Andrew Rosindell Portrait

Andrew Rosindell

Conservative - Romford

Select Committees
Panel of Chairs (since January 2020)
Foreign Affairs Committee (since March 2020)
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 26th October 2021
10:15
Foreign Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Implementing the Integrated Review: Tilt to the Indo-Pacific
26 Oct 2021, 10:15 a.m.
At 10.30am: Oral evidence
Professor Rory Medcalf - Head, National Security College at Crawford School of Public Policy
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Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 26th October 2021
14:15
Foreign Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Implementing the Integrated Review: Tilt to the Indo-Pacific
26 Oct 2021, 2:15 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Dr Jack Holland - Associate Professor in International Relations/Security at University of Leeds
Dr Sidharth Kaushal - Research Fellow at Royal United Services Institute
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Friday 29th October 2021
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Animals (Penalty Notices) Bill: Second Reading
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Scheduled Event
Monday 1st November 2021
Ten Minute Rule Motion - Main Chamber
Public Houses (Electrical Safety)
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Division Votes
Tuesday 19th October 2021
Independent Expert Panel Recommendations for Sanctions and the Recall of MPs Act 2015
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 300 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 213 Noes - 297
Speeches
Monday 18th October 2021
Tributes to Sir David Amess

It was a true privilege to have known David Amess. He was simply one of the best people I have …

Written Answers
Friday 22nd October 2021
Mathematics: Students
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of mathematics (a) undergraduates …
Early Day Motions
Monday 18th October 2021
Greyhound Retirement Scheme
That this House notes the success in its first year, of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s (GBGB) Greyhound Retirement …
Bills
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Animals (Penalty Notices) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision for and in connection with the giving of penalty notices for certain offences in relation …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 4th October 2021
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Romford Conservative Support Club
Address of donor: Margaret Thatcher House, 85 Western Road, Romford RM1 3LS
Amount …
EDM signed
Monday 19th July 2021
Mountbatten diaries
That this House notes with concern that the personal diaries of Lord and Lady Mountbatten were purchased from the family's …
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 273 divisions, and 17 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
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
(12 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
(6 debate interactions)
James Duddridge (Conservative)
(4 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(21 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(7 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).

Andrew Rosindell has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Andrew Rosindell

18th October 2021
Andrew Rosindell signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Monday 18th October 2021

Ban on trophy hunting imports (No. 2)

Tabled by: Andrew Rosindell (Conservative - Romford)
That this House express its great sadness at the tragic death of Sir David Amess MP while serving his constituents; pays tribute to his many years of tireless service to the people of Basildon and Southend and to the many causes of which he was a powerful champion, including the …
33 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 12
Scottish National Party: 10
Conservative: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Independent: 2
Plaid Cymru: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Alba Party: 1
18th October 2021
Andrew Rosindell signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Wednesday 29th September 2021

Greyhound Retirement Scheme

Tabled by: Andrew Rosindell (Conservative - Romford)
That this House notes the success in its first year, of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s (GBGB) Greyhound Retirement Scheme (GRS); celebrates that, in the last 12 months, nearly 9,000 greyhounds have been enrolled in the scheme and benefitted from their owners and GBGB providing financial support so that …
6 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 2
Conservative: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Independent: 1
Labour: 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

Andrew Rosindell has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

11 Bills introduced by Andrew Rosindell


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


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 29th October 2021
Order Paper number: 3
(Likely to be Debated)

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

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

1060 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
6 Other Department Questions
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
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
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)
10th 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 effect on rates of covid-19 transmission of easing covid-19 restrictions on weddings on 21 June 2021 to allow more than 30 guests.

The Government announced a four-week pause at Step 3 of the roadmap following an assessment of the data against the four tests.

After carefully considering the potential impacts, on 14 June the Government announced that there will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees at wedding and civil partnerships, and receptions set out in law. From 21 June, 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 changes allow people to celebrate their union with their families and loved ones, and aligns the wedding sector with the way most other COVID Secure venues operate - such as restaurants and pubs - where social distancing determines a venue’s capacity. Additionally, changes also bring commemorative events, such as wakes, in line with existing rules on funerals so people can say goodbye to those they have lost.

This change does not enable a wedding of any size to take place. To manage the risks around the virus the exact number of attendees will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of each venue or outdoor space, and measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

At Step 3, social distancing and COVID-secure rules apply to all businesses, venues and workplaces. While we feel it is safe to make some easements, we have not made the decision to move to Step 4. We will only lift remaining restrictions on weddings, civil partnerships and commemorative events when the decision is taken to move to the next stage of the roadmap. We know this pause will be disappointing to many people, including those planning weddings and other events, but we hope that these cautious changes will enable some more people to attend these special events.

We have published extensive guidance on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations on GOV.UK, which can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-wedding-and-civil-partnership-ceremonies-receptions-and-celebrations

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)
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)
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
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
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 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)
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, 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.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote the consumption of more (a) local and (b) seasonal produce in England.

We are committed to promoting healthy and sustainable diets, and the consumption of more locally grown and seasonal produce.

Using the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) and Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services (GBSF) we encourage procurers to consider qualities such as organic, UK seasonally and locally sourced food. As we look to refresh the GBSF, we will consult on the balance our guidance should strike between these areas and nutritional aims. We are committed to introducing a revised GBSF by Summer 2022.

Additionally, on 15 July, Henry Dimbleby published the second part of his independent review of the food system. The Government has committed to responding to the Review's recommendations in the form of a Food Strategy White Paper within six months. As part of the White Paper, the Government will consider how we can support people to access healthy and sustainable food, including more fruit and vegetables. The Government is committed to developing a food strategy that will support the development of a food system that is sustainable, resilient and affordable, support people to live healthy lives, and protect animal health and welfare.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress has been made on negotiations with the EU on the EU Pet Travel Scheme.

The UK has been formally ‘listed’ as a ‘Part 2’ third country for the purposes of the EU pet travel regulations, which means that new rules apply to pet movements from Great Britain to the EU and Northern Ireland (NI). The pet health and documentary requirements for such pet travel are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

Defra recognises the undue impact that these changes are having on pet owners and assistance dog users and we are seeking agreement from the European Commission on awarding GB Part 1 third country listed status and recognition of GB’s tapeworm-free status, which the EU recognises in both the Republic of Ireland and in NI.

We see no valid animal health reason for these to not be granted and we have one of the most rigorous pet-checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity. We have submitted a detailed technical case setting this out and are continuing to engage with the EU on a workable solution.

We welcome the European Commission’s recent indication of flexibilities in relation to movements from GB to Northern Ireland and we are developing proposals for how to use those flexibilities which we will discuss with the Commission in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, where and how protection dogs are covered by the provisions of (a) the Animal Welfare Act 2006, (b) the Guard Dogs Act 1975 and (c) proposed improvements to animal welfare legislation.

Protection dogs, or guard dogs, are defined in the Guard Dogs Act (1975) as a dog which is being used to protect premises; or property kept on the premises; or a person guarding the premises or such property.

The Animal Welfare Act (2006) provide protection for all animals under the control of man. Protection dogs are included within this definition so are covered by all of the Act’s provisions. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 which came into force on the 29 June 2021 increased the maximum penalties available for cases of cruelty under the Act, and applies to protection dogs as well as service and other animals.

The Guard Dogs Act (1975) ensures that applications for a licence to operate guard dog kennels are appropriately assessed by the relevant local authority, and the act allows local authorities to assess applications in line with any conditions it sees fit. Where guard dog kennels fall within the scope of the statutory guidance published in support of The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations (2018) then those standards would apply. Where a licensee is convicted of an animal welfare offence then their licence may be revoked or suspended by the court.

Protection dogs already receive the same protections as other dogs and this will continue to be the case where existing animal welfare legislation is revised or new legislation is proposed.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether protection dogs are recognised as a specific class of dog under UK legislation.

Protection dogs, or guard dogs, are defined in the Guard Dogs Act (1975) as a dog which is being used to protect premises; or property kept on the premises; or a person guarding the premises or such property.

The Animal Welfare Act (2006) provide protection for all animals under the control of man. Protection dogs are included within this definition so are covered by all of the Act’s provisions. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 which came into force on the 29 June 2021 increased the maximum penalties available for cases of cruelty under the Act, and applies to protection dogs as well as service and other animals.

The Guard Dogs Act (1975) ensures that applications for a licence to operate guard dog kennels are appropriately assessed by the relevant local authority, and the act allows local authorities to assess applications in line with any conditions it sees fit. Where guard dog kennels fall within the scope of the statutory guidance published in support of The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations (2018) then those standards would apply. Where a licensee is convicted of an animal welfare offence then their licence may be revoked or suspended by the court.

Protection dogs already receive the same protections as other dogs and this will continue to be the case where existing animal welfare legislation is revised or new legislation is proposed.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to ban the keeping of elephants in zoos.

The Government commissioned a 10-year-long report from the UK’s Elephant Welfare Group (EWG) to examine the conditions in which elephants are kept, to make improvements and to make recommendations as to if and how those conditions can be further improved.

The EWG’s report will be completed this year and will be considered by the UK's Zoos Expert Committee. The Government will then respond to the report, probably early next year. The Government will consider the report’s recommendations carefully.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with counterparts in other countries on the development of a joint strategy to tackle wildlife crime and the illegal wildlife trade.

We recognise that international cooperation is essential to tackle the illegal wildlife trade (IWT). The UK has supported strategic join-up with other countries. For example, in 2018, the UK convened the largest ever global IWT conference at which 65 countries signed up to the London Declaration, which calls on the international community to act together to support and build urgent collective action against the IWT.

We work with international partners directly through supporting initiatives to combat the IWT. This includes Defra’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, work with G7 Ministers to agree priorities and commitments for tackling the IWT, Ministerial and official contact with counterparts in countries affected by the IWT, and through joint initiatives under relevant international agreements such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Financial Action Task Force.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions officials in his Department have had with officials in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on the provision of support to countries for tackling the source of the illegal wildlife trade.

Defra is the lead department for tackling the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and works collaboratively with other Government departments, including the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Home Office and Ministry of Defence to deliver the UK's ambition to combat the IWT. This has included joint Ministerial working to convene the largest ever global IWT Conference in London 2018.

The Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund has committed over £26m to 85 projects tackling the IWT around the world since it was launched at the London IWT Conference in 2014. In addition, Defra works across Government to ensure that our international programming to counter the IWT, using Official Development Assistance, aligns with and supports wider UK and foreign policy ambition, delivering impactful and effective counter-IWT projects on the ground.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to improve flood defences in Britain.

Between 2015 and 2021 the Government invested £2.6bn to better protect around 314,000 homes from flooding. In July 2020, Defra published its floods Policy Statement, setting out the Government's long-term ambition to create a nation more resilient to future flood and coastal erosion risk. At the Budget in 2020, the Government announced that it will invest £5.2 billion in a six-year capital investment programme for flood and coastal erosion risk management to build over 2,000 new flood defences. This investment will better protect 336,000 properties, including 290,000 homes, from flooding and coastal erosion by 2027.

In addition, up to £170 million will be spent to accelerate work on 22 shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction before the end of 2021/2022, which will provide an immediate boost to jobs supporting local economies as communities recover from the impact of coronavirus.

A further £200 million will be invested in the Innovative Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme. This will help over 25 local areas over six years to take forward wider innovative actions that improve their resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support family farmers in the UK.

Through our reforms to English agricultural policy we will move away from area-based subsidy. This means that farmers will receive money based on the outcomes they provide, not just on the amount of land they own and manage. Family farms of all sizes will therefore have opportunities to enhance their business and the natural environment.

We are starting these changes this year. We are making increasing amounts of funding available to farmers so that they have the opportunities to apply for Countryside Stewardship scheme agreements, extending existing Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship agreements, introducing our Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot, and helping farmers to invest in equipment, technology and infrastructure to improve their productivity and business prosperity. Over time we will make more funding available for farmers to undertake environmental land management.

To support these changes and to give farmers the best chance of benefiting from our reforms we will be providing support to build resilience during the early years of the transition. This support will help farmers by providing the information and tools required to plan with confidence on the best way forward for their business.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dogs were on the Index of Exempted Dogs in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales in each of the last 10 years, by breed.

There are currently 3,678 live dogs listed on the Index of Exempted Dogs. The table below indicates the number of these dogs per breed located in England, Scotland, and Wales:

ENGLAND

SCOTLAND

WALES

TOTAL

Pit Bull (3503)

Pit Bull (8)

Pit Bull (144)

3655

Dogo Argentino (17)

Dogo Argentino (2)

Dogo Argentino (1)

20

Japanese Tosa (2)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (1)

3

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

3678

The Department does not hold information on the number of dogs listed on the Index of Exempted Dogs for each of the past 10 years broken down by breed and by nation. However, the table below indicates the number of dogs per breed located in England, Scotland and Wales that were entered onto the Index of Exempted Dogs in each of the past 10 years.

YEAR

ENGLAND

SCOTLAND

WALES

TOTAL

2010

Pit Bull (666)

Pit Bull (2)

Pit Bull (8)

676

Dogo Argentino (3)

Dogo Argentino (0)

Dogo Argentino (0)

3

Japanese Tosa (1)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

1

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

680

2011

Pit Bull (622)

Pit Bull (1)

Pit Bull (17)

640

Dogo Argentino (2)

Dogo Argentino (0)

Dogo Argentino (0)

2

Japanese Tosa (1)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

1

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

643

2012

Pit Bull (611)

Pit Bull (3)

Pit Bull (34)

648

Dogo Argentino (2)

Dogo Argentino (0)

Dogo Argentino (0)

2

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

0

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

650

2013

Pit Bull (656)

Pit Bull (0)

Pit Bull (45)

701

Dogo Argentino (0)

Dogo Argentino (0)

Dogo Argentino (0)

0

Japanese Tosa (1)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

1

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

702

2014

Pit Bull (620)

Pit Bull (2)

Pit Bull (34)

656

Dogo Argentino (1)

Dogo Argentino (0)

Dogo Argentino (1)

2

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

0

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

658

2015

Pit Bull (509)

Pit Bull (1)

Pit Bull (22)

532

Dogo Argentino (0)

Dogo Argentino (0)

Dogo Argentino (0)

0

Japanese Tosa (2)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

2

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

534

2016

Pit Bull (443)

Pit Bull (0)

Pit Bull (20)

463

Dogo Argentino (1)

Dogo Argentino (0)

Dogo Argentino (0)

1

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

0

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

464

2017

Pit Bull (368)

Pit Bull (1)

Pit Bull (17)

386

Dogo Argentino (7)

Dogo Argentino (0)

Dogo Argentino (0)

7

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

0

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

393

2018

Pit Bull (212)

Pit Bull (0)

Pit Bull (13)

225

Dogo Argentino (3)

Dogo Argentino (1)

Dogo Argentino (0)

4

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

0

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

229

2019

Pit Bull (185)

Pit Bull (0)

Pit Bull (7)

192

Dogo Argentino (4)

Dogo Argentino (1)

Dogo Argentino (0)

5

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

0

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

197

2020

Pit Bull (119)

Pit Bull (1)

Pit Bull (5)

125

Dogo Argentino (1)

Dogo Argentino (0)

Dogo Argentino (0)

1

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (0)

Japanese Tosa (1)

1

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

Fila Brasileiro (0)

0

127

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding has been made available by his Department for environment projects in the UK Overseas Territories in each of the last five years.

The funding made available by Defra to environmental projects in the UK Overseas Territories through Darwin Plus and the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund for each of the last five years is set out below.

Year

Funding (£m)

2016-7

3.1

2017-8

5.6

2018-9

3.8

2019-20

5.8

2020-21

5.7

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding his Department allocated to environmental projects in the UK Overseas Territories in each of the last five years.

The funding allocated by Defra to environmental projects in the UK Overseas Territories through Darwin Plus and the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund is set out below:

Year

Funding (£m)

2016-7

3.1

2017-8

5.6

2018-9

3.8

2019-20

5.8

2020-21

5.7

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the Zoo Animals fund is being effectively used to safeguard the future of British Zoos.

The Zoo Animals Fund was introduced to provide for zoos who, due to a coronavirus-related drop in income are experiencing severe financial difficulties and need support in caring for their animals. If zoos are downsizing or rehoming their collection the fund can also provide support for this to ensure the animals’ welfare. We have taken many steps to make the Zoo Animals Fund accessible to those who need it including expanding the range of eligible costs so zoos could claim for costs relating to pre-planned essential maintenance and repair works as well as animal care costs, replacing the 6 week criteria and allowing applicants to apply at any time before reaching their final 12 weeks of reserves to help with their business planning and extending the fund several times. We recently extended the application deadline from 26 February 2021 to 28 May 2021 to give zoos more time to apply and have extended the support provided from the end of March 2021 to the end of June 2021.

The Zoo Animals Fund has supported a wide variety of zoos throughout the pandemic, from some of the smallest to some of the biggest – and it continues to do so. It has helped ensure the continued welfare of zoo animals and prevent unnecessary euthanasia. Only two applications have been rejected on the basis that the businesses in question were ineligible as they did not have the necessary licence or exemption. Fund recipients have reached out to express how funding has supported their animals and what a difference it has made to them to receive this help. From 12 April zoos have been able to welcome back visitors, reopening their outdoor areas as part of step two in the roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions. Allowing zoos to re-open has been an integral step towards enabling them to initiate a financial recovery. We encourage zoos in need of support in caring for their animals to apply to the Zoo Animals Fund and we will continue to work closely with the sector on reopening guidance to ensure that zoos and aquariums are able to welcome visitors safely.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of banning the import of dogs with cropped ears.

The practice of mutilating dogs' ears is abhorrent and has rightly been banned in the UK for 15 years.

We already have some of the world's highest animal welfare standards. The end of the transition period has opened up new opportunities for managing our own pet travel and commercial importation rules. We are actively listening to the concerns of stakeholders and the Government is considering options regarding the importation and commercial movements of dogs with cropped ears into Great Britain in line with World Trade Organization rules.

Importers of animals must adhere to welfare standards as set out in Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport 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 Government also continues to raise awareness regarding the improper selling of pets by deceitful sellers in the UK and abroad through our 'Petfished' campaign. This seeks to educate prospective pet buyers on common tricks and tactics used by deceitful sellers which may result in the purchase of a mistreated or unwell pet, including those that have been subject to cropping. The campaign urges buyers to mitigate risks, for example by buying from trusted sellers such as those under the Kennel Club's Assured Breeder scheme, viewing puppies with their mothers and siblings, asking questions of the seller and following the Animal Welfare Foundation and RSPCA Puppy Contract to ensure that puppies are in good health when purchased.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the welfare of greyhounds that have finished their racing career.

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. In 2019/20 the British Greyhound Racing Fund collected a total of £8.87m from bookmakers, up from £6.95m in the previous 12 months. The Government continues to encourage any remaining bookmakers that have not signed up to the voluntary arrangements to do so and welcomes the 22 March 2021 announcement by the Betting and Gaming Council that four more bookmakers have agreed to begin contributing to Fund. Working with the GBGB, each year the Fund contributes half its revenue to the welfare of racing greyhounds.

GBGB has committed to ensure that, wherever possible, every greyhound leaving GBGB racing should be rehomed. They have also introduced the Greyhound Retirement Scheme. The scheme attaches a £400 bond to each greyhound at the point of registration, paid for jointly by the owner and GBGB, in order to pay for rehoming costs at the end of a dog’s racing life.

Once a greyhound’s racing career is over, these dogs may be exported to Pakistan if the appropriate animal health and welfare certification requirements are met. We consider that completion of this process is sufficiently rigorous and costly to prevent the wide scale exportation of dogs from the UK. Since the beginning of 2019 we have only one record of an application for a certificate to export a greyhound to Pakistan. However, we are unable to account for any movements to Pakistan that may have transited through a third country.

If we find evidence that there is a widespread problem, we can then consider what further steps may be necessary. GBGB is currently investigating whether any licensed GBGB member has knowingly supplied any greyhound directly to Pakistan.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has had discussions with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain on protecting the welfare of greyhounds that are being exported to Pakistan once they have been retired from 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. In 2019/20 the British Greyhound Racing Fund collected a total of £8.87m from bookmakers, up from £6.95m in the previous 12 months. The Government continues to encourage any remaining bookmakers that have not signed up to the voluntary arrangements to do so and welcomes the 22 March 2021 announcement by the Betting and Gaming Council that four more bookmakers have agreed to begin contributing to Fund. Working with the GBGB, each year the Fund contributes half its revenue to the welfare of racing greyhounds.

GBGB has committed to ensure that, wherever possible, every greyhound leaving GBGB racing should be rehomed. They have also introduced the Greyhound Retirement Scheme. The scheme attaches a £400 bond to each greyhound at the point of registration, paid for jointly by the owner and GBGB, in order to pay for rehoming costs at the end of a dog’s racing life.

Once a greyhound’s racing career is over, these dogs may be exported to Pakistan if the appropriate animal health and welfare certification requirements are met. We consider that completion of this process is sufficiently rigorous and costly to prevent the wide scale exportation of dogs from the UK. Since the beginning of 2019 we have only one record of an application for a certificate to export a greyhound to Pakistan. However, we are unable to account for any movements to Pakistan that may have transited through a third country.

If we find evidence that there is a widespread problem, we can then consider what further steps may be necessary. GBGB is currently investigating whether any licensed GBGB member has knowingly supplied any greyhound directly to Pakistan.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the welfare of greyhounds of their export to Pakistan once they have been retired from 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. In 2019/20 the British Greyhound Racing Fund collected a total of £8.87m from bookmakers, up from £6.95m in the previous 12 months. The Government continues to encourage any remaining bookmakers that have not signed up to the voluntary arrangements to do so and welcomes the 22 March 2021 announcement by the Betting and Gaming Council that four more bookmakers have agreed to begin contributing to Fund. Working with the GBGB, each year the Fund contributes half its revenue to the welfare of racing greyhounds.

GBGB has committed to ensure that, wherever possible, every greyhound leaving GBGB racing should be rehomed. They have also introduced the Greyhound Retirement Scheme. The scheme attaches a £400 bond to each greyhound at the point of registration, paid for jointly by the owner and GBGB, in order to pay for rehoming costs at the end of a dog’s racing life.

Once a greyhound’s racing career is over, these dogs may be exported to Pakistan if the appropriate animal health and welfare certification requirements are met. We consider that completion of this process is sufficiently rigorous and costly to prevent the wide scale exportation of dogs from the UK. Since the beginning of 2019 we have only one record of an application for a certificate to export a greyhound to Pakistan. However, we are unable to account for any movements to Pakistan that may have transited through a third country.

If we find evidence that there is a widespread problem, we can then consider what further steps may be necessary. GBGB is currently investigating whether any licensed GBGB member has knowingly supplied any greyhound directly to Pakistan.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce air pollution in homes.

The Clean Air Strategy includes measures to reduce key sources which contribute to indoor air pollution, including measures to reduce emissions of particulate matter from domestic solid fuel burning. Last year the Government legislated to phase out the sale of the most polluting solid fuels (wet wood, bituminous house coal and high sulphur manufactured solid fuels) and this will come into force from 1 May. In addition, new emission standards for solid fuel appliances will also come into force from 2022, ensuring only the cleanest new stoves are available for sale.

The Government recognises the importance of national leadership on the issue of indoor air quality and is taking action in this space, for example improving ventilation standards in buildings.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19-related economic pressures on dog owners on the welfare of their dogs.

The Government recognises that the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect individuals, businesses and charities caring for animals, including as a result of the economic pressures that some owners may be subject to. In April 2020, the Government commissioned the Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) to advise on the potential short-term animal welfare impacts relating to the pandemic. Their preliminary report in June 2020 highlighted some concerns about the ability of businesses, veterinarians and charities to continue to provide services to animal keepers; the need for contingency planning; and the impact of owners’ physical and mental health on their ability to care for their animals. However, the committee’s second report, published in December 2020, concluded that many of the animal welfare risks identified in its first report had not been fully realised, particularly in the case of companion animals.

The Government has also provided updated advice for pet owners on looking after their animals throughout the pandemic: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-animals We also continue to maintain close contact with animal welfare organisations, monitoring trends in animal cruelty levels, pet acquisition and pet relinquishments.

These organisations do valuable work, often on a voluntary basis, protecting animals against cruelty and, in the case of rescue and rehoming organisations, ensuring that unwanted and abandoned animals in the UK are offered the opportunity of a forever home. Throughout this challenging period, we have ensured that rescue and rehoming organisations are permitted to stay open, that staff and volunteers can continue to work and tend to the animals in their care, and that rehoming, fostering and adoption services can continue in accordance with Covid-19 secure guidance.

The sector has kept us regularly updated of the developing situation, sharing their surveys particularly with respect to rescue and rehoming rates, and information on cruelty investigations. The latest figures from a survey by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) show that in Quarter 4 of 2020 there was a 24% Year on Year reduction of cat intake and a 32% reduction in dogs entering rescues. 68% of rescues have reported more people wish to foster dogs or cats and 58% have seen an increase in people wishing to rehome a dog or cat, illustrating the resilience of the sector and the positive picture for pets.

With the exception of those businesses and venues required to close, the Government has emphasised that it is important for business to carry on, not least to ensure the economy keeps working and in the case of pet businesses and animal welfare charities to help safeguard the welfare of the nation’s pets. Pet businesses play a key role in this and should operate within the strict advice on social distancing and hygiene. In addition, the Canine and Feline Sector Group has issued its own guidance to owners and pet businesses on how they can care for their pets and continue to operate under the restrictions in place to limit the spread of coronavirus. See: https://www.cfsg.org.uk/coronavirus/

We will maintain our close dialogue with animal welfare organisations, enforcement agencies and sector groups to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that cats and dogs are sold legally with legitimate documentation on their health and history.

Under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, anyone who is in the business of selling animals as pets, who breeds dogs and advertises a business of selling dogs and/or who breeds three or more litters in a 12 month period needs a licence from their local authority. All licensees must adhere to strict minimum animal welfare standards. Any licensee advertising animals for sale will need to include their licence number in the advert and specify the local authority who issued the licence. Additional requirements placed on advertisements include that the age of the animal for sale must be displayed along with a recognisable photograph. Licensed dog breeders must ensure that the purchaser is informed of the age, sex and veterinary record of the dog being sold.

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the 2018 Regulations and have powers to grant, refuse or revoke a licence. Anyone who has concerns about the welfare of a cats or dogs being sold, whether online or from a licensed establishment, should report the matter to the relevant local authority who have powers to investigate such matters.

The Government continues to raise awareness regarding the improper selling of pets by deceitful sellers through its ‘Petfished’ campaign. This seeks to educate prospective pet buyers on common tricks and tactics used by deceitful sellers which may result in the purchase of a mistreated or unwell pet. This includes providing clear signposting on where responsible breeders and rehoming centres can be found and encouraging prospective buyers to research the seller thoroughly before they visit and decide to purchase. The campaign provides a list of red flags for buyers to look out for when searching for a pet online. The step by step guide on buying a dog or cat includes a reminder to check whether your new pet will be vaccinated and socialised before you take it home. More information can be found here: https://getyourpetsafely.campaign.gov.uk/

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the minimum age of dogs being imported and exported to six months.

The end of the transition period has opened up new opportunities for managing our own pet travel and commercial importation rules. We are actively listening to the concerns of stakeholders and the Government is considering options to strengthen our efforts to tackle puppy smuggling and prevent the low-welfare importation and movement of these animals including looking at the minimum age of dogs entering Great Britain (GB).

These options will take into consideration the results from our latest disease risk assessments for GB, recommendations of stakeholders such as the British Veterinary Association and Dogs Trust, and recent Parliamentary work from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

The conditions which apply to commercial exports and pet movements from GB are governed by the relevant legislation of the country of destination.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 8 February 2021, Official Report, column 134, which aspects of the Zoo Animals Fund are currently under active review; and what changes to the support available for zoos and aquariums are being considered.

I am aware of the pressure that the current coronavirus restrictions are placing on zoos and recognise this has been an extremely tough time for the sector. I would like to assure zoos that we remain committed to ensuring the sector can deliver the best possible care for its animals and we are currently considering options. We keep all aspects of the Zoo Animals Fund constantly under review to ensure that it is meeting its aims. Changes that we have made include extending the criteria to include maintenance costs, easing the evidence requirement for these maintenance claims, introducing the ability to apply ahead of reaching 12 weeks reserves and most recently extending the application deadline for the Zoo Animals Fund to 26 February 2021. We have ongoing communications with the sector to ensure updated information is shared as soon as situations change. For now, we urge any zoos in need of support to put in an application.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to encourage research into new methods to recycle plastics.

The Government has put together a package of over £100 million for research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £38 million has been set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund and Resource Action Fund for research and development, including £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also announced £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry, towards the development of smart, sustainable plastic packaging, which will aim to make the UK a world-leader in sustainable packaging for consumer products. Through public-private finance initiatives, the Government is already investing around £2.9 billion to support local infrastructure for waste collection and recycling.

In addition, under Defra Resources and Waste guidance, the recent UKRI SPF2 (Strategic Priority Funding) stream has allocated £3.5 million to leading UK academics to develop advanced techniques that will drive circularity in the plastics sector.

In our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy, we committed to taking actions which will help stimulate private investment in reprocessing and recycling infrastructure as this will help to meet the target of 65% of household waste and waste produced by businesses that is similar to household waste to be recycled by 2035. The major waste reforms of a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers (DRS), Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging and consistency in recycling which are being legislated for in the Environment Bill, together with HM Treasury's Plastic Packaging Tax on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content, will increase demand for secondary material plastic and therefore increase the need for research into recycling infrastructure.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the use of natural, plant-based pesticides instead of chemical-based products.

The Government is committed to supporting the sustainable control of pests. The consultation on the National Action Plan for Sustainable Use of Pesticides outlines how the Government will support development of nature-based solutions, low toxicity methods, and biopesticides, in line with the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Our strict regulation only allows the use of pesticides that are shown to meet high standards for the protection of people and the environment. These standards apply to both chemical and non-chemical pesticides, as it cannot be assumed that non-chemical pesticides are inherently safer.

The Government takes an active role in supporting the development and registration of biopesticides through the Biopesticides Scheme. This includes reduced application fees and a Biopesticides champion who can advise potential applicants. Since the start of the scheme, around 70 new products have been approved for use in the UK.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many organisations have received support from the Zoo Animals Fund; and if he will publish a full list of recipients of funding from that Fund.

The Zoo Animals Fund has provided funding support to 28 organisations.

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

  1. Baytree Owl & Wildlife Centre
  2. Brockswood at Cotwall End Ltd (T/A Brockswood Animal Sanctuary)
  3. Cheshire falconry ltd
  4. Chew Valley Animal Park Limited
  5. Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park
  6. Cornish Birds of Prey CIC
  7. Dartmoor Zoological Society
  8. Exotic Zoo Wildlife Park Ltd
  9. Ilfracombe Aquarium Ltd
  10. Island Amazon Adventure/Amazon World Zoo Park
  11. Jurassic Encounters Ltd T/A Ark Wildlife Park
  12. Lakeland Trust for Natural Sciences
  13. National Centre for Birds of Prey ICBP Duncombe Ltd
  14. Noah's Ark Zoo Farm
  15. Ocean Conservation Trust Ltd
  16. Ponderosa Zoo & RTC
  17. Predator Experience
  18. Screech Owl Sanctuary
  19. Shaldon Wildlife Trust
  20. Shepreth Wildlife Park
  21. Trust for Sustainable Living
  22. West Midlands Falconry Display Team Ltd (formerly known as The Falconry Centre Ltd)
  23. Wheatley Birds of Prey
  24. Wild Wings Birds of Prey
  25. Woodside Wildlife Park/Woodside Falconry Ltd
  26. Xtreme Falconry Ltd
  27. Zoo2U
  28. Zoological Society of East Anglia
Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress has been made on the UN’s Leaders Pledge for Nature of September 2020.

Since September, the UK has worked with other signatories to the LPN to garner further support to it. At the launch of the LPN in September 2020, 71 heads of state and the EU signed up to the pledge. Since then, a further 11 heads of state and 71 supporters have now signed up. The UK is committed to working with our fellow signatories to garner further support and drive forwards implementation of the ten Pledge actions, and officials meet regularly to discuss plans. The UK worked closely with France to help showcase the LPN at the One Planet Summit, on 11 January 2020, to ensure momentum on it is maintained.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on pets boarding in kennels of recently announced covid-19 lockdown restrictions in the event that their owners are unable to travel to collect them as a result of those covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

According to the regulations you may leave your home for the purpose of caring for or exercising your pet and other animals you own or keep. It is acceptable to leave your home where this is reasonably necessary for animal welfare reasons.

Travelling to a boarding kennel or cattery to collect your pet meets these conditions. Equally, pet owners could ask if the boarding kennel or cattery could bring their pet back home to them.

The Canine and Feline Sector Group has issued advice for pet businesses, including animal boarding establishments, on how to operate safely within the new restrictions. This includes a protocol for the handover of pets. All admission and return of pets should be by appointment only to ensure social distancing can be applied. Some providers will operate a collection and drop-off service.

This advice us available here: https://www.cfsg.org.uk/repository/360/

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2020
What steps he is taking to help ensure that zoos and aquariums affected by covid-19 can access the Zoos Support Fund.

The £14 million Zoos Support Fund ended and has been replaced by the £100 million Zoo Animals Fund. To make this fund even more accessible, we have expanded the eligibility criteria so that grant payments to zoos begin when they reach their final 12 weeks of financial reserves, rather than six weeks, and so that zoos can apply for funding at any time before reaching this 12 week point to help with their business planning. Defra officials have been engaging regularly with larger zoos to understand their concerns and will continue to do so.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made on the design and implementation of the Darwin Plus programme.

The current round of applications for the Darwin Plus programme closed on 8 September 2020, with 52 applications received from across the overseas territories.

In March 2020 the Chancellor announced an increase in funding for Darwin Plus and work is on-going to replace or enhance the existing programme. We will use the 2019 Call for Evidence on “Safeguarding the Environment in the British Overseas Territories” to inform this redesign and we aim to launch the new scheme in early 2021.


Some changes have already been made by making Darwin Plus and any successor programme a non-Official Development Assistance (ODA) fund only with ODA territories now being eligible for funding from the main Darwin Initiative programme. Making this change will make both funds more efficient and streamlined.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals on making (a) possession and (b) consumption of dog meat an offence in the UK.

I refer the hon. Member for Romford to the reply given on 9 June to his earlier question asked on 1 June (UIN 51680).

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-01/51680/

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to promote registration for supermarket priority slots for people who (a) are shielding and (b) have arthritis during the covid-19 outbreak.

In March, the Government took swift action to ensure continued access to food for the most vulnerable. Information on how to register for food support, including priority delivery slots has been available on GOV.UK since then.

Working with other Government departments we have attempted to call all those who registered for food support. During these calls we explained the priority delivery slot scheme and encouraged them to sign up for an account with a participating supermarket. We also included information in food boxes which were delivered to those with no other means of accessing food.

Our latest figures show that less than 26,000 of those 500,000 people registered for support were not able to access priority deliveries. We recently contacted these people by email and letter, encouraging them to sign up for an account with a participating supermarket. Supermarkets will continue to match individuals and supply the most vulnerable with priority delivery slots.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many animals were seized under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 by each police force in each of the last five years.

Details of the number of animals seized under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are not collated centrally by Defra. This information may be held by each separate police force.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on removing VAT from bee keeping equipment to help enable an increase in pollinators and benefit the environment.

Protecting pollinators is a priority for this Government. They are an essential part of our environment and play a crucial role in food production.

Our National Pollinator Strategy sets out how Government, conservation groups, farmers, beekeepers and researchers can work together to improve the status of pollinating insect species in England.

There are no plans at present to seek discussions with the Chancellor on the removal of VAT from beekeeping equipment. Defra maintains awareness of key issues affecting the beekeeping sector through regular contact with national associations and other stakeholders and I am satisfied that our current approach to supporting beekeeping is effective.

Government support primarily involves operating a system of apiary inspections and the provision of funding for training. These measures are valuable in helping beekeepers to maintain and improve their husbandry skills and in keeping levels of honey bee pests and disease to a minimum.

National Bee Unit inspectors also deliver our contingency response and their success in dealing with incursions of the invasive Asian hornet has been of great benefit to our beekeepers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that dogs taken into police custody under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are processed and released in a timely manner.

Every effort is made to ensure that cases involving dogs held under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are processed on time. The magistrates’ courts continue to increase their number of hearings and the range of types of cases heard has also increased with the reintroduction of first hearing guilty and anticipated not guilty plea cases commencing. Trials, in small numbers, also continue to be listed. Dogs seized by police in England under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are held in confidence in kennels licensed under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Such kennels must meet statutory minimum animal welfare conditions, including that dogs are kept safely and receive appropriate levels of exercise. The 2018 Regulations are enforced by local authorities.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that dogs kept in police custody under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are (a) stored in safe conditions and (b) taken for regular exercise.

Every effort is made to ensure that cases involving dogs held under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are processed on time. The magistrates’ courts continue to increase their number of hearings and the range of types of cases heard has also increased with the reintroduction of first hearing guilty and anticipated not guilty plea cases commencing. Trials, in small numbers, also continue to be listed. Dogs seized by police in England under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are held in confidence in kennels licensed under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Such kennels must meet statutory minimum animal welfare conditions, including that dogs are kept safely and receive appropriate levels of exercise. The 2018 Regulations are enforced by local authorities.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the average length of time that a dog is held in custody while being assessed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in (a) Havering and (b) England.

Details of how long dogs are kept in police custody while being assessed under the Dangerous Dogs Act are not held centrally and are a matter for each separate police force. Each police force has access to a Dog Legislation Officer who is specifically trained in the law on dangerous dogs and dog related matters including animal welfare. Any concerns about specific cases should be reported to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). Details of how to contact the IOPC can be found on its website: www.policeconduct.gov.uk.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) work with and (b) train police forces on ensuring dogs are not wrongfully taken into custody under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Details of how long dogs are kept in police custody while being assessed under the Dangerous Dogs Act are not held centrally and are a matter for each separate police force. Each police force has access to a Dog Legislation Officer who is specifically trained in the law on dangerous dogs and dog related matters including animal welfare. Any concerns about specific cases should be reported to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). Details of how to contact the IOPC can be found on its website: www.policeconduct.gov.uk.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times his Department has met with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums since March.

Since 25 March, Defra officials have been meeting (via teleconference or by telephone) BIAZA representatives at least once a week.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial support his Department plans to provide to zoological institutions which have been affected by the covid-19 outbreak to ensure that they can continue their conservation and animal welfare work.

I refer the hon. Member to the replies given to my hon. Friend, the Member for North Devon, Selaine Saxby, on 27 April 2020, PQ UIN 37936, the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife, Douglas Chapman, on 11 May 2020, PQ UIN 43675 and the hon. Member for York Central, Rachael Maskell on 19 May 2020, PQ UIN 45322.

The Zoos Support Fund is open for applications until 19 July 2020.

As announced by the Prime Minister on 10 June, outdoor areas of zoos and safari parks will be allowed to reopen from 15 June, subject to appropriate social distancing measures being in place. This includes keeping indoor exhibitions, such as reptile houses and those in aquariums, closed, and ensuring other amenities like cafes offer take-away services only.

The move follows close work by the Government with the zoo industry to ensure visitor numbers can be managed and safeguards are put in place.

The decision to relax restrictions on these select outdoor attractions is part of the Government’s careful approach to easing the lockdown in phases, guided by the advice of scientific and medical experts and the fact the risk of transmission is much lower outdoors.

Officials continue to meet weekly with BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and with the CEOs of the largest charitable zoos and aquariums in England providing a valuable forum to monitor concerns and seek insights from key sector representatives on current issues.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a ban on the human consumption of dog meat in the UK.

The Government shares the public's high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of dogs and cats, and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals now we have left the EU.

The Government is appalled by the prospect of dogs and cats being consumed. However, it is already illegal to sell dog and cat meat for human consumption and the Government has seen no evidence that dog and cat meat is being sold or consumed in this country.

We are confident that our current position sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats will never be acceptable. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office raises concerns about the welfare of animals with other governments at every suitable opportunity, and we are pleased to hear that authorities in China are proposing to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits allowing zoos to reopen with social distancing measures in place as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased..

We understand the challenges faced by zoos and aquariums during these unprecedented times. We also appreciate the significant opportunities zoos can provide for the public to access well managed and controlled outdoor spaces, and the potential to improve general wellbeing.

However, the Government has taken the decision that zoos and aquariums should not yet reopen, and the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, which came into force on 1 June, provide greater clarity and certainty on this. While each individual attraction can be made safer, it’s vital that we do not move too quickly in reopening to ensure public health is protected.

We are continuing to work with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) to understand how we can reopen zoos in a safe way as soon as possible with social distancing measures in place.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with large wholesale beverage manufacturers to encourage them to engage constructively with distributors, who are unable to sell stock due to the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government has been working closely with the full spectrum of food and drink manufacturers across the country to maintain secure food and drink supply chains during COVID-19 lockdown. Regular engagement is taking place through a variety of forums, such as the weekly manufacturer calls led by Defra Secretary of State, as well as individual calls and engagement at a policy level.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the statement by officials in Shenzhen, China, on the reasons for a proposed ban on the human consumption of dog and cat meat in their city.

The Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of dogs and cats, and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals now we have left the EU.

The Government is appalled by the prospect of dogs and cats being consumed. However, it is already illegal to sell dog and cat meat for human consumption and the Government has seen no evidence that dog and cat meat is being sold or consumed in this country.

We are confident that the current position in this country sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats will never be acceptable. Indeed, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office raises concerns about the welfare of animals with other Governments and international authorities at every suitable opportunity and we are pleased to hear that authorities in China are proposing to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to ban the human consumption of dogs and cats in the UK.

The Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of dogs and cats, and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals now we have left the EU.

The Government is appalled by the prospect of dogs and cats being consumed. However, it is already illegal to sell dog and cat meat for human consumption and the Government has seen no evidence that dog and cat meat is being sold or consumed in this country.

We are confident that the current position in this country sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats will never be acceptable. Indeed, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office raises concerns about the welfare of animals with other Governments and international authorities at every suitable opportunity and we are pleased to hear that authorities in China are proposing to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the financial sustainability of the National Wildlife Crime Unit

Under a four-year funding agreement with the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Defra and the Home Office have jointly contributed £301,000 a year between 2016 and 2020 to the Unit’s activities. Both departments have committed to maintain this funding for 2020/21. Defra will work with the unit to develop the case for continued funding as part of the next spending review.

In addition to the funding provided to the unit, we provide up to £6.3 million per year to support international action to counter poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his department is taking to ensure the continued financial sustainability of the National Wildlife Crime Unit.

Under a four-year funding agreement with the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Defra and the Home Office have jointly contributed £301,000 a year between 2016 and 2020 to the Unit’s activities. Both departments have committed to maintain this funding for 2020/21. Defra will work with the unit to develop the case for continued funding as part of the next spending review.

In addition to the funding provided to the unit, we provide up to £6.3 million per year to support international action to counter poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on animal sentience.

The Government has committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in a rigorous and comprehensive way after the transition period and will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows. Defra is currently assessing how best to support Government departments in considering the welfare needs of sentient animals when they are developing and implementing Government policy.

Defra engages with a wide range of stakeholders on a number of animal welfare issues, including animal sentience.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent representations he has received on a comprehensive and rigorous means of legislating for animal sentience.

The Government has committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in a rigorous and comprehensive way after the transition period and will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows. Defra is currently assessing how best to support Government departments in considering the welfare needs of sentient animals when they are developing and implementing Government policy.

Defra engages with a wide range of stakeholders on a number of animal welfare issues, including animal sentience.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of river dredging on levels of flooding.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Bosworth on 3 March 2020, PQ UIN 20056.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using dredging to minimise the effects of flooding.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Bosworth on 3 March 2020, PQ UIN 20056.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to undertake a review the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010.

Defra undertook a Post Implementation Review of the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010 which was published on 15 September 2016. The review found that, judged against their original objectives, the regulations have been broadly effective. The review also identified areas where the industry themselves should be taking further action and Defra have been working closely with the main industry regulatory body, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, to ensure these actions are taken.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will take steps to encourage members of the public to adopt more (a) black dogs and (b) greyhounds, which are reportedly adopted at a slower rate than other types of dog.

The Government advises anyone looking to acquire a pet dog to consider adopting a rescue in the first instance. Any dog, including the famous greyhound breed, is capable of providing owners with love, loyalty and pleasure for its owner and family. Animal rescue and rehoming charities are aware that black dogs can be harder to rehome than other colours and encourage people to adopt animals in their care, regardless of colour.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
What steps her Department is taking to tackle the drugging of dogs for use by buskers.

There are already laws and regulations in place to protect animals used by buskers. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is a criminal offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal, and to administer an injurious or poisonous drug to an animal. Specific concerns about the welfare of dogs used by buskers can be reported to local authorities, the police or the RSPCA.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Prime Minister of 15 January 2020, Official Report, column, 1020, what the timeframe is for bringing forward legislative proposals to reduce the rate of smuggling of puppies and dogs; and what provisions she plans to include in those proposals.

The Government takes the welfare of all animals seriously, and that is why we have committed to cracking down on puppy smuggling. It is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to the smuggled dogs and puts the health of pets and people in the UK at risk.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to tackle the (a) import, (b) drugging and (c) trafficking within the UK of dogs for use by multiple street entertainers.

The Government takes the issue of the illegal importation of dogs and puppies seriously. All dogs entering the UK must be compliant with specific documentary and health preparations intended to safeguard their welfare and the biosecurity of this country. We have one of the most rigorous pet travel checking regimes in the world and any dogs found to be non-compliant with import rules may be refused entry or detained until compliant.

Anyone who illegally administers drugs to dogs to be used for begging or as part of street entertainment would be in breach of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 by causing unnecessary suffering or administering injurious drugs. The maximum penalty for either of these offences is six months’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. However, the Government has already announced that it will increase the maximum custodial penalty for these offences to five years’ imprisonment. Anyone who has concerns about the health and welfare of a dog or any other animal used by beggars or street entertainers should report it to the relevant local authority or the police who have powers to deal with such matters, or to the RSPCA who will also investigate.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the animal welfare implications of the use of dogs by buskers.

There are already laws and regulations in place to protect animals used by buskers. Dogs often act as companions for vulnerable members of the homeless community, aiding their rehabilitation to overcome many mental health issues.

However, there is an important distinction between these companion animals and dogs being exploited for money. Support and protection for these animals is further provided by charities including Dogs on the Streets, county borough animal warden services, busking regulators and city inspectors.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, local authorities and the police have the power to seize animals that they suspect have been subjected to mistreatment. It is also an offence under the Act to cause any unnecessary suffering to an animal or fail to provide for its welfare.

If anyone has concerns about the welfare of a particular animal, the Government encourages them to contact the RSPCA or the relevant local authority who can investigate the matter further.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with (a) her global counterparts and (b) animal rights groups on cruelty in the global dog meat trade.

The Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of dogs and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals as we leave the EU. The Government has made wide ranging commitments on animal welfare.

Whilst the Government has not held any direct discussions with other governments or animal welfare organisations since the General Election specifically about the dog meat trade, we will continue to influence good animal welfare standards on the international stage through membership of such organisations as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department is providing to victims' organisations and other civil society groups working on transitional justice issues in the Gambia.

The UK regularly discusses the transitional justice process with the Government of The Gambia. A DFID programme, delivered by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, we are working to transform the National Assembly of The Gambia into a robust institution. This includes a particular focus on increasing government accountability and enhancing political inclusion among marginalised groups. The UK has also provided funding through the International Centre for Transitional Justice for an outreach programme to raise awareness and promote engagement and inclusion in The Gambia.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help people with leprosy and other tropical diseases.

The UK’s global health work supports countries to build and maintain strong health systems and promote universal health coverage, to enable partner countries to tackle all the causes of ill health, including tropical diseases.

UK aid is invested in several major neglected tropical disease (NTD) programmes, which are focused on building systems to treat and prevent Guinea worm, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, visceral leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma. These diseases were identified based on a detailed analysis of the burden of the disease, the UK’s comparative advantage in the area, and the availability and cost effectiveness of treatment and prevention. Although leprosy is not a focus disease, activities relating to leprosy can be included if these can be delivered effectively in conjunction with activities relating to the focus diseases. We work closely with national governments to plan programme activities.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will identify NGOs that are running effective reconciliation programmes between farmers and herders in Nigeria and allocate funding to them to support the capacity building of their programmes.

We are deeply concerned by the ?inter-communal violence in Nigeria and the devastating impact that this has had on affected communities, including heavy loss of life. We continue to call for a solution that meets the needs of all the communities affected. DFID is designing a programme to address natural resource conflicts between farmers and herders, which may include support to non-governmental organisations. We value the important role NGOs play in supporting affected communities in Nigeria, and we will continue to work alongside them where possible.

Staff from the British High Commission in Abuja are actively engaged on the ground. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, along with staff, visited Plateau State in December 2019 to further discuss the situation with the Governor, as well as Christian and Muslim faith leaders. They also met NGOs working on reconciliation to discuss the situation and the efforts they are taking to address it.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to (a) support biodiversity and (b) help prevent the extinction of endangered species.

Tackling climate change and biodiversity loss remain high priorities for this Government. It is critical to poverty reduction, protecting the planet for future generations and achieving the sustainable development goals.

DFID has a number of programmes that support biodiversity and help prevent the extinction of endangered species, for example in our significant support for sustainable forestry and land use. The UK is also a strong supporter of the Global Environment Facility. At UNCAS last September, the PM announced a new £220 million International Biodiversity Fund, which includes the £100 million Biodiverse Landscapes Fund under design, as well as an uplift of £90 million to the Darwin Initiative and £30 million to the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund.

The UK’s objective for CBD COP 15 is to agree a framework that spurs action and the transformative changes needed for halting and reversing global biodiversity loss. We will support ambitious and practical targets, strengthened by coherent implementation mechanisms that are consummate with the scale of the challenge. The UK is also a Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which implements strict controls to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance his Department has allocated to (a) Commonwealth and (b) non-Commonwealth countries in each of the last five years.

The table below sets out how much UK bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) was received by Commonwealth and Non-Commonwealth countries between 2014 and 2018.

UK Bilateral ODA to Commonwealth and Non-Commonwealth countries: 2014 to 2018

£ millions

ODA Recipient

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Commonwealth Countries

2,005

2,121

2,001

1,961

1,748

Non-Commonwealth Countries

2,024

2,501

2,839

2,922

2,765

Regional/Developing Countries, unspecified

2,793

3,040

3,695

3,920

4,750

Total UK Bilateral ODA

6,822

7,662

8,534

8,803

9,263

Note: These figures are based on the Commonwealth Countries that are currently members in March 2020

Source: Statistics on International Development: Final UK Aid Spend 2018

Bilateral ODA is spending where the UK has specified what the ODA is spent on and in which country or countries. In 2018, Bilateral ODA accounted for 64% of total UK ODA. The remaining proportion of ODA (36%) is delivered in the form of core contributions to ODA-eligible Multilaterals. These contributions are spent by Multilaterals on projects that benefit developing countries across the world, including in many Commonwealth countries. In 2018, the UK provided £5.3 billion in core contributions to Multilaterals.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance his Department has allocated to programmes tackling Dengue Fever in 2018-19.

There is no international sector code for spend on dengue fever, but data on UK aid expenditure is published each year and can be accessed from the link

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-on-international-development-final-uk-aid-spend-2018

DFID's health focus is to improve the provision of basic health services for the poorest by supporting health systems strengthening, health worker capacity and access to essential medicines and equipment. Increasing coverage, access and quality will strengthen health services to address all health problems including communicable diseases.

DFID also provides funding to TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. TDR helps support and influence efforts to combat dengue and other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what his Department's total spend on combatting Dengue Fever was in 2018-19.

There is no international sector code for spend on dengue fever, but data on UK aid expenditure is published each year and can be accessed from the link

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-on-international-development-final-uk-aid-spend-2018

DFID's health focus is to improve the provision of basic health services for the poorest by supporting health systems strengthening, health worker capacity and access to essential medicines and equipment. Increasing coverage, access and quality will strengthen health services to address all health problems including communicable diseases.

DFID also provides funding to TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. TDR helps support and influence efforts to combat dengue and other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance her Department allocated to tackling tuberculosis in 2018-19.

DFID invests in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria as the principal mechanism to combat TB. The UK is currently the second largest investor in the Global Fund, pledging £1.4 billion to the 6th Replenishment (2020 – 2022) and £1.2 billion for the 5th Replenishment (2017-2019).

As our investment in the Global Fund has increased our bilateral programmes have decreased. Bilateral spending on TB control in 2018, which we publish by calendar year, was £1,862,966.

We also fund research on TB, including to develop more effective diagnostics and treatment, programmes to support countries to strengthen their health systems. Additionally, we significantly invest into health multilaterals such as the World Health Organisation and Unitaid, which provide technical leadership on tackling TB and strengthening health systems, support the introduction of new drugs for drug-resistant TB and the development of paediatric TB medicines for children in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Data on UK aid expenditure is published each year and can be accessed from the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-on-international-development-final-uk-aid-spend-2018

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance her Department allocated to programmes tackling Polio in 2018-19.

The UK is a long standing supporter of efforts to eradicate polio, providing consistent support to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) since 1995. We are the second largest state donor to this programme and have provided a total of £1.3 billion to date. In September 2019 Ministers also approved a new £400 million investment for the 2020 – 2023 period, bringing our total investment to £1.7 billion.

Transmission of wild poliovirus is now only present in two countries compared to 124 when GPEI was formed in 1988, and cases of paralysis have reduced in that time from 350,000 a year to 175 last year.

In the 2018-2019 period, the UK provided a total of £50 million to programmes to specifically tackle polio; £4 million to Gavi the Vaccine Alliance for the purchase of polio vaccines, and £46 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which contributed to the vaccination of over 400 million children.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership with six core partners, including the World Health Organisation and Rotary International. The UK works closely with these partners to eradicate polio from these last few parts of the world.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance her Department has allocated to supporting refugees and displaced persons in each of the last five years.

The UK is strongly committed to supporting refugees and other displaced people and remains at the forefront of refugee responses around the world. To date, we have provided over £3.1 billion in response to the Syrian conflict, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis, and since August 2017 £256 million for the Rohingya crisis. That has included immediate, life-saving aid such as food, shelter and clean water, as well as longer-term support such as jobs, livelihoods and access to education and health care.

We are one of largest donors to the UN’s Refugee agency and have helped develop and champion the Global Compact on Refugees, which supports long-term and holistic approaches to assistance and protection.

The UK is one of the biggest humanitarian donors world-wide and between April 2015 and March 2019, we reached 32.4 million people with humanitarian assistance (food aid, cash and voucher transfers). Between 2014 and 2018, DFID provided over £6 billion of bilateral humanitarian funding to people in need, including refugees and displaced people.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding his Department allocated to programmes to tackle HIV/AIDS in 2018-19.

In 2018, DFID spent £174.6 million multilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) to tackle HIV/AIDS. Most DFID investments to the HIV response are now directed through multilateral organisations such as Unitaid, UNAIDS and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. In addition, in 2018, DFID spent £10 million bilateral ODA on programmes tackling sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.

The UK has made a £1.4 billion pledge to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for the 6th replenishment covering 2020 to 2022. This supports the commitment to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.

This data does not capture spend on related programming on comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, including research and health systems strengthening.

DFID spend data is available on the Statistics on International Development website. Comparable figures beyond December 2018 are not yet available. Estimates for 2019 spending will be available in autumn 2020.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to help developing countries tackle tax avoidance and evasion.

DFID’s support is helping developing countries to collect more taxes from where they are due. The aim is to build self-sustaining economies that can generate their own financing through increased tax revenue and private investment. In addition to providing capacity building support in-country through bilateral support programmes, this includes providing £10.3 million to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to assist developing countries to implement international tax standards to tackle international tax evasion and avoidance. For example, through this funding we are supporting the ‘Tax Inspectors Without Borders’ initiative, which assists developing countries with issues such as complex international audits. This programme has generated an additional $100 in revenue for every $1 spent on operating costs.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives of the Government of Tanzania on aid to that country.

The UK Government engages regularly on overseas development assistance with representatives of the Government of Tanzania. These discussions take place at all levels of government, from national to local. This is to ensure that our aid is targeted, impactful and in line with national priorities.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives of the Nigerian Government on Official Development Assistance allocated to that country.

The UK Government engages regularly on overseas development assistance with representatives of the Nigerian Government at all levels – including Federal, State and Local government administrations. We do this at all stages of our programming, from portfolio discussions, to more granular engagement on design, delivery and lesson learning following the closure of our projects.

While no money goes directly to the Government of Nigeria, aid is delivered in partnership with government bodies to ensure it is effective, impactful and in line with national priorities.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, in which countries her Department has awarded contracts for the drilling of water wells; and how many of those contracts were awarded in each country.

DFID delivers a range of water supply activities, through partners in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia all of which use proven approaches that deliver affordable and sustainable services.

In countries such as Mozambique and Nepal, these approaches include, but are not limited to, drilling for water wells.

Aid reporting codes do not allow for a detailed breakdown of the specific techniques for delivering water supply.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions he has had with the Minister for the Cabinet Office on a cross-governmental approach to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Department for International Development and the Cabinet Office work closely to support cross-government implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cabinet Office supports domestic coordination on the SDGs and ensures that progress on the Government’s priorities, including the SDGs, is maximised.

There is ongoing engagement with Cabinet Office Ministers on a wide range of issues.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what weighting is given to bids made by British companies tendering for contracts from his Department for projects overseas.

DFID complies with the UK's Public Contracts Regulations (2015), which impose a legal obligation on contracting authorities to treat all suppliers equally and not to discriminate by, amongst other things, favouring national suppliers.

Opening up DFID contracts to competition from across the world means that UK Aid can draw on a bigger pool of expertise and experience and negotiate better value for money for the British taxpayer. UK-registered firms win on average around 85% of DFID contracts by value.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of Official Development Assistance allocated to Tanzania was received by local and national nongovernmental organisations.

For the previous fiscal year 2018/19, £8.7 million of DFID Tanzania bilateral spend (equivalent to 6%) was received by local and national non-governmental organisations.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Official Development Assistance is not allocated by the Palestinian Authority to the families of people who have been involved in terrorist activity.

No UK aid is used for payments to prisoners or their families or the Martyrs Fund. DFID has robust measures in place to ensure UK Aid reaches only its intended beneficiaries. UK aid to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA’s) health and education sectors is channelled through the EU Palestinian-European Socio-Economic Management Assistance Mechanism. Our money goes into a dedicated bank account before being paid to individuals who have been carefully vetted in advance. The bank account is only used for UK aid. Independent auditors check that the money paid out from this bank account only went to the vetted individuals after every disbursement.

UK assistance to the PA for water and energy will be through the World Bank Partnership for Infrastructure Development in the West Bank and Gaza Multi Donor Trust Fund. UK aid will flow from the trust fund to dedicated accounts that will be managed by the PA in accordance with rules established by the World Bank, and be subject to the review of external financial auditors to provide assurance that the expenditure of funds was only on agreed programme activities.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment he has made of the UK Government's capability to support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The UK Government is committed to supporting implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UK published a Voluntary National Review of progress towards the SDGs in June 2019. This is a comprehensive account of how government, business, civil society and others are contributing to the SDGs both at home and around the world. It also sets out areas of further work and next steps.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, which five countries have received the largest proportion of Official Development Assistance in each of the last three years.

The table below shows the five countries which received the largest proportion of UK ODA in the last three years and their percentage share of the UK’s country-specific bilateral ODA.

2016

2017

2018

Rank

Country

% Country-Specific Bilateral ODA

Country

% Country-Specific Bilateral ODA

Country

% Country-Specific Bilateral ODA

1

Pakistan

9.6%

Pakistan

8.2%

Pakistan

7.3%

2

Syria

7.3%

Nigeria

6.7%

Ethiopia

6.7%

3

Ethiopia

6.9%

Ethiopia

6.7%

Nigeria

6.6%

4

Nigeria

6.6%

Syria

6.4%

Afghanistan

5.5%

5

Afghanistan

4.9%

Somalia

5.8%

Syria

5.1%

Source: Statistics on International Development: Final UK Aid Spend 2018

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether he is taking steps to prioritise infrastructure investment in (a) Asia and (b) South America; and if he will make a statement.

Supporting infrastructure investment in Asia is a priority. DFID funds bilateral projects in six countries in Asia, for example the £265 million Pakistan Corridors Programme, the £46 million Accelerating Investment and Infrastructure in Nepal. The CDC and the predominantly UK financed Private Infrastructure Group also invest in Asia. In addition, in both Asia and South America the UK’s membership of the four multilateral developments working in these regions enables a substantial flow of infrastructure projects.

To accelerate progress further I established an Infrastructure Commission which reported earlier this month (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/international-development-infrastructure-commission-report). In response, DFID will scope and design a new Project Development Facility and will explore detailed options for expanding the use of guarantees and new structures to mobilise institutional investment into sustainable, resilient infrastructure.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of increase in shipping cost for exports from the UK in each of the last 12 months.

The high demand for container freight which has driven a rise in export shipping costs over the last 12 months is thought to be caused by changes in consumer spending during the Covid-19 pandemic. This global “container surge” is affecting not only the UK but container prices across international markets. High prices are predicted to continue through 2021 though markets are expected, eventually, to adjust.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has made an assessment of which nation the UK exports the most beef to.

According to HMRC, the top destination for UK beef in 2020 was Ireland with an export value of £119.3 million.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that UK farmers can benefit from free trade deals.

British agricultural products are of the highest quality and our trade deals help to open new markets for British farmers. The interests of the British agricultural sector are taken into account at every step in trade negotiations – from public consultations at the start, dedicated Trade Advisory Groups during, and independent scrutiny of the final deal through the Trade and Agriculture Commission.

My Department supports farmers to export using our trade deals too. For example, the recently launched ‘Open Doors’ campaign helps farmers to unlock opportunities in the world’s most valuable markets for British products, and the ‘Food is GREAT’ campaign builds global recognition of brilliant British agriculture, food, and drink.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 10 February 2021 to Question 149716 on Trade Agreements, what steps her Department is taking to increase (a) trade with and (b) investment in the Maldives fishing industry.

The Maldives is an important partner for the United Kingdom and my officials are exploring pragmatic options to promote increased trade and investment at present.

We are exploring opportunities to enhance bilateral trade with The Maldives in areas of mutual interest, such as food and drink, defence, education, health and fitness, environmental science, and sustainable development.

HM Government is exploring a range of options for collaboration in financial services and infrastructure development too, including securing green financing to aid Maldivian efforts towards cleaner, renewable energy generation.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that (a) the British Overseas Territories and (b) Gibraltar are able to benefit from the Enhanced Trade Partnership with India.

In all trade deals, HM Government is seeking trade outcomes that support British Overseas Territories' economic interests, and which reflect their unique characteristics.

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have regular discussions with our respective counterparts. Most recently, the Minister for Commerce and Industry of India, Shri Piyush Goyal, and my Rt Hon Friend met on Saturday, 6th February 2021, at New Delhi, to discuss the Anglo-Indian trade and investment relationship. Discussions were held on the entire range of bilateral trade and economic relations.

Following significant work over the last year, we have committed to launching an Enhanced Trade Partnership with India, through which both sides will continue to work to bring down trade barriers, open up opportunities for trade and investment, and chart the route towards a potential Free Trade Agreement.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent progress she has made towards securing a free trade agreement with Australia.

Strengthening and enhancing our bilateral trading relationship with Australia is a key priority for the Government. The third round of negotiations for a UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) took place between 23rd November and 4th December where negotiators completed around 50 discussions, spanning the breadth of the FTA.

Both sides exchanged their initial tariffs offers – this early milestone reflects the momentum behind these negotiations. Negotiators are in the process of consolidating texts in several chapter areas.

The fourth round of negotiations will start on 22nd February 2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of a UK-Kenya free trade agreement on the East African Community’s Common External Tariff.

The United Kingdom is pursuing a trade agreement with the East African Community (EAC), and we recognise the impact that a loss of duty and quota free access to UK markets after the transition period could have on Kenya if an agreement is not in place.

We are engaging with Kenya and all EAC States to secure a trade agreement that will provide this duty and quota free access, and provide lasting certainty for EAC and UK businesses in our trading arrangements.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that Gibraltar is automatically included in a nfuture trade agreement with Japan.

The aim of HM Government is to agree an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan that builds on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and secures additional benefits for British businesses.

HM Government will make sure that our new agreements and our future trade policy promote the interests of the whole of the United Kingdom, our Crown Dependencies, and our Overseas Territories – including Gibraltar.

My Department is are committed to representing the interests of our Overseas Territories in our international trade agreements and we are working closely with Gibraltar as we progress negotiations.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to increase the level of trade with Caribbean countries.

The UK and thirteen CARIFORUM States have signed the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a development-focused trade agreement that will come into effect at the end of the transition period agreed between the EU and UK.

Through future dialogue under the EPA we will seek to encourage the creation of stable business environments that promote trade and investment between the UK and Caribbean, whilst being mindful of the specific needs and challenges faced by the Caribbean region.

Our recent Latin America and Caribbean Roadshow took place across five UK regions including Cardiff, Manchester and London to promote trade opportunities to UK companies, including opportunities in the Caribbean. Over 200 companies attended.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to encourage trade between the UK and Caribbean countries.

The UK and thirteen CARIFORUM States have signed the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a development-focused trade agreement that will come into effect at the end of the transition period agreed between the EU and UK.

Through future dialogue under the EPA we will seek to encourage the creation of stable business environments that promote trade and investment between the UK and Caribbean, whilst being mindful of the specific needs and challenges faced by the Caribbean region.

Our recent Latin America and Caribbean Roadshow took place across five UK regions including Cardiff, Manchester and London to promote trade opportunities to UK companies, including opportunities in the Caribbean. Over 200 companies attended.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her Ivory Coast counterpart on a bilateral trade deal.

We are continuing our programme to replicate the effects of existing EU trade agreements with trading partners to ensure continuity for UK businesses following the transition period. This includes the existing EU-Côte d’Ivoire Stepping Stone Economic Partnership Agreement and engagement is ongoing to replicate this agreement.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions her Department has had with the Ivory Coast on a bilateral trade deal.

We are continuing our programme to replicate the effects of existing EU trade agreements with trading partners to ensure continuity for UK businesses following the transition period. This includes the existing EU-Côte d’Ivoire Stepping Stone Economic Partnership Agreement and engagement is ongoing to replicate this agreement.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps the Government has taken to support bilateral trade with Israel.

Her Majesty’s Government is deeply committed to promoting the UK’s trade and business ties with Israel, a vital element of the flourishing partnership between the two countries. In 2019, the total value of trade between the UK and Israel was £4.7 billion, an increase of 8.3% since 2018, and we want to promote even greater bilateral trade.

The UK and Israel signed the Trade Continuity and Partnership Agreement in February 2019, which keeps trade open following the UK’s exit from the EU. During a call between the Prime Minister and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on 6 February 2020, the two leaders agreed to continue to strengthen our bilateral relationship following the UK’s departure from the EU, including in areas such as trade.

To that end Department for International Trade officials are working with their Israeli counterparts to explore options to host a future UK-Israel Trade and Investment conference in London to identify new opportunities for trade and collaboration, especially around the financial services and technology sectors.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her Rwandan counterpart on a bilateral trade deal.

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act enables the UK to put in place a UK trade preferences scheme for developing countries. This will grant duty-free quota-free access to UK markets for Least Developed Countries, including Rwanda.


The UK looks forward to discussing the possibility of a trade agreement in East Africa with Rwandan partners in the near future.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her Mexican counterpart on bilateral trade deal.

On 9 March 2020 the Government welcomed the Mexican Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Julián Ventura, to London for the ninth UK-Mexico High Level Economic Talks. I also personally met with Under-Secretary Ventura during his visit. These talks reviewed the implementation of the UK-Mexico Partnership for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, which includes our shared ambitions on trade. During the Talks, the UK and Mexico agreed a joint statement reiterating our shared commitment to seek to prevent disruption to preferential trade from the end of the Transition Period on 31 December, and to developing an ambitious future bilateral trading relationship.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions her Department has had with representatives of the Brazilian Government on a bilateral trade deal with that country.

The UK Government places great value on Brazil as an important trading partner. At the end of Q3 2019, UK-Brazil trade was up 11.2%, or £656m, from the four quarters to the end of Q3 2018. We seek to deepen our trading relationship through dialogues such as the Joint Economic and Trade Committee and the Economic and Financial Dialogue. Brazil, along with Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, is part of the Mercosur trading bloc. The EU and Mercosur reached political agreement on a Free Trade Agreement last June. I visited Brazil in August 2019, and we look forward to further discussions with Mercosur partners the best way forward for UK-Mercosur trade relations.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the publication of negotiation objectives for trade deals with Mexico.

The UK is committed to seeking to ensure trade continuity with Mexico after the Transition Period ends on 31 December 2020. We continue to discuss with Mexico how to transition the EU-Mexico Global Agreement so that it functions in a bilateral context from 1 January 2021. In August 2019 my Rt Hon Friend the Foreign Secretary (Dominic Raab) visited Mexico to sign the UK-Mexico Partnership for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth. This Partnership Agreement underlines an intention on behalf of the UK and Mexico to seek an even more ambitious trading relationship in the future.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions her Department has had with the Government of Tanzania on a bilateral trade deal.

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act enables the UK to put in place a UK trade preferences scheme for developing countries. This will grant duty-free quota-free access to UK markets for Least Developed Countries, including Tanzania.

The UK hopes to discuss the possibility of a trade agreement in East Africa with Tanzanian partners in the near future.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the publication of negotiation objectives for trade deals with China.

We are not currently negotiating a free trade agreement with China. China is an important trading partner for the UK, and we are pursuing increased bilateral trade.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the potential advantages that the British Overseas Territories could provide when negotiating new free trade agreements.

The Overseas Territories are valued constitutional partners, and the UK Government is committed to supporting and representing their interests in future trade policy, including free trade agreements (FTAs). We are engaging with the Overseas Territories to understand how this works in practice and what the possible opportunities may be. I look forward to future discussions with the Overseas Territories regarding their interests and priorities. We are determined that the new FTA’s will work for the whole UK family.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the publication of the negotiation objectives for trade deals with (a) Japan and (b) South Korea.

The Department for International Trade continues to carry out internal processes to prepare for future negotiations with Japan. Both countries have agreed that they will work quickly to build a new economic partnership.

On 22 August 2019, the UK signed a continuity Free Trade Agreement with South Korea. Information about the terms of the agreement is outlined in the Parliamentary report, published on GOV.UK.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the publication of the negotiation objectives for a US trade deal.

A Free Trade Agreement between the US and the UK would represent an important opportunity to deepen the bilateral trade and investment relationship, and set a global benchmark for how two leading, open and mature economies trade with each other.

There are regular conversations with Cabinet colleagues about the UK’s future trading relations once we leave the EU.

As part of our commitment to an open and transparent approach, before negotiations start we will publish our negotiating objectives.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of investing in additional facilities at motorway service stations, to improve working conditions for HGV drivers.

We recognise the important contribution that hauliers make to the nation’s economy and are aware of the concerns expressed by many drivers, operators and residents about the provision and quality of lorry parking in the UK. We are committed to looking at both established and new approaches to increase the provision for improved overnight lorry parking in England, along with developing innovative approaches to provide more capacity.

Through the Department for Transport (DfT) Circular 02/2013 "The Strategic Road Network and the Delivery of Sustainable Development", we ensure that Motorway Service Area operators provide, at a minimum, free short-term parking for up to two hours for all types of vehicle allowing people to take a break, use the facilities and or eat a meal as required.

Building on a 2020 review of lorry parking, the Department continues to engage with key stakeholders to encourage the development of safe, secure and high-quality lorry parking. This includes the sharing of information and good practice, such as overcoming planning barriers to the development of lorry parks, improving standards of security and facilities to improve driver welfare, and exploring the benefits of innovation and new technology.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what criteria must be fulfilled for Pakistan to be moved from the covid-19 red list to the amber list to allow non-essential travel to resume.

Decisions on red list assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account Joint Biosecurity Centre risk assessments of countries and territories, alongside wider public health factors.

Pakistan was removed from the red list from 4am on Wednesday 22 September.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of removing the requirements for covid-19 testing to fly to countries on the green list.

On Friday 17 September, the Government announced a number of significant changes to the international travel system. From 4 October, the current traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries and territories and simplified travel measures for arrivals to England from the rest of the world. The rules for travel from countries and territories not on the red list will depend on an individual’s vaccination status.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help support workers in the aviation industry.

The UK Government recognises the impact COVID-19 has had on the aviation sector. In addition to the unprecedented cross-economy package of support, which included the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which the aviation sector has utilised extensively, we have put in place several measures to help the sector recover and support its workers.

Skills retention and skills fade for highly trained jobs is a key element of the sector’s recovery plan. To support this, we introduced the Aviation Skills Retention Platform (ASRP) in February 2021 to support the retention of skills within the sector, by offering increased visibility of opportunities across the sector. We are also looking to better understand employment trends through vacancy data submitted to the ASRP by employers.

The Department is also working with industry on maximising use of the existing support measures such as DWP’s Flexible Support Fund and Rapid Response Service to support aviation workers at risk of redundancy to stay in employment or move between sectors.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage people to return to commuting by train.

We are working with the rail industry to develop a number of recovery initiatives, focused on restoring passenger confidence in travelling by rail.

We have also launched new national flexible rail tickets, matching modern working habits and saving passengers hundreds of pounds, for commuters across England.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with his American counterparts in the US on re-opening trans-Atlantic travel between the US and UK.

Prime Minster Johnson and President Biden made clear the importance of bringing about the return of safe trans-Atlantic travel as soon as possible. The Government continues to work closely through the joint UK-US Experts’ Working Group to develop meaningful options to ensure the return of safe and sustainable international travel.

The reopening of transatlantic travel to fully vaccinated US passengers travelling to the UK from amber countries reflects the government’s clear ambition to reopen travel and kickstart the economy as we recover from the pandemic.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps he has taken re-opening transatlantic travel between the UK and the US following the establishment of the US UK transatlantic taskforces in June 2021.

Prime Minster Johnson and President Biden made clear the importance of bringing about the return of safe trans-Atlantic travel as soon as possible. The Government continues to work closely through the joint UK-US Experts’ Working Group to develop mea