s historic environment. These bodies, including Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, have delivered funding and supported initiatives that have celebrated the area’s rich local heritage.

Since 1994, The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded more than £3.8m to 24 projects in the constituency of Romford. These awards have supported a diverse range of projects, including: the restoration of Raphael Park, an exploration of the lives of local WW1 soldiers, and a celebration of the history of the Rom, England’s only listed skatepark.

Similarly, between 2010 and 2013 Historic England (HE) part-funded a Partnership Scheme which focussed on the regeneration of Romford Conservation Area – funding came to £107,000. Since 2013 HE has also funded the management and maintenance of the Moated Site at Dagnam Park (a scheduled monument), including the installation of an interpretation board, circa £6,500.

22nd Jun 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 extension of covid-19 restrictions beyond 21 June 2021 on live sports venues.

The Government continues to monitor the data as part of the assessment for easing of restrictions through Step 4 which is expected to commence on the 19th July. Through Step 3 of the roadmap we have started to see the very welcome return of fans into stadia. The extension of the Events Research Programme also allows for increased capacities at some sporting events in Step 3 such as Wimbledon and some UEFA EURO matches at Wembley.

The Government has provided continued financial support to spectator sports through the £300 million Sport Survival Package announced in November 2020 and a further announcement of £300 million in March 2021 for a summer phase of the Package. To date, we have publicly announced more than c.£215 million of support through the package. This has ensured the survival of major spectator sports whilst restrictions on crowd capacities have been in place.

The Government remains committed to engaging and supporting the sector to maintain a complete picture of the financial impact of Covid-19 to ensure sports survive this difficult period wherever possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jun 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 extension of covid-19 restrictions beyond 21 June 2021 on the theatre industry.

The Prime Minister has always said that we would be led by data, not dates. The government has looked at the data very closely and assessed it against the four tests set out in the Roadmap. It is on the basis of worsening data that the decision has been taken that Step 4 will take place no earlier than 19 July.

We recognise the challenging times facing these sectors and are committed to supporting our world-leading cultural and creative industries. The Department has been working closely with stakeholders across the theatre and live events industry throughout the pandemic to monitor the impact of Covid-19 and delays to Step 4 of the Roadmap and will continue to do so.

Many of these organisations continue to benefit from the significant cross-economy package of support that has been made available throughout this pandemic, including the generous employment schemes, grants, loans, a reduction in VAT to 5%, business rates relief, and the extension of the moratorium on commercial evictions for business tenants until March 2022. In addition, businesses across these sectors may be eligible for further support through the third round of the unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund - details of which were announced on 25 June. This third and final round of funding will provide support to new organisations and existing recipients, as the cultural, heritage and creative sectors move towards reopening at full capacity, underlining the government’s commitment to help them build back better as life returns to normal.

22nd Jun 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 extension of covid-19 restrictions beyond 21 June 2021 on the live music industry.

The Prime Minister has always said that we would be led by data, not dates. The government has looked at the data very closely and assessed it against the four tests set out in the Roadmap. It is on the basis of worsening data that the decision has been taken that Step 4 will take place no earlier than 19 July.

We recognise the challenging times facing these sectors and are committed to supporting our world-leading cultural and creative industries. The Department has been working closely with stakeholders across the theatre and live events industry throughout the pandemic to monitor the impact of Covid-19 and delays to Step 4 of the Roadmap and will continue to do so.

Many of these organisations continue to benefit from the significant cross-economy package of support that has been made available throughout this pandemic, including the generous employment schemes, grants, loans, a reduction in VAT to 5%, business rates relief, and the extension of the moratorium on commercial evictions for business tenants until March 2022. In addition, businesses across these sectors may be eligible for further support through the third round of the unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund - details of which were announced on 25 June. This third and final round of funding will provide support to new organisations and existing recipients, as the cultural, heritage and creative sectors move towards reopening at full capacity, underlining the government’s commitment to help them build back better as life returns to normal.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the financial effect to professional sports of extending covid-19 restrictions beyond 21 June 2021.

The Government continues to monitor the data as part of the assessment for easing of restrictions through Step 4 which will take place no earlier than the 21st June. Through Step 3 of the roadmap we have started to see the very welcome return of fans into stadia.

The Government has provided continued financial support to spectator sports through the £300 million Sport Survival Package announced in November 2020 and a further announcement of £300 million in March 2021 for a summer phase of the Package. To date, we have publicly announced more than c.£215 million of support through the package. This has ensured the survival of major spectator sports whilst restrictions on crowd capacities have been in place.

The Government remains committed to engaging and supporting the sector to maintain a complete picture of the financial impact of Covid-19 to ensure sports survive this difficult period wherever possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on increasing the six person limit for indoor amateur choirs, where there is adequate space for social distancing.

I know that the restrictions on singing are frustrating to large numbers of amateur choirs and performance groups across the country and that many people have made sacrifices in order to drive down infections and protect the NHS over the last year. I can assure you that everyone across Government wants to ease these restrictions as soon as possible.

However, It is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions. We have followed the views of public health experts on singing. We are aware, through the NERVTAG and PERFORM studies that singing can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission through the spread of aerosol droplets. This was backed up by a consensus statement from SAGE, resulting in the suggested principles of safer singing being published.

We will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation. Further detail on step 4 will be set out as soon as possible.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to protect freedom of expression online.

Freedom of expression and the media are essential qualities of any functioning democracy, and the government is committed to maintaining a free and open internet, in line with our democratic values.

We recently published draft Online Safety legislation which will tackle harmful content while protecting users’ rights online. In-scope companies will have a legal obligation to consider and implement safeguards for freedom of expression when fulfilling their duties, for which they can be held to account. The largest social media platforms will no longer be able to arbitrarily remove harmful content. They will need to be clear what content is acceptable on their services and enforce these rules consistently. They will also need to put in place additional protections for democratic and journalistic content. Users will have access to effective mechanisms to appeal content that is removed without good reason.

The government is also taking steps to boost competition in digital markets through a new pro-competition regime. The new regime will aim to promote fair trading, open choices, trust and transparency to allow swift action to pre-empt competition concerns in fast-moving markets. This has the potential to support greater choice and plurality in digital services, for example through boosting a greater diversity of platforms for speech online.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what representations he has received from businesses on the proposed online advertising ban for foods high in fat, sugar and salt; and whether those representations have been relayed by his Department to the Department for Health and Social Care, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, HM Treasury and Number 10.

The Prime Minister has made it clear that tackling obesity is a priority for this Government. In July 2020 the Government outlined it’s Tackling Obesity strategy which details a host of measures aimed at improving the chances of citizens living a healthy lifestyle.

The Government proposed various options for restricting HFSS advertising in the 2019 and 2020 consultations targeted at protecting children from being exposed to advertising of unhealthy food products. We received a number of responses from a spectrum of parties including industry bodies, food manufacturers, advertisers and health NGOs. Ministers and officials from DCMS, DHSC and other Government departments are working together to ensure impacts are being taken into account, while being balanced with the vital public health goals set out in our strategy.

The final policy will be set out in our consultation response due to be published shortly. The Government is committed to acting collaboratively to prepare businesses, individuals and organisations for changes to the rules around HFSS advertising.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with the Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on ensuring proposals for restricting the online advertising of products high in fat, sugar and salt balance public health aims with business freedoms, protecting the public purse and ensuring businesses can grow and invest in reformulation.

The Prime Minister has made it clear that tackling obesity is a priority for this Government. In July 2020 the Government outlined it’s Tackling Obesity strategy which details a host of measures aimed at improving the chances of citizens living a healthy lifestyle.

The Government proposed various options for restricting HFSS advertising in the 2019 and 2020 consultations targeted at protecting children from being exposed to advertising of unhealthy food products.

Balanced against the priority of protecting children and tackling obesity, we have carefully considered the impact that any restrictions will have on industry and in particular the potential for reformulation of products or commercial impacts on key business sectors.

The final policy will be set out in our consultation response due to be published shortly. The Government is committed to acting collaboratively to prepare businesses, individuals and organisations for changes to the rules around HFSS advertising.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether there are any limits on the number of people under 18 years old who can participate in an indoors (a) performing arts class and (b) exercise class from 17 May 2021.

From 17th May, over 18’s performing arts classes and activities are permitted indoors and outdoors, within the legal gathering limits. Indoors, people can take part in non-professional performing arts activities in a group of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households/bubbles. Activities can take place with multiple permitted groups, provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, and the event is organised in line with the organised events guidance for local authorities. However, non-professional singing indoors should only take place in a single group of up to 6 people.

In all settings, social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households/bubbles.

For under 18’s, from step 3, where wraparound and other extracurricular activities for children are taking place indoors, they will be able to take place in groups of any number. However, when considering appropriate group sizes, it will be important to take into account factors outlined in the Out of School Settings Guidance, such as the recommended occupancy levels of the premises the provider is operating from, and levels of ventilation.

In Step 3, indoor sport is exempt from the gathering limits for adults and children where it is formally organised (for example, by a national governing body, business or charity) and follows measures including COVID-secure guidance. Organised indoor sport must adhere to the relevant capacity restrictions for indoor sport facilities including allowing a minimum of 100sqft per person for all people in the venue. This applies to organised indoor (individual and team) sports, indoor exercise classes and organised sports participation events.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether there are limits on the number of people over 18 years old who can participate in an indoors (a) performing arts class and (b) exercise class from 17 May 2021.

From 17th May, over 18’s performing arts classes and activities are permitted indoors and outdoors, within the legal gathering limits. Indoors, people can take part in non-professional performing arts activities in a group of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households/bubbles. Activities can take place with multiple permitted groups, provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, and the event is organised in line with the organised events guidance for local authorities. However, non-professional singing indoors should only take place in a single group of up to 6 people.

In all settings, social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households/bubbles.

For under 18’s, from step 3, where wraparound and other extracurricular activities for children are taking place indoors, they will be able to take place in groups of any number. However, when considering appropriate group sizes, it will be important to take into account factors outlined in the Out of School Settings Guidance, such as the recommended occupancy levels of the premises the provider is operating from, and levels of ventilation.

In Step 3, indoor sport is exempt from the gathering limits for adults and children where it is formally organised (for example, by a national governing body, business or charity) and follows measures including COVID-secure guidance. Organised indoor sport must adhere to the relevant capacity restrictions for indoor sport facilities including allowing a minimum of 100sqft per person for all people in the venue. This applies to organised indoor (individual and team) sports, indoor exercise classes and organised sports participation events.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department is taking steps to make viewing professional sports live more affordable.

We understand the importance of elite sport being visible and accessible to as many people across the country as possible to further inspire commitment to regular engagement and participation in sport.

Whilst ticket prices are a matter for individual host clubs to determine, the Government continues to expect all elite sports to make their ticketing policy inclusive of all ages and backgrounds.

The Government has though launched its fan-led review of football governance which will be looking at governance and financial sustainability within the game. As part of this, the Chair, my Honourable friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford, will be consulting extensively with fans to ensure the review covers the issues close to their heart.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether funding from the Arts Council which is allocated to unwanted community projects is in breach of the Arts Council Management Agreement 2016-20.

DCMS has a Management Agreement with Arts Council, England (ACE) which sets out the priorities ACE must work towards and the metrics which will be used to monitor their performance. These Management Agreements exist between DCMS and all its Arms Length Bodies.

ACE makes decisions about which organisations and projects to fund through their core funding settlement independently of government and Ministers, which means there is no question of political involvement in cultural funding decisions.

ACE assesses grant applications against a range of criteria including quality, public engagement, finance and management, activity types, disciplines, applicants and geographical areas. ACE has a strong track record of delivering funding to the arts and culture sector, and decisions are informed by local knowledge and expertise.

If you are concerned about a particular funding decision you can find advice on making a complaint or raising concerns about an organisation that has received funding from ACE at https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/advice-and-guidance-library/making-complaint

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether Spacehive has a role in allocating grants to community projects from the (a) Arts Council and (b) other organisations funded from the public purse.

Spacehive does not have a role in allocating grants from the Arts Council but has played a role in previous project funding.

During 2019-20 Arts Council England (ACE) ran a pilot project, Our Music Crowd, to help Music Education Hubs develop their crowdfunding skills. Spacehive, an online platform enabling organisations to crowdfund, was procured as a one-off supplier for this initiative and acted as a conduit for funding. It did not have a role in choosing which projects were funded or successful. Funding was provided to the projects using the Spacehive platform.

Spacehive has also worked with community networks, Local Authorities, foundations and companies in a similar fashion. I am unable to comment on any relationship Spacehive may have had with other Government Departments.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to promote the importance of celebrating St. Georges day.

Arts Council England, a DCMS Arm’s Length Body, is supporting a number of organisations across the country who will be running events including York Castle Museum which will be running a virtual St George’s Day on their social media including sharing St George related objects from the Museum’s collections.

My department continues to promote the importance of celebrating St George’s Day through its flag flying policy for designated days which encourages the flying of the Union Flag on UK Government Buildings.

St George’s Day is a designated day. UK Government Buildings, where they have more than one flag pole, are also encouraged to fly the Cross of St George alongside the Union Flag. Individuals, local authorities and other organisations may fly the Cross of St George if they wish.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to promote celebrations for the upcoming St. Georges Day on the 23 April 2021.

Arts Council England, a DCMS Arm’s Length Body, is supporting a number of organisations across the country who will be running events including York Castle Museum which will be running a virtual St George’s Day on their social media including sharing St George related objects from the Museum’s collections.

My department continues to promote the importance of celebrating St George’s Day through its flag flying policy for designated days which encourages the flying of the Union Flag on UK Government Buildings.

St George’s Day is a designated day. UK Government Buildings, where they have more than one flag pole, are also encouraged to fly the Cross of St George alongside the Union Flag. Individuals, local authorities and other organisations may fly the Cross of St George if they wish.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to celebrate St. Georges Day on 23 April 2021.

Arts Council England, a DCMS Arm’s Length Body, is supporting a number of organisations across the country who will be running events including York Castle Museum which will be running a virtual St George’s Day on their social media including sharing St George related objects from the Museum’s collections.

My department continues to promote the importance of celebrating St George’s Day through its flag flying policy for designated days which encourages the flying of the Union Flag on UK Government Buildings.

St George’s Day is a designated day. UK Government Buildings, where they have more than one flag pole, are also encouraged to fly the Cross of St George alongside the Union Flag. Individuals, local authorities and other organisations may fly the Cross of St George if they wish.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has undertaken an equality impact assessment of the effect of introducing a covid-19 vaccine passport on people being able to enter outdoor sporting events.

The Government is reviewing COVID-status certification, which is being led by the Cabinet Office. The Government has consulted widely to understand the equalities impacts, speaking to ethicists and representatives of disabilities, ethnic minorities and faith groups. The Government will continue to invite views about possible equalities impacts as we continue to assess the potential role of certification.

The Government is looking at how we can allow venues to reopen as part of the Events Research Programme (ERP) led by my department. The ERP’s pilots will gather evidence associated with different settings and approaches to managing and mitigating transmission risk. The pilots will explore how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and test-on-entry protocols could ease opening and maximise participation.

The department takes its responsibility under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) seriously, and as such a separate PSED assessment will be completed ahead of each of the pilot events in the research programme, to ensure the equality impacts of the programme on groups with a protected characteristic are fully considered. This will include an equality assessment of the use of COVID-status certification where this is trialled as part of the specified pilot.

We will ensure that the results gathered from research programmes are fed into policy development swiftly to ensure data is used to inform decisions around further reopening, including of sporting events.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage tourism in London in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

My Department is taking a number of steps to encourage tourism in city destinations such as London.

The Global Travel Taskforce last year committed the Government to publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in support of the sector. The Government intends to set out proposals in the Spring, including plans for a marketing campaign to welcome visitors back to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so.

We are working with VisitBritain, VisitEngland and local partners to champion the UK’s diverse tourism offer through the Escape the Everyday campaign, which will have a focus on encouraging visitors to return to cities.

We will continue to work with industry to provide assurance regarding when people can safely visit attractions - as demonstrated through the We’re Good to Go industry standard, which has been used by over 45,000 businesses.

The March Budget included £700m of extra funding to support our world-leading arts, culture and sporting institutions - protecting the venues which make London and the UK an attractive destination to visit.

In total, over £25bn has been provided to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
BBC
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with representatives of the BBC on ensuring that licence fee payers receive value for money during the covid-19 outbreak with new content being broadcast.

As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a vital role to play in supplying information to the public throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, and it has introduced a wide-ranging package of measures to help keep the nation informed, educated, and entertained through these unprecedented times.

However, the BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government and the government cannot intervene in the BBC’s editorial decisions. The Government is clear it expects the BBC to be held to the highest standards, and ensure value for money taking into account the wider public interest, but it is the BBC Board who is ultimately responsible for the appropriate use of licence fee revenue. The Comptroller and Auditor General of the NAO is the BBC's independent external auditor. The NAO is responsible for auditing the BBC accounts and ensuring value for money in the way the BBC uses its funds.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, what discussions officials in his Department have had with their Dutch counterparts on the effect of large outdoor events on the spread of covid-19 following the Back to Life pilot festival in Biddinghuizen, the Netherlands in March 2021.

The Events Research Programme (ERP) is exploring ways to enable people to attend large events and performances safely. DCMS officials regularly review reports on mass gatherings published by the Cabinet Office’s International Comparators Joint Unit (ICJU), including activities taking place in the Netherlands. Officials academics and programme team members behind the Back to Life event to discuss their approach and lessons learned from the pilot. The ERP continues to monitor relevant international events for comparison and knowledge sharing.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the reopening of greyhound tracks across the UK as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including greyhound stadia. Greyhound racing has continued behind closed doors since 1 June.

The Events Research Programme (ERP), working closely with local authorities and organisers will undertake studies to get fans and audiences back safely as restrictions are gradually eased.The pilots programme will be used to provide key scientific data and research into how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen in line with the Roadmap out of lockdown as part of Step 4, commencing no earlier than 21 June.

On 19 November 2020 the Government announced a rescue package worth £300 million to help major spectator sports which have been affected by the pandemic, including a preliminary allocation of £1 million in loans for greyhound racing. In the recent budget a further £300m was announced for the recovery package across all sports.

Greyhound racing has also been eligible to access pan-economy support provided by the government including the business rates holiday for leisure industry businesses, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of flying the flags of the Commonwealth countries in Parliament Square for the full week around Commonwealth Day in 2022.

Each year, on Commonwealth Day the department arranges for the flags of Commonwealth countries to be flown in Parliament Square. There are currently no plans for this to be extended for the full week around Commonwealth Day in 2022. Any decision on changes to the current flag flying programme would need to be agreed with FCDO, No10 and the Royal Household.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what comparative assessment he has made of the potential risks of reopening high street adult gaming centres and (a) retail venues and (b) licensed betting offices.

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

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

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



26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions his Department has had with the representatives of the ten-pin bowling sector on financial support for its businesses during the covid-19 outbreak.

I, and my officials, have met with representatives of the Ten-Pin Bowling Proprietor’s Association, along with several other visitor economy stakeholders through the Tourism Industry Council, to assess the impact of COVID-19 and related restrictions on bowling alleys.

Bowling centre operators can continue to access the Government’s comprehensive support package - including the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes, new grant schemes, as well as various government-backed loans.

Alongside a range of other Budget measures to support leisure and hospitality, the Government will continue to provide eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England with 100% business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of continued gym closures during the covid-19 national lockdown on people’s physical and mental wellbeing particularly with regard to (a) people with a disability and (b) women being less able to exercise during winter months.

The Chief Medical Officer is clear that being physically active is important to long-term health and crucial for keeping people healthy. Sports and physical activity have been shown to treat, manage and prevent a range of conditions including heart disease, cancers, diabetes, stress, depression or anxiety. It can also bring communities together and tackle issues such as loneliness. That’s why we have continued to make sure that people can exercise throughout the national and the local tiered restrictions.

Sport England’s Active Lives Adult and Children surveys provide information not only on activity levels but also on social outcomes such as physical and mental wellbeing too. The latest reports can be found here.

Furthermore, last month Sport England published its new strategy Uniting the Movement which sets out their 10 year vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity. The strategy seeks to tackle the inequalities we have seen in sport and physical activity and provide opportunities to people that have traditionally been left behind including women and those with a disability, helping to remove barriers to activity.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with his Australian counterpart on potential international co-operation on regulating multi-national technology companies.

We have a close relationship with our Australian allies. I met with my counterpart in the Australian Government on 25th February 2021 to discuss digital regulation, and the importance of defending free speech and supporting the sustainability of the press.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport with reference to the vaccination for covid-19 of older people, whether he has made an assessment of the safety of reopening bingo clubs.

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

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing under 18 sports clubs to resume at the same time as schools are allowed to reopen as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity providers and facilities are at the heart of our communities, and play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. That’s why we have continued to make sure that people can exercise throughout the national restrictions and why we have ensured that grassroots and children’s sport is front of the queue when easing those restrictions.

On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. The government has introduced a step approach to the return of outdoor and indoor sport areas across England. This is a cautious and gradual approach, led by data, not dates.

From 8 March, sport can take place in school for all children, or as part of wraparound activities if children are attending in order to enable their parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care, or attend a support group.

Any organised outdoor sport (for children or adults) can restart on 29 March, and indoor sport for under 18s outside of school can restart from Step 2 which will take place no earlier than 12 April. This will be subject to social contact limits.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of classifying adult gaming centres as non-essential retail during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th 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 potential merits of introducing an advertising tax credit for UK media companies.

Supporting our world leading creative industries is a key priority for this Government. Creative businesses and freelancers across the country have now been able to take advantage of the unprecedented set of measures set up to support the economy and our media industry.

We will of course continue to engage with industry, and assess the merits of the government intervening where there is a strong case to do so.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the financial support required by the arcade sector to support its re-opening when it is safe to do so.

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the arcades sector.

The government has introduced a number of unprecedented financial packages to help to ease pressures and help businesses navigate through this crisis. We have provided support for millions of jobs and businesses by extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of April 2021. Struggling businesses will also have until the end of March 2021 to access the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

On 5 January, the Chancellor announced £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through the Spring. A further £594 million of discretionary funding through the Additional Restrictions Grant has also been made available to support other impacted businesses. This comes in addition to £1.1 billion discretionary funding for Local Authorities through Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to to £3,000 a month.

We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand what they need and how we may be able to support them.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to reports of a further delay to the release of the latest James Bond film, whether he plans further measures to support the cinema industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises the significant cultural and economic value of cinemas, and has supported them through both sector-specific and economy-wide measures.

More than 200 independent cinemas have so far received funding of £16 million in the first round of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, This funding is being administered by the BFI on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, as part of the biggest ever single investment in this country’s cultural sectors. Grants have been awarded to cinema sites in every corner of the country, with cinemas outside London benefitting from 78% of funding to date. Further to this, we announced in December that cinemas will be able to apply for a share of an additional £14 million in grants as part of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund. This second round launched on 11 January, and will provide support for cinemas into the next financial year. Cinemas have also been eligible to apply to the second round of Arts Council England’s Repayable Finance scheme, with a total of £100 m available.

Recognising that cinemas need content, during this crisis the Government’s Film and TV Production Restart Scheme has helped keep the cameras rolling at the other end of the screen supply chain. The £500 million scheme, which opened for applications in October 2020, has assured over 100 productions that they will be supported if future losses are incurred due to Covid-19 and provided the confidence they need to restart filming.

In addition, most cinemas have been and are continuing to benefit from economy-wide measures including the VAT cut on tickets and concessions, a business rates holiday, access to Bounce Back Loans, the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Local Restrictions Support Grants.

Together these measures are providing a comprehensive package of support to the cinema industry to support it through the pandemic.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether (a) zoos, (b) aquariums, (c) safari parks and (d) other organisations that manage or preserve natural habitats and species are eligible for funding from the Cultural Recovery Fund.

Under the Culture Recovery Fund, organisations which manage or preserve natural habitats and species as the main focus of their activity are ineligible.

Full eligibility can be found on the website of the relevant delivery body (in this case National Lottery Heritage Fund/Historic England https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-zoos-and-aquariums#eligibility), and queries concerning eligibility can be directed to them. Funding may be available to organisations that manage listed buildings to support reopening and preservation.

Organisations which manage or preserve natural habitats or species may be eligible for the Zoo Animals Fund, managed through the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. Applications are open until 26 February 2021, and eligibility criteria can be accessed here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-zoos-and-aquariums#eligibility.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of lifting the restrictions on solo golf exercise during January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

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

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

In order for these measures to have the greatest impact, we will all need to sacrifice doing some things that we would otherwise like to do. We have not introduced further exemptions because when you unpick at one activity the effectiveness of the whole package is compromised.

You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, in a public outdoor place and you should not travel outside your local area. You should maintain social distancing. Indoor and outdoor sports facilities, including gyms, must close.

We plan to open up sports facilities including golf courses as soon as the public health situation allows.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure a competitive broadband market in outer London.

The UK broadband market is generally competitive at a retail level, with a wide variety of Internet Service Providers, like Sky and TalkTalk, utilising BT Openreach’s broadband network to provide services across the UK, including in outer London. Much of the UK, including many areas of outer London, will also have access to other broadband networks, including Virgin Media’s network.

The UK has good superfast broadband coverage, with over 96% of premises having access to superfast speeds. As such, the government’s current focus is on delivering faster nationwide gigabit-capable broadband networks as soon as possible. Much progress towards this ambition has already been made, with around 1 in 3 UK premises now able to access gigabit-capable broadband according to the latest figures from Ofcom and ThinkBroadband.

The government believes that the way to deliver gigabit-capable broadband at pace is to encourage greater network competition and commercial investment, and to do so through the following steps:

  • Making the cost of deploying gigabit capable networks as low as possible by addressing barriers to deployment, which increase costs and cause delays.

  • Supporting market entry and expansion by alternative network operators through easy access to BT Openreach’s ducts and poles, complemented by access to other utility infrastructure.

  • Stable and long-term regulation that encourages competitive network investment.

  • Supporting the timely switchover to new gigabit capable broadband networks.

As the telecoms regulator, Ofcom has a key role in promoting competition. In addition, the government’s first ever Statement of Strategic Priorities (SSP) for telecoms, which was designated in October 2019, reiterated the importance of network competition and commercial investment to the rapid rollout of gigabit-capable broadband. Ofcom has to have regard to the SSP when exercising its regulatory functions and it is currently consulting on its regulations for the broadband market from April 2021 to March 2026. Its stated aim for this review is to promote competition and investment in new full fibre networks.

Some UK premises, mainly those in rural and/or remote areas, are unlikely to benefit from network competition and may not get gigabit-capable broadband in a reasonable timeframe without public sector investment. This is why we are investing £5 billion in these areas through our UK Gigabit programme.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with sports-related event organisers on the importance of ensuring that fans receive full ticket refunds in the event of cancellations caused by changes in covid-19 tier restrictions.

I expect all sports events to look after their fans in line with the relevant consumer rights legislation, good practice and their wider legal obligations. Where organisations offer fans additional ways to support their club - such as foregoing refunds in lieu of vouchers or donations - this is a decision for the organisations themselves.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 8 December 2020 to Question 122608 on Gambling: Coronavirus, what steps he is taking to review the evidence supporting the closure of adult gaming centres in tier 3 local covid alert level areas.

The government, with advice from SAGE, reviewed the impact of the previous tiering arrangements and decided that unfortunately stricter rules on tier 3 closures would be necessary to have an impact on the rate of transmission in very high alert areas. This led to the decision that all hospitality and indoor entertainment venues in tier 3 areas would have to close, including casinos, bingo halls and adult gaming centres. SAGE advice is independent and published on a regular basis on: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies

The government has continued to engage with the land-based gambling sector throughout the pandemic, including with its trade associations the Betting and Gaming Council, Bacta and the Bingo Association. The Minister for Sports, Heritage and Tourism has had a series of roundtable discussions with the industry to discuss the impact of Covid-19, including representatives from two of Britain’s largest AGC operators. DCMS officials have been in regular contact with the representative trade associations and fed their views into the government decision-making process, and they are continuing to do so.

Government has set out an analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of the tiered approach, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach. As on previous occasions, local data packs have also been published.

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, can also be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when adult gaming centres will be able to re-open in tier three local covid-19 alert level areas.

The government, with advice from SAGE, reviewed the impact of the previous tiering arrangements and decided that unfortunately stricter rules on tier 3 closures would be necessary to have an impact on the rate of transmission in very high alert areas. This led to the decision that all hospitality and indoor entertainment venues in tier 3 areas would have to close, including casinos, bingo halls and adult gaming centres. SAGE advice is independent and published on a regular basis on: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies

The government has continued to engage with the land-based gambling sector throughout the pandemic, including with its trade associations the Betting and Gaming Council, Bacta and the Bingo Association. The Minister for Sports, Heritage and Tourism has had a series of roundtable discussions with the industry to discuss the impact of Covid-19, including representatives from two of Britain’s largest AGC operators. DCMS officials have been in regular contact with the representative trade associations and fed their views into the government decision-making process, and they are continuing to do so.

Government has set out an analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of the tiered approach, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach. As on previous occasions, local data packs have also been published.

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, can also be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has received representations on commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of Margaret Thatcher's term as Prime Minister.

DCMS has received one representation to erect a statue of Baroness Thatcher in her home town of Grantham, in recognition of her remarkable contribution to our country.

Following the passing of the Deregulation Act 2015, consent from the Secretary of State is no longer required to erect statues in London. The process is now determined through the planning system only, with a planning application for a statue in Parliament Square, which is the responsibility of the Greater London Authority, being turned down by Westminster City Council in 2018.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to support the erection of a statue of Margaret Thatcher in Parliament Square to commemorate her achievements as the UK's first female Prime Minister.

DCMS has received one representation to erect a statue of Baroness Thatcher in her home town of Grantham, in recognition of her remarkable contribution to our country.

Following the passing of the Deregulation Act 2015, consent from the Secretary of State is no longer required to erect statues in London. The process is now determined through the planning system only, with a planning application for a statue in Parliament Square, which is the responsibility of the Greater London Authority, being turned down by Westminster City Council in 2018.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the closure of ice skating rinks during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown on the (a) mental health and b) physical wellbeing of people who regularly use ice-skating rinks at (i) amateur or (ii) professional level.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. That’s why we made sure that people could exercise at least once a day even during the height of the first period of enhanced national restrictions and why we opened up grassroots sport and leisure facilities as soon as it was safe to do so.

As the Prime Minister said on 23 November national restrictions will end on Wednesday 2 December, and gyms and sport facilities will reopen across all tiers. Outdoor skating rinks can stay open across all tiers and indoor skating rinks can open in Tiers 1 and 2. Unfortunately in Tier 3 areas indoor skating rinks will remain closed, because these areas have a very high or rapidly rising level of infections, so tighter restrictions will be in place. However, elite athletes will still be able to access relevant facilities.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the level of risk of covid-19 transmission in ice skating rinks where (a) hygiene and (b) social distancing measures are followed.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. That’s why we made sure that people could exercise at least once a day even during the height of the first period of enhanced national restrictions and why we opened up grassroots sport and leisure facilities as soon as it was safe to do so.

As the Prime Minister said on 23 November national restrictions will end on Wednesday 2 December, and gyms and sport facilities will reopen across all tiers. Outdoor skating rinks can stay open across all tiers and indoor skating rinks can open in Tiers 1 and 2. Unfortunately in Tier 3 areas indoor skating rinks will remain closed, because these areas have a very high or rapidly rising level of infections, so tighter restrictions will be in place.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to allow (a) professional and (b) amateur ice skaters to continue training on ice rinks as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. That’s why we made sure that people could exercise at least once a day even during the height of the first period of enhanced national restrictions and why we opened up grassroots sport and leisure facilities as soon as it was safe to do so.

As the Prime Minister said on 23 November national restrictions will end on Wednesday 2 December, and gyms and sport facilities will reopen across all tiers. Outdoor skating rinks can stay open across all tiers and indoor skating rinks can open in Tiers 1 and 2. Unfortunately in Tier 3 areas indoor skating rinks will remain closed, because these areas have a very high or rapidly rising level of infections, so tighter restrictions will be in place. However, elite athletes will still be able to access relevant facilities.



Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the evidence basis is for his Department's decision to allow 4000 spectators at sporting events in tier 1 areas after the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

The safety and security of players and spectators remains of paramount importance and we will continue to be led by wider public health guidance. These capacity limits have been agreed by the Government with SGSA and PHE as a maximum capacity for spectators, in light of the updated Covid Tiering system.

We want fans back in stadia as quickly as is safe to do so, and believe that now we can permit these still extremely limited numbers of fans to attend matches. A series of successful pilot events demonstrated the ability of the sector to follow covid secure guidance. We will be updating our guidance to the sector, and the SGSA’s SG02 guidance sets out explicit guidance on how safe socially distanced capacities can be maintained.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will issue guidance to local authorities on (a) how and (b) when travelling fairgrounds can re-open during the covid-19 outbreak.

Whilst outdoor events are not currently able to proceed due to national restrictions, the guidance on which we have worked with the Events Industry Forum will support outdoor events to operate safely when we move to the local tier system on 2 December.

From 2 December, as set out in the COVID Winter Plan we will return to a tiered approach to COVID-19 restrictions. Funfairs and fairgrounds - which will be permitted to reopen in all three tiers as they were prior to this period of national restrictions - will need to go through the normal process of requesting permission and any relevant licences from the relevant authority and have the relevant health and safety protocols in place, including a Covid-19 risk assessment. Local Authorities are responsible for deciding whether to permit outdoor events in their area. Decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to both the risks and the mitigations in place.

In the government's Covid-19 Secure guidance for the Visitor Economy, we have provided guidance for Local Authorities on how to assess applications for outdoor events and how Local Authorities should support event organisers to hold outdoor events safely. We will continue to work closely with Local Authorities and the sector to get outdoor events running safely and successfully once they are permitted.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) holds regular engagement calls with local government sector groups to highlight significant policy updates and holds regular Ministerial calls with local authority leaders and chief executives.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will introduce a grant specifically to (a) support and (b) reimburse lost income for for designed to support showmen during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government has introduced a number of support measures to support the tourism and outdoor events sector through COVID-19, which funfair businesses and showmen can access.

In response to the current national restrictions, the Chancellor has confirmed how the government will support businesses and individuals during this period. For instance, self-employed workers in the funfairs industry can explore the extended Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Further to this, the Additional Restrictions Grant discretionary fund will allow Local Authorities to help businesses more broadly. It supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes, such as the Local Restrictions Support Grant, or where additional funding is needed. Local Authorities have the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for this grant scheme. However, we expect the funding to help those businesses which - while not legally forced to close - are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions.


We recognise that Covid-19 has significantly impacted the culture sector and that these are extremely difficult times for organisations such as travelling funfairs and showmen. We continue to meet with representatives of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain to assess how we can most effectively support the industry through this period.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with bookmakers on funding for racing greyhounds.

The British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF) collects a voluntary levy from bookmakers and uses the funds for greyhound welfare and sports integrity, and to a lesser extent the development and promotion of the sport.

Government officials recently met representatives of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) and the British Greyhound Racing Fund to discuss funding for greyhound racing with a view to encouraging bookmakers that have yet to sign up to the voluntary Memorandum of Understanding to do so.

Government will continue to work with the betting and greyhound industries to make sure that greyhound welfare is safeguarded and remains at the heart of the sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of installation offers made for gigabit fibre broadband connections to new builds involved (a) a cost to the developers and (b) a cost of more than £1,800 per connection in the last 12 months.

My department does not currently hold this information for the last 12 months as it is part of commercial arrangements between telecoms operators and housing developers.

The Government is bringing forward a policy that will deliver gigabit broadband to the vast majority of new homes at minimal costs to developers. We will do this by bringing forward amendments to the Building Regulations 2010 to require housing developers to provide gigabit broadband unless the costs to the developer exceeds £2,000.

To support developers, and to ensure as many new homes as possible receive gigabit broadband, the Secretary of State has received commitments from Openreach, Virgin and Gigaclear on the costs of connecting new homes, these include:

    • Virgin will contribute at least £500 per premise and up to £1,000 for larger developments;

    • Gigaclear will contribute up to £1,000 per premise; and

    • Openreach will contribute up to £1,400 per premise.

We have worked with Openreach to extend their free offer of gigabit broadband for new builds and also reduce costs for smaller developments. Openreach reduced their costs of connecting developments consisting of 2 to 4 premises to £2,000, from £3,100, ensuring they all fall within the proposed cost cap.

Based on discussions with industry, we estimate that these commitments ensure that, taken with the amended Building Regulations, gigabit broadband will be deployed to 99% of new build premises.

6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of gigabit fibre broadband connections in new builds in the last twelve months were installed (a) at any cost to the delevopers and (b) at a cost of more than £1,800 per connection.

My department does not currently hold this information for the last 12 months as it is part of commercial arrangements between telecoms operators and housing developers.

The Government is bringing forward a policy that will deliver gigabit broadband to the vast majority of new homes at minimal costs to developers. We will do this by bringing forward amendments to the Building Regulations 2010 to require housing developers to provide gigabit broadband unless the costs to the developer exceeds £2,000.

To support developers, and to ensure as many new homes as possible receive gigabit broadband, the Secretary of State has received commitments from Openreach, Virgin and Gigaclear on the costs of connecting new homes, these include:

    • Virgin will contribute at least £500 per premise and up to £1,000 for larger developments;

    • Gigaclear will contribute up to £1,000 per premise; and

    • Openreach will contribute up to £1,400 per premise.

We have worked with Openreach to extend their free offer of gigabit broadband for new builds and also reduce costs for smaller developments. Openreach reduced their costs of connecting developments consisting of 2 to 4 premises to £2,000, from £3,100, ensuring they all fall within the proposed cost cap.

Based on discussions with industry, we estimate that these commitments ensure that, taken with the amended Building Regulations, gigabit broadband will be deployed to 99% of new build premises.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the risk of covid-19 spreading in gyms where hygiene and social distancing measures are followed.

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

Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. Therefore, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December indoor and outdoor leisure will need to close. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions.

In order for these measures to have the greatest impact, we will all need to sacrifice doing some things that we would otherwise like to do, for a short period of time. As soon as we're in a position to start lifting restrictions, grassroots sports will be one of the first to return.

People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own, or with one person from another household or support bubble.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment on the effect of a potential ban on youth sports in response to the covid-19 outbreak on young people's physical and mental wellbeing.

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


Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. Therefore, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December indoor and outdoor leisure will need to close. The National Restrictions are designed toget the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions.


People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise and recreation outdoors, with their household or on their own, or with one person from another household or support bubble. We will continue to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term futures of our young people, which is why schools will remain open. Children can continue to take part in sport at school, which includes swimming lessons where schools are providing them.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing youth swimming lessons and training to continue where social distancing and hygiene guidelines are followed.

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

Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. Therefore, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December indoor and outdoor leisure will need to close. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions.

People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own, or with one person from another household or support bubble. We will continue to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term futures of our young people, which is why schools will remain open. Children can continue to take part in sport at school, which includes swimming lessons where schools are providing them.

However, we have not introduced further exemptions because it’s important that the restrictions are simple to understand. Once you unpick at one exemption the effectiveness of the whole package is compromised.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the risk of covid-19 spreading on golf courses where hygiene and social distancing measures are followed.

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

Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. Therefore, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December indoor and outdoor leisure will need to close. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions.

In order for these measures to have the greatest impact, we will all need to sacrifice doing some things that we would otherwise like to do, for a short period of time. As soon as we're in a position to start lifting restrictions, grassroots sports will be one of the first to return.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of British Greyhound Racing Fund’s levy being made mandatory in the context of the statutory levy imposed on Bookmakers by the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963.

In January 2019 the Government announced that it had secured a new funding commitment from five of the largest online bookmakers to help ensure the welfare of greyhounds is protected and improved. This was in addition to the existing voluntary payments made to the British Greyhound Racing Fund from most betting operators that benefit from greyhound racing, which sit alongside commercial deals between the betting and racing industries. In 2019/20 the BGRF collected a total of £8.87m, up from £6.95m in the previous 12 months.

Government has no plans to introduce a mandatory levy and will continue to encourage any remaining bookmakers that have not signed up to the voluntary arrangements to follow suit. The Department has discussions with the betting and greyhound racing industries on a range of issues and expects both to make sure that greyhound welfare is safeguarded and remains at the heart of the sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when (a) he and (b) members of his Department last met with representatives of the betting and gaming industries to discuss improving greyhound welfare.

In January 2019 the Government announced that it had secured a new funding commitment from five of the largest online bookmakers to help ensure the welfare of greyhounds is protected and improved. This was in addition to the existing voluntary payments made to the British Greyhound Racing Fund from most betting operators that benefit from greyhound racing, which sit alongside commercial deals between the betting and racing industries. In 2019/20 the BGRF collected a total of £8.87m, up from £6.95m in the previous 12 months.

Government has no plans to introduce a mandatory levy and will continue to encourage any remaining bookmakers that have not signed up to the voluntary arrangements to follow suit. The Department has discussions with the betting and greyhound racing industries on a range of issues and expects both to make sure that greyhound welfare is safeguarded and remains at the heart of the sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the greyhound racing sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

Greyhound racing has been eligible to access the help announced by the Chancellor on 17 March, including the business rates holiday for leisure industry businesses, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. It will also be eligible to access the Job Support Scheme which is due to open on 1 November.

Officials continue to be in communication with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain to understand the needs of the sector during this time.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage members of the betting industry to ensure the welfare of racing greyhounds.

The British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF) collects a voluntary levy from bookmakers and uses the funds for greyhound welfare and sports integrity, and to a lesser extent the development and promotion of the sport.

In January 2019 the Government announced an increased funding commitment from bookmakers to ensure the welfare of greyhounds is protected and improved. In 2019/20 the BGRF collected a total of £8.87m, up from £6.95m in the previous 12 months.

This commitment has allowed the BGRF to fund capital grants to stadia, for purposes including welfare and integrity support. In the last calendar year (2019), direct welfare provision totalled 51% of the British Greyhound Racing Fund’s overall budget. BGRF support has also assisted GBGB to make emergency welfare payments to trainers, owners and the Greyhound Trust during Covid and to launch the Greyhound Retirement Scheme (GRS) in September.

Government will continue to work with the betting and greyhound industries to make sure that greyhound welfare is safeguarded and remains at the heart of the sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support National League football clubs during the covid-19 outbreak; and what discussions he has had with representatives of those clubs on allowing fans to return to those football club grounds safely as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The safety and security of players and spectators is of paramount importance.

On Tuesday 22 September it was announced that all sports pilot events currently ongoing would be paused with immediate effect, due to the sharp upward trajectory of Covid-19 cases. A?s set out in our Roadmap, sports events pilots, and the full return of fans to stadia would only ever take place when it was safe to do so.

However, the Government continues to work closely with a whole range of sports to understand the latest thinking that might allow spectators to return. This includes the creation of a new Sports Technology Innovation Working Group of sporting bodies and health experts to analyse new technologies which might support this.

The Government knows that the decision not to reopen stadia to spectators on 1 October will have major consequences for sports and clubs across the country who relied on those fans for income. We are working with those organisations to understand what they need and how we can support them.

Ministers have spoken to all of the major spectator sports, including football, and have asked for detailed financial returns so the Government can understand what support they might need.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department have made of the economic effect on (a) National League football clubs and (b) local communities of not allowing the safe return of fans to football grounds in October 2020 as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The safety and security of players and spectators is of paramount importance.

On Tuesday 22 September it was announced that all sports pilot events currently ongoing would be paused with immediate effect, due to the sharp upward trajectory of Covid-19 cases. A?s set out in our Roadmap, sports events pilots, and the full return of fans to stadia would only ever take place when it was safe to do so.

However, the Government continues to work closely with a whole range of sports to understand the latest thinking that might allow spectators to return. This includes the creation of a new Sports Technology Innovation Working Group of sporting bodies and health experts to analyse new technologies which might support this.

The Government knows that the decision not to reopen stadia to spectators on 1 October will have major consequences for sports and clubs across the country who relied on those fans for income. We are working with those organisations to understand what they need and how we can support them.

Ministers have spoken to all of the major spectator sports, including football, and have asked for detailed financial returns so the Government can understand what support they might need.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether greyhound stadiums are permitted to (a) open food outlets in line with Government guidance issued on the reopening of restaurants and (b) allow owners access to their racecourses while continuing to operate greyhound racing behind closed doors during the covid-19 outbreak.

Greyhound racing should follow sector specific guidance as well as relevant government guidance including mass gatherings, sports stadia and, where relevant, pubs and restaurants regarding the reopening of food outlets and owners access to racecourses.

On 4 May 2020 the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) produced a phased Operational Policy that would facilitate racing behind closed doors in a safe, effective and stage-by-stage manner. This includes strict, comprehensive controls relating to hygiene and social distancing protocols, whilst promoting the highest levels of greyhound welfare.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to allow an exemption to the rule that workplace lotteries must be located on a single set of premises for offices where employees are working from home.

Workplace lotteries are a class of private lottery that is exempt from Gambling Commission licensing or registration with a local authority. They are only permitted at single work locations. The Gambling Act 2005 prohibits advertising workplace lotteries outside of the premises, which includes by email or via a workplace intranet. This ensures that workplace lotteries remain an appropriate size and are distinct from small society lotteries.

Government last considered regulations for workplace and other exempt lotteries in 2016, and introduced reforms to reduce bureaucracy and enable promoters to donate proceeds to charity.

I have no plans to make any further changes at present.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support ten-pin bowling alleys during the covid-19 outbreak.

Bowling alleys have been permitted to reopen in line with Covid-19 Secure guidelines since 15th August, except in specific areas where local restrictions are in place.

Bowling alleys are able to benefit from the reduced rate of VAT which the Government has applied to attractions, accommodation and hospitality from 15 July 2020-12 January 2021. To support businesses - including bowling alleys - through Covid-19, the Government has also introduced a comprehensive support package, including business rates relief for eligible leisure businesses and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We have supported bowling alleys by working closely with stakeholders to develop further Covid-19 Secure reopening guidance for venues. Specific guidance on bowling alleys has been published within UKHospitality’s ‘COVID-19 Secure Guidelines for Hospitality Businesses.’ We continue to meet regularly with the wider sector through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce’s Sport and Visitor Economy working groups.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the economic effect of continued covid-19 lockdown restrictions being imposed on (a) business conferences and (b) other large scale events.

We are holding three business event pilots in September as part of our preparations to help the sector safely reopen and begin its recovery. It remains our aim that the further reopening of events will be allowed from 1st October, if the host business has written a risk assessment and has put in place mitigations to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, and provided that rates of infection remain at current levels. This is also subject to the successful completion of pilots.

I encourage affected events organisers to continue to make use of the Government’s comprehensive support package to protect businesses and workers.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on how many occasions he has met with representatives of the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, to discuss (a) regulations and (b) potential reopening dates during the covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS officials have spoken to representatives of the visitor attractions industry and also several other key sector members to discuss guidance and next steps to reopening the sector.

My Department’s officials held a number of discussions with British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA) - including several calls and virtual meetings during July and August - regarding the development of reopening guidance.

I appreciate BALPPA’s assistance and constructive engagement with my officials throughout this period.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with local authority leaders to amend their guidance on flying the EU flag.

DCMS is responsible for informing UK Government Departments of the designated days for the flying of the Union Flag throughout the year and in conjunction with FCO, No.10 and the Royal Household, informing Departments of any instructions on the half-masting of flags, any other flag instructions and silences. Guidance is sent to all UK Government Buildings and is published on GOV.UK.

There is no specific Government policy regarding the flying of flags other than the Union Flag. Individuals, local authorities and other organisations may fly flags whenever they wish, subject to compliance with any local planning requirement.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the dance sector on (a) the effect of the covid-19 outbreak and (b) when the sector may be able to reopen.

The Secretary of State and DCMS are committed to supporting the cultural sector to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, and ensure appropriate support and guidance is provided.

To that end, DCMS has established the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Entertainment and Events working group which will be focusing on ensuring that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phasing ambitions and public health directions, building on the existing guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input.

These groups specifically include representatives for the dance sector, such as One Dance UK. Full details of the Taskforce can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/culture-secretary-announces-cultural-renewal-taskforce, and the Entertainment and Events Working Group can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/cultural-renewal-taskforce-and-supporting-working-groups#entertainment-and-events-members.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to allow snooker clubs and other indoor sport venues to reopen as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. Snooker clubs have been allowed to open since 4 July, as long as they can follow the COVID-secure guidelines.

The Government is committed to reopening other facilities as soon as it is safe to do so, including indoor gyms and sports venues. The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become COVID-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to COVID-19, we will be guided by public health considerations to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with the ten-pin bowling sector on their safe re-opening as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.

The Government is committed to reopening leisure facilities including Bowling Alleys as soon as it is safe to do so. The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become Covid-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, we will be guided by the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to enable the safe re-opening of indoor ice skating rinks as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health. The Government is in discussions with representatives from the sport and physical activity sector about the steps required to restart grassroots sport and will update the public when it is deemed safe to reopening indoor sports venues and facilities as soon as it is safe to do so, including ice rinks.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to allow dance and cheerleading studios to reopen safely as the covid-19 lockdown is eased.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. The Government is committed to reopening indoor sports venues and facilities as soon as it is safe to do so including dance and cheerleading studios.

The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become Covid-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, we will be guided by the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department plans to publish guidance on the safe reopening of dance and cheerleading studios as the covid-19 lockdown is eased.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. The Government is committed to reopening indoor sports venues and facilities as soon as it is safe to do so including dance and cheerleading studios.

The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become Covid-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, we will be guided by the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support Adult Gaming Centres.

The Prime Minister announced on 23 June that, providing they adhere to Covid-19 Secure guidelines, Adult Gaming Centres and other arcades will be able to reopen from 4 July.

The Government has provided a package of measures to support businesses, including Adult Gaming Centres, as announced by the Chancellor on 17 and 26 March. This includes a business rates holiday for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, through which all UK employers are able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary, and the

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which provides loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank, backed by an 80% government guarantee.

Further support for SMEs was announced on 27 April through the Bounce Back Loan scheme.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that the St George's Cross is flown at the side of all major road crossings into England.

DCMS is responsible for informing UK Government Departments of the designated days for the flying of the Union Flag throughout the year and in conjunction with FCO, No.10 and the Royal Household, informing Departments of any instructions on the half-masting of flags, any other flag instructions and silences. Guidance is sent to all UK Government Buildings and is published on GOV.UK.

There is no specific Government policy regarding the flying of flags and we are not responsible for setting protocols that determine when, where or which flags are flown in the United Kingdom. Individuals, local authorities and other organisations may fly flags, including the George’s Cross, whenever they wish, subject to compliance with any local planning requirement.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support he is providing to businesses in the events sector which are threatened with bankruptcy as a result of the response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting businesses across many sectors and that the events industry has been significantly impacted. I recognise that multiple aspects of the sector are affected, including event organisers, conference centres and event suppliers.

I regularly engage with stakeholders in the tourism and events sector and across Government on this developing issue. I will continue to monitor its impact on the sector and would urge events businesses to share information with VisitBritain via their Tourism Industry Emergency Response group.

The Chancellor has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency. This includes a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, tax relief and cash grant measures, plus £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK. I am also writing to the Chancellor to provide clarity guidance for the events sector on business rate relief.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding was not allocated (a) to and (b) from the National Lottery distribution funds in each of the last 20 years.

National Lottery good cause funding is held in the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF). This money is distributed by 12 distributing bodies at arm’s length from the Government. Each distributor receives a fixed percentage of the NLDF income as set out in legislation.

Distributors draw down from the NLDF on a weekly or monthly basis as their grant commitments fall due, and tend to hold a balance in the NLDF to cover future grant commitments. Information on historic NLDF balances can be found in the NLDF Annual Report and Accounts.

Information on National Lottery funding awards up to January 2018 can be found on the publicly available National Lottery grant database. We expect to update this database with grant information from January 2018 to March 2020 later this Spring.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of expanding access to Heritage Lottery Funding to the Overseas Territories.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is able in principle to consider applications from outside the UK. However, the Fund’s Trustees must be satisfied that the project itself is of importance to the heritage of the United Kingdom and is accessible to the United Kingdom public, as the individuals who purchase National Lottery tickets. There are significant demands placed on funds by UK-based projects, meaning that the use of the National Lottery Heritage Fund funding for projects outside of the United Kingdom has been and continues to be a low priority, and in practice the National Lottery Heritage Fund has not funded projects outside the UK.

In its new Strategic Funding Framework, the National Lottery Heritage Fund has made a commitment to increasing its international work, with an ambition to see the UK’s heritage grow and learn by taking up opportunities to engage internationally. It will promote opportunities to build the capacity of organisations to make international connections and to benefit from doing so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department allocates any funding to maintain important sites of British heritage in the Overseas Territories.

HMG values the heritage of the UK's Overseas Territories. We represent their interests in UNESCO in respect of four World Heritage Sites, including those in Bermuda, Gibraltar, Gough and Inaccessible Islands, and Henderson Island. We continue to support all four in the diverse range of challenges they face. This includes £2 million from the Government’s Conflict, Security and Security Fund to protect the rare bird species on Gough Island. We are exploring further support for the heritage of the Overseas Territories as part of the next phase of our international Cultural Protection Fund.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what checks are made to identify and prevent the incorrect flying of flags on Government buildings.

DCMS is responsible for informing UK Government Departments of the designated days for the flying of the Union Flag throughout the year and in conjunction with FCO, No.10 and the Royal Household, informing Departments of any instructions on the half-masting of flags, any other flag instructions and silences. Guidance is sent to all UK Government Buildings and is published on GOV.UK.

There is no specific Government policy regarding the flying of flags and we do not have responsibility for flag management on each Government building. Individual Government departments, via their Facilities Contractors, are responsible for ensuring that flags are flown correctly on their buildings.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from the UK Gambling Commission on the commission's 2019 funding commitment to the Greyhound Trust; and what estimate he has made of the value of the funding allocated to that trust by the commission.

The Gambling Commission does not provide funding to the Greyhound Trust.

Most betting operators pay voluntary contributions of 0.6% of their turnover from greyhound racing to the British Greyhound Racing Fund, who use some of this to provide funding for the Greyhound Trust.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the delay of the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition on the competition in that sector.

The current National Lottery licence expires in 2023, and the Gambling Commission remains on track to appoint an operator to take on the new licence from this date. The competition is expected to commence in the first half of 2020, with the successful applicant being announced in 2021.

My predecessors met regularly with the Gambling Commission including discussions on the planning for the fourth licence competition. The Secretary of State and I look forward to continuing those discussions, and we will be meeting with the Gambling Commission shortly. DCMS officials are also working closely with the Gambling Commission on the design of the next licence.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had discussions with representatives from the Gambling Commission on (a) the process for the fourth National Lottery licence competition and (b) the delay to the commencement of that competition.

The current National Lottery licence expires in 2023, and the Gambling Commission remains on track to appoint an operator to take on the new licence from this date. The competition is expected to commence in the first half of 2020, with the successful applicant being announced in 2021.

My predecessors met regularly with the Gambling Commission including discussions on the planning for the fourth licence competition. The Secretary of State and I look forward to continuing those discussions, and we will be meeting with the Gambling Commission shortly. DCMS officials are also working closely with the Gambling Commission on the design of the next licence.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to amend the National Lottery Act 2006 to safeguard vulnerable players.

The success of the National Lottery has always been to encourage lots of people to play the National Lottery games, while individually spending relatively small amounts. This strategy, in conjunction with the player protection policies of the operator, available here (https://www.national-lottery.co.uk/responsible-play/consumer-protection-strategy), and scrutiny from the Gambling Commission, means that we can be confident that National Lottery games have a very low risk of causing harm to players. This is borne out by evidence from the last combined Health Survey, published in September 2018, which showed that problem gambling rates for players of National Lottery draw-based games were 1.0%, while the figure for scratchcards was 1.8%.

Even though the rates are low for lottery games, a good example of the ongoing work on player protection came last year when Camelot withdrew its £10 scratchcard games in light of evidence suggesting an association between these products and problem gambling.

I do not have plans to introduce further legislative change at this stage.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his priorities are for the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition.

The Government and the Gambling Commission share three statutory duties in respect to the National Lottery, which will inform the competition and licence design. These are to ensure that the interests of all players are protected, ensure the Lottery is run with all due propriety, and, subject to these, that returns to good causes are maximised.

The Gambling Commission is running the competition for the next licence, and is following best practice from across the public sector for competitions of this nature. The Gambling Commission is also providing updates on the fourth licence competition. The latest version on their 4NLC website is available at https://www.4nlc.com/PDF/4NLC-Programme-Update.pdf

I welcome the Gambling Commission’s fair and transparent approach to running a competition process that maximises the opportunities for innovation and creativity whilst protecting the special status of the National Lottery. In particular I am looking forward to a robust competition that draws in a wide range of bidders to ensure the continued success of our National Lottery for the next 25 years and beyond.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition is a fair and transparent process.

The Government and the Gambling Commission share three statutory duties in respect to the National Lottery, which will inform the competition and licence design. These are to ensure that the interests of all players are protected, ensure the Lottery is run with all due propriety, and, subject to these, that returns to good causes are maximised.

The Gambling Commission is running the competition for the next licence, and is following best practice from across the public sector for competitions of this nature. The Gambling Commission is also providing updates on the fourth licence competition. The latest version on their 4NLC website is available at https://www.4nlc.com/PDF/4NLC-Programme-Update.pdf

I welcome the Gambling Commission’s fair and transparent approach to running a competition process that maximises the opportunities for innovation and creativity whilst protecting the special status of the National Lottery. In particular I am looking forward to a robust competition that draws in a wide range of bidders to ensure the continued success of our National Lottery for the next 25 years and beyond.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has plans to underwrite the funding for the 2020 Olympic team as a result of declining returns for good causes provided by the National Lottery.

Part of Team GB ’s undoubted success is the long-term planning that goes into UK Sport’s world-leading operation, and Lottery funding is crucial to UK Sport in making its funding allocations on a four year basis ahead of each Olympic Games. Should UK Sport’s expected National Lottery income fall below the level assumed at the time of the Spending Review in 2015, DCMS will underwrite additional funding for Team GB (and ParalympicsGB) to be properly supported and to allow our most talented athletes to achieve success in Tokyo.

After some decline in 2015/16, National Lottery income has now stabilised at approximately £1.6 billion per year. The latest data published in February 2020 by the Gambling Commission suggests this recovery is set to continue - in 2019, 30% of people aged over 16 reported having played a draw-based game in the last month, up from 28% from the previous year.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he is taking steps to promote the sport of greyhound racing; and if he will make a statement.

In January 2019, the Government announced that it had secured a new funding commitment from five of the largest online bookmakers worth an estimated £3 million annually to ensure the welfare of greyhounds is protected and improved. This is in addition to the existing voluntary payments made to the British Greyhound Racing Fund from most betting operators that benefit from greyhound racing, which sit alongside commercial deals between the betting and racing industries.

We will continue to encourage any remaining bookmakers that have not signed up to the voluntary arrangements to follow suit and support greyhound racing.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what representations his Department has received on missing scratch card prizes in the Irish National Lottery.

The National Lottery operates in the United Kingdom only. No representations have been made to DCMS on this matter, which is for the Irish Government.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will ensure that all recorded (a) breaches by and (b) fines levied on the National Lottery operator in the last 25 years are disclosed to the public.

The Gambling Commission is the independent regulator of the National Lottery. Information about breaches and fines levied during the current, third licence period (2009 - present day) is publicly available on the Gambling Commission’s website at the following link: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/Regulatory-action/National-Lottery-regulatory-action.aspx

Corresponding information pertaining to the second licence period (2002-2009) was publicly available on the Gambling Commission’s website and is now available on request. The Gambling Commission are currently looking at what information they hold regarding breaches during the first licence period 1994 to 2002.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps his Department has taken to help establish new free schools in Havering Borough.

The free schools programme remains an important part of this government’s plan to level up standards and respond where there is need for more school places. The programme has delivered hundreds of new schools and provided thousands of good school places across the country. This includes the Concordia Academy in my hon. Friend’s constituency, which Ofsted have rated ‘Outstanding’.

Alongside Concordia Academy, the London Borough of Havering has a further open free school, Drapers’ Maryland Primary School, which is Ofsted rated ‘Good’. At present there are a further four free schools that have been approved to open in Havering. These are Havering Special School, Harris Rainham Sixth Form, Emmanuel Community School, and Unity Romford Primary School. There have been some challenges to the progression of these projects, but the department is confident that all four free schools will open over the coming years. The department is working hard, in collaboration with the local authority, to deliver the schools as quickly as possible to ensure that we continue to raise educational standards for pupils in Havering.

The department will set out plans in due course for approving further mainstream free schools, where there is the greatest need for new school places, prioritising proposals in Education Investment Areas.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support pupils with Special Education Needs in the Borough of Havering.

The department is committed to ensuring that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in all areas receive the support they need to realise their potential.

More than £45 million of targeted support for families and parents of children and young people with SEND will be allocated over the next three financial years.

High needs funding, specifically for supporting children with more complex SEND, will increase by £1 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, bringing the overall total of funding for high needs to £9.1 billion. Of this, Havering London Borough Council will receive £37 million, an increase of 13.6% per head of their population aged 2 to 18 years old. This increase, of 13% nationally, comes on top of the £1.5 billion increase over the last two years and will continue to support the local authorities and schools with the increasing costs they are facing.

The department is also investing £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025 to deliver new places and improve existing provision for pupils with SEND or who require alternative provision. This funding represents a significant, transformational investment in new high needs provision and will help deliver tens of thousands of new places.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in the context of the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands, what steps his Department is taking to educate students on the importance of the anniversary of that event.

The history curriculum gives teachers and schools the freedom and flexibility to use specific examples from history to teach pupils about the history of Britain and the wider world, this can include the Falklands War. Schools and teachers themselves can determine which examples, topics and resources to use to stimulate and challenge pupils and reflect key points in history. They can also use specific historical anniversaries in their teaching.

Additionally, there is scope within the citizenship curriculum to highlight relevant key historical events. Through citizenship, which is part of the national curriculum at key stages 3 and 4, pupils learn about the key elements of the constitution of the United Kingdom and its relations with the rest of Europe, the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the wider world. The subject helps to prepare pupils to play a full and active part in society and teaches them how to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh up evidence, to debate and to make reasoned arguments. As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects, so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils.

Additionally, schools will often mark anniversaries and events in time outside lessons, such as in assemblies.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has issued guidance to teachers on teaching pupils about the Russian invasion of Ukraine; and what steps his Department is taking to help protect young people from disinformation about the conflict in that country.

The situation in Ukraine and Russia will continue to change over the coming days/weeks and children and young people may have questions or be seeking reassurance. The department knows that schools are well equipped to talk to pupils about images they are seeing and help navigate the concepts and issues this brings up.

On 25 February 2022, the department posted on ‘The Education Hub’, providing help for teachers and families to talk to pupils about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and how to help them avoid misinformation. This post is available here: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2022/02/25/help-for-teachers-and-families-to-talk-to-pupils-about-russias-invasion-of-ukraine-and-how-to-help-them-avoid-misinformation/?utm_source=1%20March%202022%20C19&utm_medium=Daily%20Email%20C19&utm_campaign=DfE%20C19.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what comparative assessment he has made of the average salary of a person who has completed (a) an apprenticeship and (b) a university degree; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure parity between those average salaries.

High quality apprenticeships are available at all levels, from GCSE equivalent at level 2 to undergraduate and master’s degree equivalent at levels 6 and 7. Apprenticeships are undertaken by people of all ages, aged 16 and over, from young people taking the first steps in their careers to older workers looking to retrain or upskill.

Apprenticeships are jobs with training, created by employers, designed to support an apprentice to achieve occupational competence in that occupation. Apprentices earn while they learn, do not incur tuition fees, and we know that upon completion apprenticeships offer good wage returns. Some apprenticeships may include a mandatory qualification, such as a degree or a professional accreditation.

Our latest published data, for the tax year 2019/20, shows that five years after study, median annualised earnings for learners who achieved an intermediate (level 2) apprenticeship in the 2013/14 academic year were £20,530. For advanced (level 3) apprenticeships this rose to £21,990, and median annualised earnings five years after study for level 4 higher apprenticeships were £29,180.

Level 5-7 apprenticeships compare well to the earnings of first-degree graduates five years on, although it is important to note that these apprenticeships span the equivalent of a foundation degree (level 5) to a master’s degree (level 7) and that at this time, level 5+ apprenticeships were a much smaller part of the programme. Our latest comparable data, for tax year 2018/19, show that median first degree graduate annual earnings five years after graduation in the 2012/13 academic year were £27,400, compared to £29,030 for level 5+ apprentices.

We caution against direct comparison between post-apprenticeship earnings and post-degree earnings due to the range of levels at which an individual can undertake an apprenticeship.

We are committed to supporting more people to benefit from high quality apprenticeships. We are promoting apprenticeships through our ‘Get the Jump’ and ‘Skills for Life’ campaigns, and we continue to support employers to develop apprenticeships to meet their skills needs and to train apprentices in the ways that work best for them.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that schools teach young people about (a) British veterans and (b) the Armed Forces Covenant.

We want all children to leave school with the knowledge, skills and values that will prepare them to be active citizens in modern Britain.

Teaching about the British constitutional system, political issues, different viewpoints and the way in which pupils can engage in our democratic society form an essential part of a broad and balanced curriculum, and are covered within citizenship education. Citizenship education is mandatory in secondary maintained schools as part of the national curriculum. Primary maintained schools and all academies are encouraged to cover citizenship as part of their duty to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum.

In citizenship, pupils will learn about the role of Parliament and how citizens can take part in democratic and electoral processes to influence decisions locally, nationally and beyond. They will also learn about the role of police, courts and justice, free press, human rights and international law, as well as the governments of other countries.

Whilst we do not direct schools to teach about British veterans and the Armed Forces Covenant, schools are free to do so in the context of their citizenship curriculum. Teachers are also able to teach about Britain’s constitutional system, British veterans and the armed forces within other subjects. For instance, the history curriculum can cover political and social movements past and present, as can other subjects such as English when the context is right.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that schools teach young people about the history of the British constitutional system.

We want all children to leave school with the knowledge, skills and values that will prepare them to be active citizens in modern Britain.

Teaching about the British constitutional system, political issues, different viewpoints and the way in which pupils can engage in our democratic society form an essential part of a broad and balanced curriculum, and are covered within citizenship education. Citizenship education is mandatory in secondary maintained schools as part of the national curriculum. Primary maintained schools and all academies are encouraged to cover citizenship as part of their duty to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum.

In citizenship, pupils will learn about the role of Parliament and how citizens can take part in democratic and electoral processes to influence decisions locally, nationally and beyond. They will also learn about the role of police, courts and justice, free press, human rights and international law, as well as the governments of other countries.

Whilst we do not direct schools to teach about British veterans and the Armed Forces Covenant, schools are free to do so in the context of their citizenship curriculum. Teachers are also able to teach about Britain’s constitutional system, British veterans and the armed forces within other subjects. For instance, the history curriculum can cover political and social movements past and present, as can other subjects such as English when the context is right.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to prevent headteachers from requiring children to wear masks in schools following the end of compulsory indoor mask mandates.

On 21 February, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out the next phase of the government’s COVID-19 response. COVID-19 continues to be a virus that we learn to live with and the imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education remains.

Our priority continues to be to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils. The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances and mental and physical health. We have worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and the United Kingdom Health Security Agency produce guidance.

While face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors in classrooms or communal areas, schools should consider seeking additional public health advice if they are concerned about managing risks to face-to-face education and are considering additional measures, either by phoning the DfE helpline (0800 046 8687, option 1) or in line with other local arrangements.

Individual schools continue to have responsibility for putting in place proportionate control measures in compliance with health and safety law, to ensure they meet their health and safety duties.

Decision-makers should endeavour to keep any measures in education and childcare to the minimum number of providers or groups possible, and for the shortest amount of time possible.

Providers must regularly review and update their risk assessments - treating them as ‘living documents’, as the circumstances in their school, college or nursery and the public health advice changes. This includes having active arrangements in place to monitor whether the controls are effective and working as planned.

Face coverings in communal areas may temporarily, and exceptionally, be advised by Directors of Public Health (DsPH):

● for an individual provider, as part of their responsibilities in outbreak management

● for providers across areas where the department and public health experts judge the measure to be proportionate, based on the evidence public health experts share with the department and specific local public health concerns. For example, where the area has been designated as an enhanced response area, and where transmission patterns may put exceptional local pressure on the healthcare system. This is a temporary measure.

Face coverings in classrooms and teaching spaces may temporarily, and exceptionally, be advised by DsPH for an individual provider, as part of their responsibilities in outbreak management.

In all cases any educational and wellbeing drawbacks in the recommended use of face coverings should be balanced with the benefits in managing transmission. Where recommended, the use of face coverings should be kept under regular review and lifted as soon as the evidence supports doing so. Further information can be found in the Contingency Framework: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1053310/Contingency_framework.pdf.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that grading of (a) GCSE and (b) A-Level examinations are accurate.

These are matters for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Dr Jo Saxton, to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what is the average proportion of A-Level grades that are changed following an appeal (a) nationally and (b) in the London Borough of Havering.

These are matters for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Dr Jo Saxton, to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the levels of pupil absence from schools in (a) Romford constituency and (b) the UK; and what steps his Department is taking to help tackle pupil absenteeism schools.

Detailed pupil absence data is collected as part of the school census and published on a termly basis. All absence data for England, including data at regional and local authority level, is available via the national statistics releases: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk.

Data from autumn term of academic year 2020/21 shows that Romford had an overall absence rate of 3.9%, whilst 12.4% of sessions were recorded as pupils not attending in circumstances related to COVID-19. During this time, nationally, the overall absence rate was 4.7% and 7% of sessions were recorded for pupils not attending in circumstances relating to COVID-19.

The table below shows full year absence data for Romford compared to national. School census data was not collected in academic year 2019/20 because of the disruption to face to face education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Romford

National

Romford

National

Romford

National

Overall absence rate

4.6

4.7

4.5

4.8

4.3

4.7

Persistent absence rate

10.7

10.8

10.6

11.2

9.8

10.9

To support stronger attendance, the department has a comprehensive attendance strategy to ensure that absence is minimised. We are continuing to closely monitor absence levels and trends.

My right hon. Friend, Secretary of State for Education, has established an alliance of national leaders from education, children’s social care and allied services to work together to raise school attendance and reduce persistent absence. The Attendance Action Alliance has pledged to take a range of actions to remove barriers preventing children attending school. Full details of the work being taken forward can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/attendance-alliance-group.

We need to ensure the lessons learned during the COVID-19 outbreak help us strengthen and improve the school attendance system to ensure the absence facing us today does not become perpetual. Therefore, the department is also reviewing the system as a whole. As part of this, we have recently launched an attendance consultation which seeks views on proposals to build on schools, trusts, and local authorities existing work for attendance and improve the consistency of attendance support for families across England. Information on this is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/school-attendance-improving-consistency-of-support.

The department has also appointed a team of expert attendance advisers. The advisers are working closely with a number of local authorities and multi-academy trusts (MATs) who are keen to improve their attendance practice and reduce persistent absence. They will support MATs and local authorities to review their current approach and help them to develop an action plan to improve.

The department continues to make clear that schools and local authorities should identify pupils who may be disengaged from education and develop plans to re-engage them.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to establish an Institute of Technology in the London Borough of Havering.

The government has established a comprehensive network of 21 Institutes of Technology (IoTs) across England. They are geographically spread across the country and target areas where they are most needed, including Barking and Dagenham, Blackpool, Sunderland, and Dudley. There are no plans at this stage to develop more.

In total, 3 of the IoTs serve London, including the East London IoT based at Barking and Dagenham College’s Rush Green campus in the neighbouring Rainham and Dagenham constituency. The London City IoT is situated in the nearby East Ham, and Bethnal Green and Bow constituencies. All London IoTs have good public transport links and we envisage that their catchment areas will include learners in the London Borough of Havering.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote the uptake of science and technology subjects to students in vocational education.

The department recognises that the demand for skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is growing, and we are proud to be encouraging more pupils into STEM at all key stages. We have put employers at the heart of the technical education system, asking them to set out the skills and knowledge that they need now and in the future. This has formed the basis of new occupational standards. So far, STEM employers, including those in construction, digital, engineering and manufacturing, and health and science sectors have developed 343 apprenticeships based on these standards.

We are introducing T Levels, boosting access to high quality technical education for thousands of young people, which are also based on the same occupational standards. T Levels in Digital, Construction and Health and Science are now being taught and T Levels in Engineering and Manufacturing will launch this September. A new campaign, ‘Get the Jump’, has been launched to help young people aged 14 to 19 to understand their education and training choices. More information on this can be found here: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-your-education-and-training-choices. T Levels are featured heavily in the campaign as an exciting new option for young people alongside apprenticeships, traineeships and Higher Technical Qualifications

Alongside this, we are investing up to £290 million to establish a comprehensive network of Institutes of Technology across England. These are unique collaborations between further education colleges, universities and employers specialising in delivering higher technical education and training in key STEM subjects such as cyber security, artificial intelligence, robotics, precision farming and health and life sciences. A key objective of the programme is to increase participation from under-represented groups to support the long-term STEM skills pipeline.

For those earlier on in their education, we are proud to have made substantial spending commitments to improve the teaching and uptake of STEM subjects in schools. We are offering a bursary worth £24,000 tax-free or a prestigious scholarship worth £26,000 tax-free to train to teach the highest priority subjects of chemistry, computing, mathematics and physics and a £15,000 tax-free bursary for design and technology. In line with the Gatsby Benchmarks for good career guidance, all schools are expected to provide at least one meaningful encounter with employers per pupil per year, with an emphasis on STEM employers.

We have improved the quality of technical awards. These non-GCSE qualifications are intended to equip 14-16 year olds with applied knowledge not usually acquired in general qualifications. They are intended to focus on a sector or occupational group and enable the development of knowledge as well as associated practical skills where appropriate.

Schools have access to the STEM Careers toolkit which provides ideas and practical suggestions on how STEM specific content might be used to meet the Gatsby Benchmarks. This includes useful resources, examples of good practice and sharing STEM careers resources, such as job profile examples, further study route information and labour market information with teachers.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has conducted an assessment into the impact on learning and mental health of mandatory mask policies in schools in (a) Wales and (b) Scotland.

Education and health are devolved matters, and each nation of the UK has its own guidance to support education providers. Therefore, approaches to face coverings for providers may differ in Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. It will be for the Scottish and Welsh governments to respond regarding their assessment into the impact of face covering policies on the learning and mental health of pupils and students.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has had discussions with relevant stakeholders on requiring schools in Wales to fly the St. David’s flag on St. David’s Day.

Education policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved administrations. Therefore, arrangements regarding Saint David’s Day for schools in Wales would be a matter for the Welsh government.

Schools in England are free to display the national flag and it is a matter for individual schools to decide. Schools play an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain, including supporting them to understand the society in which they grow up and develop their sense of British identity.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment on the potential merits of teaching about the Falklands War as part of the national curriculum.

The history curriculum gives teachers and schools the freedom and flexibility to use specific examples from history to teach pupils about the history of Britain and the wider world, and this can include the Falklands War. Schools and teachers themselves can determine which examples, topics and resources to use to stimulate and challenge pupils and reflect key points in history.

Additionally, there is scope within the citizenship curriculum to highlight relevant key historical events. Through citizenship, which is part of the national curriculum at key stages 3 and 4, pupils learn about the key elements of the constitution of the United Kingdom and its relations with the rest of Europe, the Commonwealth, the United Nations, and the wider world. The subject helps to prepare pupils to play a full and active part in society and teaches them how to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh up evidence, to debate, and to make reasoned arguments. As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects, so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department have made for schools to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

To mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the department has commissioned a commemorative book which will be given to all children in state funded primary education across the United Kingdom.

The book will celebrate the people and places of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. It will teach children about recent and historical events, inspirational people, landmark innovations and inventions during Her Majesty the Queen’s lifetime, and a selection of our best art, design, and culture. The book will also explore the role of the monarch and what the Platinum Jubilee represents, so that children across the country can understand and engage with the celebrations, while broadening their education.

Plans for commissioning the book were announced on 26 September 2021 at: www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-achievements-celebrated-in-new-childrens-book-to-mark-the-queens-platinum-jubilee.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect universities from influence through donations from people connected to the Communist Party of China.

The security guidelines commissioned at my request and published by Universities UK in October 2020, ‘Managing risks in internationalisation: security-related issues’, advise universities on engaging in secure international collaborations: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/Reports/managing-risks-in-internationalisation.pdf. This includes a recommendation that due diligence should be conducted on all international partnerships, including donations. Universities due diligence processes should consider reputational, ethical and security risks. As autonomous institutions, universities will have their own fundraising and gift acceptance policies in place.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department taking to ensure that provision for exams will be made for the summer 2022.

It is the government’s firm intention that exams and assessments should go ahead this year. We regularly engage with stakeholders throughout the education sector and there continues to be widespread support for exams to go ahead.

The department recognises that students taking exams this year will have experienced disruption to their education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why, together with Ofqual, we consulted on and have confirmed a range of adaptations to GCSE and A/AS level exams. Exam boards will be releasing advance information about the focus of the content of exams in most GCSE and A/AS level subjects by 7 February. Other adaptations include a choice of content or topics and the provision of exam aids in some GCSEs. A range of adaptations are also available for awarding organisations to use for vocational and technical qualifications.

Additionally, Ofqual have confirmed that 2022 will be a transition year for grading. Grades will be set around a midpoint between 2021 and pre-pandemic grades.

This package of adaptations, combined with Ofqual’s approach to grading, provides unprecedented support to maximise fairness and help students reach their potential.

We have been clear our intention is for exams to go ahead, but think it is right that we continue to have contingency plans in place for the unlikely event that exams cannot go ahead fairly or safely, and have confirmed that students would receive teacher assessed grades instead.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that universities return to face-to-face teaching and in person learning.

Face-to-face teaching is a vital part of getting a high-quality student experience. With the removal of the Plan B measures, there are no COVID restrictions that apply to higher education (HE) and providers should ensure that they are delivering the full programme of face-to-face teaching and learning that they were providing before the COVID-19 outbreak.

We know that, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, HE providers have delivered new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning and some providers continue to use some of these approaches alongside in-person provision. However, online learning should only be offered to enhance the student experience, not to detract from it, and it should not be used as a cost-cutting measure. The Office for Students (OfS) will be monitoring to ensure this is the case, and that universities are being open about what students can expect.

The government expects all universities to continue to deliver excellent learning, in line with guidance from the OfS. On 29 October I wrote to all English HE providers to make clear that we expect them to be offering a high-quality face-to-face student experience and, on 17January, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education wrote an open letter to students about face-to-face teaching, setting out what they can do if they feel they are not getting the teaching they signed up for, details of which can be found here: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2022/01/17/face-to-face-teaching-is-a-vital-part-of-getting-a-high-quality-student-experience-education-secretary-nadhim-zahawi-writes-to-students/. In addition, I have been speaking with some university Vice Chancellors to ensure they are offering students the amount of in-person teaching they should expect.

If students have concerns, they should first raise them with their HE provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at HE providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for higher education to consider their complaint.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for its policies of the figures from Scotland on the reduction of transmission of covid-19 connected with mask wearing in schools.

Each of the devolved administrations has a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and a Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA). They work with Sir Chris Whitty, the CMO to the UK government, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government CSA, to provide co-ordinated advice to government departments in all 4 nations.

Expert scientific advisory groups are convened at a UK level and provide advice to the CMOs of the 4 nations, to health authorities in the devolved administrations, and to the devolved governments directly.

The UK government has worked closely with the devolved administrations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and continues to do so. However, education and health are devolved, and each nation of the UK has its own guidance to support education providers. It will be for the Scottish government to respond regarding its figures and face covering policies and the reduction of transmission of COVID-19 connected with mask wearing in schools in Scotland.

The department will always prioritise the health and welfare of staff, pupils and students.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) provides independent, evidence-based advice and guidance to other government departments, including the Department for Education, in the context of the response to COVID-19. The advice provided is based on critical appraisal of the most up-to-date evidence available and has changed depending on the epidemiological picture and emerging evidence. It is based on this advice that the department’s recommendations are made.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced on 19 January that Plan B is to end. This decision comes in response to national infection data showing the prevalence of COVID-19 to be on a downward trajectory. Whilst there are some groups where cases are likely to continue rising, it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally. There remains significant pressure on the NHS, but hospital admissions have stabilised, and the number of patients in intensive care units remains low and is falling.

Therefore, it is right that we remove the most stringent restrictions around wearing face coverings in schools, but the virus is still with us and continuing with proportionate protective measures remains vital to protect education.

As a result, face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors in classrooms. From 27 January, face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors in communal areas. This advice remains subject to change as the situation develops. A link to our guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

On 5 January 2022, the department published its evidence summary on the use of face coverings in education providers which is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1044767/Evidence_summary_-_face_coverings.pdf.

The UKHSA critically assesses and reviews the current global evidence on a range of risk mitigations, including face coverings, in publicly available evidence reviews. The most recent review was published in November 2021 and can be found at: https://ukhsa.koha-ptfs.co.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-retrieve-file.pl?id=35a32498205a656d9a849736b4037314.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made and assessment of the potential merits of requiring schools to fly the Union Flag.

Schools play an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain. There are opportunities in the school curriculum and other school duties for pupils to learn about their rights as citizen of the United Kingdom, including about free speech.

The programmes of study for citizenship cover topics that help to prepare pupils to play a full and active part in society and teach them how to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, to debate, and to make reasoned arguments. Further information on the programmes of study can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-citizenship-programmes-of-study.

Pupils should be taught about the liberties enjoyed by the citizens of the United Kingdom and use and apply their knowledge and understanding while developing skills to research and interrogate evidence, debate and evaluate viewpoints, present reasoned arguments, and take informed action.

Since September 2020, relationships education has been compulsory for all primary school-aged pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for all secondary school-aged pupils, and health education compulsory for all pupils in primaries and secondaries.

The statutory guidance sets out that pupils should know their rights, responsibilities and opportunities online and the Teacher Training Modules set out that teachers should explain that this includes the right to freedom of expression. Further information on the statutory guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education, and further guidance on the teacher training modules can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

The department has produced a relationships, sex and health education ‘Teacher training: respectful relationships’ module that includes advice on how to explain the harm caused by ‘cancel culture’ and the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of association to a tolerant and free society. It also includes teaching that censorship and ‘no platforming’ are harmful and damaging, and that seeking to get people ‘cancelled’ simply because you disagree with them, is a form of bullying and is not acceptable. Further information on this can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-training-respectful-relationships.

Schools are required to actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. Freedom of speech is relevant to, and could be considered, in the context of all these values. Ultimately, school leaders are best placed to make their own decisions about what they teach in this respect and how they teach it, subject to their obligations to ensure political balance.

The department is developing guidance for schools on political impartiality, to help schools to understand their responsibilities in this area, including the importance of exposing pupils to a diverse range of views during their time at school. The department expects to publish this guidance early next year.

With regards to flying the Union Flag, schools are free to display the national flag and it is a matter for individual schools to decide. The department does not provide specific guidance or restrictions on this.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote free speech in schools.

Schools play an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain. There are opportunities in the school curriculum and other school duties for pupils to learn about their rights as citizen of the United Kingdom, including about free speech.

The programmes of study for citizenship cover topics that help to prepare pupils to play a full and active part in society and teach them how to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, to debate, and to make reasoned arguments. Further information on the programmes of study can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-citizenship-programmes-of-study.

Pupils should be taught about the liberties enjoyed by the citizens of the United Kingdom and use and apply their knowledge and understanding while developing skills to research and interrogate evidence, debate and evaluate viewpoints, present reasoned arguments, and take informed action.

Since September 2020, relationships education has been compulsory for all primary school-aged pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for all secondary school-aged pupils, and health education compulsory for all pupils in primaries and secondaries.

The statutory guidance sets out that pupils should know their rights, responsibilities and opportunities online and the Teacher Training Modules set out that teachers should explain that this includes the right to freedom of expression. Further information on the statutory guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education, and further guidance on the teacher training modules can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

The department has produced a relationships, sex and health education ‘Teacher training: respectful relationships’ module that includes advice on how to explain the harm caused by ‘cancel culture’ and the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of association to a tolerant and free society. It also includes teaching that censorship and ‘no platforming’ are harmful and damaging, and that seeking to get people ‘cancelled’ simply because you disagree with them, is a form of bullying and is not acceptable. Further information on this can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-training-respectful-relationships.

Schools are required to actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. Freedom of speech is relevant to, and could be considered, in the context of all these values. Ultimately, school leaders are best placed to make their own decisions about what they teach in this respect and how they teach it, subject to their obligations to ensure political balance.

The department is developing guidance for schools on political impartiality, to help schools to understand their responsibilities in this area, including the importance of exposing pupils to a diverse range of views during their time at school. The department expects to publish this guidance early next year.

With regards to flying the Union Flag, schools are free to display the national flag and it is a matter for individual schools to decide. The department does not provide specific guidance or restrictions on this.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the role of charity providers in the roll out of family hubs.

The voluntary sector will play a vital role in the effective delivery of family hubs.

The National Centre for Family Hubs was launched in May 2021, delivered by the Anna Freud Centre - a leading mental health charity for children and families who have been funded by the department to support the scale up of family hubs across England. The National Centre’s role will be fundamental in ensuring local authorities have the right guidance and resources they need to develop their family hubs.

The "Family Hub Implementation Toolkit" published by the National Centre is clear that through family hubs, statutory services and voluntary and community sector (VCS) partners work together to get families the help they need. The toolkit sets out that representatives from the VCS should be involved in the process of developing the local hub model, and highlights the role that the VCS can play in meeting the needs of the local community. The department has already seen innovative partnerships between local authorities and VCS partners who have moved to a family hub model, and we will work with the National Centre to develop and spread effective practice.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the impact per child will be of the increase in early years spending announced in the Spending Review 2021.

I refer my hon. Friend, the Member for Romford to the answer I gave on 8 November 2021 to Question 68396.

The universal 15 hours entitlement, available for every child aged 3 and 4, can save parents up to £2,500 per year, and eligible working parents can apply for an additional 15 hours free childcare which can save them up to £5,000 if they use the full 30 hours.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made assessment of the steps that will be required to help ensure that examinations in 2022 happen in the normal school setting, in the event of rising covid-19 cases.

The government has made it a national priority that schools and colleges should continue to operate as normally as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak.

All schools have a range of measures in place to manage COVID-19 transmission day to day. This includes ventilation and hygiene measures for schools and testing for pupils in Year 7 and above.

Schools must continue to comply with health and safety law and put in place proportionate control measures, such as keeping occupied spaces well ventilated. Schools must regularly review, update and monitor their risk assessments, outlining what they would do if children or staff test positive and how they would operate if measures needed to be stepped back up to break chains of transmission.

The government is committed to ensuring the safety of all pupils, which is why CO2 monitors have begun to be provided to state-funded nurseries, schools and further education colleges. This has been backed by £25 million in government funding.

There is of course continued uncertainty about the path of the COVID-19 outbreak, including whether further disruption may occur over the course of the 2021/22 academic year. The department believes it should be possible for students to take exams safely next year, supported by the permitted adaptations. This includes advance information on the focus of some of the questions in most GCSE and all A/AS level subjects which have exams. Advance information will be deployed by 7 February to support revision. The department retains the flexibility to deploy it earlier if there is significant further disruption to education.

The department does understand that contingency arrangements are also needed to deal with the unlikely event that exams cannot go ahead fairly or safely. We and Ofqual have proposed teacher assessed grades (with changes) as the main contingency option – the consultation closed 13 October 2021 and the outcome will be announced shortly.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of mathematics (a) undergraduates and (b) postgraduates.

The department funds the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme, which aims to increase participation and attainment in level 3 mathematics through targeted support, ensuring students in all 16-19 state funded schools and colleges can access AS and A level maths and AS and A level further mathematics, and helping them to study these subjects to a higher level.

We are working with universities and academy trusts to establish a specialist maths school in each region, and a total of 11 nationally. This aims to prepare more of our most mathematically able students to succeed in maths disciplines at top universities. They also deliver outreach work with teachers and students in schools in their surrounding areas to increase maths A level participation and attainment.

We strongly believe effective careers guidance and advice is key to supporting young people in their education and career choices, to undertake learning and develop skills in the areas employers are looking for. The government’s Careers Strategy sets out a long-term plan to build a world class careers system to achieve this ambition. We are increasing the information available to students to ensure they can make informed choices about what and where to study. The delivery of the Careers Strategy also ensures that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) encounters, such as with employers and apprenticeships, are built into school career programmes.

The government also supports around 25% of the total PhD population in the UK through grants awarded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Since January 2020, UKRI has awarded £104 million of additional funding into Mathematical Sciences, over and above the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC) core Mathematical Sciences Theme budget. The additional funding has funded institutes, small and large research grants, fellowships, doctoral studentships and postdoctoral awards.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of removing funding for BTEC qualifications.

Employers are facing a skills shortage that we must act to address. It is vital in a fast moving and high-tech economy that technical education closes the gap between what people study and the needs of employers. This is why we are introducing over 20 T Levels, developed with 250 leading employers, and reviewing the wider post-16 qualifications system at level 3 and below.

The department’s plans for reform of level 3 qualifications were published on 14 July 2021. We will continue to fund high quality qualifications that can be taken alongside or as alternatives to T Levels and A levels where there is a clear need for skills and knowledge that T Levels and A levels cannot provide. This may include some Pearson BTECs, provided they meet the new quality criteria for funding approval.

The impact assessment published alongside the consultation response recognised that some students may find it more difficult to achieve level 3 qualifications in future. However, the assessment stated that the changes will generally be positive as students will have access to higher quality qualifications in the future, including new T Levels. This will put students in a stronger position to progress onto further study or skilled employment. The assessment acknowledged that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to take qualifications that could have their funding approval removed. These students should gain the most from these changes because they are the most likely to be taking qualifications that do not deliver the skills employers need. We are committed to ensuring that T Levels are accessible to all young people and have introduced flexibilities for students with special educational needs and disabilities. The T Level Transition Programme will support young people who are not yet ready to progress to a T Level but have the potential to succeed on it after some further preparation.

All qualifications will need to meet new quality criteria to be approved for funding in future. Technical qualifications will need to be approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) in order to be considered for funding approval. For academic qualifications, the department will set criteria to ensure all qualifications approved for funding are necessary alongside A levels. Ofqual will provide advice about quality to both the Institute and the department. This will ensure that all qualifications are high quality and provide the skills needed to support progression either into skilled employment or further study.

Alongside our reforms to level 3 qualifications, the department wants to improve study at level 2 and below, which has been neglected for too long. Improving level 2 and below is key to making sure that every student has a clear progression route – whether that is to high quality level 3 qualifications, apprenticeships, traineeships, or directly into skilled employment at level 2. The department is considering feedback to the call for evidence, which ran from 10 November 2020 to 14 February 2021, and there will be consultation on reform proposals later this year.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that students can continue to study BTEC qualifications in the future.

Employers are facing a skills shortage that we must act to address. It is vital in a fast moving and high-tech economy that technical education closes the gap between what people study and the needs of employers. This is why we are introducing over 20 T Levels, developed with 250 leading employers, and reviewing the wider post-16 qualifications system at level 3 and below.

The department’s plans for reform of level 3 qualifications were published on 14 July 2021. We will continue to fund high quality qualifications that can be taken alongside or as alternatives to T Levels and A levels where there is a clear need for skills and knowledge that T Levels and A levels cannot provide. This may include some Pearson BTECs, provided they meet the new quality criteria for funding approval.

The impact assessment published alongside the consultation response recognised that some students may find it more difficult to achieve level 3 qualifications in future. However, the assessment stated that the changes will generally be positive as students will have access to higher quality qualifications in the future, including new T Levels. This will put students in a stronger position to progress onto further study or skilled employment. The assessment acknowledged that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to take qualifications that could have their funding approval removed. These students should gain the most from these changes because they are the most likely to be taking qualifications that do not deliver the skills employers need. We are committed to ensuring that T Levels are accessible to all young people and have introduced flexibilities for students with special educational needs and disabilities. The T Level Transition Programme will support young people who are not yet ready to progress to a T Level but have the potential to succeed on it after some further preparation.

All qualifications will need to meet new quality criteria to be approved for funding in future. Technical qualifications will need to be approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) in order to be considered for funding approval. For academic qualifications, the department will set criteria to ensure all qualifications approved for funding are necessary alongside A levels. Ofqual will provide advice about quality to both the Institute and the department. This will ensure that all qualifications are high quality and provide the skills needed to support progression either into skilled employment or further study.

Alongside our reforms to level 3 qualifications, the department wants to improve study at level 2 and below, which has been neglected for too long. Improving level 2 and below is key to making sure that every student has a clear progression route – whether that is to high quality level 3 qualifications, apprenticeships, traineeships, or directly into skilled employment at level 2. The department is considering feedback to the call for evidence, which ran from 10 November 2020 to 14 February 2021, and there will be consultation on reform proposals later this year.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of the high level of A*s at A-level on university admissions for students.

Students can and should feel proud of their results this year. The 2021 admissions cycle saw a large increase in applications from English students compared with 2020 and 2019 and the latest data (as at 28 days after A level results day) shows record numbers of English students have been accepted to higher education (HE). The number of English students being placed onto their first choice is up by more than 26,000, or 9% compared with 2020. 24% of disadvantaged English 18-year-olds were accepted to HE this year. This is up from 23.3% in 2020.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of continuing covid-19 isolation requirements on primary school-aged children.

The education of children and young people has been significantly disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department has considered a broad evidence base of assessments and a summary of the latest guidance can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1000025/Evidence_Summary_-_July_2021.pdf.

The Department also continues to collect and publish data on attendance. In primary schools, COVID-19 related absence was 9.8% on 8 July, up from 7.4% on 1 July and 4.5% on 24 June: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

From Step 4 of the roadmap, it will no longer be necessary to keep children and young people in consistent groups (‘bubbles’) both inside and outside of school, as well as the need to reduce mixing in nurseries. Schools will also not routinely be required to undertake contact tracing for children. Instead, pupils who test positive will be subject to the normal test and trace process, which will identify close contacts. This will be limited to very close contacts. Unless they test positive, children and those who are double vaccinated will not be required to isolate from 16 August if they are identified as a close contact. Self-isolation continues for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Department will continue to keep these measures under review, in partnership with health experts and informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that white working class students' attainment is equal to that of their peers.

Raising education standards for all pupils, irrespective of their background or where they live, remains an important focus of the Government. The Department has worked hard over the last decade to embed the reforms needed to raise standards for all children. Thanks to these efforts, and the work of head teachers, teachers and school support staff, the proportion of schools judged by Ofsted to be good or outstanding has risen from 68% to 86% since 2010. Since 2011, the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and others has also narrowed by 13% in primary schools and 9% in secondary schools.

When it comes to raising standards, evidence shows that teachers are the most important in-school factor affecting pupils’ education. The Department has announced an investment of over £250 million in our National Professional Qualifications and Early Career Framework programmes, which are based on the best available evidence and have been developed in partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation. Through this, the Department is committed to helping tackle the educational attainment gap for all pupils.

The Government recognises that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education and is committed to helping pupils catch up. The Department has announced over £3 billion to support education recovery, and the pupil premium is providing over £2.5 billion in the 2021/22 financial year to improve the educational attainment and wider outcomes of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of removing covid-19 social distancing restrictions for primary school aged children in schools.

In line with Step 4 of the roadmap for England, the majority of COVID-19 restrictions will be relaxed, including the measures recommended for schools.

The Department’s priority is for schools to deliver face to face, high quality education to all pupils. The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances and mental and physical health.

The Department has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England to revise this guidance for schools. Our aim is to balance the risks associated with COVID-19, whilst moving to a ‘steady state’ that minimises both the burden of implementing a system of controls on staff and parents, and the effect that those measures have on young people’s education.

The Department will continue to keep these measures under review, in partnership with health experts, and informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote free speech in schools.

Schools play an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain. This involves supporting pupils to understand the society in which they grow up and teaching them about the importance of respect for other people and for different views.

Schools are already required to actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. Freedom of speech is relevant to, and could be considered in, the context of all these values.

Head teachers and other staff are best placed to make their own decisions about what they teach in this respect and how they teach it, subject to their obligations to ensure political balance.

The Department is developing guidance for schools on political impartiality to help them to understand their responsibilities in this area. This will include the importance of exposing pupils to a diverse range of views during their time at school.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage the least active young people to participate more in physical education and school sport.

The Government published its cross-government School Sport and Activity Action Plan in July 2019, which sets out a number of actions to increase levels of physical activity for all children in England, providing them with greater opportunities to do 60 minutes of physical activity every day during and outside the school day. The Government has confirmed its intention to publish an update to this action plan later in 2021.

The Department has focused on ensuring that pupils have opportunities to be fit and active as part of education recovery. In addition to additional funding for recovery, the Department has confirmed £320 million for the physical education (PE) and sport premium in the next academic year. Schools have the flexibility to use the premium to provide additional opportunities, including engaging the least active children in PE and sport. The Department has taken steps to relax the ring-fencing arrangements for the PE and sport premium in the 2019 to 2020 academic year to allow any unspent grant to be carried forward into the 2020 to 2021 academic year. Any under-spends carried forward from the 2019 to 2020 academic year will need to be spent in full by the end of the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

The Department has also provided £10.1 million to provide support to schools to reopen sport facilities outside of the school day. We are also funding the Holiday Activities and Food Fund and Summer Schools programmes, which are targeted towards children from lower socio-economic groups and will help to maintain activity over the summer holidays.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has for physical education and school sport as part of the covid-19 recovery plan for education.

The Government published its cross-government School Sport and Activity Action Plan in July 2019, which sets out a number of actions to increase levels of physical activity for all children in England, providing them with greater opportunities to do 60 minutes of physical activity every day during and outside the school day. The Government has confirmed its intention to publish an update to this action plan later in 2021.

The Department has focused on ensuring that pupils have opportunities to be fit and active as part of education recovery. In addition to additional funding for recovery, the Department has confirmed £320 million for the physical education (PE) and sport premium in the next academic year. Schools have the flexibility to use the premium to provide additional opportunities, including engaging the least active children in PE and sport. The Department has taken steps to relax the ring-fencing arrangements for the PE and sport premium in the 2019 to 2020 academic year to allow any unspent grant to be carried forward into the 2020 to 2021 academic year. Any under-spends carried forward from the 2019 to 2020 academic year will need to be spent in full by the end of the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

The Department has also provided £10.1 million to provide support to schools to reopen sport facilities outside of the school day. We are also funding the Holiday Activities and Food Fund and Summer Schools programmes, which are targeted towards children from lower socio-economic groups and will help to maintain activity over the summer holidays.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the merits of extending the eligibility requirements for free childcare for two year olds to support low income parents return to work.

The core purpose of the 2-year-old entitlement is to provide a developmental boost to disadvantaged children who are less likely to use formal childcare, but who stand to benefit the most from it. Whilst the entitlement does provide some practical support to help parents return to work or attend training, this is not its main objective.

Parents of 2-year-olds who are in receipt of specified income support benefits, including Universal Credit, whose household income is £15,400 a year or less, are entitled to 15 hours free childcare over 38 weeks of the year.

We believe it is right to target this free entitlement for 2-year-olds from disadvantaged families who need it most. National eligibility criteria have been designed to target those groups who the evidence shows will most benefit from early education.

As well as the 2-year-old entitlement, the government provides other support with the cost of childcare for working parents. Working parents on a low income may be eligible for help with up to 85% of their childcare costs through Universal Credit Childcare. Working parents of 0- to 11-year-olds (or 16-year-olds if the child has a disability) can also access Tax Free Childcare, where the government will pay £2 for every £8 parents pay their provider via an online account, up to a maximum of £2000 per child each year. Parents must earn a minimum of £139 a week and no more than £100,000 annually.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of UK universities that teach courses based on critical race theory.

The department does not keep a central record of individual courses offered by higher education providers, or their effect on the mental health of students.

Higher education providers are independent and autonomous institutions and are free to make their own internal decisions, including regarding curricula. In higher education, it is the freedom to think independently, and challenge opinions, which makes our universities truly world-renowned, and it is this freedom that will be protected in the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, introduced on 12 May.

Higher education providers, and their academic members of staff, are fully entitled to adopt any philosophy they wish in their teaching or research, and to speak out freely about their beliefs without suffering detriment. However, providers should not interfere with academic freedom by imposing, or seeking to impose, a political or ideological viewpoint upon the teaching, research, or other activities of individual academics, either across the whole university or at departmental, faculty, or other level.

Student mental health is a key priority for this government. We continue to work closely with the higher education sector to promote good practice.

The government strongly supports the University Mental Health Charter, which aims to drive up standards in promoting student and staff mental health and wellbeing. The government continues to work closely with Universities UK on embedding the ‘Step Change: Mentally Healthy Universities’ framework, calling on higher education leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of lectures based on critical race theory on the mental health of students in universities.

The department does not keep a central record of individual courses offered by higher education providers, or their effect on the mental health of students.

Higher education providers are independent and autonomous institutions and are free to make their own internal decisions, including regarding curricula. In higher education, it is the freedom to think independently, and challenge opinions, which makes our universities truly world-renowned, and it is this freedom that will be protected in the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, introduced on 12 May.

Higher education providers, and their academic members of staff, are fully entitled to adopt any philosophy they wish in their teaching or research, and to speak out freely about their beliefs without suffering detriment. However, providers should not interfere with academic freedom by imposing, or seeking to impose, a political or ideological viewpoint upon the teaching, research, or other activities of individual academics, either across the whole university or at departmental, faculty, or other level.

Student mental health is a key priority for this government. We continue to work closely with the higher education sector to promote good practice.

The government strongly supports the University Mental Health Charter, which aims to drive up standards in promoting student and staff mental health and wellbeing. The government continues to work closely with Universities UK on embedding the ‘Step Change: Mentally Healthy Universities’ framework, calling on higher education leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to support those arriving on the British National (Overseas) visa scheme to access student loans for higher and further education.

Most applications for university in the UK are submitted using UCAS and further information can be found on their website at: https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/applying-to-university. Some universities also accept applications directly. It is then for individual universities as to how to enrol students once they have been accepted onto a course.

To qualify for home fee status in England and student finance, a person must have settled status or a recognised connection to the UK. This includes persons who are covered by EU law, have long residence in this country or who have been granted international protection by the Home Office.

Currently, subject to meeting the normal eligibility requirements, Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) status holders will be able to qualify for home fee status and student finance once they have acquired settled status in the UK.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how students arriving on the British National (Overseas) visa scheme are expected to enrol at universities in the UK in the next three years.

Most applications for university in the UK are submitted using UCAS and further information can be found on their website at: https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/applying-to-university. Some universities also accept applications directly. It is then for individual universities as to how to enrol students once they have been accepted onto a course.

To qualify for home fee status in England and student finance, a person must have settled status or a recognised connection to the UK. This includes persons who are covered by EU law, have long residence in this country or who have been granted international protection by the Home Office.

Currently, subject to meeting the normal eligibility requirements, Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) status holders will be able to qualify for home fee status and student finance once they have acquired settled status in the UK.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that deaf children in education have access to fully qualified language and communication support professionals.

I am determined that all children and young people, including those who are deaf or have a hearing impairment, receive the support they need to succeed in their education.

Local authorities and schools are expected to commission appropriately qualified staff to meet local needs. The government have increased high needs funding for children and young people with the most complex special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), from £5 billion in 2013 to over £8 billion this year.

Children with sensory impairments in special schools, resourced provision or specialist units should have access to specialist provision to meet their needs. Those teaching classes of children with sensory impairment must hold an appropriate qualification, approved by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State. Teachers working in an advisory role to support such pupils should also hold the appropriate qualification.

Similarly, all mainstream schools should be able to access specialist teaching where this is considered necessary to particular children’s progress, as well as specialist advice for their own teachers. To complement this, we have provided funding of over £8 million to the Whole School SEND Consortium since 2018, through our contract with nasen. It aims to equip the school workforce, particularly in mainstream settings, to deliver high quality teaching to children and young people with SEND. This includes children with hearing impairments as their primary need. The National Sensory Impairment Partnership are part of the Consortium.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has had discussions with relevant stakeholders on requiring schools to fly the St. George’s cross on St. George’s Day.

Schools are free to celebrate St George’s Day, although there were no plans from the Department to ensure that they did so. This is a matter for schools to decide.

Schools play an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain. This involves supporting pupils to understand the society in which they grow up and develop their sense of British identity. Schools in England are free to display the national flag of the United Kingdom, or the St. George’s cross, and the Department does not provide any specific guidance on these matters.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to ensure that schools are celebrating St. George’s Day on 23 April 2021.

Schools are free to celebrate St George’s Day, although there were no plans from the Department to ensure that they did so. This is a matter for schools to decide.

Schools play an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain. This involves supporting pupils to understand the society in which they grow up and develop their sense of British identity. Schools in England are free to display the national flag of the United Kingdom, or the St. George’s cross, and the Department does not provide any specific guidance on these matters.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits for social development among children of ceasing the use by children of facemasks in schools.

It is vital that all pupils can attend school to minimise the long-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their education, wellbeing, and wider development. This is why enabling all pupils to return to face to face education has remained a national priority as we begin to relax restrictions.

To support the return to full attendance on 8 March 2021, the Department published updated guidance for schools, which included updated advice on face coverings. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors, and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

Since 8 March and following an ongoing review of the available evidence and in line with public health advice, we also continue to recommend that face coverings should be worn in classrooms by staff and those in Year 7 and above unless social distancing can be maintained.

In primary schools, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and adults in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible. Children in primary school should not wear face coverings.

The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of COVID-19 droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.

We recognise that the wearing of face coverings may impact communication. The decision to continue with this additional precautionary measure of face coverings in classrooms is based on the latest public health advice balanced with intelligence on the impacts of face coverings and is a cautious approach that will help limit the risk of transmission. We will seek to remove face coverings at the first safe opportunity given the negative impact they may have on communication in the classroom.

Based on the current state of the COVID-19 outbreak and the positive progress being made, it is expected that face coverings will no longer be required for both staff and pupils in classrooms, or by pupils in all communal areas. This is subject to a further review process of the face covering policy as part of step 3 of the roadmap (no earlier than 17 May) based on the latest scientific evidence and advice.

11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that pupils who do not take covid-19 lateral flow tests continue to receive (a) good quality education and (b) face-to-face teaching.

Testing is voluntary but is strongly recommended to all pupils who are eligible as this helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Alongside the vaccine, washing hands, wearing face coverings, and maintaining social distancing, rapid testing plays a vital role in reducing transmission rates. No pupil should be denied education on the grounds that they have not been COVID-19 tested at school.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that children whose parents do not consent to them being covid-19 tested at school are not prevented from attending school.

COVID-19 testing is voluntary, but strongly recommended to all who are eligible as this helps to reduce the spread in schools. Alongside the vaccine, washing hands, wearing face coverings, and maintaining social distancing, rapid testing plays a vital role in reducing transmission rates. No pupil should be denied education on the grounds that they have not been COVID-19 tested at school.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will take steps to undertake a risk assessment of increasing collaboration, through funding, between UK universities and China.

UK universities are international at their core and we encourage them to collaborate with international partners. However, it is important that universities remain security-minded in all international collaboration and are alert to the possible risks associated with dependence on a single source of funding, whether that is from a single organisation or from a single nation.

Following my request, Universities UK published sector guidelines on managing risks in internationalisation in October 2020. The guidelines state that due diligence should be conducted on all international collaborations, including investments, donations, and other sources of income. In my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education’s guidance to the Office for Students, he also asked the regulator to monitor how universities adopt these guidelines as well as continue to support the sector manage the risks to the reputation, integrity, and sustainability of individual institutions.

We also continue to work closely with other government departments, particularly the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which has a strong interest in ensuring that research collaborations properly address security considerations.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he has issued to (a) educational institutions, (b) providers of apprenticeships and (c) other providers of training and education to ensure that people coming to the UK from Hong Kong under (i) the BN(O) and (ii) other visa schemes are able to secure training and education opportunities using qualifications obtained in Hong Kong.

On 31 January 2021, the UK Government introduced a new immigration route for British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status holders in Hong Kong, providing the opportunity for them and their eligible family members to live, work and study in the UK.

Departments across Government are working together closely to ensure that necessary support and guidance is provided for BN(O) status holders who take advantage of the new visa route.

The UK European Network Information Centre (UK ENIC, and formerly UK NARIC) provides expert advice on behalf of the UK Government on the comparability of international qualifications, including those from Hong Kong to UK qualifications. UK Higher Education Institutions and other educational institutions use the ENIC database to assess the qualifications of applicants for their courses.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has provided to local education authorities in relation to school admissions for the children of Hongkongers coming to the UK under the BN(O) visa and other routes.

The Department has published guidance for schools and local authorities on the rights of foreign national children to access schools in England and this has been updated to include the rights of the dependent children of British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) families settling here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/schools-admissions-applications-from-overseas-children.

Guidance for parents on applying for a school place, which will be relevant for BN(O) families, already exists and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/schools-admissions.

Any child resident in the country should be treated equally in terms of access to a school. The Department consulted on changes to the School Admissions Code during the summer and autumn of 2020 to ensure the in-year admissions process is more efficient and consistent so that children can be placed quickly. Subject to parliamentary approval, these changes will come into force in September 2021. Further details on the School Admissions Code can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-school-admissions-code--4.

The Department is working across the Government with stakeholders and local authorities, in planning for the impact of BN(O) migration on local services, including school places.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is planning to take to ensure that the children of Hongkongers coming to the UK under the BN(O) visa and other routes are promptly enrolled in local schools.

The Department has published guidance for schools and local authorities on the rights of foreign national children to access schools in England and this has been updated to include the rights of the dependent children of British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) families settling here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/schools-admissions-applications-from-overseas-children.

Guidance for parents on applying for a school place, which will be relevant for BN(O) families, already exists and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/schools-admissions.

Any child resident in the country should be treated equally in terms of access to a school. The Department consulted on changes to the School Admissions Code during the summer and autumn of 2020 to ensure the in-year admissions process is more efficient and consistent so that children can be placed quickly. Subject to parliamentary approval, these changes will come into force in September 2021. Further details on the School Admissions Code can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-school-admissions-code--4.

The Department is working across the Government with stakeholders and local authorities, in planning for the impact of BN(O) migration on local services, including school places.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reducing the content of (a) GCSE and (b) A level exams in summer 2022 due to school closures during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government remains clear that exams are the fairest method to assess pupils. We know that pupils and teachers will be working hard in preparation for GCSE and A level exams in 2022, and we will make sure that the interests of pupils are at the centre of our considerations.

It is important that pupils in this cohort are able to get a grade safely and fairly and we will continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on all pupils to ensure that those due to take exams in 2022 are supported to move to the next stage of their lives fairly. We will make further announcements in due course.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to offset the additional cost of educational delivery in Greater London and ensure that London university and college students do not fall behind their counterparts in England, following the withdrawal of the London weighting element of the Teaching Grant.

The higher education (HE) teaching grant will be reformed for the 2021-22 financial year to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting HE provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, science, technology, engineering and mathematics and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

London weighting funding is a small proportion of the overall income of providers and it is right for government to re-allocate public money where it is most needed. Universities should not receive additional investment for teaching simply because of where they are located: excellent provision can be delivered across the country.

London already has, on average, the highest percentage of good or outstanding schools, the highest progression to HE, and more HE providers than in any other region in England. This government is firmly committed to the levelling up agenda and this reform will invest more money directly into high quality institutions in the Midlands and the North.

The Office for Students will consult on these changes before final allocations for the 2021-22 financial year are confirmed.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support students taking vocational qualifications who are unable to complete coursework assessments as a result of colleges being closed during the covid-19 outbreak.

No student will be disadvantaged if they cannot take their exam or assessment.

In conjunction with Ofqual, we are currently consulting on alternative arrangements for the award of vocational and technical qualifications where exams and assessments do not take place or where students have been unable to attend: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-alternative-arrangements-for-the-award-of-vtqs-and-other-general-qualifications-in-2021.

We are exploring how students who need to attend on site during the national lockdown in order to prepare for practical assessments due to be taken in February and March 2021 can do so, where it is impossible for this training to take place remotely.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with universities on providing extra support for (a) mature students and (b) students with children who may be facing additional pressure and responsibilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

We realise that this is an incredibly difficult time for students and are aware of the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 outbreak will have on some students. In these exceptional circumstances, some students may face financial hardship. Students experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak should contact their higher education provider.

The Department has worked closely with the Office for Students (OfS) to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Providers are able to use OfS Student Premium funding worth around £256 million for this academic year towards student hardship funds.

As announced last month, we are also making available up to £20 million of additional hardship funding to support those that need it most, particularly disadvantaged students.

Students will normally qualify for Child Benefit if they are responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). Full-time students with children can also apply for Childcare Grant and Parents' Learning Allowance. Full-time students who are single parents or student couples, one or both of whom are responsible for a child, and part-time students responsible for a child can apply for Universal Credit.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support his Department is providing to children with Special Educational Needs to ensure that their education is not affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families can be disproportionately impacted by being out of education. Due to the national restrictions, we have published new guidance on 7 January for all schools, including special schools and specialist post 16 provision, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

This guidance sets out that schools are expected to allow vulnerable children and young people to attend, including those with an Education, Health and Care plan. We want these children and young people to continue to receive high-quality teaching and specialist professional support. Specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils and SEND should provide interventions as usual.

We also published ‘Guidance for full opening: special schools and other specialist settings’ in July 2020, and this has been regularly updated. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of closing early-years settings alongside the closure of primary and secondary schools during the covid-19 lockdown period that commenced on 5 January 2021, in (a) England and (b) Havering.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 4 January 2021 that early years settings remain open for all children during the national lockdown. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home.

Schools have been restricted because additional measures are needed to contain the spread of the virus. The wider significant restrictions in place as part of the national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus in the community enable us to continue prioritising keeping nurseries and childminders open, supporting parents and delivering the crucial care and education needed for our youngest children.

Early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. Current evidence suggests that pre-school children (0 to 5 years) are less susceptible to infection and are unlikely to be playing a driving role in transmission. There is no evidence the new strain of the virus causes more serious illness in either children or adults and there is no evidence that the new variant of coronavirus disproportionately affects young children.

PHE advice remains that the risk of transmission and infection is low if early years settings follow the system of controls, which reduce risks and create inherently safer environments.

Early years settings have been open to all children since 1 June 2020 and there is no evidence that the early years sector has contributed to a rise in virus cases within the community. Early modelling evidence from SAGE showed that early years provision had a smaller relative impact on transmission rate when modelled with both primary schools and secondary schools.

Early years childcare providers were one of the first sectors to have restrictions lifted last summer, in recognition of the key role they play in society. Childminders and nursery staff across the country have worked hard to keep settings open through the COVID-19 outbreak so that young children can be educated, and parents can work. The earliest years are the most crucial point of child development and attending early education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and supports children’s social and emotional development. We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing and to support working parents. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.

These plans are being kept under review in the light of emerging scientific evidence. We are working with the scientific community to understand the properties and dynamics of the new variant VUI-202012/01 in relation to children and young people.

The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges local authorities are facing. Our London regional team is in close contact with Havering and will be assessing the situation for early years settings in the authority.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of recommending that schools in (a) Havering and (b) other London boroughs with high number of covid-19 cases should move to virtual teaching in order to prevent children and families from potentially having to self-isolate over the Christmas period.

Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. The leaders and staff of schools have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open, keep schools safe and provide education. Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise risk of transmission. The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be.

Our approach, including advising schools to consider making Friday 18 December a non teaching day, has been informed by advice from Public Health England and seeks to balance the asks on schools to help in the national effort to limit the spread of the virus with the important need for staff to rest and recharge over the Christmas break.

Secondary schools will operate a staggered return in January, while testing is offered to minimise cases and transmission of the virus. Pupils in exam year groups, vulnerable children and children of critical workers will attend in person from the start of term and will be offered the first testing dates, whilst other year groups are educated remotely and return on 11 January.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making first-aid training a compulsory part of secondary education.

The Department wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe, and to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society.

The new curriculum for Relationships, Sex and Health Education became mandatory from September 2020 and, as part of Health Education, schools must have regard for the new statutory guidance that includes teaching first aid at primary and secondary school. The content at secondary school includes how to administer CPR and the purpose of defibrillators.

Schools will have the flexibility to determine how the content is taught, including options to work with expert organisations such as the British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance, and the British Red Cross, who offer a range of specialist lesson plans, some of which may result in a recognised qualification.

As part of a wider support package for schools, a new training module covering first aid is available for schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-training-basic-first-aid. This can be used alongside the statutory guidance on teaching first aid: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education. Schools can adapt this training module and tailor it to meet the needs of their pupils.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government has made on assessment of the potential merits of starting (a) primary and (b) secondary school Christmas holidays a week earlier than planned to allow families to isolate as a unit at home to reduce the risk of transmission of covid-19 during the period of relaxed restrictions over Christmas 2020.

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

As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan, nurseries, schools and colleges should not change their Christmas holidays or close early this term. Parents should continue to send their children to school during term time. The leaders and staff of education settings have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open, keep settings safe and provide education.

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

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

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he has issued to children's centres on allowing physical contact for parents of children in temporary foster care during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is for local councils to decide how to organise and commission children’s centre services in their area. We are clear, however, that contact between children in care and their birth relatives is important, and we expect this contact to continue during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Contact arrangements, including for children in temporary foster care, should be assessed on a case by case basis taking into account a range of factors. This includes the government’s guidance on social distancing, guidance on meeting people outside your household, and the needs of the child. It may not always be possible, or appropriate, for contact to happen at this time, and keeping in touch may need to take place virtually in certain circumstances. However, we expect the spirit of any court-ordered contact in relation to children in care to be maintained. Where face-to-face contact is not possible, we encourage social workers and other professionals to reassure children and parents that this position is temporary and will be reviewed as soon as it is possible to do so.

Further information about contact arrangements for children in care is published in the COVID-19 guidance for children’s social care services, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the timeframe is for the restarting of in-person tutoring for people with Special Educational Needs as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Supporting all children and young people and keeping them safe is the highest priority for the government, especially at this time. That is why, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, educational settings have been asked to ensure that children and young people with education, health and care (EHC) plans can continue to attend where appropriate and, following a risk assessment, where their needs can be safely met in the educational environment.

From 1 June, we asked special educational settings to welcome back as many children and young people as could be safely catered for in their setting, informed by their risk assessments. In mainstream settings, we asked that children and young people with EHC plans in eligible year groups experience the same return to settings as their peers without EHC plans in the same year group, informed by their risk assessments.

The department has now published detailed plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education from September. The guidance provides specific advice on approaches for reducing the risk of transmission as well as other operational considerations for educational settings to follow as they prepare for welcoming back all pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities in both mainstream and special educational settings.

The guidance for special educational settings is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

The guidance for mainstream settings is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to the continued decline in the rates of community transmission of COVID-19, which will mean that pupils and students on the shielded patient list can return to their educational setting in September. For those currently identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, decisions about returning to school in September should be based on a consultation with their paediatric specialist or GP. Further advice on shielding is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-young-people-on-shielding-and-protecting-people-most-likely-to-become-unwell-if-they-catch-coronavirus#understanding-the-clinical-risk-to-children-and-young-people.

Guidance on shielding from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is available here: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-shielding-guidance-children-young-people#frequently-asked-questions-on-shielding.

Where a pupil is unable to attend their setting because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, we expect settings to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education.

Since May, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, it has been necessary to modify Section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 so that local authorities and health commissioners must use their ‘reasonable endeavours’ to secure or arrange the specified special educational health care provision in EHC plans. We are committed to removing these flexibilities as soon as possible so that children and young people can receive the support they need to return to school. As such, unless the evidence changes, we will not be issuing further national notices to modify the EHC duties but will consider whether any such flexibilities may be required locally to respond to outbreaks.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support his Department will provide to colleges providing free school meals to students over the summer holidays in 2020.

Due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are providing extra funding to enable further education institutions to continue to provide free school meals for the 2020 summer holidays. The funding is for students who were eligible and claiming for free meals in further education institutions in the 2019-20 academic year.

Further information is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-funding-free-meals-in-further-education-funded-institutions-for-2019-to-2020#coronavirus-covid-19-specific-update.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional financial support his Department is providing to colleges during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have protected grant funding to the further education sector - the Education Skills and Funding Agency will continue to pay grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year and for 2020/21.

For colleges in significant financial difficulties the existing support arrangements remain in place, including short-term emergency funding.

The College Collaboration Fund (CCF) has been adapted to support colleges to respond to current challenges including developing new ways of working. We will let providers know the outcome of their application after 10 July.

We will be increasing investment in education and training of 16 to 19 year olds by £400 million for the 2020/21 academic year, including an increased base rate, and more funding for high cost and high value subjects. We are also investing £1.5 billion over five years in capital spending for further education colleges.

On 29 June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced a transformative ten-year construction programme to deliver the world-class education and training needed to get Britain back on its feet. This includes £200 million for urgent repairs and upgrades to further education colleges this year.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that secondary school students with learning difficulties receive adequate support while working from home.

The department is committed to ensuring that all pupils and students, including those with learning difficulties, are able to access the educational support they need while at home. We have an experienced, expert workforce of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) professionals assisting with designing home learning and support for children and young people with SEND.

While educational settings remain responsible for education provision, we have worked to provide additional support to students with SEND. We have published a list of specialist high quality online educational resources to support home learning which was developed with a specific focus on accessibility and inclusivity. The list was collated and quality assessed with the support of SEND subject matter experts and special school teachers and covers a broad range of SEND needs. This list of resources is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education#special-educational-needs-and-disabilities-send.

In addition, to support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, the Oak National Academy launched its SEND Specialist Curriculum on 4 May. This is providing educational support to children and young people with more profound needs who would normally receive their education in specialist settings. More details are available here:
https://www.thenational.academy/online-classroom/specialist/#subjects.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have asked local authorities, educational settings and parents to consider whether moving either equipment or services into the homes of children or young people with SEND would enable them to be better supported there and to provide additional assistance to parents. However, we know that some students may still not able to access the equipment they need, which is why we have provided Family Fund this year with £37 million, including an additional £10 million in response to the outbreak, to help low-income families of children and young people with complex needs and disabilities. This funding is expected to help more than 75,000 families, including helping to buy specialist equipment and devices. More details can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/37-million-to-support-children-with-complex-needs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support smaller schools with the implementation of Government guidance on social distancing during the covid-19 outbreak.

Thanks to the huge efforts everyone has made to adhere to strict social distancing measures, the scientific advice indicates the transmission rate of coronavirus has decreased and, based on all the evidence, we have been able to begin our cautious and phased approach to the wider opening of schools.

We have provided guidance to schools on GOV.UK on implementing protective measures to lower the risk of transmission. These include ensuring that anyone with symptoms does not attend their education settings, promoting high standards of hand and respiratory hygiene, regular cleaning of touched surfaces, and minimising contact and mixing.

School leaders are best placed to understand their own local circumstances and take decisions about what will work for their school buildings, staff and communities.

Each setting’s circumstances will be slightly different. Any primary school that cannot accommodate the smaller groups that we are asking for at any point should discuss options with their local authority or trust. This might be because there are not enough classrooms or spaces available in the setting or because they do not have enough available teachers or staff to supervise the groups. If necessary, settings have the flexibility to focus first on continuing to provide places for priority groups and then, to support children’s early learning, settings should prioritise groups of children as follows:

  • early years settings - 3 and 4 year olds followed by younger age groups
  • infant schools - nursery (where applicable) and reception
  • primary schools - nursery (where applicable), reception and year 1

Our assessment, based on the latest scientific and medical advice, is that we need to continue to control the numbers attending school to reduce the risk of increasing transmission. Therefore, secondary schools are able to have a quarter of the year 10 and year 12 cohort (for schools with sixth forms) in school at any one time.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the number of pupils that are permitted to return to school in compliance with covid-19 social distancing guidance is appropriate for smaller schools.

Thanks to the huge efforts everyone has made to adhere to strict social distancing measures, the scientific advice indicates the transmission rate of coronavirus has decreased and, based on all the evidence, we have been able to begin our cautious and phased approach to the wider opening of schools.

We have provided guidance to schools on GOV.UK on implementing protective measures to lower the risk of transmission. These include ensuring that anyone with symptoms does not attend their education settings, promoting high standards of hand and respiratory hygiene, regular cleaning of touched surfaces, and minimising contact and mixing.

School leaders are best placed to understand their own local circumstances and take decisions about what will work for their school buildings, staff and communities.

Each setting’s circumstances will be slightly different. Any primary school that cannot accommodate the smaller groups that we are asking for at any point should discuss options with their local authority or trust. This might be because there are not enough classrooms or spaces available in the setting or because they do not have enough available teachers or staff to supervise the groups. If necessary, settings have the flexibility to focus first on continuing to provide places for priority groups and then, to support children’s early learning, settings should prioritise groups of children as follows:

  • early years settings - 3 and 4 year olds followed by younger age groups
  • infant schools - nursery (where applicable) and reception
  • primary schools - nursery (where applicable), reception and year 1

Our assessment, based on the latest scientific and medical advice, is that we need to continue to control the numbers attending school to reduce the risk of increasing transmission. Therefore, secondary schools are able to have a quarter of the year 10 and year 12 cohort (for schools with sixth forms) in school at any one time.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of the Government's £750m funding for charities is allocated to early years charities; and how is it being made available to those charities.

We are unable to say at this point what proportion of the government’s £750 million funding has been specifically allocated to early years charities. A range of government and other third sector support is available. The details are published on GOV.UK by the Office for Civil Society and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media. This includes the £200 million funding from the National Lottery COVID-19 Community Fund, which is available for small and medium sized charities in England to bid to continue their vital work supporting the country during the COVID-19 outbreak. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

As part of the funding package announced on 8 April, the Department for Education received a total of £26.4 million awarded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. This includes funding to enable our early years voluntary and community sector partners to broaden their reach and to provide additional support for disadvantaged and vulnerable children’s development. The early years charities will work collaboratively to improve signposting to advice, information and targeted support, including, for example, through £7 million ‘See, Hear, Respond service’ launched by the government on 5 June 2020. A coalition of charities led by Barnardo’s will work together to support those at most risk of harm, including in the early years. The funding allocations will be subject to Department for Education approval, assurance and due diligence processes.

In addition, voluntary providers deliver around 18% of childcare places. The government is planning to spend over £3.6 billion on early education entitlements in 2020-21. Further information is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taken to ensure that private nurseries comply with the Government’s guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings.

The safety and wellbeing of children, early years practitioners and the public is paramount. On 28 May, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister confirmed that all five government tests are being met and therefore based on all the evidence, from 1 June, early years settings can welcome back all children.

We have issued guidance for educational settings on implementing protective measures. This explains how settings should manage the risk of transmission as more children return.

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.

While my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education announced in March the suspension of routine Ofsted inspections, the safeguarding responsibilities of settings have not changed and regulatory action including visits to settings triggered by safeguarding concerns continue.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that social distancing is maintained by (a) parents and (b) children during travel to and from schools.

Parents and children should consider walking and cycling to school where possible, or driving if necessary. They should avoid the use of public transport where possible. The Department for Transport has published guidance on safer travel for the public. It is available here: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers. Parents and children may wish to refer to this when planning their journeys, and to help them minimise risk where the use of public transport is unavoidable.

Some children have their home to school transport arranged by their local authority or school. Local authorities and schools should put in place arrangements which fit local circumstances and minimise the risk of transmission, as far as is possible. This should include making sure transport providers follow hygiene rules. They may wish to refer to the Department for Transport’s guidance for transport operators here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators.

In addition, the phased wider opening of schools will limit the number of children travelling on home to school transport in the initial phase. Where transport capacity allows, local authorities could consider substituting smaller vehicles with larger ones, or running two vehicles rather than one, to reduce the number of passengers per vehicle and help passengers keep their distance.

We are in contact with local authorities to help resolve issues as they arise.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to take steps to support young children with concerns about returning to primary schools or nurseries after the covid-19 lockdown.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has made it clear that schools will only reopen when the scientific advice indicates that it is the right time to do so, based on five key tests.

We are working in close consultation with the sector as we consider how to reopen schools when the time is right, and will ensure schools have the support and guidance they require.

The Department has published guidance for schools and parents signposting to resources and advice regarding the wellbeing of children and young people, which we are keeping under review and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education#mental-wellbeing

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how his Department plans to work with schools to support young children in readjusting to attending school after the lockdown due to covid-19 is lifted.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has made it clear that schools will only reopen when the scientific advice indicates that it is the right time to do so, based on five key tests.

We are working in close consultation with the sector as we consider how to reopen schools when the time is right, and will ensure schools have the support and guidance they require.

The Department has published guidance for schools and parents signposting to resources and advice regarding the wellbeing of children and young people, which we are keeping under review and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education#mental-wellbeing

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support he is providing to nurseries.

Childcare providers are making a vital contribution in our fight against COVID-19. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 18 March, they will continue to do so by focusing on childcare for the children of critical workers, and vulnerable children. To assist this change, the Department for Education has confirmed that it will not claw back funding from local authorities for any periods of closures where settings are closed or children are not able to attend due to COVID-19. The government expects local authorities to follow the department’s position, and continue early years entitlements funding for childminders, pre-schools and nurseries. This should also apply to those infant and primary schools that deliver the early years entitlements. This will minimise short-term disruptions to early years providers’ finances and allow the system to recover more quickly.

The Chancellor has also announced a package of support for businesses that will include many early years and childcare providers. This includes business rates relief, a range of loans and grants and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This scheme allows all UK employers access to support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

We have also issued guidance for local authorities and providers about childcare for specific groups. However, we recognise that when all adults in a household are hospitalised, and there are no family and friends able to provide support, children may need to be cared for in emergency and temporary foster care until parents recover.

The department continues to work alongside Public Health England and early years and children’s social care sector representatives to ensure support is in place for children that need it, and that all measures taken are in the best interests of the health of our nation.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage schools to introduce the use of school uniforms.

It is for the governing body of a school (or the academy trust, in the case of academies) to decide whether there should be a school uniform, and if so, what it should be. It is also for the governing body or academy trust to decide how the school uniform should be sourced. To support them to do this the Department issues best practice guidance which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-uniform.

Our guidance is clear that the Department strongly encourages schools to have a school uniform and recognises the valuable role it can play in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.

The Government is pleased to support the Private Members’ Bill, Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill, in order to make our guidance on the cost considerations for school uniform statutory at the earliest opportunity. This guidance will further support governing bodies in their decisions regarding school uniform policies.

10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to raise awareness of the health risks of obesity among schoolchildren.

Childhood obesity is a significant health challenge for this generation, and tackling it is an important priority for the Government. Our cross-Government childhood obesity plan, launched in 2016, represents the start of a long journey and focuses on the actions that are likely to have the biggest impact.

Many policies of the Department for Education, which complement those of other Departments, are expected to make a direct contribution to reducing the incidence of childhood obesity. These include free school meals, the school food standards, the addition of food education in the national curriculum, and the primary physical education (PE) and sport premium. The healthy schools rating scheme celebrates the positive actions that schools are delivering in terms of healthy living, healthy eating and physical activity, and supports schools in identifying further actions that they can take in this area.

In addition, the new subject of health education which will be taught to all pupils in state-funded schools from September 2020, alongside relationships education (for primary aged pupils) and relationships and sex education (secondary aged pupils) covers the issue of healthy eating. Pupils will learn about the characteristics of a poor diet and risks associated with unhealthy eating (including, for example, obesity and tooth decay) and other behaviours (e.g. the impact of alcohol on diet or health).

The Department will publish an updated school and sport activity plan following the Comprehensive Spending Review and will consider what more can be done to promote physical activity. Ahead of that, the Budget has confirmed that £90 million will be provided over the next four years to support primary school PE teaching and help schools make best use of their sports facilities.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what specialist support is provided in schools for pupils with mental health problems.

The Department’s nationally representative survey of school and college provision published in 2017 suggested that the most common types of support offered for pupils with identified mental health needs were educational psychological support (61%) and counselling services (61%), with 84% of secondary schools providing their pupils with access to counselling support. Survey results can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-mental-health-in-schools-and-colleges.

Since this survey was done, the Department has taken significant steps to improve access to specialist mental health support in schools and colleges. We are introducing new Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) to provide dedicated support to schools and colleges and quicker access to an increased range of support and treatments. These teams will employ new staff who are being recruited and trained specifically for the programme. The first 25 trailblazer sites delivering 59 new teams were announced in December 2018. These MHSTs are all expected to complete their training by early 2020 and will be fully operational following this. The aim is to cover between a fifth and a quarter of the country by 2023. The teams are part of extensive wider investment in the NHS which means that by 2023-24, an extra 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 years in England will receive mental health support.

To support more schools to provide counselling the Department has provided advice on how to deliver high quality school-based counselling, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/counselling-in-schools.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase (a) transparency and (b) accountability of spending by schools.

The Government held a consultation on financial transparency of local authority maintained schools and academy trusts last year.[1] The purpose of that consultation was to propose changes to the financial transparency arrangements for maintained schools to bring them more into line with those for academies.

The Government expects to publish its response to the consultation in early 2020.

[1] https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/financial-transparency-of-local-authority-mainta/supporting_documents/LA%20Financial%20Transparency%20Consulation.pdf.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making the study of the Overseas Territories a mandatory part of the primary school curriculum.

The history curriculum gives teachers and schools the freedom and flexibility to use specific examples from history to teach pupils about the history of Britain and the wider world. Schools and teachers can determine which examples and resources to use to stimulate and challenge pupils, and reflect key points in history.

There are opportunities within the themes and eras of the history curriculum for teachers and schools to teach about the Overseas Territories at Key Stages 1-2. At Key Stage 1, pupils should be taught about changes within living memory and events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally. At Key Stage 2, the curriculum requires pupils to be taught about aspects or themes in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many university places were allocated to non-British Commonwealth citizens in each year from 2015 to 2019.

Information on students at UK higher education institutions (HEIs) is collected and published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). More information is available at: https://www.hesa.ac.uk.

The number of higher education entrants to UK HEIs from Commonwealth countries has been provided in the table.

A list of countries that are currently in the Commonwealth can be found here: https://thecommonwealth.org/member-countries/all.

Entrants to all levels of higher education by domicile prior to study

UK Higher Education Institutions

Academic years 2014/15 to 2018/19

Academic year

Domicile1

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

UK

756,505

761,005

778,115

775,660

780,105

Other Commonwealth2

51,405

46,750

43,420

46,115

52,235

Non-Commonwealth

180,890

184,670

191,950

201,585

215,285

Total

988,800

992,425

1,013,485

1,023,360

1,047,630

Source:

DfE analysis of the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record

Notes:

Numbers are rounded to the nearest 5, so components may not sum to totals

1 Domicile refers to country of student’s permanent address prior to entry

2 Commonwealth member countries as at 27 January 2020

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children achieved (a) the highest and (b) pass grades in their GCSE examinations in Romford constituency in each of the last five years.

The percentage of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 in all state-funded schools[1] achieving grades 9-4 or A*-C in English and mathematics GCSEs in Romford constituency over the last four years is in the table attached.

Further data at institution level for schools in Romford from 2014-2019 can be accessed from the download data section of the school performance tables website: https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/.

[1] State-funded schools include academies, free schools, city technology colleges, further education colleges with provision for 14- to 16-year-olds and state-funded special schools. They exclude independent schools, independent special schools, non-maintained special schools, hospital schools, pupil referral units and alternative provision. Alternative provision includes academy and free school alternative provision.

22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the effectiveness of the star system for animal activity licensing process.

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 were developed to help improve welfare standards across a range of activities involving animals that are licensed by local authorities.

We are committed to learning from implementation and to make improvements where necessary and evidenced. There is a statutory requirement to complete a Post Implementation Review of the legislation by October 2023. We will consider the effectiveness of the associated guidance including the star rating system alongside this work.

As part of planning for this review, we are proactively working with partners, including local authorities, to collate data that can provide a picture of licensed and unlicensed activities involving animals in England. Key trade associations such as the Pet Industry Federation and the Canine and Feline Sector Group will be integral to coordinating input from this diverse sector to inform Defra’s review. This is an ongoing project and one which will benefit from close involvement of the sector in the development of a strong evidence base.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment on the effectiveness of restrictions on the import of dogs with cropped ears or docked tails.

The practice of non-exempted mutilations such as cropping dogs' ears is abhorrent and has rightly been banned in the UK for 15 years.

Importers of animals must adhere to welfare standards on the protection of animals during transport as set out in Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 and in domestic legislation, The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 (WATEO). This legislation aims to protect the health and welfare of animals during transportation and applies to dogs that are suffering injury as a result of non-exempted mutilations including cropped ears.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021 and will progress through Parliament when parliamentary time allows. The Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an eight-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. This included proposals to ban the commercial and non-commercial movement into Great Britain of dogs which have been subjected to low welfare practices such as ear cropping or tail docking. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take on board the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has identified any endangered animals in the London Borough of Havering; and what steps his Department is taking to protect endangered species in (a) that borough and (b) other urban areas.

The Government has not carried out an assessment of biodiversity specific to the London Borough of Havering.

Natural England (NE) is working with partners and private landowners across Greater London to promote nature recovery. This includes, for example, work with the London Borough of Havering and RSPB, to ensure there is positive management of biodiversity across the Borough including the six main Nature Reserves: Cranham Brickfields; Cranham Marsh; Ingrebourne Valley; Rainham Marsh Nature Reserve; The Chase; and The Manor nature reserve. NE also continues to work with partners across Havering to recover biodiversity through five agri-environment schemes which will support the protection and management of woodland, fen, wetlands, ditch networks and grassland in the Borough, as well as the management of the three Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

This Government is committed to halting the decline in species abundance by 2030, through a world-leading legally binding target under the Environment Act. We will shortly be publishing a Green Paper to look at how we can drive the delivery of that target, including through our sites and species protections. Other actions under the Environment Act are likely to support species recovery, such as biodiversity net gain for development including Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and the development of Local Nature Recovery Strategies, which will help to identify and drive local actions to protect and recover species.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to educate the public on the dangers of breeding dogs with exaggerated physical features which compromise dog welfare.

This Government has gone further than educating the public on the issue of dog conformation and has restricted licensed breeding activities which might lead to such outcomes through the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities) (England) Regulations 2018. Under the 2018 Regulations licensed breeders are prohibited from keeping dogs for breeding if it can be reasonably expected that on the basis of their genotype, phenotype or health, this would lead to welfare problems for the mother or the puppies.

Under the 2018 Regulations local authorities have powers to grant, refuse or revoke a licence. Licencees must achieve and maintain statutory minimum animal welfare standards, linked to the welfare needs of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Anyone who carries on a licensable activity without a licence is liable to imprisonment, a fine or both.

More broadly, provisions included in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 require owners or handlers of animals to protect them from harm and to provide for their welfare needs in line with good practice, and a breach of these provisions may lead to imprisonment a fine, or both. The 2006 Act is backed up by the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs which provides owners and keepers with general welfare information, including a specific section on how to protect them from pain, suffering, injury and disease: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-for-the-welfare-of-dogs.

That section of the Code of Practice recommends owners thinking of breeding from their dogs consult their vets, who can provide information on the risks of inherited conditions and exaggerated features that could affect the welfare of the puppies. The Code of Practice also reminds owners of their responsibility to care for the dog throughout its pregnancy.

In addition, my department maintains Petfished, a public communications campaign, to raise awareness of issues associated with the low-welfare and illegal supply of pets. This includes guidance on ensuring that a dog's physical appearance has minimal adverse impact on their physical well-being and welfare.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to help protect ivory-bearing species including (a) hippos, (b) rhinos and (c) elephants.

The Ivory Act 2018 will introduce one of the toughest bans on elephant ivory sales in the world by banning the dealing in items made of or containing elephant ivory, regardless of their age, unless they fall within one of the narrow and carefully defined exemptions.

On 3 February the Government reached a significant milestone in implementing the Ivory Act with the laying of the statutory instrument that sets out the provisions for the operation of exemptions under the Act. On 24 February we launched the digital ivory service through which people can register and certify exempted ivory items ahead of dealing in these items. We plan for the ban to come into force in spring 2022.

We published a consultation on extending the Ivory Act to other ivory-bearing species, including hippopotamus, on 17 July 2021. This consultation closed on 11 September 2021. A summary of responses will be published in due course.

Rhino horns do not contain ivory. However, the UK Government is at the forefront of international efforts to protect endangered animals and plants from poaching and illegal trade.

We are investing over £46 million between 2014 and 2022 to counter illegal trade by reducing demand, strengthening enforcement, ensuring effective legal frameworks, and developing sustainable livelihoods. For example, we have committed funding through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund on multiple projects that prioritise rhino conservation, including for example, an initiative tackling poaching and the growing demand for rhino parts through behavioural change campaigns in Laos.

The UK has also provided funding to INTERPOL to expand its work on enforcement including, tracking, and intercepting illegal shipments of ivory, rhino horn and other illegal wildlife products to effectively tackle transnational criminal networks responsible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what policies his Department has in place to prevent the breeding of animals with Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.

This Government takes the issue of low-welfare and illegal supply of animals very seriously. Significant steps have already been taken to improve and update the laws on dog breeding in England to crack down on unscrupulous breeders who breed dogs purely for financial greed at the expense of animal welfare.

Where the commercial breeding of dogs is concerned, animals are protected by the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations). Under the 2018 Regulations no dog may be kept for breeding if it can reasonably be expected, on the basis of its genotype, phenotype or state of health that breeding from it could have a detrimental effect on its health or welfare or the health or welfare of its offspring, and would include suffering from Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.

In addition, my department maintains Petfished, a public communications campaign, to raise awareness of issues associated with the low-welfare and illegal supply of pets. This includes guidance on ensuring that a dog's physical appearance has minimal adverse impact their physical well-being and welfare.

More broadly, where an animal is subject to inappropriate breeding practices, whether for commercial activity or not, their welfare may suffer. To combat this all animals are protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The 2006 Act requires those in charge of animals to protect them from harm and to ensure they have five key welfare needs provided for. Those in charge of animals who fail to protect them from harm, or fail to provide for their welfare needs may be prosecuted and face penalties including a custodial sentence or an unlimited fine, or both.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to create wildlife habitats in urban areas.

This Government is committed to halting the decline of nature by 2030, and so is acting across a range of policies to create more wildlife habitats, including in urban areas.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan includes a commitment to establish a Nature Recovery Network. This Network will be a bigger, better quality and increasingly connected network of places that are richer in wildlife, support the recovery of our species and are more resilient to climate change and other pressures. It will benefit wildlife by increasing, improving and connecting wildlife-rich habitats across England, including in urban areas.

At the core of the Network will be our existing best areas for nature, including protected sites and National Nature Reserves. We will also create or restore 500,000 hectares of additional wildlife-rich habitat beyond these, in both urban and rural areas. To support this, we are putting in place Local Nature Recovery Strategies to ensure we establish habitat in the best place for wildlife.

The Government is also taking action to mandate biodiversity net gain in planning and development. Biodiversity net gain will require that development results in a 10% increase gain in biodiversity above the existing baseline. This will further support the creation or enhancement of additional habitat in urban areas, providing an important contribution to the overall Nature Recovery Network.

Our Nature for Climate Fund, backed by over £750 million, is also supporting the creation of woodland habitat near and in urban areas. This includes England’s network of 13 Community Forests to create nearly 7,000 hectares of new trees and woodlands by 2025 in and around the towns and cities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote the use of allotment gardens in the Greater London area.

The Government recognises the importance of access to local green spaces including allotments in enabling and supporting healthy lifestyles within our communities. The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that local planning policies should be based on robust and up-to-date assessments of the need for open space and opportunities for new provision, which can include allotments, and their plans should then seek to accommodate this. The National Model Design Code states that as part of open space design for large developments there should be the consideration of allotments and community growing projects for food production, learning and community engagement.

Natural England is also promoting the use of allotments and gardening projects in London through its work with Thriving Communities & The National Academy for Social Prescribing.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effectiveness of the provisions in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill in helping to prevent the smuggling of cats and kittens.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June and is progressing through Parliament. The Bill includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an 8-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. The consultation proposed to maintain the existing requirements for cats. This is because there is currently limited evidence that there is a significant illegal trade in cats or significant numbers of low welfare movements. The number of non-compliant cats seized at the border is much lower than for dogs, for example, in 2020 we seized and detained 17 kittens (under 15 weeks) compared with 543 puppies. We have also not seen the same issues with pregnant cats being imported, with no pregnant cats seized and detained in 2020.

The consultation sought views on whether maintaining the existing requirements in relation to cats was the right approach. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take on board the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders prior to the introduction of the legislation, to ensure that our final measures are well considered and led by the latest evidence.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the prevalence of cat smuggling; and what steps his Department is taking to prevent it.

The number of non-compliant cats seized at the border is much lower than for dogs. For example, in 2020 we seized and detained 17 kittens (under 15 weeks) compared with 543 puppies. We have also not seen the same issues with pregnant cats being imported, with no pregnant cats seized and detained in 2020.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June and is progressing through Parliament. The Bill includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an 8-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. The consultation proposed to maintain the existing requirements for cats. This is because there is currently limited evidence that there is a significant illegal trade in cats or significant numbers of low welfare movements.

The consultation sought views on whether maintaining the existing requirements in relation to cats was the right approach. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take on board the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders prior to the introduction of the legislation, to ensure that our final measures are well considered and led by the latest evidence.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effectiveness of the use of bat boxes near new developments to help protect bats.

Bat boxes are used within the development context as part of the mitigation measures employed to maintain the conservation status of bats. Recent studies have provided some positive evidence of the effectiveness of bat boxes in the short term and immediate vicinity after development. Evidence of effectiveness in the longer term can be impacted by further works, such as street lighting and further development in the area.
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish (a) a timetable and (b) plans for taking forward the recommendations from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report entitled Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit Report: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

We welcome this report and the fact that it recognises the UK's global leadership in fighting wildlife and forestry crime. We invited the UN to undertake this analysis and we are proud to be the first G7 country to request this assessment.

There is always more we can do to tackle wildlife crime and we will carefully consider all of the UN's recommendations to help us build on the positive progress we have already made. Defra is reviewing the assessment and will monitor action against the report’s recommendations where they apply to the UK government to identify where we can act with stakeholders to strengthen the UK’s approach.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to help protect (a) private and (b) local government properties from the effects of Storms Eunice and Dudley.

The Environment Agency (EA) uses its flood warning system to directly alert those at risk when flooding is expected so that they can take action to prepare for any impacts. The EA also operates flood gates, erects temporary barriers, clears trash screens of debris and moves pumps and other response equipment to help protect homes and properties from flooding. These activities were carried out in advance of storms Eunice and Dudley and during the subsequent incident response.

The Government’s current £5.2 billion investment programme will help better protect hundreds of thousands more properties from flooding and coastal erosion risks. Investment takes place wherever the risk is the highest, wherever it is across the country.

This investment will reduce flood and coastal erosion risk to around 1,200 local authority properties such as, council offices, depots, emergency services buildings and libraries, and approximately 4,500 central Government properties like schools, prisons, courts, and healthcare centres, along with approximately 1,000 miles of roads and 1,000 miles of railways.

The Environment Agency advises that members of the public and businesses check if their property is at risk of flooding and sign up for flood warnings.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect bats.

All native bat species are protected under Schedule 2 of the Conservation of Habitats & Species Regulations 2017. This makes it an offence to deliberately capture, injure or kill bats, as well as to damage or destroy a breeding or resting place, and obstruct access to their resting or sheltering place. As such, a licence from Natural England is needed to disturb bats and their roosts. This is only issued for specific purposes set out in the legislation and only where there is no satisfactory alternative and where the activity does not impact on the favourable conservation status of the species.

This Government is committed to halting the decline in species abundance by 2030, through a world-leading legally binding target under the Environment Act. We will shortly be publishing a Green Paper to look at how we can drive the delivery of that target, including through our sites and species protections. Other actions under the Environment Act are likely to support species like bats, such as biodiversity net gain for development including NSIPs and Local Nature Recovery Strategies to drive local actions to protect and recover species.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will provide details of its work with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on issuing guidance in support of the National Planning Policy Framework in respect of noise, as set out in the Noise Action Plan: Roads.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is responsible for the development of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Defra will continue to engage with DLUHC to provide advice and guidance on environmental noise issues, to ensure it is considered within the Government's planning policies and future projects.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to update the Department’s 2019 Noise mapping action plan.

Yes. Defra is required to produce strategic noise maps and subsequent action planning under the terms of the Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006, every five years. Work has commenced on the strategic noise maps, which will be followed by the noise action plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the benefits to biodiversity of wildlife corridors; and what steps he has taken to introduce them to urban areas.

Our 25 Year Environment Plan, published in 2018, signalled a step change in the Government’s ambition for wildlife and the natural environment and included a commitment to establish a Nature Recovery Network. Building on the recommendations of Sir John Lawton’s landmark ‘Making Space for Nature’ report, this Network will be a bigger, better quality and increasingly connected network of places that are richer in wildlife, supporting the recovery of our species and more resilient to climate change and other pressures.

Connectivity is a critical component of this Network. Wildlife corridors can help to ensure that additional newly created or restored wildlife-rich habitat is joined-up, including where it lies close to or within urban areas. Improving the condition and connectivity of our wildlife habitats will help to ensure that species survive in their existing locations and, where necessary, will allow them to move towards more suitable areas in response to ecological pressures such as climate change. Through the Environment Act, we are putting in place Local Nature Recovery Strategies to ensure we establish habitat in the best place for wildlife and the wider environment and effectively target our activity.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the loss of biodiversity in the Romford area in the last five years.

No assessment of biodiversity loss, specific to the Romford area, has been made.

Assessments of biodiversity are published at the national level, with the latest England Biodiversity Indicators being published in October 2021. These highlighted some positive signs for our environment and wildlife, including a number of successes in the recovery of species which can be found in the southeast, such as our native bats and birds like the bittern. However, there remain huge ongoing pressures on the country’s biodiversity and many of our native species are in decline, with abundance of some of the UK’s most threatened species having fallen by 61% since 1970, which is why we must continue to act to restore and enhance nature.

Towards this ambition, the Environment Act will set a new legally binding target to halt the decline of species abundance by 2030, as well as introducing Local Nature Recovery Strategies. Natural England is working with partners in the London Borough of Havering (which includes Romford) to improve wildlife through the five Land Management schemes, improving management of the three Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and advising protected sites and advising the local authority on how planning decisions can conserve and improve wildlife.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)