Barry Sheerman Portrait

Barry Sheerman

Labour (Co-op) - Huddersfield

Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
11th May 2020 - 16th Jan 2021
Children, Schools and Families
9th Nov 2007 - 6th May 2010
Liaison Committee (Commons)
21st Dec 1999 - 6th May 2010
Children, Schools and Families
12th Nov 2007 - 6th May 2010
Education & Skills
16th Jul 2001 - 5th Nov 2007
Education Sub-committee
30th Nov 1999 - 11th May 2001
Education Sub-committee
1st Dec 1999 - 11th May 2001
Shadow Spokesperson (Disabled Peoples' Rights)
1st Jun 1992 - 1st Jun 1994
Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)
1st Jun 1988 - 1st Jun 1992
Shadow Spokesperson (Education and Employment)
1st Jun 1983 - 1st Jun 1988
Public Accounts Committee
14th Apr 1981 - 8th Dec 1983


Oral Question
Monday 25th October 2021
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral Question No. 20
What recent assessment he has made of the role of public health and wellbeing in his Department's levelling-up agenda.
Division Votes
Friday 22nd October 2021
Prayers
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 114 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 3 Noes - 336
Speeches
Wednesday 20th October 2021
Environment Bill

The Minister is being generous and kind in giving way again. Has she seen the experiment in the cities of …

Written Answers
Friday 22nd October 2021
Council Tax: Non-payment
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department holds annual data on the rates of committal proceedings, …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Historical literary documents
That this House recognises the cultural significance of maintaining historical literary documents within the UK for the enjoyment and education …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 15th March 2021
8. Miscellaneous
From 7 May 2020, Chair of the Westminster Commission on Road Air Quality, a limited by guarantee social enterprise. This …
EDM signed
Tuesday 19th October 2021
Ban on trophy hunting imports (No. 2)
That this House express its great sadness at the tragic death of Sir David Amess MP while serving his constituents; …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 10th June 2020
Local Electricity Bill 2019-21
A Bill to enable electricity generators to become local electricity suppliers; and for connected purposes.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Barry Sheerman has voted in 254 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Barry Sheerman 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
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(23 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(13 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
(12 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(16 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Barry Sheerman's debates

Huddersfield Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Huddersfield signature proportion
Petitions with most Huddersfield signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

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


Latest EDMs signed by Barry Sheerman

18th October 2021
Barry Sheerman signed this EDM on Tuesday 19th 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
23rd September 2021
Barry Sheerman signed this EDM on Monday 18th October 2021

Protecting Nature Recovery Areas

Tabled by: Caroline Lucas (Green Party - Brighton, Pavilion)
This House is dismayed by Horsham District Council’s proposed allocation of the Buck Barn site for a new development in its local plan which means that a planned Nature Recovery Area, linking the Knepp Estate with coastal and forest habitats, including St. Leonard’s Forest and Ashdown Forest, to create a …
12 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 6
Liberal Democrat: 4
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Barry Sheerman's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Barry Sheerman, 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.


Barry Sheerman has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Barry Sheerman has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Barry Sheerman



Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 25th March 2015

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 introduce a requirement that a functioning carbon monoxide detector must be installed in residential properties; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Thursday 3rd November 2011

607 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
4 Other Department Questions
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace.

Under the Equality Act 2010 employers have a legal responsibility to take all reasonable steps to protect their employees against workplace sexual harassment. The Government expects employers to take these responsibilities seriously. If they fail, employees can seek advice from Acas and, if necessary, take legal action in an Employment Tribunal.

Last year the Equality and Human Rights Commission, with the Government’s support, published guidance on harassment and sexual harassment at work.

In addition, the Government has consulted on sexual harassment in the workplace, focusing on whether the laws to protect people from harassment at work are operating effectively. We will be setting out the Government’s response to this shortly.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
10th Dec 2020
To ask the right hon. Member for East Hampshire, representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what discussions he has had with (a) Ministers and the (b) House of Commons Commission on the effect of the parliamentary restoration and renewal project on congestion in London.

The Restoration and Renewal Programme is currently creating its business case. Part of this work, once the preferred option has been agreed, will be an environmental assessment on both the construction phase and operations of the restored buildings, where impacts will be assessed and mitigations proposed. To date, no specific conversations have been held on congestion, as the business case work is still in its early stages. The Programme is committed to sustainability and to meeting its environmental obligations.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps he is taking to ensure the accuracy of guidance issue to people planning weddings to (a) protect the finances of those people and minimise disruption to weddings.

Weddings are permitted in places of worship, providing certain public health criteria are met, including an advised maximum number of 30 people in attendance.

Up to date guidance for clergy on weddings and COVID-19 is provided on the Church of England website at: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-08/COVID%2019%20advice%20for%20Clergy%20Conducting%20Weddings%20v5.1.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
19th May 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the Commissioners' timetable is for churches to reopen for baptisms, weddings and funerals following the covid-19 outbreak.

The Church Commissioners do not have responsibility for setting a timetable for the reopening of church buildings for funeral services. Baptisms and weddings cannot at present be celebrated inside church buildings, and the relevant Cabinet Office and MHCLG guidance can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance#contents

Current guidance from the House of Bishops is not to conduct funeral services in church buildings because of widely expressed concerns about parishes having capacity to conduct such funerals safely, including being able to clean churches thoroughly between services to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. This is guidance, not instruction. We are acutely aware of the anguish of those not able to celebrate significant life events such as baptisms, weddings and funerals in their parish church in the current circumstances. The House of Bishops meets regularly to review its guidance which will be updated in line with changing circumstances, and published on the Church of England website.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
24th May 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what proportion of criminal cases have been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service where automatism has been used as a defence in each of the last three years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of any defence employed by defendants in criminal proceedings. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to CPS data summary Quarter 4 2019-2020, what recent assessment he has made of the reasons for the decline in rape prosecutions.

Over the last financial year 2019-20 the charging rate increased by over 10% and there was a 6.2% rise in the volume of rape cases proceeding to prosecution following a decision to charge. Although this is a promising trend which the CPS is seeking to maintain, there is clearly more to be done.

The reasons behind the recent declines in prosecutions are complex and a whole system approach is necessary to address them. There is ongoing work to improve the handling of these sensitive cases and narrow the disparity between offences reported and cases going to court.

In July the CPS published its own rape strategy, the first of its kind for any department. There is also an ongoing cross-Government review of the criminal justice response to rape. This is examining evidence across the system about the causes of the falls in outcomes for rape and identifying solutions to reverse the trend. The CPS is actively engaged in this review and will address any issues raised honestly and openly.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
10th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment he has made of the effect of restraining orders on the career prospects of defendants who have been acquitted.

Restraining orders are civil orders under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, though they may be issued in criminal proceedings. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has not made any assessment of the effect of restraining orders on the career prospects of defendants who have been acquitted. The AGO is not responsible for policy related to assessing the impact of restraining orders, nor is it responsible for the relevant legislation.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
10th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, if he will commission an inquiry into the adequacy of support services for families of victims of dangerous driving during prosecutions for that offence.

Supporting victims and witnesses throughout the criminal justice system is a key priority for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). In cases where death has been caused by dangerous driving the CPS offers an enhanced service to bereaved families, meeting with them at crucial stages of the criminal justice process to explain the anticipated progress of the case and what is to be expected at each court hearing. The CPS commitment to bereaved families is incorporated in the Victims’ Code.

Where a victim or a bereaved family, in a dangerous driving case, is not satisfied with a decision by the CPS not to charge they can seek a review under the CPS Victims Right to Review Scheme. This scheme allows for an independent review of such decisions, which can confirm or overturn them. Bereaved families will be offered a meeting at the end of the review process to discuss the outcome.

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (Victims’ Code) outlines the services victims are entitled to receive, including updates on the progress of their case during an investigation or prosecution. The Government will be consulting shortly on changes to the Victims’ Code, in line with the commitment in its cross-government Victims Strategy.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, if he will undertake a review of the decision by the CPS not to prosecute the driver responsible for the death of 15-year-old school girl Katelyn Dawson.

This is indeed a tragic case and I offer my sincere condolences to Katelyn Dawson’s family and friends. This case has been reviewed multiple times, culminating in an independent review by senior external Counsel which found that the case should not be prosecuted.

The CPS determined not to bring proceedings against the driver of the vehicle as he had passed out at the wheel due to an unforeseeable medical condition. Under the Victim’s Right to Review (VRR), Katelyn’s family asked the CPS to reconsider the decision. The Chief Crown Prosecutor personally reviewed the original decision, as the first stage of the VRR process. The Chief Crown Prosecutor upheld the original decision. The Appeals and Review Unit then reviewed the case. A further independent review was then carried out by a Specialist Prosecutor. Senior Counsel external to the CPS was also instructed due to the highly sensitive nature of the case and the unusual circumstances. This second entirely independent review also concluded that the case should not be prosecuted.

A clear and independent process is already in place to ensure victims’ rights are supported and protected and was fully operative in this case. It would therefore not be right for me to interfere with that independent process.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to strengthen the independence of the Electoral Commission.

The public rightly expects efficient and independent regulation of the electoral system. The Government has proposed a series of measures in the Elections Bill that will facilitate parliamentary scrutiny of the Electoral Commission’s work, while respecting their independence.

The Bill makes provisions for the introduction of a Strategy and Policy Statement that will set out guidance and principles, which the Commission will have to have regard to in the discharge of their functions. The Commission will remain independent and the Statement will not replace or undermine the Commission’s other statutory duties. The Statement will also be subject to statutory consultation with the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, the Commission themself and the Devolved Administrations before being submitted to parliamentary approval. The Statement will not affect the ability of the Commission to undertake enforcement activity as they see fit, having had regard to the Statement, but will ensure greater accountability to Parliament on how the Electoral Commission discharge their functions.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what data his Department holds on the number of people who are employed to work in the arts and design sector.

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)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to conduct an internal review of contracts issued by the Government during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Audit Office has published its report relating to government procurement during the Covid-19 pandemic covering the period up to 31 July 2020. This includes, among other things, an examination of procurement activity during the pandemic and the Government’s management of procurement risks. The report has been scrutinised by the Public Accounts Committee in the usual way.

Government also published the Green Paper consultation on 15 December on reform of the UK’s public procurement regulations. The Green Paper proposals put value for money and transparency at the heart of the new approach, and will cut red tape, reduce bureaucracy and unleash wider social benefits from public money spent on procurement.

Cabinet Office has also conducted some internal work to examine procurements during the pandemic, commissioning an independent expert review of certain communications contracts, the Boardman Review. The report and recommendations have been published on gov.uk.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2021
If he will take steps to help ensure that Ministers make themselves available for select committee evidence sessions.

The Government is absolutely committed to Parliamentary scrutiny, and recognises the important role played by Select Committees.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to combat phishing scams in relation to gov.uk services; and what discussions he has had with search engine providers on screening those scams out of search results.

GOV.UK is the government's website and online brand. We take steps to ensure this is protected so that people can rely on it as a trusted source for information and do not fall victim to phishing scams.

We ensure that government information and services are correctly listed and rank highly in search engine results so that they are easy for people to find and identify as government information and services. When we identify misleading or scam websites, we immediately report them to the search provider as part of our established process on misleading and scam websites.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that retailers financially offset any environmental damage incurred through their operations, including through their vehicle fleets and emissions.

The Government welcomes the efforts of retailers in supporting our transition towards net zero and strengthening our resilience to the impacts of climate change.

The British Retail Consortium have published a Climate Action Roadmap which offers detail on the actions needed for decarbonisation across retail operations, logistics, and supply chains and products.

On 18 August, the Retail Sector Council launched a national online initiative to help small independent retailers (SMEs) cut their carbon footprint and become more environmentally friendly. Green Street is an informative and accessible Hub, built by retailers for retailers to encourage planet friendly shopping.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage the production of electrolytic hydrogen in the UK.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and the Energy White Paper demonstrate a clear commitment to hydrogen, setting an ambition to deliver 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, working alongside partners in industry.

The UK has expertise and assets to support both electrolytic and Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) enabled hydrogen production. By enabling multiple low carbon production routes, we can drive cost effective supply volumes in the 2020s in line with our 2030 5GW ambition, whilst scaling up electrolytic hydrogen.

Support for multiple production routes has underpinned our innovation funding to date and is also part of our policy thinking. The forthcoming UK Hydrogen Strategy will set out what is required to build a hydrogen economy fit for 2030, Carbon Budget 6 and beyond, whilst maximising economic benefits. Alongside this, we will also consult on priority policies including a hydrogen business model, a low carbon hydrogen standard, and the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund. These are designed to support multiple production technologies, including CCUS-enabled and electrolytic hydrogen, and will be targeted at projects that can deploy during the 2020s.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to provide specific support to the night-time economy in (a) Huddersfield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The Government has brought forward a substantial package of financial support for businesses, including those in the night time economy, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included an additional £300 million added to the £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund.  At the Budget, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced further support measures with extensions to the furlough scheme, self-employed support, business grants, and loans.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to support businesses in areas under (a) tier 2 and (b) tier 3 covid-19 restrictions that are affected by (i) curfews and (ii) other restrictions on trading.

Substantial grant support is being made available for businesses that are required to close or which are severely affected by restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives. England is now under country-wide restrictions. Businesses that are required to close will be eligible for grants of up to £1,500 per 14-day period of closure. A further one off grant to closed businesses of up to £9,000 will also be made to support businesses through Spring.

A further £500m is being made available in discretionary support via local authorities on top of £1.1bn already allocated to them in November 2020.

For the period where Tiers 2, 3 and 4 restrictions were applicable in certain local authorities, businesses required to close were eligible for grants of up to £1,500 for each 14-day period of closure. The level of support depended on the rateable value of the business hereditament in question.

For businesses that are not required to close but which are severely affected by the restrictions, further funding has been made available to local authorities to provide discretionary grants via the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open). This funding is available to local authorities in all tier 2 and tier 3 areas.

In recognition of the particular challenge faced by wet-led pubs in tier 2, tier 3 and tier 4 over the Christmas period, an additional £1,000 grant is being paid.

This grant support is part of a substantial package of support for businesses. The Coronavirus Job Retention has been extended until April 2021 and the deadlines for the government’s business loan schemes has been extended until the end of January 2021 giving businesses an additional 2 months to make applications.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what fiscal steps he is taking to support the recovery of steel supply chains affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

We have been working with companies across the steel sector and its supply chains to ensure that they can access the unprecedented package of support measures the Government have made available during this challenging time. This includes Government-backed finance through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme to help firms keep operating. We have also provided support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended to March 2021 to protect people’s wages and manufacturing jobs across the UK.

In addition, the Government provided, as a lender of last resort, a £30m loan on commercial terms to Celsa, in line with EU State Aid rules.

We will continue to engage regularly with the steel industry and their suppliers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of energy comes from wind power in the UK.

In 2019, electricity generated by wind power accounted for 2.9 per cent of total energy consumption[1],[2] and 19.8 per cent of total electricity generation[3] in the UK.

[1] Total inland energy consumption is published in DUKES 1.1.1 at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-chapter-1-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

[2] Total consumption of wind power is published in DUKES 6.6 at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/renewable-sources-of-energy-chapter-6-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

[3] Wind’s percentage share of electricity generation is published in Energy Trends 6.1 at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-section-6-renewables

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to improve the efficiency of wind power.

The Offshore Wind sector is driving forward a range of innovations to improve efficiency and bring down costs, and my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has recently announced the UK's ambition to have 40GW of wind power by 2030.

Through our Energy Innovation Programme we have supported cutting edge companies such as providing Edinburgh based, ACT Blade, £1.46m to design, engineer and manufacture a prototype extra light-weight blade for offshore wind use.

As set out in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, wind is one of our key priorities under our new £1 billion Net Zero Innovation programme.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy, what recent environmental impact assessments have been undertaken on the effect of wind power on the (a) land and b) sea environments.

Offshore and onshore wind developers are required to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment as part of any planning application. The Environmental Impact Assessment affords protection to the environment by ensuring that the planning authority considers any significant effects as part of the decision-making process and that the local community are informed of any impacts.

For onshore wind projects in England, the local authority is the primary decision maker for all sizes of schemes. We introduced planning tests in 2015 that ensure that local communities have the final say on onshore wind farm developments. This means that a local community can raise concerns based on the publicly available information in the Environmental Impact Assessment, and a development cannot be granted permission if these concerns have not been addressed. Copies of Environmental Impact Assessments are usually available on local authority websites.

Planning applications for offshore wind projects in England and Wales above 100MW capacity are determined by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime. In respect of the Secretary of State’s decisions on applications for development consent made so far in 2020, Environmental Impact Assessments were carried out on the Thanet Extension Offshore Wind Farm and the Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm, details of which are available on The Planning Inspectorate’s website - https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/

In addition, Defra has undertaken strategic assessments of the environmental impacts of offshore wind developments, including assessments of cabling impacts, floating wind technologies and underwater noise. Given the Government’s ambitions for offshore wind, Defra is working closely with other Government bodies, the Crown Estate, industry and wider stakeholders to prepare for and mitigate against the environmental impacts of growth in this sector. Included in this is the Offshore Wind Enabling Actions programme, a £4.3m action programme to be jointly run by Defra and BEIS to deliver upon its aims.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to increase the use of wind as a major power source in the UK.

On 6 October, the Government set out its plans for a Green Recovery, which ?included?an increased ambition of?40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 which would include as part of the 40GW a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1GW of energy by 2030 - over 15 times the current volumes worldwide.??This plan will help to build a world-leading offshore wind industry with the ability to generate more power by 2030 from offshore wind than every home in the UK uses now, and bring new jobs and growth to our ports and coastal regions.

In March, the Government announced the inclusion of onshore wind in the next Contracts for Difference allocation round, which is scheduled to open in late 2021 and which will aim to support double the capacity of renewable energy compared to the last round. On 24th November, the Government published a response to a consultation on proposed amendments to the Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme for the next allocation round. This confirmed a series of amendments to the CfD scheme so that it may continue to support the deployment of low carbon electricity generation, including the creation of a new auction pot for offshore wind projects, and the introduction of floating offshore wind as an eligible technology class.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State 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 meet with representatives of the PUMPITUP! heat pump campaign to discuss support for heat pump projects across a range of industries.

Heat pumps will play a vital role in decarbonising heat in the UK. I have already asked BEIS officials to meet with representatives of the Pump it Up Campaign to discuss support for heat pump projects further.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support (a) night clubs, (b) music venues and (c) other businesses in the night time service sector by providing financial relief commensurate with the longevity of the period that they have had to remain closed during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government have put in place an unprecedented package of financial support to help businesses, including those in the hospitality and leisure sector, with the support they need during this difficult time of the covid-19 outbreak. Measures included deferring VAT payments for 3 months to support businesses with cashflow during the outbreak and extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until October.

We are committed to reopening creative businesses, including music venues, as soon as it is safe to do so. On 9 July, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced that from 11 July outdoor arts performances – including theatres, opera, dance and music – will be able to resume provided they are covid-secure.

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 steps her Department is taking to ensure suitable flexible working arrangements for people with disabilities in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work. For example, Access to Work is continuing to provide support for people with a disability or health condition whether they are working in the workplace or are working from home.

Currently the Government advice is that people should be working from home where it is possible to do so. Employers have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers including making reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage.

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

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure the (a) financial sustainability and (b) growth of the hospitality sector after the covid-19 outbreak subsides.

The Government is engaging with representatives from across the hospitality sector to help ensure its financial sustainability after the current Covid-19 outbreak. Work is progressing to develop guidance following consultation with representatives from the industry to allow the sector to reopen and return to trading in a Covid-secure way. As my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has already announced, the Government’s Job Retention Scheme has been extended until October in order to support businesses through the reopening phase.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that all employers are obligated to protect people with diabetes in their return to work following the covid-19 lockdown.

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)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure the (a) reliability and (b) continuity of postal service during the covid-19 outbreak and (c) the protection of postal service workers.

The postal service plays an important role in helping to mitigate the impacts of coronavirus on individuals, families, and businesses up and down the country.

Royal Mail has well-established contingency plans to mitigate disruption to postal services overseen by Ofcom, the independent regulator. Royal Mail continues to work closely with Ofcom to do everything it can to maintain service levels during this period.

Safety of workers is the number one priority for the Government. The Government is clear that we will support people in work during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are regularly engaging with industry stakeholders to ensure they are aware of the latest guidance.

Postal operators should make sure they put appropriate measures in place to follow the latest public health guidance and the legal obligations set out under health and safety legislation to protect their staff at work. Postal workers should continue to follow the advice of their employers and make sensible workplace adjustments.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend the business loan scheme to ensure that dental practices are able to access financial support where necessary.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is open to eligible businesses operating in most sectors, including dental practices.

In order to be eligible for the CBILS, businesses must:

  • Be UK-based in their business activity, with annual turnover of no more than £45m;
  • Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the current pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender;
  • Self-certify that they have been adversely impacted by the Coronavirus; and
  • Derive more than 50% of their income from trading activity.
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 plans to take to support small travel agencies facing financial difficulties as a result of cancellations, refunds and loss of income during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the extremely difficult circumstances many businesses are currently facing. The Government has launched an unprecedented set of support measures. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) offers financial support to smaller businesses that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Firms with a turnover of up to £45 million can apply for a loan, invoice finance, asset finance or overdraft of up to £5 million for up to six years.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the effect of the Industrial Strategy on the protection of intellectual property.

The Government wants the UK to be the most innovative economy in the world and be the best place in which to start and grow a business. The UK’s world-leading IP framework has a key role to play in this.

As part of the Industrial Strategy the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) carried out a call for views seeking ways to maximise the incentives of the IP system to stimulate collaborative and increase licensing opportunities for IP rights. A number of interventions were implemented as a result to ensure that the IP framework continues to underpin and support the UK’s innovation economy.

The IPO has made it a priority to explore the opportunities and challenges posed by emerging technologies and has also worked with industry to address issues outlined in the Sector deals such as that of the Creative Industries. In addition, the IPO has been working to integrate IP into the developing Local Industrial Strategies under the Place Foundation.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons a Patent application takes a minimum of two years to be examined and granted.

We recognise the need to offer a timely service to those who need it, alongside a flexible service that allows applicants to develop their technology as their patent application progresses. We also offer a prompt grant option.

Applicants have up to two years to request examination of their application; they can request to accelerate their application if a suitable reason is provided, enabling a patent to be examined and granted in less than a year.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will include a policy on reducing the effect of carbon monoxide poisoning in the updated Fuel Poverty Strategy for England; and if she will make a statement.

The Government takes the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home seriously and is taking steps to raise awareness of and tackle these risks. A summary of Government activities can be seen at www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/cross-government-group.htm.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can affect families at any income level. We are grateful for the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group’s response to our consultation on updating the fuel poverty strategy. We are currently considering all responses to the consultation and we will publish a Government response in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps is she taking to ensure that fossil fuel advertisements are properly regulated.

Advertising in the UK is regulated through the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) and Ofcom. There are two main codes of practice for advertisers to uphold in the UK, these are the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice Codes (CAP and BCAP codes).

The most relevant sections of the code(s) are social responsibility, misleading advertising and offence. Section 11 of the CAP code covers Environmental Claims and cites rules around making sure communications are clear, quantifiable and ​substantive.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of hosting a festival to celebrate the design sector in Britain.

We recognise the important contribution of the design sector and we are working closely with the Design Council and the Design Business Association to explore further showcasing opportunities and their potential merits. The design sector has already had a number of great showcase events, including the Design Council’s recent webinars with industry experts.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the creative industries do not suffer from skills shortages.

As the creative sector continues to grow and build back better from the pandemic, this Government understands the importance of ensuring that the creative industries do not suffer from skills shortages. That is why the Government has supported initiatives to boost training and employment opportunities in these sectors.

At this year’s Budget, the Chancellor announced a new £7m pilot fund to test ‘flexi-job’ apprenticeships, which will better suit the working practices of the creative industries and enable more young people to enter the workforce. This builds on the DCMS-funded ScreenSkills Apprenticeship Pilot with Netflix and Warner Media, relaunching this Summer with apprentices working across multiple productions and employers. DCMS also supports the industry-led Creative Careers Programme, which has to date showcased creative career pathways to over 115,000 pupils at over 1500 schools across England, as well as the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme through which over 8000 creative industry placements are now available to young people across the country. DCMS has also commissioned the British Film Institute to undertake a UK Skills Review this year, into the skills needs of our world-leading screen industries.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support the recovery of the arts and design sector from the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.

The £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) has benefited the arts and design sector by providing support to organisations and businesses of all sizes, allowing them to stay open and continue operating where COVID restrictions permit. Over £1.2 billion has now been allocated to over 5000 organisations and sites across the country.

A further £300 million package, announced by the Chancellor at the Budget in March, represents the final tranche of funding for the CRF, and will focus on supporting organisations in distress due to the pandemic. The fund will be open to new applicants as well as previous CRF recipients.

The package is made up of several strands, including £218 million for an emergency fund for organisations who are at risk of ceasing to trade viably within 12 weeks and have not been supported by the CRF (unless by exception previous recipients require emergency support); a continuity fund offering support for those who have been previous recipients but now may be struggling to survive/reopen; a £35 million heritage stimulus fund to support essential capital projects; and £20 million for the Cultural Asset Fund.

The Government continues to keep all support and policies under review, and is in close contact with these sectors to understand the challenges they face.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of prioritising the arts and design sector as part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.

Levelling Up is a priority for this government, and the arts and design sectors are an essential component of this agenda. Investing in locally-led cultural, creative and heritage initiatives is even more important as we recover from the impact of Covid-19 and begin to build back better. We are committed to helping all places across the country to prosper and to unleash their full potential through levelling up those places that have not seen the full benefits of economic growth so far.

For example, we have recently launched the Cultural Investment Fund package, a landmark investment in cultural infrastructure, local museums and neighbourhood libraries. This will make £42 million of much-needed predominantly capital investment available this year across three streams.

Additionally, in March this year, the Government launched a new Levelling Up Fund worth £4bn for England. This will invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities and will support economic recovery. This includes investment in high value local projects, regenerating eyesores, upgrading town centres and community infrastructure, and local arts and culture.

Later this year the Government will publish a Levelling Up White Paper setting out how new policy interventions will improve livelihoods across the country as we recover from the pandemic.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate his Department has made of the contribution of the arts and design sector to the economy.

The most recent data available from the DCMS Provisional Sector Economic Estimates shows that the arts sub sector contributed £7.9bn GVA in 2019, while the GVA of the design and designer fashion subsector was £3.6bn.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what preparatory steps he is taking in advance of the mid-term review of the Royal Charter for the continuance of the BBC; what timeline has been set out for those preparations over the next 12 months; and whether terms of reference have been drafted for that review which will be made publicly available.

The Royal Charter sets out that the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport must determine the scope and terms of reference (including the timing) of the review following consultation with the BBC, Ofcom, the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers and the Northern Ireland Ministers.

The Mid-Term Review must not be undertaken before 2022 but the government has been clear that preparatory work will begin immediately.

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the terms of reference for the mid-term review of the Royal Charter for the continuance of the BBC.

The Royal Charter sets out that the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport must determine the scope and terms of reference (including the timing) of the review following consultation with the BBC, Ofcom, the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers and the Northern Ireland Ministers.

The Mid-Term Review must not be undertaken before 2022 but the government has been clear that preparatory work will begin immediately.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to reduce misinformation on social media.

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle it. In response to the harmful disinformation and misinformation relating to Covid-19 we stood up the Cross-Whitehall Counter Disinformation Unit on 5 March 2020, which brings together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities.

We are working with social media platforms to support the introduction of systems and processes that promote authoritative sources of information, and to help them identify and take action to remove misinformation, in line with their terms and conditions.

We have seen positive steps taken by social media platforms to curtail the spread of harmful and misleading narratives related to Covid-19 and promote the Government and NHS messaging on the matter. However, there is clearly more to do, and we will continue to put pressure on platforms to ensure that their policies and enforcement are fit for purpose, whilst still respecting freedom of expression.

The Online Safety Bill will bring in a new legal duty of care on how online companies will work in practice, giving them new responsibilities towards their users. The Bill will tackle dangerous disinformation and misinformation, such as misleading content about coronavirus vaccines, and will help bridge the gap between what companies say they do to address harmful content, and what happens in practice.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to decriminalise non-payment of the TV licence fee.

The government believes that it is right to look again at whether the criminal sanction remains appropriate for TV licence fee evasion, given ongoing concerns about whether the criminal sanction is unfair and disproportionate.

On 5 February 2020, the Government launched a public consultation on decriminalising TV licence evasion.

The consultation closed on 1 April, and received over 150,000 responses. We will listen carefully to those that have responded before setting out our next steps.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure the transparency of the process by which funds are allocated through the Dormant Accounts Scheme.

Funding unlocked through the Dormant Assets Scheme is distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF). Each nation in the UK directs TNLCF on how to distribute its allocation of the funding to social or environmental causes. In England, it is directed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and must be spent on causes related to youth, financial inclusion, or social investment. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Ministers direct funding to various youth and environmental initiatives. For example, the Welsh government has spent over £2m on a mix of projects focussing on climate change and sustainability.

The Government will soon publish a response to the consultation on expanding the Dormant Assets Scheme to include a wider range of financial assets. This is a long term process, also involving discussion on how potential future dormant assets funding could be spent.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of funds from the Dormant Account Scheme has been allocated to environmental causes in each year since that scheme’s creation.

Funding unlocked through the Dormant Assets Scheme is distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF). Each nation in the UK directs TNLCF on how to distribute its allocation of the funding to social or environmental causes. In England, it is directed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and must be spent on causes related to youth, financial inclusion, or social investment. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Ministers direct funding to various youth and environmental initiatives. For example, the Welsh government has spent over £2m on a mix of projects focussing on climate change and sustainability.

The Government will soon publish a response to the consultation on expanding the Dormant Assets Scheme to include a wider range of financial assets. This is a long term process, also involving discussion on how potential future dormant assets funding could be spent.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to increase the proportion of funds from the Dormant Account Scheme that are required to be allocated to environmental causes.

Funding unlocked through the Dormant Assets Scheme is distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF). Each nation in the UK directs TNLCF on how to distribute its allocation of the funding to social or environmental causes. In England, it is directed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and must be spent on causes related to youth, financial inclusion, or social investment. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Ministers direct funding to various youth and environmental initiatives. For example, the Welsh government has spent over £2m on a mix of projects focussing on climate change and sustainability.

The Government will soon publish a response to the consultation on expanding the Dormant Assets Scheme to include a wider range of financial assets. This is a long term process, also involving discussion on how potential future dormant assets funding could be spent.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of gambling advertising in football on the wellbeing of young people.

As set out in answer to questions 73904 and 73907, gambling advertising and sponsorship, including around football, must be socially responsible and must not be targeted at children. The Government assessed the evidence on advertising in its Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, the full response to which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-proposals-for-changes-to-gaming-machines-and-social-responsibility-measures.

Since then, in March this year, the charity GambleAware has published the final report of a major piece of research into the effect of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable people. That study found that exposure to advertising was associated with an openness to gamble in the future amongst children and young people aged 11-24 who did not currently gamble. It also found that there were other factors that correlated more closely with current gambling behaviour amongst those groups, including peer and parental gambling. It did not suggest a causal link between exposure to gambling advertising and problem gambling in later life.

Operators are required both by law and by the conditions of their licence from the Gambling Commission to prevent underage gambling. In May 2019 the Gambling Commission introduced new rules that require online gambling businesses to verify the age of customers before they can deposit money, gamble, or access play-for-free versions of gambling games. The Gambling Commission provides support to licensing authorities, local police and trading standards who undertake test purchasing to monitor compliance with minimum age rules in the land based sector, and is working with local authorities and the hospitality sector to improve the enforcement of legal age requirements on the use of gaming machines in pubs.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce gambling-related harm during the covid-19 outbreak.

Gambling operators providing facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and must abide by strict player protection requirements. In response to the Covid outbreak, the Commission strengthened its guidance for online operators to include increased customer interactions, a ban on direct marketing of bonus offers or promotions to customers showing vulnerabilities, and a ban on operators allowing customers to reverse decisions to withdraw winnings. Data published by the Gambling Commission indicates that the majority of people spent the same amount or less on gambling during lockdown (83%) or since (90%) than they had before the Covid-19 period, but we continue to monitor the evidence in this area.

People who self-exclude through either individual or multi-operator self-exclusion schemes should not be able to end their exclusion before the minimum period they requested when they signed up has elapsed. Operators who knowingly allow customers who have self-excluded to gamble are in breach of their licence conditions and risk sanction by the Gambling Commission. GAMSTOP, the national online self exclusion scheme, gathers data on the number of requests it receives from people who want to cancel their self-exclusion early, even though these requests are not granted. Prior to lockdown on 23rd March 2020, an average of 1,000 requests to cancel registrations early per month were received by GAMSTOP, although these may not all have been from unique individuals. During the first two weeks of lockdown, 400 requests per week were received. This number stabilised thereafter, and for the months of May and June 2020 the average number of requests returned to approximately 1,000 per month. More than 160,000 people have now registered with GAMSTOP.

From 23rd March all land-based gambling facilities were closed, with betting shops reopening from 15th June, arcades and bingo remaining closed until 4th July and casinos remaining closed until 15th August.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the number of people revoking their self-exclusions to gambling during the covid-19 outbreak.

Gambling operators providing facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and must abide by strict player protection requirements. In response to the Covid outbreak, the Commission strengthened its guidance for online operators to include increased customer interactions, a ban on direct marketing of bonus offers or promotions to customers showing vulnerabilities, and a ban on operators allowing customers to reverse decisions to withdraw winnings. Data published by the Gambling Commission indicates that the majority of people spent the same amount or less on gambling during lockdown (83%) or since (90%) than they had before the Covid-19 period, but we continue to monitor the evidence in this area.

People who self-exclude through either individual or multi-operator self-exclusion schemes should not be able to end their exclusion before the minimum period they requested when they signed up has elapsed. Operators who knowingly allow customers who have self-excluded to gamble are in breach of their licence conditions and risk sanction by the Gambling Commission. GAMSTOP, the national online self exclusion scheme, gathers data on the number of requests it receives from people who want to cancel their self-exclusion early, even though these requests are not granted. Prior to lockdown on 23rd March 2020, an average of 1,000 requests to cancel registrations early per month were received by GAMSTOP, although these may not all have been from unique individuals. During the first two weeks of lockdown, 400 requests per week were received. This number stabilised thereafter, and for the months of May and June 2020 the average number of requests returned to approximately 1,000 per month. More than 160,000 people have now registered with GAMSTOP.

From 23rd March all land-based gambling facilities were closed, with betting shops reopening from 15th June, arcades and bingo remaining closed until 4th July and casinos remaining closed until 15th August.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the accessibility of gambling to people who are under the legal age for that activity.

As set out in answer to questions 73904 and 73907, gambling advertising and sponsorship, including around football, must be socially responsible and must not be targeted at children. The Government assessed the evidence on advertising in its Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, the full response to which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-proposals-for-changes-to-gaming-machines-and-social-responsibility-measures.

Since then, in March this year, the charity GambleAware has published the final report of a major piece of research into the effect of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable people. That study found that exposure to advertising was associated with an openness to gamble in the future amongst children and young people aged 11-24 who did not currently gamble. It also found that there were other factors that correlated more closely with current gambling behaviour amongst those groups, including peer and parental gambling. It did not suggest a causal link between exposure to gambling advertising and problem gambling in later life.

Operators are required both by law and by the conditions of their licence from the Gambling Commission to prevent underage gambling. In May 2019 the Gambling Commission introduced new rules that require online gambling businesses to verify the age of customers before they can deposit money, gamble, or access play-for-free versions of gambling games. The Gambling Commission provides support to licensing authorities, local police and trading standards who undertake test purchasing to monitor compliance with minimum age rules in the land based sector, and is working with local authorities and the hospitality sector to improve the enforcement of legal age requirements on the use of gaming machines in pubs.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of gambling services on the high street in the last 10 years.

Between 2011, the earliest year for which we have complete figures, and September 2019, there was a 21% decrease in the number of bingo, arcade, casino and betting shop premises. A year-by-year breakdown is provided in the accompanying table.

According to data from the 2016 combined Health Surveys, 3% of adults in Great Britain played online slots, casino and bingo games, and 9.2% of those were considered problem gamblers. In the Health Survey for England 2018, 4% played those products, with a problem gambling rate of 8.5%. The Gambling Commission recently completed a consultation on new measures to make online slots safer. Those proposals included a minimum spin speed to reduce the maximum speed of play and banning split screen play which allowed multiple games to be played simultaneously. The Commission will publish its response to the consultation in the coming months.

The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age and further details will be announced in due course.

Table: Land-based gambling premises numbers

Year to

Total

Arcades

Betting

Bingo

Casino

31/03/2011

12,307

2,396

9,067

695

149

31/03/2012

12,462

2,542

9,128

646

146

31/03/2013

11,957

2,033

9,100

680

144

31/03/2014

11,999

2,031

9,111

710

147

31/03/2015

11,758

1,941

8,995

674

148

31/03/2016

11,615

1,894

8,915

654

152

31/03/2017

11,404

1,819

8,800

635

150

31/03/2018

11,069

1,701

8,559

657

152

31/03/2019

10,781

1,656

8,320

651

154

30/09/2019

9,745

1,633

7,315

642

155

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to reduce the prevalence rate for problem gambling on online slots, casino and bingo games.

Between 2011, the earliest year for which we have complete figures, and September 2019, there was a 21% decrease in the number of bingo, arcade, casino and betting shop premises. A year-by-year breakdown is provided in the accompanying table.

According to data from the 2016 combined Health Surveys, 3% of adults in Great Britain played online slots, casino and bingo games, and 9.2% of those were considered problem gamblers. In the Health Survey for England 2018, 4% played those products, with a problem gambling rate of 8.5%. The Gambling Commission recently completed a consultation on new measures to make online slots safer. Those proposals included a minimum spin speed to reduce the maximum speed of play and banning split screen play which allowed multiple games to be played simultaneously. The Commission will publish its response to the consultation in the coming months.

The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age and further details will be announced in due course.

Table: Land-based gambling premises numbers

Year to

Total

Arcades

Betting

Bingo

Casino

31/03/2011

12,307

2,396

9,067

695

149

31/03/2012

12,462

2,542

9,128

646

146

31/03/2013

11,957

2,033

9,100

680

144

31/03/2014

11,999

2,031

9,111

710

147

31/03/2015

11,758

1,941

8,995

674

148

31/03/2016

11,615

1,894

8,915

654

152

31/03/2017

11,404

1,819

8,800

635

150

31/03/2018

11,069

1,701

8,559

657

152

31/03/2019

10,781

1,656

8,320

651

154

30/09/2019

9,745

1,633

7,315

642

155

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 he is taking to ensure clarity on the guidance for choirs and choral societies who wish to meet and rehearse during the covid-19 outbreak.

As of 14 September non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than six at any time. If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than six (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.

We will continue to work with the Performing Arts sector to understand how the new regulations affect those engaging in activity. We have always been clear that the easing of restrictions depends on the prevalence of COVID-19.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to protect jobs in cultural industries.

In March, the Government implemented an unprecedented package to support businesses, charitable organisations, workers and the self-employed through the Coronavirus crisis. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and business rates relief in particular are providing support to organisations across the arts sector. CBILS for example, has made it easier for SMEs with a turnover of up to £45 million to access vital financial support during these difficult times.

The extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was announced in May, which was extended to the end of July, with more flexibility being introduced from August to October.

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

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

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance his Department has published on swimming pools reopening during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and we agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by an understanding of the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will hold discussions with representatives of the BBC on reinstating the TV licence concession for the over-75s.

The Secretary of State has met with the Chairman of the BBC Board and the Director-General of the BBC and asked them to do more to help those affected by its decision

The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those aged over 75 and in receipt of Pension Credit.

We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe that they should be funded by the BBC.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that students can continue to undertake 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 Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a compulsory sustainability component to the national curriculum.

Topics related to sustainability and the environment are covered in the National Curriculum. This National Curriculum is mandatory in all state maintained schools, whilst academies are required to follow a broad and balanced curriculum as exemplified by the National Curriculum. Teachers have the flexibility and freedom to determine how they deliver the content in the way that best meets the needs of their pupils and can choose to cover particular topics in greater depth if they wish.

Topics related to the climate, the environment and sustainability issues are covered in the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. In both subjects, at Key Stages 1 and 2, pupils are taught about seasons and habitats, as well as covering climate zones and how environments can change. Secondary geography includes study of the climate, how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. In science at Key Stages 3 and 4, pupils study climate and ecosystems in biology and chemistry, including how human interaction with ecosystems impacts on biodiversity.

In 2017, the Department introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable pupils to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

Pupils also cover content on the environment in citizenship education which has been a compulsory subject in maintained schools since 2002. Pupils are taught what improves and harms the environment, and how economic choices affect sustainability.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage universities to introduce air health education into relevant degree programmes.

Education regarding air quality is a very important matter, and I expect our world leading higher education (HE) providers to respond to student interest and consider potential demand from employers for skills and knowledge, given the increasing importance of this issue. HE providers are autonomous and independent bodies, and it is the decision of providers what they teach.

The English Higher Education regulator, the Office for Students (OfS), provides grant funding to support the teaching of high-cost subjects, which includes medical and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Further details can be found here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/skills-and-employment/supporting-stem-subjects/.

The Strategic Priorities Grant (formerly the HE Teaching Grant) will play an important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has asked the OfS to reform the grant for the 2021-22 financial year, to ensure more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, STEM and other subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of increased funding for arts and design in the Higher Education sector.

This government values and supports the arts throughout the education system. For example, we have invested over £620 million from 2016-21 in a diverse portfolio of arts and music education programmes to ensure all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality education in arts and music.

This government also supports substantial provision for creative arts in the higher education sector. In 2020-21, £690 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding (then referred to as the Teaching Grant) was provided, via the Office for Students (OfS), for high-cost subject funding which includes art and design courses. A further £43 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding was provided to specialist providers including top music and arts institutions. Further information on provider-level allocations can be found within the OfS’s guide to funding for 2020-21, available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guide-to-funding-2020-21/ and https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/funding-for-providers/annual-funding/technical-guidance-and-funding-data/ in the document '2020-21 Sector tables (October 2020)'.

The government has asked the OfS to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for 2021-22. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs. We have considered the impact of the reforms, which can be found in the annex in the guidance letter, sent by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, to the OfS on 19 January. The OfS had also published their modelling of impacts alongside their recent consultation document on 2021-22 funding.

One of our proposals is for a 50% reduction in the rate of high-cost subject funding, which is one element of the wider Strategic Priorities Grant, for some subjects in order to enable this reprioritisation. It is important to note that the Strategic Priorities Grant accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total income of higher education providers today. For the providers losing funding due to this reallocation, the income lost would account for approximately 0.05% of their estimated total income, based on the latest data available.

As part of the same reform programme, we have asked the OfS to invest an additional £10 million in our world-leading specialist providers, many of which specialise in arts provision. We want to ensure that our specialist providers receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS have publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on 2021-22 allocations are made. Decisions on future funding will be made in light of the Spending Review.

Higher education providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government. As such, they are responsible for their own admissions decisions. They are also responsible for their own decisions on staffing. They should make these decisions according to their own operational needs and the needs of their wider staff and student community.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an estimate of the potential impact of the planned reduction in funding for arts and design courses on student intake numbers for those courses in the Higher Education sector in the next five years.

This government values and supports the arts throughout the education system. For example, we have invested over £620 million from 2016-21 in a diverse portfolio of arts and music education programmes to ensure all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality education in arts and music.

This government also supports substantial provision for creative arts in the higher education sector. In 2020-21, £690 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding (then referred to as the Teaching Grant) was provided, via the Office for Students (OfS), for high-cost subject funding which includes art and design courses. A further £43 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding was provided to specialist providers including top music and arts institutions. Further information on provider-level allocations can be found within the OfS’s guide to funding for 2020-21, available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guide-to-funding-2020-21/ and https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/funding-for-providers/annual-funding/technical-guidance-and-funding-data/ in the document '2020-21 Sector tables (October 2020)'.

The government has asked the OfS to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for 2021-22. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs. We have considered the impact of the reforms, which can be found in the annex in the guidance letter, sent by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, to the OfS on 19 January. The OfS had also published their modelling of impacts alongside their recent consultation document on 2021-22 funding.

One of our proposals is for a 50% reduction in the rate of high-cost subject funding, which is one element of the wider Strategic Priorities Grant, for some subjects in order to enable this reprioritisation. It is important to note that the Strategic Priorities Grant accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total income of higher education providers today. For the providers losing funding due to this reallocation, the income lost would account for approximately 0.05% of their estimated total income, based on the latest data available.

As part of the same reform programme, we have asked the OfS to invest an additional £10 million in our world-leading specialist providers, many of which specialise in arts provision. We want to ensure that our specialist providers receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS have publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on 2021-22 allocations are made. Decisions on future funding will be made in light of the Spending Review.

Higher education providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government. As such, they are responsible for their own admissions decisions. They are also responsible for their own decisions on staffing. They should make these decisions according to their own operational needs and the needs of their wider staff and student community.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an estimate of the projected number of educators teaching arts and design courses employed in the Higher Education sector in the next five years.

This government values and supports the arts throughout the education system. For example, we have invested over £620 million from 2016-21 in a diverse portfolio of arts and music education programmes to ensure all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality education in arts and music.

This government also supports substantial provision for creative arts in the higher education sector. In 2020-21, £690 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding (then referred to as the Teaching Grant) was provided, via the Office for Students (OfS), for high-cost subject funding which includes art and design courses. A further £43 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding was provided to specialist providers including top music and arts institutions. Further information on provider-level allocations can be found within the OfS’s guide to funding for 2020-21, available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guide-to-funding-2020-21/ and https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/funding-for-providers/annual-funding/technical-guidance-and-funding-data/ in the document '2020-21 Sector tables (October 2020)'.

The government has asked the OfS to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for 2021-22. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs. We have considered the impact of the reforms, which can be found in the annex in the guidance letter, sent by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, to the OfS on 19 January. The OfS had also published their modelling of impacts alongside their recent consultation document on 2021-22 funding.

One of our proposals is for a 50% reduction in the rate of high-cost subject funding, which is one element of the wider Strategic Priorities Grant, for some subjects in order to enable this reprioritisation. It is important to note that the Strategic Priorities Grant accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total income of higher education providers today. For the providers losing funding due to this reallocation, the income lost would account for approximately 0.05% of their estimated total income, based on the latest data available.

As part of the same reform programme, we have asked the OfS to invest an additional £10 million in our world-leading specialist providers, many of which specialise in arts provision. We want to ensure that our specialist providers receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS have publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on 2021-22 allocations are made. Decisions on future funding will be made in light of the Spending Review.

Higher education providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government. As such, they are responsible for their own admissions decisions. They are also responsible for their own decisions on staffing. They should make these decisions according to their own operational needs and the needs of their wider staff and student community.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing further support to fund apprenticeship placements in the arts and design sector.

We are committed to supporting employers of all sizes to offer apprenticeships, including in the arts and design sectors. In the 2021-22 financial year, we are making available £2.5 billion to support apprenticeships in all employers, irrespective of their size.

There are over 50, employer-designed, apprenticeship standards in the creative and design industry available for employers to use, ranging from a level 3 Costume Performance Technician, to level 4 Media Production co-ordinator and level 7 Storyboard Artists. To support employers in the arts and design and other sectors to offer new apprenticeships, we have increased the incentive payments for employers to £3,000 for each new apprentice they hire as a new employee between 1 April and 30 September 2021.

We are making it easier for employers to make full use of their levy funds. Levy-paying employers can transfer up to 25% of their annual funds to help support apprenticeship starts in their supply chain or to meet local skills needs. In August 2021 we are launching a new online service to match levy payers with small to medium-sized enterprises to simplify the process for employers who pay the levy to be able to pledge funds.

We are also working closely with the creative industries to make apprenticeships more flexible. In July we are launching a £7 million fund to support flexi-job apprenticeships schemes which will help sectors with flexible employment patterns and short-term roles, such as arts and design, to benefit from the high-quality training that apprenticeships can offer its workforce.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage secondary school students to pursue careers in the creative arts sector.

The National Careers Service provides independent, impartial, professional advice on careers, skills and the labour market. This includes around 800 job profiles, including roles in the creative arts sector, that tell users what different careers entail and the different routes to enter those careers. In addition, the Careers & Enterprise Company is ensuring that every young person has access to work placements, work experience and other employer-based activities.

The Government is committed to high quality education for all pupils, including in the arts, and this supports pupils’ choices in terms of further study and careers. Schools are required to teach a broad and balanced curriculum, and this includes promoting pupils' cultural development. The Department has spent over £620 million between 2016 and 2021 on a range of cultural education programmes, which we continue to fund this year. This includes the Model Music Curriculum which supports teachers in delivering high quality music education.

The Department’s programmes support curricular and extra-curricular arts and music education and most have a focus on enabling access and participation in the arts for disadvantaged pupils. For example, this can be achieved through opportunity areas as well as through the pupil premium targeted at disadvantaged pupils across the country. The Government’s flagship Music and Dance Scheme and Dance and Drama Awards also help to ensure that talented musicians and performers can access the world-class training they need to succeed in acting and dance careers, irrespective of background.

Finally, the Department works closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to support careers in the creative arts. As part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal, DCMS committed £2 million to the Creative Careers Programme in partnership with industry, designed to inspire young people from across the UK to be taught about the range of career opportunities available to them in our world-leading creative industries. Activity is targeted at schools in Opportunity Areas and has reached over 115,000 students at 1,500 state schools across England to date. These schools have also been supported to meet Gatsby benchmarks, enabling them to provide their pupils with high quality careers information, advice and guidance.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the availability of (a) drama, (b) art, (c) music and (d) performing arts GCSEs for secondary school students throughout the country.

The Government is committed to high quality education for all pupils including in the arts. Art & design and music are included in the National Curriculum and remain compulsory in all maintained schools from the age of 5 to 14. Requirements relating to drama are set out within the English curriculum, where all pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Post-14, all pupils in maintained schools must be offered the opportunity to study at least one subject in the arts. All state funded schools must teach a broad and balanced curriculum, and this includes promoting the cultural development of their pupils.

The Department has provided over £620 million of funding between 2016 and 2021 on a diverse range of music and arts education programmes. This includes the Model Music Curriculum which supports teachers in delivering high quality music education. We have committed £79 million in the 2021/22 financial year for Music Education Hubs which provide pupils with instruments to play in class, and £1 million for charities which teach pupils about different styles of music and the Department continues to fund a diverse range of cultural education programmes.

Since 2010, the proportion of pupils in state funded schools taking at least one arts subject has fluctuated across years but remained broadly stable.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department is taking steps to increase the proportion of students opting to study (a) drama, (b) art, (c) music and (d) performing arts GCSEs at secondary school.

The Government is committed to high quality education for all pupils including in the arts. Art & design and music are included in the National Curriculum and remain compulsory in all maintained schools from the age of 5 to 14. Requirements relating to drama are set out within the English curriculum, where all pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Post-14, all pupils in maintained schools must be offered the opportunity to study at least one subject in the arts. All state funded schools must teach a broad and balanced curriculum, and this includes promoting the cultural development of their pupils.

The Department has provided over £620 million of funding between 2016 and 2021 on a diverse range of music and arts education programmes. This includes the Model Music Curriculum which supports teachers in delivering high quality music education. We have committed £79 million in the 2021/22 financial year for Music Education Hubs which provide pupils with instruments to play in class, and £1 million for charities which teach pupils about different styles of music and the Department continues to fund a diverse range of cultural education programmes.

Since 2010, the proportion of pupils in state funded schools taking at least one arts subject has fluctuated across years but remained broadly stable.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many post-16 skills training places have been supported by his Department in (a) Huddersfield and (b) West Yorkshire since 2019.

The attached file contains the number of learners participating on adult (19+) further education and skills, and all age apprenticeships, in the West Yorkshire combined authority and the Huddersfield parliamentary constituency from the 2018/19 academic year onwards. These figures are as published in our further education and skills statistics publication: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/further-education-and-skills.

Data are not available for 16-18 non-apprenticeship learners in the West Yorkshire combined authority and the Huddersfield parliamentary constituency. We publish an overall estimate for the number of 16-18 year olds participating in Education and training in England, which can be found in the attached file. The latest data published is for the academic year 2019/20 with the 2020/21 data scheduled for publication on 24 June 2021.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of his Department’s budget has been spent on providing post-16 skills training in each of the last three years.

14% of the department’s total resource budget has been spent on post-16 education and skills training in each of the financial years 2020-21, 2019-20 and 2018-19. This includes spending on core 16-19 funding, the Adult Education Budget, apprenticeships and other measures to support post-16 education and skills. It excludes spending on higher education and funding for post-16 pupils in schools.

In relation to capital funding, the department is increasing its investment in post-16 education and skills over the next few years. In 2020-21, the department provided £200 million to all further education (FE) colleges to allow them to tackle their remedial condition improvement projects. The FE Capital Transformation Programme will follow up this initial investment over the coming 5 years, investing an additional £1.3 billion in upgrading the FE college estate.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that school leavers have adequate opportunities to undertake post-16 skills training.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to identify and support young people who are not in education, employment and training (NEET).

The September Guarantee places a further duty on local authorities to ensure that all year 11 pupils, and year 12 pupils on one-year courses, receive an offer of a place in education or training for the following September. It aims to ensure that all young people, regardless of what they achieved in school, understand that there are opportunities that will help them to progress, and to ensure that they receive the advice and support they need to find a suitable place.

The government plans to invest over £7 billion during the 2020/21 academic year, to ensure there is a place in education or training for every 16 to 19-year-old who wants one. This includes spend on apprenticeships.

The apprenticeship support and knowledge for schools and further education colleges programme (ASK) provides targeted local and regional support on NEET prevention to raise aspirations of cohorts of young people in areas of disadvantage and support their post-education progression. The ASK provides information on a variety of post-16 options including apprenticeships, traineeships and T Levels.

Traineeships prepare for young people for apprenticeships and work through a combination of sector-focused skills development and work experience. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirmed an additional £126 million for the 2021/22 academic year to fund a further 40,000 traineeship places.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) schools, (b) colleges and (c) universities have sufficient resources to provide effective mental healthcare to students.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is a priority for this government. While education settings cannot provide specialist clinical care, the support schools and colleges are providing to their pupils following the return to face-to-face education should include time devoted to supporting mental health and wellbeing, which will play a fundamental part in supporting recovery. We want schools to have the freedom to decide what wider pastoral and extra-curricular activity to put in place, based on the needs of their pupils and drawing on evidence of effective practice.

We are supporting recovery action with significant additional funding. In June 2021, we announced £1.4 billion of additional funding for education recovery. This is in addition to the £1.7 billion already committed, bringing total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion. The package provides support to children aged 2 to 19 in schools, 16-19 providers and early years. It will expand our reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear our investment will have significant impact: high quality tutoring targeted at those that need it most and high quality training for teachers. The one-off Recovery Premium for state-funded schools will help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a boost to the support, both academic and pastoral, that has been proved most effective in helping them recover from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is in addition to the £650 million catch-up premium shared across state-funded schools over the 2020/21 academic year, which is also supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place. The Education Endowment Foundation have published a COVID-19 support guide to support schools, which includes further information about interventions to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

Our Mental Health in Education Action Group has been looking further at what more can to be done to help education settings support mental wellbeing as part of recovery. The department has recently brought together all its sources of advice or schools and colleges into a single site, which includes signposting to external sources of mental health and wellbeing support for teachers, school staff and school leaders, as well as guidance to support relationships, sex and health education curriculum planning, covering of the key issues children and young people have been concerned about throughout the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mental-health-and-wellbeing-support-in-schools-and-colleges#mental-health-and-wellbeing-resources and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.

On 10 May, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we announced more than £17 million of mental health funding to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges. This includes £9.5 million for up to 7,800 schools to train a senior mental health lead in the next academic year, and £7 million in additional funding for local authorities to deliver the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme. This builds on Wellbeing for Education Return in the 2020/21 academic year, which offered schools in every local authority and reached up to 15,000 schools with free expert training, support and resources for staff dealing with children and young people experiencing additional pressures from the last year, including trauma, anxiety, or grief.

For further education, the College Collaboration Fund (CCF), a £5.4 million national programme of competitive grant funding delivered in the 2020/21 financial year, is helping to support learner and staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support. One of the funded projects was Weston College’s ‘Let’s Chat’ programme, which delivered a number of wellbeing support packages accessible at any time to keep staff, students and their families safe and well during lockdown. We are now assessing bids for the CCF 2 for the 2021/22 financial year.

​With regards to higher education (HE), student mental health and suicide prevention are key priorities for this government. We continue to work closely with the HE sector to promote good practice. We recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. My hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, has engaged with universities on this issue, and has written to Vice Chancellors on numerous occasions during the past year outlining that student welfare should remain a priority. She has also convened a working group of representatives from the HE and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Universities are not only experts in their student population, but also best placed to identify the needs of their student body. The Department for Health and Social Care has overall policy responsibility for young people’s mental health. We continue to work closely with them to take steps to develop mental health and wellbeing support.

We have also increased funding to specialist services. In March, we announced a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, which will include increasing the number of Mental Health Support Teams. The support teams - which provide early intervention on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in schools and colleges - will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children. This increase means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services. In total, £13 million will be used to accelerate progress to support young adults aged 18 to 25. This group includes university students and those not in education or training, who have reported the worst mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 outbreak, and who sometimes fall through the gap between children and adult services.

While it is for HE providers to determine what welfare and counselling services they need to provide to their students to offer that support, the government is proactive in promoting good practice in this area. We continue to work closely with Universities UK on embedding the Stepchange programme within the sector. Stepchange calls on HE leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority and to take a whole-institution approach, embedding it across all policies, cultures, curricula, and practice. The Stepchange programme relaunched in March 2020 as the Mentally Healthy Universities programme. Further information on the programme is available here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/stepchange.

The University Mental Health Charter, announced in June 2018, is backed by the government and led by the HE sector. The charter, developed in collaboration with students, staff and partner organisations, aims to drive up standards of practice, including leadership, early intervention, and data collection. Further information on the charter is available here: https://www.studentminds.org.uk/charter.html.

The department has also worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to provide Student Space, a dedicated mental health and wellbeing platform for students. Student Space has been funded by up to £3 million from the OfS in the 2020/21 academic year. We have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/22 through proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable and hard to reach groups.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools have sufficient resources to support students who are suffering from poor mental health as a result of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The support schools provide to their pupils as they return to face-to-face education should include time devoted to supporting mental health and wellbeing, which will play a fundamental part in supporting children and young people’s recovery. The return to education settings is being supported by a £700 million package, which includes a new one-off Recovery Premium for state primary, secondary and special schools to use as they see best to support disadvantaged students. This will help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a one-off boost to the support, both academic and pastoral, that has been proved most effective in helping them recover from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and can be used for mental health and wellbeing support.

This funding follows our £1 billion COVID “catch-up” package which includes £650 million shared across early years, schools and 16-19 providers over the 2020/21 academic year to support education settings to put the right support in place. This is already being used by schools to put in place additional mental health and wellbeing support.

In addition to this, the department worked with our partners including, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Health Education England and Public Health England to deliver the £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return project, which helped education staff to support the wellbeing and resilience of pupils, students, staff, parents and carers, responding to the immediate pressures of the COVID-19 outbreak. Over 90% of local authority areas have told us how they are delivering additional training and support as a result of Wellbeing for Education Return resources and funding.

We have also recently announced a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, including through Mental Health Support Teams. The support teams – which provide early intervention on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in schools and colleges – will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children. This increase means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services.

The department has convened its Mental Health in Education Action Group, to look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities. It is bringing together partners to take additional action to support mental wellbeing of children and young people with the return to education settings and with transitions between education settings in September 2021. This will include looking at what more we can do to help schools to make the most effective use of recovery premium to support mental health and wellbeing.

On 4 February, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, appointed Dr Alex George as Youth Mental Health Ambassador to advise the government and raise the profile of mental health education and wellbeing in schools, colleges and universities. As Youth Mental Health Ambassador, he will use his clinical expertise as an A&E doctor, as well as personal experience, to champion the government’s work on children’s and young people’s mental health.

We also remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with DHSC and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that private candidates taking A-levels are not disadvantaged by the use of centre assessed grades.

The Department and Ofqual have ensured there is a clear and accessible route for private candidates to receive a grade this year, at the same time as other candidates. On 31 March, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) issued guidance to support centres assessing candidates this year, including specific guidance for private candidates.

Private candidates will work with a centre to be assessed on a range of evidence, as other candidates will be. This evidence could include the use of board-provided assessment materials or evidence created with another established education provider. They will have the same opportunity as other students to be assessed on what they were taught, and centres can conduct assessments remotely if needed. In all cases, the Head of Centre will make sure they have collected sufficient evidence to ensure that they are able to confirm that the grades are a true representation of student performance.

The Department is working with the sector to ensure there are enough centres available to support private candidates. The JCQ have published a list of available centres, giving private candidates the opportunity to find a centre at a similar cost to a normal year.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of issuing guidance to schools on the use of clear face masks which may improve the educational outcomes of children with disabilities.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. We continue to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department has recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. The guidance can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

The system of controls as outlined in our guidance have been developed with PHE to reduce risk in schools, colleges, and nurseries. Implementing the system of controls creates a safer environment for staff and pupils where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. The use of face coverings in recommended circumstances is one element of the system of controls and should be implemented alongside other measures, including maintaining social distancing wherever possible and regular hand washing.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils and students in Year 7 and above are educated, the Department recommends that face coverings should be worn by adults, pupils and students when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

In addition, from 8 March, the Department now also recommends that in schools where pupils and students in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained.

In primary schools, face coverings should be worn by staff and adult visitors where social distancing between adults is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas). Children in primary schools do not need to wear a face covering.

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

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

We are recommending these additional precautionary measures for a for a time limited period until Easter. As with all measures, we will keep this under review and update guidance as necessary.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that an attainment gap does not form, as a result of school closures, during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to helping children and young people make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We recognise that disruption to education will have been felt differently by individual students, depending on their circumstances.

As an immediate step, we have made available £1.7 billion in funding to support education recovery for pupils across nurseries, schools, and colleges.

In June 2020, the Department announced an initial package of support worth £1 billion, including a £650 million ‘Catch Up Premium’ to support schools to make up for lost teaching time and £350 million for the National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. This will increase access to high quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackling the attainment gap between them and their peers.

In February 2021, the Department committed to further funding of £700 million to fund summer schools, expansions of tutoring programmes and a recovery premium for the next academic year.

The Government has appointed Sir Kevan Collins as the Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on the approach for education recovery and the development of a long term plan to help pupils make up their learning over the course of this Parliament. The objectives of the Education Recovery Commissioner as outlined in the terms of reference are to advise on the design and implementation of potential interventions that will help students catch up education lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This will be informed by evidence so that schools can more effectively target resources and support at pupils and areas in greatest need. Academic and non academic factors in supporting attainment will form a part of this work.

The terms of reference for the Education Recovery Commissioner are published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/960070/Terms_of_reference.pdf#:~:text=Education%20Recovery%20Commissioner%3A%20role%20specification%20and%20terms%20of,approach%20for%20education%20recovery%2C%20with%20a%20particular%20focus.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with refence to the announcement of a national covid-19 national lockdown from January 2021, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the financial stability of pre-school providers.

The early years sector has benefitted from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the during the summer and autumn terms in 2020, and providers have been able to furlough their staff via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme. As long as the staff meet the other criteria for the scheme, early years providers are able to furlough their staff if they have experienced a drop in either their income from parents or government. Eligible nurseries can also benefit from a business rates holiday and can access the business loans as set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Whilst we recognise childcare attendance has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw attendance rise over the autumn term from 482,000 on 10 September 2020 to 759,000 on 17 December 2020. On 17 December, the government therefore announced a return to funding early years settings for the spring term on the basis on attendance as measured by the January 2021 census.

The early years census count has gone ahead as expected with the census guidance unchanged. To support local authorities, we issued some technical advice on how that guidance can be applied this year. In summary, children who are ill or self-isolating can be counted, as can those whose parents have temporarily withdrawn their children from open nurseries and childminders out of caution, and so long as the parent/guardian has not altered their parental declaration relating to expected hours with the provider. Children should not be counted in the census where a setting has closed or restricted attendance, unless as a result of situations as set out in the supporting technical advice, for example staff sickness, COVID-19 isolation and staff shielding.

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

The government will continue to support families with their childcare costs. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 25 November 2020 an extra £44 million for the 2021-22 financial year, for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the national covid-19 lockdown commenced in January 2021, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the financial stability of childminding providers.

We have provided unprecedented support to early years providers throughout the COVID-19 outbreak through block-buying childcare places and schemes including furlough. Childminders are also eligible to receive support from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme which has been extended until the end of April 2021. Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

Whilst we recognise childcare attendance has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw attendance rise over the autumn term from 482,000 on 10 September 2020 to 759,000 on 17 December 2020. On 17 December, the government therefore announced a return to funding early years settings for the spring term on the basis on attendance as measured by the January 2021 census.

The early years census count has gone ahead as expected with the census guidance unchanged. To support local authorities, we have issued some technical advice on how that guidance can be applied this year. In summary, children who are ill or self-isolating can be counted, as can those whose parents have temporarily withdrawn their children from open nurseries and childminders out of caution, and so long as the parent/guardian has not altered their parental declaration relating to expected hours with the provider. Children should not be counted in the census where a setting has closed or restricted attendance, unless as a result of situations as set out in the supporting technical advice, for example staff sickness, COVID-19 isolation, staff shielding.

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

The government will continue to support families with their childcare costs. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 25 November 2020 an extra £44 million for the 2021-22 financial year, for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support the Government will provide to (a) early years and (b) other childcare settings that have to close for safety reasons during the covid-19 outbreak; and what data his Department has collected on whether parents are withdrawing children from early years settings due to safety concerns.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have provided unprecedented support to the early years sector and other childcare settings by continuing to fund the free childcare entitlements, making grants and loans available, ensuring early years providers can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for their non-government funded income and ensuring that childminders can access the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). We continue to ensure that providers can access the support available.

On 17 December 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that both the CJRS and SEISS will be extended to April 2021. We have also updated the CJRS guidance for early years so that all providers who have seen a drop in their overall income are able to furlough any staff (who were on payroll on or before 30 October) and who are not required for delivering the government’s funded entitlements: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Where early years providers are struggling financially, they may be eligible to access support for the Additional Restrictions Grant (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-additional-restrictions-grant) if not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant schemes (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-local-restrictions-support-grant-for-open-businesses).

We have worked in consultation with the early years sector in developing advice to support settings. Advice from Public Health England 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.

The department is working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure rapid asymptomatic testing for all early years staff, to support the announcement made by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, on 4 January 2021 for early years settings to remain fully open during the current lockdown.

We regularly commission parent polls, conducted via Ipsos MORI, to assess parental intentions with regard to the use of early years childcare, the latest published parent poll stats from wave 5 in September 2020 are published here: https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/childcare-and-home-learning-families-0-4-year-olds-during-covid-19-0. Our most recent poll was conducted during the second lockdown in November and early December 2020. A further parent poll is due to be conducted in coming weeks. We will publish the results of these in due course.

We also stay in regular contact with the early years sector and regularly and closely monitor attendance within settings. We will keep under constant review whether further action is needed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that school children are not affected by poor air quality; and what steps his Department has taken to deploy air quality monitors in primary schools.

Local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans. If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check that and establish what measures need to be taken to improve air quality, including whether to deploy air quality monitors in primary schools.

In 2018, the Department published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which is guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The Department is collaborating with other government departments and a number of academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the importance of (a) air quality and (b) the associated health effects of air pollution are being taught in schools.

There is scope within the geography and science curriculums, and within PSHE, for teachers and schools to teach these topics.

In geography, the purpose of study is to equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, and at Key Stage 3, pupils should be taught to “understand how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate” and also the topic of “population and urbanisation”. This is further built upon at GCSE.

In science, pupils in primary schools are taught topics such as changing environments, plants, and different sorts of materials, which will enable them to understand about pollution later on. In the biology content at Key Stage 3, pupils should be taught about “Relationships in an ecosystem” and “how organisms affect, and are affected by, their environment, including the accumulation of toxic materials”. At GCSE, teaching in the sciences continues with the process of building upon and deepening scientific knowledge and the understanding of ideas developed in earlier key stages in the subject disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Within chemistry, pupils should be taught about “potential effects of, and mitigation of, increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane on the Earth’s climate; and common atmospheric pollutants: sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, particulates and their sources”.

The Government wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe and has introduced compulsory health education in all primary and secondary state funded schools. The focus of health education is on teaching the characteristics of good physical health and mental wellbeing. The Department has published a package of support to help all teachers increase their confidence and quality of teaching, including in relation to teaching health and prevention and physical health and fitness. The support is available on a one stop page for teachers on GOV.UK and includes access to training delivered through regional Teaching School networks: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that people working in (a) early years and (b) other childcare settings are a priority for covid-19 vaccination.

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

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

In the next phase of the vaccine rollout, the JCVI have asked that the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other government departments. The Department for Education is working with DHSC and Public Health England to ensure that the education and childcare workforce is considered for prioritisation in the roll out of the vaccine.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that parents and carers of children in receipt of Government funded laptops for remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak have access to support to protect those children from online harms.

As part of over £400 million invested to support access to remote education and online social care, over 1.3 million laptops and tablets are being secured for disadvantaged children and young people. This figure includes over 700,000 that have already been delivered since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have been clear throughout the COVID-19 outbreak that schools and colleges must continue to pay regard to the statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, both online and offline. Since 1 September 2020, this guidance has included additional information to help schools and colleges keep children safe online. It includes, for the first time, resources on safe remote education, virtual lessons and live streaming and information on online safety for parents and carers. Relevant training and guidance from the EdTech Demonstrator Network are also available for all schools.

In addition, the Department has provided guidance on safeguarding and remote education to support schools and colleges plan lessons safely, including helpful resources for parents and carers on online safety. Relevant guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-and-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Department’s guidance for full opening schools also includes signposting to resources to support the delivery of safe remote education, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

More information on keeping children safe in education can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that teachers have access to (a) information and (b) support on (i) identifying and (ii) resolving risks of exposure to online harms in children working remotely during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of over £400 million invested to support access to remote education and online social care, over 1.3 million laptops and tablets are being secured for disadvantaged children and young people. This figure includes over 700,000 that have already been delivered since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have been clear throughout the COVID-19 outbreak that schools and colleges must continue to pay regard to the statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, both online and offline. Since 1 September 2020, this guidance has included additional information to help schools and colleges keep children safe online. It includes, for the first time, resources on safe remote education, virtual lessons and live streaming and information on online safety for parents and carers. Relevant training and guidance from the EdTech Demonstrator Network are also available for all schools.

In addition, the Department has provided guidance on safeguarding and remote education to support schools and colleges plan lessons safely, including helpful resources for parents and carers on online safety. Relevant guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-and-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Department’s guidance for full opening schools also includes signposting to resources to support the delivery of safe remote education, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

More information on keeping children safe in education can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that the GCSE exams are (a) fair and (b) accessible to students in 2021 in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department recognises the challenges faced by schools, teachers, and students, and knows that disruption has been felt differently across the country and between schools and colleges in the same area and between students within individual institutions.

In recognition of the challenges faced by students, the Department has announced a package of measures that will ensure students have a fair chance of demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of a subject in exams. A link to this package of measures can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-support-the-summer-2021-exams. These include grading that is more generous than previous years and adaptations to exams (for example, giving students advance notice of topic areas and exam support materials). These adaptations will allow students to use the remaining time before the exams more effectively, which will be of particular benefit to those most affected by learning loss.

The Department has also confirmed the launch of an expert advisory group to consider the differential impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on students and to recommend mitigations for these impacts, in support of the measures already announced. To ensure a successful delivery of the 2021 exams, and to ensure exams are accessible to all pupils, we are consulting with key stakeholders such as unions, schools and exam centres to discuss the logistics around this series and we will provide additional detail in the New Year.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help support an increase in the number of early-years childcare providers in England.

Data from Ofsted, shows that the number of providers on the early years register has remained broadly stable since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak until the end of November 2020 and that current parental demand for childcare places is being met by the market. The government recognises the importance of supporting the early years sector financially during the COVID-19 outbreak and recognises the risk to providers’ financial viability caused by changing levels of use of childcare.

Early years settings will continue to benefit from a planned £3.6 billion funding in the 2020-21 financial year to create free early education and childcare places. On 25 November, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £44 million investment in 2021-22. We can now also confirm that in 2021-22 we will increase the hourly funding rates for all local authorities by 8p an hour for the 2 year old entitlement and, for the vast majority of areas, by 6p an hour for the 3 and 4 year old entitlement. This will pay for a rate increase that is higher than the costs nurseries may face from the uplift to the national living wage in April. Funding beyond 2021-22 will be considered in the round at future spending reviews.

In addition to this, the government has provided a package of support for individuals and businesses which are directly benefitting providers of childcare. This includes business rates relief and grants, the extended Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will remain open until April 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

We continue to work with local authorities and the early years sector to monitor the childcare market, including sufficiency of provision, and to understand how they can best be supported.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Vice-Chancellor of the Open University on virtual teaching in schools in England.

Department for Education Ministers and officials have had meetings with a wide variety of organisations and individuals in the past year, including the Open University, to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on education. We welcome the Open University’s positive contribution to these discussions. For many years, UK higher education (HE) providers have delivered education online successfully and effectively, with the Open University a leading proponent of this.

We recognise that, for some pupils and students, remote education will be an essential component in the delivery of the school curriculum this year, alongside on-site teaching. Schools have been working extremely hard to develop remote education contingency plans and put these into practice.

To help schools meet the expectations for remote education set out in the schools guidance for full opening, the Government has invested in a remote education support package. This includes helping schools to access technology that supports remote education, as well as peer-to-peer training and guidance on how to use technology effectively. It also includes practical tools, a good practice guide and school-led webinars to support effective delivery of the curriculum, as well as information on issues such as safeguarding and statutory duties and expectations. The support package can be accessed through our Get Help with Remote Education page at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education.

Details of Ministerial and Permanent Secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dfe-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings-2020.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what risk assessment on potential exposure to online harms his Department conducted in relation to the provision of Government-funded laptops for remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, over 340,000 laptops and tablets are being made available this term to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

This supplements over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers, which have already been delivered during the summer term. This represents an injection of over 500,000 laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Where Windows laptops and tablets are ordered with a Department for Education build, they will come with content filtering and device management software, just as with the laptops and tablets we distributed earlier this year. This filters out web content that might be inappropriate or illegal for children. The Department took advice from the Chief Information Security Officer, external security consultants and the National Cyber Security Centre, ensuring devices are safe and secure for children.

Schools can choose to order a Windows device without a Department for Education build. If this option is selected it is the responsibility of the local authority, academy trust or school to ensure appropriate safeguarding, security and privacy of the device before it is lent to the child. In addition, links to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection website and advice on using the internet safely are pre-loaded onto the laptops and tablets.

The 4G wireless routers provided include active content filtering services, which prevent users of the laptops and tablets from accessing types of content that pose risks to children.

Keeping children safe online is essential and we all must play our part as we continue our response to COVID-19. Schools and colleges must continue to pay regard to the statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children – both online and offline. The revised Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance, which came into force on 1 September, includes additional information and support to help schools and colleges keep children safe online. It includes for the first time a dedicated collection of resources to support safe remote education, virtual lessons and live streaming. It also includes support for schools and colleges to signpost parents and carers to help them keep their children safe online. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2?utm_source=936e83f0-b458-4d7d-82cd-3ce68cde0fdf&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate.

The Department’s guidance for full opening of schools includes signposting to resources to support the delivery of safe remote education and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Training and guidance from the EdTech Demonstrator Network on ways to keep pupils safe online is also available for all schools.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussion he had had with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on joint departmental action to reduce the risk of online harm to recipients of Government-funded laptops for remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, over 340,000 laptops and tablets are being made available this term to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

This supplements over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers, which have already been delivered during the summer term. This represents an injection of over 500,000 laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Where Windows laptops and tablets are ordered with a Department for Education build, they will come with content filtering and device management software, just as with the laptops and tablets we distributed earlier this year. This filters out web content that might be inappropriate or illegal for children. The Department took advice from the Chief Information Security Officer, external security consultants and the National Cyber Security Centre, ensuring devices are safe and secure for children.

Schools can choose to order a Windows device without a Department for Education build. If this option is selected it is the responsibility of the local authority, academy trust or school to ensure appropriate safeguarding, security and privacy of the device before it is lent to the child. In addition, links to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection website and advice on using the internet safely are pre-loaded onto the laptops and tablets.

The 4G wireless routers provided include active content filtering services, which prevent users of the laptops and tablets from accessing types of content that pose risks to children.

Keeping children safe online is essential and we all must play our part as we continue our response to COVID-19. Schools and colleges must continue to pay regard to the statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children – both online and offline. The revised Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance, which came into force on 1 September, includes additional information and support to help schools and colleges keep children safe online. It includes for the first time a dedicated collection of resources to support safe remote education, virtual lessons and live streaming. It also includes support for schools and colleges to signpost parents and carers to help them keep their children safe online. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2?utm_source=936e83f0-b458-4d7d-82cd-3ce68cde0fdf&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate.

The Department’s guidance for full opening of schools includes signposting to resources to support the delivery of safe remote education and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Training and guidance from the EdTech Demonstrator Network on ways to keep pupils safe online is also available for all schools.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps he has taken with School leaders on ensuring that children are not able to access harmful content on the internet using Government-funded laptops for remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, over 340,000 laptops and tablets are being made available this term to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

This supplements over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers, which have already been delivered during the summer term. This represents an injection of over 500,000 laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Where Windows laptops and tablets are ordered with a Department for Education build, they will come with content filtering and device management software, just as with the laptops and tablets we distributed earlier this year. This filters out web content that might be inappropriate or illegal for children. The Department took advice from the Chief Information Security Officer, external security consultants and the National Cyber Security Centre, ensuring devices are safe and secure for children.

Schools can choose to order a Windows device without a Department for Education build. If this option is selected it is the responsibility of the local authority, academy trust or school to ensure appropriate safeguarding, security and privacy of the device before it is lent to the child. In addition, links to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection website and advice on using the internet safely are pre-loaded onto the laptops and tablets.

The 4G wireless routers provided include active content filtering services, which prevent users of the laptops and tablets from accessing types of content that pose risks to children.

Keeping children safe online is essential and we all must play our part as we continue our response to COVID-19. Schools and colleges must continue to pay regard to the statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children – both online and offline. The revised Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance, which came into force on 1 September, includes additional information and support to help schools and colleges keep children safe online. It includes for the first time a dedicated collection of resources to support safe remote education, virtual lessons and live streaming. It also includes support for schools and colleges to signpost parents and carers to help them keep their children safe online. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2?utm_source=936e83f0-b458-4d7d-82cd-3ce68cde0fdf&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate.

The Department’s guidance for full opening of schools includes signposting to resources to support the delivery of safe remote education and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Training and guidance from the EdTech Demonstrator Network on ways to keep pupils safe online is also available for all schools.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the quality of education delivered virtually.

The Department published expectations on remote education for schools on 2 July as part of our guidance for the full opening of schools, and for further education (FE) providers in the autumn term guidance published in August. On 1 October, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, made a temporary continuity direction to clarify that schools have a duty to provide remote education for state funded, school aged children who are unable to attend school due to COVID-19, in line with our guidance and the law. The direction requires schools to adhere to existing remote education guidance on the quality of remote education expected. It also provides clarity and removes uncertainty about what parents can expect from schools, whilst ensuring that schools are clear about what is expected of them. More information about the temporary continuity direction can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remote-education-temporary-continuity-direction-explanatory-note.

Levelling up digital capability across the education sector is crucial to ensuring equity of access to high quality remote education for all pupils across the country. To support schools and FE colleges in meeting the remote education expectations as set out in the Department’s guidance, we announced a further remote education support package on 1 October. The support package includes access to the right technology to deliver remote education, peer to peer training on how to use this effectively, and practical tools, guidance and webinars. This support has been co-designed with schools. A good practice guide for school leaders, accompanying school-led webinars, annotated lesson plans for remote teaching and case studies are available now. Further materials will be available later in the autumn term, including more webinars, case studies on curriculum sequencing, and a resources signposting package designed to help teachers and leaders select the right resources for their school. The Department’s remote education good practice guide is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remote-education-good-practice/remote-education-good-practice#effective-remote-teaching-provision.

The Department launched the Demonstrator schools and colleges programme – a peer support network offering fully funded advice and training on the ways that technology can be used to meet the remote education temporary continuity direction and the remote education good practice guide. This includes ways to deliver the curriculum remotely, foster better links between teachers and their pupils, track pupil progress and promote wellbeing and protect teacher time. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/edtech-demonstrator-schools-and-colleges-successful-applicants/about-the-programme.

Ofsted’s routine inspections are currently suspended but inspectors are carrying out a programme of visits to a sample of schools and FE colleges. The visits are based around collaborative discussions about how the school or college is returning to full education for all its pupils or students, including through any remote provision. When routine inspections resume, inspectors will take account of remote education as part of its assessments. Schools are held accountable for the outcomes they achieve by governors and trustees.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to incentivise schools to install air quality monitors.

Local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans. If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check that and establish what measures needed to be taken to improve air quality.

In 2018, the Department for Education published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which is guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The Department is collaborating with other government departments and a number of academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

The Department does not hold data on the proportion of primary or secondary schools with air quality monitors installed.

We will be considering with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether and how schools might be encouraged to take part in Clean Air Day in future years.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools that have air quality monitors installed.

Local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans. If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check that and establish what measures needed to be taken to improve air quality.

In 2018, the Department for Education published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which is guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The Department is collaborating with other government departments and a number of academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

The Department does not hold data on the proportion of primary or secondary schools with air quality monitors installed.

We will be considering with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether and how schools might be encouraged to take part in Clean Air Day in future years.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage (a) primary and (b) secondary schools to take part in Clean Air Day in future years.

Local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans. If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check that and establish what measures needed to be taken to improve air quality.

In 2018, the Department for Education published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which is guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The Department is collaborating with other government departments and a number of academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

The Department does not hold data on the proportion of primary or secondary schools with air quality monitors installed.

We will be considering with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether and how schools might be encouraged to take part in Clean Air Day in future years.

18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to protect learners against fraudulent remote-learning training providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is committed to the continuation of high-quality education for all pupils during this difficult time. Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. We have asked schools to monitor engagement with this activity, which should align as closely as possible with in-school provision.

The Department has provided a range of resources to support schools in delivering remote education. This includes our work with sector-led initiatives such as Oak National Academy. The Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20, and then for the 2020-21 academic year to provide video lessons for reception up to year 11. This includes specialist content for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for 2020-21.

COVID-19 guidance for schools is clear that it is crucial for remote education provision to be set up so that it is safe for pupils. Schools have been encouraged to share online safety information and best practice with parents and carers. The Government has published support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online which can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-keeping-children-safe-online.

Initial Teacher Training (ITT) is controlled and regulated by the Department. In order to undertake training leading to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in England, a person must train at an accredited ITT provider in England. ITT providers can only be accredited by the Secretary of State consistent with the relevant Regulation.

The process by which a person may access and apply for a teacher training place at an accredited provider is clearly set out on the Department’s dedicated ‘Get Into Teaching’ web pages at:

https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/.

A person will only be able to access tuition fees for a place at a provider that is accredited by the Department and is designated for student support. A person will only be able to access any bursary payments for which they might be eligible if they are on a course leading to QTS at an accredited ITT provider in England.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that levels of intakes for apprenticeships nationally does not decline due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow following the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have introduced a range of flexibilities to support apprentices and employers to continue with and complete their apprenticeships. These include encouraging the remote delivery of training, introducing flexibilities to end-point assessments, and allowing furloughed apprentices to continue their apprenticeships and end-point assessments.

We recognise that employers face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices. The government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ will help to kickstart the nation’s economic recovery by offering employers payments for recruiting new apprentices. Businesses will be able to claim £1,500 for every apprentice they hire as a new employee from 1 August 2020 until 31 January 2021, rising to £2,000 if they hire a new apprentice under the age of 25.

In addition, to support smaller employers, we are ensuring sufficient funding is available for those wanting to take on an apprentice this year

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of forming a cross-party parliamentary task force to return young people safely to schools in September 2020.

All pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. On 2 July, the Government published guidance for the full opening of schools, including the Public Health England endorsed system of controls which, when implemented alongside the school’s own risk assessment, create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. This guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Ministers are engaging with hon. Members across the House regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. Ministers and officials continue to work closely with a wide range of stakeholders on supporting the full opening of schools at the start of the autumn term. The Department’s guidance for schools has been prepared with input from school leaders, unions and sector bodies and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of his Department's announcement of 6 July 2020 on (a) changes to the Disabled Students' Allowance and (b) the introduction of a maximum allowance of £25,000 applying to both full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate recipients of that allowance on those students with the highest needs.

Regulations will be laid in Parliament to effect this policy change along with the other elements of the student finance package for the 2021-22 academic year. An equality analysis will be published alongside that. The date that these regulations will be laid is yet to be confirmed.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's announcement of 6 July 2020 on changes to the Disabled Students' Allowance, whether he plans to continue to publish figures on the number of students in receipt of assistive technology (a) hardware and (b) software through the Disabled Students' Allowance.

The Student Loans Company publishes official statistics about financial support received by higher education students. Figures are published for each of the 4 existing Disabled Students’ Allowances (equipment, non-medical help, general, travel). These figures will continue to be published.

The published figures for the equipment allowance are not disaggregated further into hardware and software and there are no plans to do so.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students have received funding through the Disabled Students’ Allowance greater than the value of £25,000 in each of the last three academic years.

The attached table details management information from the Student Loans Company on the number of students in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) greater than the value of £25,000. These figures cover students who received funding as English-domiciled students studying in the UK. For the vast majority of students receiving DSA funding greater than £25,000, this was driven by funding for the DSA travel grant, which will continue to remain uncapped. Recent changes to DSA will provide undergraduate students with the flexibility to access more of the support they need, as expenditure on particular types of support is no longer subject to a specific financial limit.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on support for 18 year olds, who are facing unemployment in July 2020 after formally leaving school, with further training opportunities.

The government is actively considering ways to help young people continue to develop the skills they will need for the future.?We want to give young people the best chance to succeed, despite these challenging and unsettling times.

The department is exploring options for boosting skills to help the labour market recover from the economic effects of COVID-19, including the vital role that our work based offers such as apprenticeships and traineeships can play in securing young people a high quality place in the labour market. This will be particularly important for young people. Training will be crucial for those without work, so that they maintain their work-readiness and gain new skills and quickly move into a high-quality job. We are considering our skills offer, as well as working with the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure a strong partnership with Jobcentre Plus. Jobcentre Plus have already started to re-engage with new and existing claimants and are signposting them to appropriate support.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Student Loans Company tender for assistive technology services (ATSP Equipment & Training / 2019-SLC-002) is planned to be completed.

Due to a number of pressures on the Student Loans Company (SLC), it has not been possible to progress with the tender approval process.

The tender approval process has therefore been paused until 31 July, by which time the SLC should be able to provide a revised timeline for the tender.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure there will not be a gap in provision due to the delay in the tender for assistive technology services (ATSP Equipment & Training / 2019-SLC-002); and if he will make a statement.

Whilst the tender process is ongoing, the current arrangements for the provision of assistive technology remain in place. The Student Loans Company is continuing to fund assistive technology via Disabled Students Allowances and there should be no interruption to assistive technology provision to students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that tendering processes run by the Student Loans Company are delivered within the advertised time scale.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is one of the department’s main arm’s length bodies.

The department continues to offer commercial support and advice to the SLC to help ensure that tendering processes run by the SLC are delivered within the advertised time scale.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people who work for examination boards are able to access support under the (a) Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and (b) Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Examination boards are independent organisations. As such, they are responsible for deciding on payment arrangements and discussing with HMRC as appropriate. The situation is complex given the status of different examiners, but we know that the boards are providing information and updates to those involved.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing school summer holidays forwards, given that routine teaching will most likely be more viable in August than it is now.

We want to get all children back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn and it is good for children’s mental wellbeing to have social interactions with other children, carers and teachers.

As a result of the huge efforts everyone has made to adhere to strict social distancing measures, the transmission rate of coronavirus has decreased and the Government’s five tests have been met. Based on all the evidence, the Department has asked primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers), from 1 June. From 15 June, secondary schools can invite year 10 and 12 pupils (years 10 and 11 for alternative provision schools) back into school for some face-to-face support with their teachers, to supplement their remote education, which will remain the predominant mode of education for these pupils this term. Priority groups can continue to attend full-time.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education,what steps he is taking to ensure that children from lower income families are in receipt of (a) laptops and (b) other necessary educational aides to prevent disruption to their education during the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G routers.

The Department is providing laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10, are receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets and is working to provide these devices in the shortest possible timeframe.

To support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, 40 teachers have come together to develop the brand-new Oak National Academy, launched on Monday 20 April. Oak Academy provides 180 video lessons for free each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10.

Schools and families will also be able to draw on support from the BBC which is broadcasting lessons on television. Some of the BBC educational content is offline, via the red button, which disadvantaged pupils without digital devices or connectivity will still be able to access.

Schools may also choose to draw on the many resources offers which have been made by publishers across the country. The Department has published an initial list of high quality online educational resources, which have been identified by some of the country’s leading educational experts to help pupils learn at home.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support teachers to ensure minimal disruption to the education and attainment of children from all backgrounds and irrespective of economic circumstances during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has provided a range of information, guidance and support for teachers and leaders on educating children during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

As well as recommended resources, it includes approaches and case studies for teachers to help them adapt their curriculum and teaching practices for remote education, and keep pupils motivated and engaged.

To enable all children to continue learning whilst at home, the Department will provide digital devices and internet access for some disadvantaged children and young people who do not currently have access to them from other sources.

The Department has asked schools to prepare to welcome back more children from 1 June at the earliest. We want to get children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to be back with their friends and teachers. Planning advice for primary schools, including advice on what to prioritise is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools#planning-what-to-teach-and-how.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) food parcels, (b) national vouchers, (c) local vouchers and (d) cash payments in respect of free school meals are accessible to all children.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that food parcel arrangements may not always be possible and so at the end of March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option. This provides schools with additional flexibility to decide what is best for families in their schools.

Schools are best placed to determine the most appropriate and accessible local arrangements for their eligible pupils. We understand that alternative approaches to the national voucher scheme, such as providing food parcels or purchasing vouchers for local shops not in the national scheme, may mean that schools incur additional costs. We have published guidance on the financial support available for schools who incur these additional costs in this way. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

Our national voucher scheme supplier Edenred has reported that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May.

As schools prepare to open more widely, they should speak to their school catering team or food providers to ensure that they are supported to return to school to provide meals for those children attending.

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

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take to extend the free school meals voucher scheme.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that food parcel arrangements may not always be possible and so at the end of March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option. This provides schools with additional flexibility to decide what is best for families in their schools.

Schools are best placed to determine the most appropriate and accessible local arrangements for their eligible pupils. We understand that alternative approaches to the national voucher scheme, such as providing food parcels or purchasing vouchers for local shops not in the national scheme, may mean that schools incur additional costs. We have published guidance on the financial support available for schools who incur these additional costs in this way. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

Our national voucher scheme supplier Edenred has reported that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May.

As schools prepare to open more widely, they should speak to their school catering team or food providers to ensure that they are supported to return to school to provide meals for those children attending.

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

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has made to support universities in the event that there is a significant decrease in student numbers in 2020-21.

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak will have an unparalleled impact on all elements of the global and UK economy. The higher education (HE) sector, including student recruitment, is no exception. We have been working closely with the sector to monitor the likely impacts of COVID-19 on student numbers in 2020-21. We understand that the COVID-19 outbreak, and a possible reduction in overall student numbers, poses significant challenges.

In response to this and calls from the sector, on 4 May my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures to stabilise university admissions this autumn and ensure sustainability in HE at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

Temporary student number controls will be put in place for domestic and EU students for academic year 2020/21 to ensure a fair, structured distribution of students across providers. Provider-level student number controls will be determined based on provider forecasts and allow for 5% growth above this. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, will also have the discretion to allocate an additional 10,000 places on top of the controls, of which 5,000 will be allocated to students studying nursing or allied health courses, to ensure growing numbers that will support our vital public services. This measure will only apply to full-time UK or EU-domiciled undergraduate students, with certain specified exemptions. These controls will not apply to international (non-EU) students.

The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, will also consult on a new temporary condition of registration. The OfS’ proposed condition would prohibit registered providers from engaging in any form of conduct which, in the opinion of the OfS, could reasonably have a material negative effect on the stability or integrity of the English HE sector.

The government has also reprofiled tuition fee payments, expected to be worth £2.6 billion, for providers so that they receive more cash in the first term of academic year 2020/21. The government has also announced that £100 million of public funding will be brought forward to the current academic year to help protect vital university research activities in England. Confirmed providers are also eligible to apply for the government’s financial support schemes, which are estimated by the OfS to be worth at least £700 million to the sector.

Universities have an integral part to play in our economy, society and culture, which is highlighted now more than ever through their leading role in the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why we have introduced a package of measures to boost support for university students, stabilise the admissions system and ease the pressures on universities’ finances.

I have written to all Honourable Members, with full details of the package, which have also been published on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-support-package-for-universities-and-students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the role of the further education sector in supporting economic recovery following the covid-19 outbreak.

The further education (FE) sector is vital to providing the highly skilled workforce that we need to support economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have therefore provided an extensive range of support to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and retain capacity within the FE sector. This is in addition to the series of wider measures to support employers and employees set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 3 April.

Our latest guidance on COVID-19 for the FE sector and all other educational settings is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) employment opportunities for disabled students and (b) ability of disabled students to pay the required £200 contribution towards the cost of assistive technology via the disabled students' allowance; and if he will make a statement.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) provide for the additional costs that disabled students may face in higher education because of their disability. A basic computer is a mainstream cost of study and students are therefore expected to make a £200 contribution towards the cost of any computer recommended as part of their needs assessment. The contribution is for computer hardware only; students are not expected to fund recommended specialist software or training in how to use it.

There are currently no plans to suspend the requirement for disabled students to contribute £200 towards the purchase of a computer.

The department has not received any representations from disabled students on access to assistive technology through DSA support in relation to the economic effect of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It is too early to assess the effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on the employment opportunities for disabled students.

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

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what representations he has received from disabled students on access to assistive technology via the disabled students' allowance due to the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak; and if will make a statement.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) provide for the additional costs that disabled students may face in higher education because of their disability. A basic computer is a mainstream cost of study and students are therefore expected to make a £200 contribution towards the cost of any computer recommended as part of their needs assessment. The contribution is for computer hardware only; students are not expected to fund recommended specialist software or training in how to use it.

There are currently no plans to suspend the requirement for disabled students to contribute £200 towards the purchase of a computer.

The department has not received any representations from disabled students on access to assistive technology through DSA support in relation to the economic effect of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It is too early to assess the effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on the employment opportunities for disabled students.

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

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of suspending the requirement for disabled students to contribute £200 towards the purchase of assistive technology through the disabled students’ allowance during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) provide for the additional costs that disabled students may face in higher education because of their disability. A basic computer is a mainstream cost of study and students are therefore expected to make a £200 contribution towards the cost of any computer recommended as part of their needs assessment. The contribution is for computer hardware only; students are not expected to fund recommended specialist software or training in how to use it.

There are currently no plans to suspend the requirement for disabled students to contribute £200 towards the purchase of a computer.

The department has not received any representations from disabled students on access to assistive technology through DSA support in relation to the economic effect of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It is too early to assess the effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on the employment opportunities for disabled students.

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

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he is providing to (a) childminders and (b) families that rely on childminding services during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have asked parents to keep their children at home wherever possible, and, like all early years providers, childminders should remain open only for children who are vulnerable and for those children of workers critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

Our guidance for early years settings, including childminders, about childcare provision following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), including funding support, is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that students who will miss (a) examinations and (b) assessments due to the covid-19 outbreak have clear information on what teacher assessments for their final GCSE grades will comprise; and what the status is of GCSE exams taken in year 10 is in that assessment.

Our latest guidance on GCSEs and A levels is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

The independent qualifications regulator Ofqual is working very closely with exam boards to develop and implement a system for awarding grades this summer that is as fair as possible. Ofqual is consulting until 29 April on a range of aspects of that system, including the issues raised. The consultation is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/exceptional-arrangements-for-exam-grading-and-assessment-in-2020.

Ofqual will be responding on those issues as soon as possible after the consultation has closed.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to provide financial support to supply teachers in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Our latest school workforce guidance on COVID-19, including supply teachers, is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-school-closures/guidance-for-schools-about-temporarily-closing#supply-teachers-and-other-contingent-workers.

Further guidance on financial support for all education institutions is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

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

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that parents that are required to pay childcare fees while caring for their children at home do not face financial hardship as a result of paying those fees and losing income due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working hard to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on all parts of our society, including individuals and business. Childcare providers have individual agreements with parents and therefore we urge all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, given the great uncertainty they will be facing too.

We have announced that we will continue to pay funding to local authorities for the early years entitlements for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds, and private nurseries are eligible for a business rates holiday for one year from 1 April. Childcare providers will also be eligible for wider support measures announced by the government.

Guidance for early years settings can be found at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures and

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of school closures during the covid-19 outbreak on the educational attainment of pupils in the long term.

The Department is committed to ensuring that children can continue to learn in these very difficult circumstances. We issued guidance on 7 April which signposts to an initial list of free online resources for schools and parents to help children to learn at home. This is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

In addition, some leading state schools have collaborated to open The Oak National Academy, which was launched online on 20 April. This new initiative is led by 40 teachers who have assembled video lessons and resources for any teacher in the country to make use of if they wish to do so. 180 video lessons will be provided each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10. The BBC has also developed resources for families as part of a comprehensive new education package, which are now available on TV and online.

On 19 April, the Department issued information, guidance and support to parents and carers of children who are continuing their education from home, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supporting-your-childrens-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

On the same day, we also published information on the Department’s work in partnership with suppliers to provide technology to support remote education, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-technology-for-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Devices will be ordered for the most disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, for those who receive support from a social worker, and for care leavers.

Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are working to provide 4G connectivity to them so that they can learn at home.

18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to (a) international and (b) British students on the covid-19 outbreak and the disruption that outbreak has caused to tuition.

The department is acutely aware of the stress and anxiety the current climate will be causing all students – international and British alike. This is why we have been doing all we can to ensure students, both in the UK and overseas, have as much information as possible to help them make informed decisions at this challenging time.

Health advice for both international and British students in the UK is the same; they should continue to monitor Public Health England guidance, and adhere to the latest social distancing guidance for recommendations on how to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Many universities and other higher education providers are already taking necessary steps to keep their staff and students safe and, where possible, continue providing education. For many students, this now means avoiding face-to-face tuition and participating in online learning instead – we understand that the majority of universities have now moved learning online, with others following suit.

If international students have specific questions about their visa status, the Home Office has established a dedicated Coronavirus Immigration helpline: 0800 678 1767.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) advice and (b) support he is providing to (i) further education and (ii) sixth form colleges on the covid-19 outbreak.

We are providing a range of advice and support to further education (FE) and sixth form colleges on the Covid-19 outbreak. We recognise that this situation carries financial implications for many institutions, and we are working to mitigate the impact as much as we can.

To help manage this pressure, we can confirm that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will continue to pay grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year.

ESFA allocations for 2020/21 were confirmed at the end of March, and payments will be made in line with the national profile which will be confirmed in the 2020/21 Funding Rules.

Officials in the ESFA FE territorial teams are in regular contact with colleges to update them and answer questions that they may have. In addition, through the FE Commissioner and his team and our pool of National Leaders of Governance, we have a range of experienced FE leaders and governors who are able to offer advice and support.

In addition, we know that colleges are looking at moving more learning on-line to allow students to continue with studies remotely. Jisc is providing practical advice to college staff and the Education and Training Foundation is running webinars for FE providers on how to make the most of online learning.

We are working hard to provide support to mitigate impact on the FE sector and we know that rules and funding arrangements will need to be adapted. We have set out more information in the operational guidance that is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision. We have also published apprenticeship guidance, which is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has also announced a series of wider measures to support employers and employees, recognising the significant impacts caused by COVID-19.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the implementation of the Relationships and Sex Education curriculum does not lose schools the trust of parents who may disagree with the content or timing of it.

The Department is committed to supporting all schools in their preparations to introduce relationships education (primary school pupils), relationships and sex education (secondary school pupils), and health education (all state-funded school pupils) from September 2020.

All schools will be required to have in place a written policy for relationships education, and relationships and sex education. Schools must consult parents in developing and reviewing their policy. Schools should ensure that the policy meets the needs of pupils and parents and reflects the community they serve. Schools should also consider how they can adopt a whole school approach to teaching the content of the statutory guidance.

The statutory guidance is clear that schools should ensure that when they consult parents, they provide examples of the resources they plan to use. They should also allow parents time and space to provide input, ask questions and share any concerns.

The Department has published parent guides explaining the subjects. They set out parents’ rights and how they can engage positively in the development of their schools’ policy. The guidance has advice, tips and case studies on how to carry out effective parental engagement, including where to go for help, and it sets out the role governors and trustees can play in the engagement process. The parent guides are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools.

A thorough engagement process has informed the key decisions and implementation of these subjects, including responses from parents, schools, leading charities, teaching unions and subject associations.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps his Department has taken to support effective interventions to give pupils at risk of exclusion the best chance to remain in schools.

The Government backs head teachers and teachers to create calm and safe schools by giving them the powers they need to enforce discipline. The Department is taking forward an ambitious programme of action on behaviour, exclusion and Alternative Provision which will respect head teachers’ powers to use exclusion, enable schools to support children at risk of exclusion, and ensure that excluded children continue to receive support and a good education. This includes the launch of a £10 million ‘behaviour hubs’ programme this September. The programme will enable schools with exemplary positive behaviour cultures to work closely with schools that need to turn around their behaviour, alongside a central offer of support and a taskforce of advisers, to improve their culture and spread good practice across the country.


20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to publish guidance for schools on the use of (a) in-school units and (b) managed moves.

The Department is taking forward an ambitious programme of reform which backs heads and teachers to enforce discipline and, where appropriate, to use exclusion, while equipping schools to support children at risk of exclusion and ensuring excluded children continue to receive support and a good education.

The Government previously committed to revising guidance on exclusions and behaviour, including producing guidance on the use of in-school units and ‘managed moves’. We will provide an update on plans to publish revised guidance in due course.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to (a) update and (b) consult on guidance for head teachers on their powers to exclude.

The Department is taking forward an ambitious programme of reform which backs heads and teachers to enforce discipline and, where appropriate, to use exclusion, while equipping schools to support children at risk of exclusion and ensuring excluded children continue to receive support and a good education.

The Government previously committed to revising guidance on exclusions and behaviour, including producing guidance on the use of in-school units and ‘managed moves’. We will provide an update on plans to publish revised guidance in due course.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to (a) revise and (b) consult on the SEND Code of Practice.

We will set out our plans for reviewing the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice later in the year. Any proposed changes to the Code will be subject to further consultation.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to ensure effective oversight of the plastic bag charge to ensure that proceeds are allocated to environmental causes.

Since 5 October 2015, large retailers (250 or more employees) in England have been required by law to charge 5p for all single use plastic carrier bags. The charge was increased from 5p to 10p and extended to all retailers from 21 May 2021. Large retailers are also required by law to report certain information to Defra every year including what they did with the proceeds from the charge.

While it is strongly encouraged that the net proceeds from the charge should be donated to good causes, especially environmental ones, this is not a legal requirement. Therefore, if retailers do choose to donate to charity, any decisions about this will be personal each individual business. Since the introduction of the charge in 2015, retailers that have reported their proceeds to us have donated nearly £190 million to their chosen good causes.

In the last reporting year of 2020 to 2021, 38% of retailers who reported gave additional information on how they chose to donate their proceeds from the carrier bag charge. These retailers donated a total of £10.9 million to good causes. Out of the total amount donated by retailers to good causes:

  • £0.1 million (1%) went to health, environment and heritage
  • £0.3 million (3%) went to charity or volunteering sectors
  • £3.0 million (27%) went to causes just chosen by customers or staff
  • £7.5 million (69%) went to a combination of more than one good cause (relating to education, arts, heritage, sports, environment, health, charity or volunteering sectors and causes chosen by customers or staff)

It is important to note that this data cannot be directly compared with that of previous years, due to unique circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legal obligation for retailers to charge for single use plastic carrier bags supplied with online grocery deliveries was removed from 21 March 2020 to 21 September 2020, and during this exemption period the reporting requirement for large retailers was also removed.

The information is available on the most recent publication Single-use plastic carrier bags charge: data for England 2020 to 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), which summarises all data collected by Defra for the reporting year from 7 April 2020 to 6 April 2021, including the donation information. We have previously published summaries for earlier years and published the full datasets on data.gov.uk, this includes all reporting details provided by each retailer.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many homes in Kirklees were damaged by flooding in each of the last 11 years.

The numbers in the table below are derived from the number of homes that fall within the Environment Agency’s Recorded Flood Outline which is reviewed following each major flood. This data set records homes affected by flooding, rather than damaged by flooding, and includes homes where the flooding was restricted to gardens as well as those that flooded internally. This is the best available information held by the Environment Agency.

Number of Properties Affected by Fluvial Flooding (Rivers)

Number of Properties affected by Other Sources of Flooding (can be assumed to be from Surface Water)

2010

0

0

2011

0

0

2012

0

0

2013

0

0

2014

0

0

2015

203

0

2016

0

0

2017

0

0

2018

0

0

2019

1

1

2020

12

0

There may be additional homes that flooded during smaller flood events that the Environment Agency is not aware of, particularly where the flooding is due to surface water. The Local Authority may hold more information about these events.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much household waste (a) in kilograms has been produced per person, (b) has been sent to landfill in tonnes and (c) has been recycled in tonnes in Kirklees in each of the last 11 years.

Figures for Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council are calculated from data held in the WasteDataFlow web portal and are shown below. From 2015/16 disposal and treatment data was reported under a new question structure and figures for earlier years may contain inconsistencies. The tonnage of waste sent for energy recovery has also been shown in the table to add context to the figures.

Kirklees MBC

Collected household waste per person (kg) (Ex BVPI 84a)

Household waste recycled (tonnes)

Household waste landfilled (tonnes)

Household waste sent for energy recovery (tonnes)

2009-10

434.3

54,168

17,188

101,981

2010-11

420.9

57,757

7,783

103,256

2011-12

405.3

56,550

8,175

100,765

2012-13

383.5

53,055

8,500

99,374

2013-14

398.1

52,530

11,067

103,382

2014-15

400.0

47,378

15,677

104,637

2015-16

399.9

49,678

19,860

101,848

2016-17

382.8

50,549

9,842

106,069

2017-18

366.8

43,709

4,411

112,867

2018-19

360.2

38,443

12,758

106,516

2019-20

366.0

43,024

4,855

110,948

Household waste sent for energy recovery (EfW) does not include waste sent for non EfW incineration.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to minimise the levels of pollution in the River Thames.

The Environment Agency is the primary regulatory authority to minimise pollution of the River Thames.

The Environment Agency regulates water companies, industry, business and farming activities through permitting of discharges which may directly or indirectly impact the river. Regulated water discharge activities include discharges from sewage treatment works and permits place restrictions on the quality and quantity of effluent discharged to the environment. The Environment Agency carries out compliance checks including data audits of permitted discharges. The Environment Agency continues to hold water companies to account, and has prosecuted Thames Water 10 times since 2017 with fines totalling £28.4 million.

The construction of the Lee Tunnel, completed in 2016, conveys storm sewage from the largest pumping station to the newly extended Beckton Sewage Treatment Works in West Ham. The construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, which will be connected to the Lee Tunnel, will operate as the London Tideway Tunnels and will capture the majority of flows from CSOs through London between Acton and Beckton. The completion of the London Tideway Tunnels will remove the majority of storm sewage discharges, resulting in better water quality, which the EA will monitor.

Thames Water's five sewage treatment works along the tidal Thames were enlarged by between 40-60% between 2010 and 2020. New discharge permits with tighter limits were issued and came into force in 2013. This has resulted in improvements in year-round water quality, which has encouraged aquatic life and made the river more resilient to polluting discharges.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking with local authorities in London to mitigate the levels of water and air pollution in and around the River Thames.

My Rt Hon Friends the Environment Secretary and the Secretary of State for Transport work closely together on issues related to air pollution, which poses the biggest environmental threat to public health. Defra officials also have regular discussions with their counterparts in the Department for Transport.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital and, through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) are strategic plans for England’s waters and set statutory objectives for water bodies and how to achieve them. In London, the Environment Agency is working in partnerships, updating RBMPs and flood risk management plans together, for a more integrated approach to improving water quality in London, including the Thames.

The London Tideway Tunnels are being built to intercept the 39 million tonnes of diluted sewage that would otherwise spill into the River Thames from storm overflows in a typical year. The Tideway tunnel will start to intercept sewage overflows by 2023 and be fully completed by 2025, resulting in further significant improvements to water quality in the tidal Thames. At a community level, the Environment Agency works with Thames Water and local authorities on combined flood and water quality projects, including Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with long-term asthma are not impacted by high levels of air pollution.

We know air pollution is a particular threat to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the very young and those with existing health conditions such as asthma. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources.

The Environment Bill will establish a duty to set two legally binding targets on PM 2.5: a minimum concentration limit and a new population exposure reduction target. We will consult on these targets in early 2022. These two targets will drive action at the local level, as well as nationally, to improve air quality for everyone.

In addition, we have committed to reviewing the National Air Quality Strategy (including the Local Air Quality Management Framework) with a key objective of promoting and supporting greater local action to identify and address air pollution inequalities, targeting action at vulnerable groups and communities.

The Government is also committed to improving public awareness of air pollution and to improve the provision of air quality data and information on the UK Air website. We have started a comprehensive review of the Daily Air Quality Index, to enhance the advice when pollution levels are elevated.

The Department of Health and Social Care continues to engage with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide information and advice to those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. This will allow patients and their carers to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution and give them greater power to manage their condition. The Chief Medical Officer has also discussed this matter with the Royal Colleges. Furthermore, the NHS has a Long Term Plan to improve asthma outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People's Transformation Programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short- and long-term adverse effects of air pollution on children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to mitigate the impact of air pollution on people who are suffering from long-term asthma.

We know air pollution is a particular threat to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the very young and those with existing health conditions such as asthma. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources.

The Environment Bill will establish a duty to set two legally binding targets on PM 2.5: a minimum concentration limit and a new population exposure reduction target. We will consult on these targets in early 2022. These two targets will drive action at the local level, as well as nationally, to improve air quality for everyone.

In addition, we have committed to reviewing the National Air Quality Strategy (including the Local Air Quality Management Framework) with a key objective of promoting and supporting greater local action to identify and address air pollution inequalities, targeting action at vulnerable groups and communities.

The Government is also committed to improving public awareness of air pollution and to improve the provision of air quality data and information on the UK Air website. We have started a comprehensive review of the Daily Air Quality Index, to enhance the advice when pollution levels are elevated.

The Department of Health and Social Care continues to engage with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide information and advice to those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. This will allow patients and their carers to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution and give them greater power to manage their condition. The Chief Medical Officer has also discussed this matter with the Royal Colleges. Furthermore, the NHS has a Long Term Plan to improve asthma outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People's Transformation Programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short- and long-term adverse effects of air pollution on children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to minimise the impact of air pollution on children’s development.

We know air pollution is a particular threat to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the very young and those with existing health conditions such as asthma. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources.

The Environment Bill will establish a duty to set two legally binding targets on PM 2.5: a minimum concentration limit and a new population exposure reduction target. We will consult on these targets in early 2022. These two targets will drive action at the local level, as well as nationally, to improve air quality for everyone.

In addition, we have committed to reviewing the National Air Quality Strategy (including the Local Air Quality Management Framework) with a key objective of promoting and supporting greater local action to identify and address air pollution inequalities, targeting action at vulnerable groups and communities.

The Government is also committed to improving public awareness of air pollution and to improve the provision of air quality data and information on the UK Air website. We have started a comprehensive review of the Daily Air Quality Index, to enhance the advice when pollution levels are elevated.

The Department of Health and Social Care continues to engage with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide information and advice to those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. This will allow patients and their carers to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution and give them greater power to manage their condition. The Chief Medical Officer has also discussed this matter with the Royal Colleges. Furthermore, the NHS has a Long Term Plan to improve asthma outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People's Transformation Programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short- and long-term adverse effects of air pollution on children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.

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 steps he is taking to ensure that game farms are compliant with the keeping gamebirds Codes of Practice.

We are committed to maintaining our position as world leaders in farm animal welfare and want to improve and build upon that record, working in partnership with farmers to support healthier, higher welfare animals. As referenced in the recently published Action Plan for Animal Welfare we are actively exploring options for strengthening the UK system moving forward and are examining the evidence around the use of cages in farming, including their use for breeding pheasants and partridges.

The welfare of gamebirds is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes offers additional protection and provides keepers with guidance on how to meet the welfare needs of their gamebirds as required by the 2006 Act. It recommends that barren cages for breeding pheasants and small barren cages for breeding partridges should not be used and that any system should be appropriately enriched.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carry out targeted inspections on gamebird farms. Advice on compliance with the gamebird code and welfare legislation is a key component of all APHA inspections. Appropriate action is taken against anyone who breaks the law.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase tree planting in the UK.

We are committed to increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament. We published our ambitious England Trees Action Plan on 18 May which sets out our plans to at least treble tree planting rates in England as a key contribution to that 30,000ha UK commitment – this represents an unprecedented increase in woodland creation in England, supported by £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund.

The England Trees Action Plan sets out a framework for a range of new incentive which will be launched through the course of this year, providing significant support for 2021/22 planting season. This includes launching a new £15.9 million England Woodland Creation Offer where landowners, land managers and public bodies can apply for support to create new woodland to boost more traditional methods of tree establishment as well as natural colonisation, agroforestry, and riparian plating. We’ve also extended our Urban Tree Challenge Fund, delivering trees in areas of low tree cover and social deprivation, and have launched a new £2.7 million Local Authority Treescape Fund, aimed at establishing more trees in non-woodland settings such as riverbanks or hedgerows.

For the last planting season (2020/21) we kick-started tree planting efforts through a number of initiatives including, £12.1 million investment in expanding England's ten Community Forests; £1.4 million of planting along rivers through the Environment Agency; Support from the £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund for a range of charity projects to protect and plant trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with fleet delivery companies on minimising the environmental impact of fleet delivery vehicles.

This Government is committed to tackling climate change, delivering our net zero commitment and improving our air quality across the UK.

Over the past year we have engaged with a broad range of stakeholders, including delivery companies, via multiple channels to seek views and evidence in support of the development of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP). The TDP will be published this Spring and will take a holistic and cross-modal approach to decarbonising the entire transport system, setting out a credible and ambitious pathway to cut emissions. One of the strategic priorities in the Plan will be to examine how we get our goods and the decarbonisation of “last mile” deliveries.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of supermarkets on supporting community organisations to reduce littering in their local communities.

Although the Secretary of State is in regular communication with supermarket retailers, Defra has had no specific conversations with representatives of supermarkets on supporting community organisations to reduce littering.

The Government continues to use its influence to support national clear-up days, which help to empower and engage communities in tackling litter and to change attitudes towards littering. We have also recently updated the Countryside Code, reminding people to respect the outdoors and take their litter home with them.

I recently spoke at the launch of the 2021 Great British Spring Clean, urging as many people and businesses as possible to participate, and have committed to volunteer during the event. By taking part, we can all set the tone for the summer ahead, by showing that litter is not acceptable, and that people care deeply about protecting their local environment.

Many retailers choose to support these events, and local stores often encourage staff and customers to take part. We understand that in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic some retailers are, quite reasonably, focusing much of their charitable efforts on the food redistribution and supply sector at present.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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 environment of fleet vehicles fitted with industrial refrigeration units.

Tailpipe emissions from vehicles which power transport refrigeration units are recorded as road traffic emissions in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory. The data for road transport emissions is published annually and has been reported since 1990 onwards. The Government does not estimate emissions from transport refrigeration unit auxiliary engines as the available data are limited.

Defra commissioned research and is working with industry and sector experts to improve the evidence base on emissions from non-road mobile machinery emissions, including transport refrigeration units. As set out in the Clean Air Strategy, the Government is considering the options to reduce emissions from non-road mobile machinery, and this research will help ensure that we have a robust and accurate evidence base to consider policy options from.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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 has taken to ensure that there is a sufficient volume of refuse space for use in public parks.

Principal Litter Authorities such as local councils or crown authorities are responsible for keeping their relevant land clear of litter and refuse. This includes public parks, national parks and royal parks. It is up to the respective authorities to decide how best to meet this statutory duty.

Litter authorities may choose to install bins in public places and have a duty to make arrangements for the regular emptying and cleansing of any litter bins that they provide or maintain.

On behalf of Defra and MHCLG, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) have recently published guidance for local authorities and Business Improvement Districts in England on the provision of litter bins. The Right Bin in the Right Place guidance is available at https://wrap.org.uk/content/binfrastructure-right-bin-right-place

In support of this guidance, the Litter Binfrastructure Grant scheme provided local authorities in England with the opportunity to apply for capital grants of £10,000-£25,000 to support the purchase of new litter bins. The scheme, which is being managed by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and funded by Defra, was open from 17th December 2020 until 10th March 2021. In total 77 applications were received, with £983,000 being awarded to local authorities across 44 grants.

We also continue to campaign to raise awareness of littering issues. Last summer, in response to Covid-19, Defra developed a ‘Respect the Outdoors’ campaign to encourage people to follow the Countryside Code and to highlight the impacts of littering. This was promoted both online and in locations across the country near to urban parks, beaches and national parks. We also supported, and provided funding for, Keep Britain Tidy’s Love Parks campaign, which encouraged people to treat our parks with respect.

Preliminary evaluation of these campaigns indicated that they had a positive influence on the target audience’s intended disposal of PPE litter, with anecdotal reports from local authorities that the intervention resulted in a markedly beneficial outcome.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent environmental impact assessment his Department has undertaken on increases in portion sizes of food sold by supermarkets.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) evidence suggests that having a wider range of pack-sizes / formats at the right price could be one of the key solutions to reduce food waste and the associated negative impacts on the environment. They estimate that helping customers buy the right pack size for their needs could prevent more than 200,000 tonnes/year of food waste across key packaged perishable categories annually.

We work closely with WRAP and their work with retailers and manufacturers to push for pack sizes that meet the needs of single-person households, or homes in which householders eat as individuals, rather than together, and that these are available at the right price point; that there is clear communication on portion or servings size. We also support WRAP work in testing and rolling out product innovations such as split-packs or resealable packaging where it increases product life. A regular retail survey ensures we can monitor progress and share best practice across the sector.

The Government’s reduction and reformulation programme includes reducing portion size as one of three mechanisms for action to be used by all sectors of the food industry to reduce intakes of calories, sugar and salt.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce overfishing in UK waters.

Our ambition is world-class fisheries management to achieve sustainable fisheries, safeguarding stocks and the environment for the long term.

The Government is fully committed to sustainable fishing and the principle of Maximum Sustainable Yield as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan and our Fisheries White Paper. The objectives in the Fisheries Act, the Joint Fisheries Statement and Fisheries Management Plans collectively reaffirm our commitment to achieving sustainable fishing and protecting the marine environment while tailoring our approach to our unique seas and the needs of our fishing industry.

In our international negotiations, we continue to encourage other coastal States to agree quotas within sustainable limits. We will work closely with neighbouring countries to ensure our seas are managed sustainably, to secure a fair share of quota for UK fishers, and to enable a thriving industry for current and future generations.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support his Department is providing to organisations that aim to tackle food (a) waste and (b) poverty in West Yorkshire.

(a) Waste

Since 2018, over £11 million of grants have been awarded to the surplus food redistribution sector to make sure more surplus food goes to those who have a need in the months and the years to come. In Yorkshire alone, sixteen projects worth over £2.3 million were funded. Hundreds of the grants that make up the £11 million are providing the infrastructure such as vehicles, freezers and fridges to redistributors both large and small across the country.


Through the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) we continue to work closely with the redistribution sector and the across the food chain to tackle any barriers to increasing redistribution including through the provision of tools and guidance.

(b) Poverty in West Yorkshire

The Government has built on the significant support given to the most vulnerable during the initial months of the pandemic, by delivering a winter support package to help the economically vulnerable. This package included increasing the value of Healthy Start Vouchers, the national rollout of the Holiday Activities and Food programme, and a £170 million Covid Winter Support Grant to local authorities which started in December to support households with food and other essential costs.

The winter package also included £16 million of funding for Defra to support food charities with the purchasing and distribution of food to the vulnerable over a 16-week period starting from the beginning of December. This funding stream was managed by the food redistributor FareShare and helped to support a number of areas across England, including West Yorkshire.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect the wild badger population in England.

In England, The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 restricts the killing, injuring or taking of badgers or interference with their setts. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides protection against certain methods of killing or taking.

This domestic legislation fulfils our obligations under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (the Bern Convention) to protect badgers and their populations.

Badger persecution is also one of seven UK wildlife crime priorities. Priority areas are those which are assessed as posing the greatest current threat to either the conservation status of a species or which show the highest volume of crime and therefore they are assessed as requiring an immediate UK-wide tactical response. Each priority area has an implementation plan with plan owners and with leads identified for the prevention of, and enforcement action against crimes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to improve air quality in the UK.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010. Emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 33% and are at their lowest level since records began. Defra Ministers regularly hold discussions with Ministers and officials across Government, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Significant funding has been made available to address air pollution. In particular, we have put in place a £3.8 billion plan to improve air quality and deliver cleaner transport. This includes:

  • £1.5 billion in funding to support charge point infrastructure and grants to support uptake of ultra-low emissions vehicles, which has now risen to £2.8 billion following subsequent funding announcements;
  • £1.2 billion for the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy to increase cycling and walking and make our roads safer for vulnerable users;
  • £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those impacted by these plans.

We have also provided over £16 million since 2016 directly to local authorities through our LA grants programme to fund innovative projects that tackle localised air pollution more generally.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to reduce the occurrence of animal abuse in the UK.

This Government is committed to animal welfare and the provision of tougher sentencing to deter acts of animal cruelty. The Government supports increasing the maximum custodial sentences for animal cruelty offences from six months to five years. This will enable courts to take a firmer approach to cases such as dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, or gross neglect of farm animals. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill was introduced into the House of Commons by Chris Loder MP on 5 February and Committee stage took place on 3 February. Report stage and third reading of the Bill have now been scheduled for Friday 12 March. The Government will continue to support the Bill as it makes its way through Parliament.

A new maximum penalty of five years is in line with campaigns by key stakeholders such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Dogs Trust and the RSPCA. This is a positive step forward in improving animal welfare and will act as a serious deterrent against cruelty and neglect. Northern Ireland has already set the maximum penalty for animal cruelty offences at five years' imprisonment, as has the Scottish Government through its Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act. The Welsh Government has confirmed that the new maximum penalty we are proposing should apply in Wales.

The increase to five years' imprisonment will provide one of the toughest sanctions in Europe, strengthening the UK's position as a global leader on animal welfare.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to phase out the use of farrowing crates for sows that are pregnant.

We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and a strong track record for raising the bar when it comes to welfare measures, such as banning battery cages for laying hens, sow stalls and veal crates - and introducing CCTV in all slaughterhouses in England.

We want to continue to build on this, and are currently examining the evidence around the use of cages for farm animals. Defra’s new pig welfare code of practice, which came into force in March last year, states that the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken to assess in which areas of the UK roadside air pollution is most prevalent and dangerous; and what steps he is taking with local authorities to tackle air pollution in those areas.

The 2017 UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations outlines how local authorities with persistent NO2 exceedances, identified using national modelling, must take robust action to improve air quality. We are working closely with these local authorities and making £880m of funding available to deliver compliance with NO2 levels as soon as possible.

Local authorities are also required to review and assess local air quality. If their assessment shows that local pollution levels exceed local air quality objectives they must declare an Air Quality Management Area and develop an Air Quality Action Plan with the aim of reducing air pollution to within statutory limits.

Local authorities have a range of powers to take action to reduce pollution from road vehicles, such as restricting car access around schools and enforcing anti-idling laws. In addition, Defra’s Air Quality Grant programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution. The Government has awarded over £64 million in funding since the air quality grant started in 1997.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on providing support to primary schools for air quality level monitoring.

In delivering against our ambitious air quality commitments, Defra regularly holds discussions with Ministers and officials across Government departments.

Local authorities have statutory duties to review and assess local air quality and, where appropriate, declare Air Quality Management Areas and put in place action plans to address local pollution issues. Defra provides guidance and support to local authorities on local monitoring.

Positioning of local monitors is determined by local authorities and expected to be in line with national and local priorities, which may include schools and other locations where there is high risk of public exposure to air pollutants.

Local authorities are expected to cover the costs of their monitoring through their Grant in Aid funding allocation. In addition, over £1 million of Defra’s 2018/19 Air Quality Grant was reserved for local authorities to pilot and evaluate low cost sensors, including £180,000 which was awarded to Islington Borough Council, Slough Borough Council and Wakefield Metropolitan District Council to undertake projects focused on monitoring air quality in and around schools.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to provide support to local authorities for ensuring that air quality on the routes of refuse collectors across local authorities is monitored; and what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on further support for local authorities with refuse fleets with air quality monitors.

The Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) regime requires that local authorities assess air quality in their area and take appropriate steps when an issue is identified.

The siting of air quality monitors is determined by local authorities in light of local conditions and in line with our statutory guidance. Defra provides guidance and support to local authorities to assist them in meeting these LAQM responsibilities. In addition, Defra has a national network of air quality monitors, the ‘Automatic Urban and Rural Network’ (AURN), currently comprising 270 sites across the UK. The number and positioning of AURN monitoring sites is in accordance with criteria set out in Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010.

Local authorities receive grant in aid to cover their local air quality management duties. Defra's air quality grant programme provides additional funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution.

In delivering against our ambitious air quality commitments, we regularly hold discussions with Ministers and officials across Government departments, including the Department for Transport.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to ensure that local authorities are prioritising the elimination of air pollution.

We are continuing to deliver our ambitious plans to improve air quality. To tackle local NO2 exceedances, we are providing £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those impacted by these plans. We have supported the retrofit of over 3,000 buses with cleaner engines and agreed go live dates for clean air zones in Bath and Birmingham. We are committed to ensuring that local authorities have access to a wide range of options as they develop plans to address roadside pollution in a way that meets the needs of their communities.

In addition, through the Environment Bill we are improving cooperation within the Local Air Quality Management framework to widen the range of bodies that play a role in improving local air quality, including neighbouring local authorities and relevant public bodies, ensuring action is taken by all key players to tackle pollution sources and to improve air quality locally.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that climate crisis resolutions passed by local authorities are followed by action across communities to make them more sustainable in terms of air quality.

It is for local authorities to determine the specific actions they take in the context of climate crisis resolutions they have made. However, in our Local Air Quality Management statutory guidance we are clear that local authorities should ensure that all parts of a local authority are working effectively together to improve air quality. Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to review and assess local air quality, and to take action where a local exceedance of statutory local air quality standards and objectives is identified. Where no such exceedance has been identified we nonetheless recommend local authorities develop local air quality strategies.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the air quality in each local authority area; and whether his Department prioritises funding for mitigation of poor air quality based on that assessment.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality. If their assessment shows that local pollution levels exceed, or are likely to exceed, local air quality objectives they must declare an Air Quality Management Area and develop an Air Quality Action Plan with the aim of reducing air pollution to within statutory limits.

Local authorities receive grant in aid to cover their local air quality management duties. Defra’s air quality grant programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution. Particular consideration is given to applications that can demonstrate they will benefit local areas where there are, or are projected to be, pollutant exceedances. The Government has awarded over £64 million in funding since the air quality grant started in 1997.

The Government has put in place a £3.8 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions. Clean Air Zones will deliver targeted action in air pollution hot spots to improve air quality, to improve health and support economic growth in the urban environment, encouraging the replacement of old, polluting vehicles with modern, cleaner technologies, such as ultra-low emission vehicles.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the proportion of untreated sewage that flows into rivers and streams.

Water companies are committed in the 5-year business planning period (2020-2025) to a significant programme of improvements to the monitoring and management of storm overflows at a cost of around £1.1 billion. However, I recognise that there is more to do. I met water company CEOs in September and made clear that the volumes of sewage discharged into rivers and other waterways in extreme weather must be reduced. To achieve this, I have set up a new Taskforce bringing together Government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs. This Taskforce will set out clear proposals to address the volumes of sewage discharged into our rivers. The Taskforce is also exploring further short-term actions water companies can take to accelerate progress on storm overflows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support local community organisations that aim to clean inland waters.

Defra and its partner organisations support and encourage action by local communities in improving the water environment. The Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) is a framework for co-ordinating partnership action between the public, private and third sectors with a specific focus on water. Since its launch in 2012, CaBA has grown from 25 pilots to include over 100 Catchment Partnerships consisting of 2,500 organisations covering England and cross border areas with Wales. They engage and empower local communities and help them to bring their local knowledge, resource and expertise to reduce flood risk, improve sustainable management of water resources and resilience to climate change.

Defra and the Environment Agency supports this local action by funding via CaBA Catchment Hosts, a central National Support Group and, in addition, £27 million of Government investment over three years has supported local projects through the Water Environment Grant scheme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of inland waters in (a) Huddersfield, (b) Kirklees and (c) England are safe for (a) wild swimming and (b) other human leisure activities.

The physical safety of swimmers and other water users at inland waters is a matter for the local management of the site. The Bathing Water Regulations 2013 are designed to protect water quality and public health insofar as it relates to pollution and have no provision for physical safety.

The numbers of inland designated bathing waters in the areas requested are:

  1. Huddersfield: 0
  2. Kirklees: 0
  3. England: 12

Areas used for other water-based leisure activities are not designated as bathing waters because bathing water monitoring focuses on a single sampling point so is not directly relevant to water-sport participants, who cover a greater distance in the water than bathers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of explosions on the sea floor on the (a) health and (b) quality of marine life in British waters.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is responsible for licensing marine activities in the seas around England, including the removal of Unexploded Ordnance from the seabed. In determining any application for a marine licence, the MMO considers all relevant matters including the need to protect the marine environment. This involves assessing any potential impacts on marine life under an environmental assessment. Such assessments are made on the specifics of each case and involve consultation with the MMO’s primary advisors, including Natural England.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Greenwich Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Kingston Council to conduct their most recent environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Hammersmith and Fulham Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Tower Hamlets Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Havering and Bexley Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Lambeth Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Wandsworth Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Lewisham Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Newham Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Barking and Dagenham Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Kensington and Chelsea Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Westminster City Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Southwark Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to prevent microplastics from tyre degradation from flowing into rivers and seas.

A Defra-funded study concluded that particles released from vehicle tyres during use could be a significant and previously unrecorded source of microplastics in the marine environment. This research advanced understanding of ways in which microplastics enter the marine environment and highlighted the complex problem of microplastic pollution to the marine environment from various sources and pathways.

The Department for Transport is currently commissioning research to better understand tyre and brake wear emissions from road vehicles. It is anticipated that the knowledge developed in this project will lay the foundation for improved ways to assess and control these emissions.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of tyre degradation on air pollution.

At Defra’s request, the Air Quality Expert Group produced a report considering the whole range of non-exhaust emissions resulting from road vehicles, i.e. tyre degradation, road surface wear and brake wear.

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/documents/reports/cat09/1907101151_20190709_Non_Exhaust_Emissions_typeset_Final.pdf

Particulate emissions from non-exhaust emissions are estimated to make up 7.4% of total UK emissions of fine particulates (PM2.5) according to the 2016 National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and tyre wear comprises approximately 2.5% of this.

Regarding emission reduction from tyre wear, tyre design and formulation is an important option for reducing emissions and we will continue to work with international partners seeking to develop new international regulations for particulate emissions from tyres and brakes through the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, as well as with other international initiatives.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the effect on air quality of (a) road surface wear and (b) road dust resuspension.

Defra is supporting work on how air quality is affected by road surface wear and road dust resuspension by gathering evidence needed and feeding in views to inform effective policies. In July 2018 we published a call for evidence[1] to improve our understanding of the extent and impact of emissions from brake, tyre and road wear and potential ways to address them, to inform future policy development on air quality. This evidence also informed a review led by the Air Quality Expert Group which was published in July 2019[2].

The Department for Transport will shortly commence a research project to understand better the measurement techniques, materials properties and control parameters of non-exhaust emissions from road vehicles. The knowledge developed in this project will inform what policy and legislation may be required to control and reduce these emissions. We will also continue our work with international partners to develop procedures to test and evaluate emissions from tyre and brake wear, with the potential to produce future regulatory standards.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/consultations/air-quality-brake-tyre-and-road-surface-wear-call-for-evidence/outcome/brake-tyre-and-road-surface-wear-call-for-evidence-summary-of-responses

[2] uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/documents/reports/cat09/1907101151_20190709_Non_Exhaust_Emissions_typeset_Final.pdf

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Sainsbury’s on making their organisation more sustainable.

All large retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco Plc, Asda Stores Ltd, Waitrose and Partners and Marks and Spencer are signed up to a series of resource efficiency programmes we support through our work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Courtauld 2025 is a voluntary agreement which works across the food chain with the target to, over ten years, cut carbon and waste in the food sector by one fifth by 2025. By collaborating with WRAP and using its tools, guidance and research, retailers can support their supply chains to be more resource efficient, encourage consumers to reduce their waste, and support third-sector organisations to redistribute more surplus food to those in need.

We are also working with WRAP to encourage efforts to reduce other forms of waste.

The UK Plastics Pact is a collaborative initiative to create a circular system that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the natural environment. Led by WRAP and set up in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in April 2018, it is a coalition whose members cover the entire plastics value chain, and all of the major supermarkets are members. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated, which includes action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items. Our ambitious reforms to overhaul the waste system will support supermarkets in achieving those targets. This includes making producers more responsible for the products they put on the market, starting with reforming the packaging waste regulations, and making recycling simpler for households and businesses.

We also support WRAP with its industry-led voluntary agreement the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020. This focuses on improving the environmental footprint of the clothing sector, with targets on reducing water and carbon footprints, reducing textiles to landfill and reducing waste produced over whole product lifecycle. A new programme, Textiles 2030, was announced on 10 November and has ambitious targets in line with global goals on carbon, water and resource circularity and aims to drive the shift to a more resource-efficient textiles sector in the UK.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. We are encouraging all businesses across the UK to play their part and sign up to the Race to Zero.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Tesco Plc on making their organisation more sustainable.

All large retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco Plc, Asda Stores Ltd, Waitrose and Partners and Marks and Spencer are signed up to a series of resource efficiency programmes we support through our work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Courtauld 2025 is a voluntary agreement which works across the food chain with the target to, over ten years, cut carbon and waste in the food sector by one fifth by 2025. By collaborating with WRAP and using its tools, guidance and research, retailers can support their supply chains to be more resource efficient, encourage consumers to reduce their waste, and support third-sector organisations to redistribute more surplus food to those in need.

We are also working with WRAP to encourage efforts to reduce other forms of waste.

The UK Plastics Pact is a collaborative initiative to create a circular system that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the natural environment. Led by WRAP and set up in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in April 2018, it is a coalition whose members cover the entire plastics value chain, and all of the major supermarkets are members. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated, which includes action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items. Our ambitious reforms to overhaul the waste system will support supermarkets in achieving those targets. This includes making producers more responsible for the products they put on the market, starting with reforming the packaging waste regulations, and making recycling simpler for households and businesses.

We also support WRAP with its industry-led voluntary agreement the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020. This focuses on improving the environmental footprint of the clothing sector, with targets on reducing water and carbon footprints, reducing textiles to landfill and reducing waste produced over whole product lifecycle. A new programme, Textiles 2030, was announced on 10 November and has ambitious targets in line with global goals on carbon, water and resource circularity and aims to drive the shift to a more resource-efficient textiles sector in the UK.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. We are encouraging all businesses across the UK to play their part and sign up to the Race to Zero.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Waitrose and Partners on making their organisation more sustainable.

All large retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco Plc, Asda Stores Ltd, Waitrose and Partners and Marks and Spencer are signed up to a series of resource efficiency programmes we support through our work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Courtauld 2025 is a voluntary agreement which works across the food chain with the target to, over ten years, cut carbon and waste in the food sector by one fifth by 2025. By collaborating with WRAP and using its tools, guidance and research, retailers can support their supply chains to be more resource efficient, encourage consumers to reduce their waste, and support third-sector organisations to redistribute more surplus food to those in need.

We are also working with WRAP to encourage efforts to reduce other forms of waste.

The UK Plastics Pact is a collaborative initiative to create a circular system that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the natural environment. Led by WRAP and set up in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in April 2018, it is a coalition whose members cover the entire plastics value chain, and all of the major supermarkets are members. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated, which includes action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items. Our ambitious reforms to overhaul the waste system will support supermarkets in achieving those targets. This includes making producers more responsible for the products they put on the market, starting with reforming the packaging waste regulations, and making recycling simpler for households and businesses.

We also support WRAP with its industry-led voluntary agreement the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020. This focuses on improving the environmental footprint of the clothing sector, with targets on reducing water and carbon footprints, reducing textiles to landfill and reducing waste produced over whole product lifecycle. A new programme, Textiles 2030, was announced on 10 November and has ambitious targets in line with global goals on carbon, water and resource circularity and aims to drive the shift to a more resource-efficient textiles sector in the UK.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. We are encouraging all businesses across the UK to play their part and sign up to the Race to Zero.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Marks and Spencer on making their organisation more sustainable.

All large retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco Plc, Asda Stores Ltd, Waitrose and Partners and Marks and Spencer are signed up to a series of resource efficiency programmes we support through our work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Courtauld 2025 is a voluntary agreement which works across the food chain with the target to, over ten years, cut carbon and waste in the food sector by one fifth by 2025. By collaborating with WRAP and using its tools, guidance and research, retailers can support their supply chains to be more resource efficient, encourage consumers to reduce their waste, and support third-sector organisations to redistribute more surplus food to those in need.

We are also working with WRAP to encourage efforts to reduce other forms of waste.

The UK Plastics Pact is a collaborative initiative to create a circular system that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the natural environment. Led by WRAP and set up in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in April 2018, it is a coalition whose members cover the entire plastics value chain, and all of the major supermarkets are members. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated, which includes action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items. Our ambitious reforms to overhaul the waste system will support supermarkets in achieving those targets. This includes making producers more responsible for the products they put on the market, starting with reforming the packaging waste regulations, and making recycling simpler for households and businesses.

We also support WRAP with its industry-led voluntary agreement the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020. This focuses on improving the environmental footprint of the clothing sector, with targets on reducing water and carbon footprints, reducing textiles to landfill and reducing waste produced over whole product lifecycle. A new programme, Textiles 2030, was announced on 10 November and has ambitious targets in line with global goals on carbon, water and resource circularity and aims to drive the shift to a more resource-efficient textiles sector in the UK.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. We are encouraging all businesses across the UK to play their part and sign up to the Race to Zero.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Asda Stores Ltd on making their organisation more sustainable.

All large retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco Plc, Asda Stores Ltd, Waitrose and Partners and Marks and Spencer are signed up to a series of resource efficiency programmes we support through our work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Courtauld 2025 is a voluntary agreement which works across the food chain with the target to, over ten years, cut carbon and waste in the food sector by one fifth by 2025. By collaborating with WRAP and using its tools, guidance and research, retailers can support their supply chains to be more resource efficient, encourage consumers to reduce their waste, and support third-sector organisations to redistribute more surplus food to those in need.

We are also working with WRAP to encourage efforts to reduce other forms of waste.

The UK Plastics Pact is a collaborative initiative to create a circular system that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the natural environment. Led by WRAP and set up in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in April 2018, it is a coalition whose members cover the entire plastics value chain, and all of the major supermarkets are members. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated, which includes action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items. Our ambitious reforms to overhaul the waste system will support supermarkets in achieving those targets. This includes making producers more responsible for the products they put on the market, starting with reforming the packaging waste regulations, and making recycling simpler for households and businesses.

We also support WRAP with its industry-led voluntary agreement the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020. This focuses on improving the environmental footprint of the clothing sector, with targets on reducing water and carbon footprints, reducing textiles to landfill and reducing waste produced over whole product lifecycle. A new programme, Textiles 2030, was announced on 10 November and has ambitious targets in line with global goals on carbon, water and resource circularity and aims to drive the shift to a more resource-efficient textiles sector in the UK.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. We are encouraging all businesses across the UK to play their part and sign up to the Race to Zero.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent environmental assessments his Department has carried out on water quality in lakes and rivers throughout the UK.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Environment Agency recently published updated results for the ecological status and potential classification for all waters in England from source to sea on the Catchment Data Explorer. This is available at the link below. In addition, the Environment Agency carries out assessments for a range of purposes including for bathing waters, water resource planning, flood risk management, the status of salmon and other fisheries and monitoring known and emerging chemical risks. The assessments are to target and understand the effectiveness of programmes of measures and to inform regulatory and enforcement work and decisions on specific schemes or permits.

The Environment Agency reports on the state of the environment in a number of different ways, including releasing data and analysis to meet specific statutory requirements and producing State of Environment (SoE) reports to provide a balanced picture of environmental state in England that go beyond these specific statutory requirements. A Water Quality report (Feb 2018) and a Water Resources report (May 2018) were produced as part of a rolling programme of SoE reports. These are available at the link below.

http://environment.data.gov.uk/catchment-planning/

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/state-of-the-environment

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce pollution in rivers and lakes throughout the UK.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Stockport on 1 October 2020, PQ UIN 94575.

[questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-23/94575(opens in a new tab)]

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the incorporation of air quality within the national curriculum.

Air pollution poses the biggest environmental threat to public health and improving air quality remains a top priority for the Government. In delivering against our challenging air quality commitments, we regularly hold discussions with Ministers and officials across Government departments, including the Department for Education. We have had no specific discussions on the incorporation of air quality within the national curriculum.

Defra's Air Quality Grant Scheme has provided funding to local authorities to undertake projects focused on schools. Last year's scheme awarded nearly £500,000 to Blaby District Council, East Sussex County Council, Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority and Wokingham Borough Council to undertake education and awareness projects in schools to encourage behaviour change such as active travel.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of air quality monitors.

Our national air quality monitoring network is subject to continuous review to ensure that it remains fit for purpose and delivers value for money. A number of adjustments were made in a recent review including increases in monitoring for fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. The improvement of our air quality monitoring capability is an ongoing endeavour and we are currently undertaking a strategic review of the network to inform future improvements. Any equipment used in statutory air quality monitoring networks is subject to a certification process to ensure that it meets the required standards for air pollutant measurements as set out in the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010 and therefore it is not deemed necessary to legislate further for the standardisation of air quality monitoring.

Regarding the cost of standardised air quality monitors, this is driven by the market. When procuring equipment, officials always work to ensure the best value for money in any monitors procured. Additionally, the approach taken to quantify concentrations of air pollutants across the UK combines modelling with air quality monitoring at the 271 sites across nine national monitoring networks to ensure full coverage of the whole of the UK. The monitoring networks cost the Government approximately £7.5 million each year. Defra is closely following and considering current developments in alternative technologies for the measurement of air pollutants. Based on advice from our independent Air Quality Expert Group, Defra has commissioned work comparing the use of alternative sensor technologies with standard methods, is working with industry to establish performance standards for their use and is testing their real-world application. However, these technologies are not yet mature enough to replace high quality monitors.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the cost of high standard air quality monitors in the UK.

Our national air quality monitoring network is subject to continuous review to ensure that it remains fit for purpose and delivers value for money. A number of adjustments were made in a recent review including increases in monitoring for fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. The improvement of our air quality monitoring capability is an ongoing endeavour and we are currently undertaking a strategic review of the network to inform future improvements. Any equipment used in statutory air quality monitoring networks is subject to a certification process to ensure that it meets the required standards for air pollutant measurements as set out in the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010 and therefore it is not deemed necessary to legislate further for the standardisation of air quality monitoring.

Regarding the cost of standardised air quality monitors, this is driven by the market. When procuring equipment, officials always work to ensure the best value for money in any monitors procured. Additionally, the approach taken to quantify concentrations of air pollutants across the UK combines modelling with air quality monitoring at the 271 sites across nine national monitoring networks to ensure full coverage of the whole of the UK. The monitoring networks cost the Government approximately £7.5 million each year. Defra is closely following and considering current developments in alternative technologies for the measurement of air pollutants. Based on advice from our independent Air Quality Expert Group, Defra has commissioned work comparing the use of alternative sensor technologies with standard methods, is working with industry to establish performance standards for their use and is testing their real-world application. However, these technologies are not yet mature enough to replace high quality monitors.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the celebrations on the 5th of November on air quality.

An assessment of the effect of celebrations surrounding Bonfire Night (5 November) on air quality is made annually as part of the Air Pollution in the UK report. The assessment is based on measurements from the national monitoring network which monitors concentrations of air pollutants in near real-time on the UK-AIR website. The latest report (for 2019) can be accessed at the following URL: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/annualreport/index. In the latest report, the effects of Bonfire Night celebrations are dealt with under section 6.1.3 Localised Particulate Pollution Episodes (pages 106 – 108).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals to introduce standardisation for air quality monitors.

Our national air quality monitoring network is subject to continuous review to ensure that it remains fit for purpose and delivers value for money. A number of adjustments were made in a recent review including increases in monitoring for fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. The improvement of our air quality monitoring capability is an ongoing endeavour and we are currently undertaking a strategic review of the network to inform future improvements. Any equipment used in statutory air quality monitoring networks is subject to a certification process to ensure that it meets the required standards for air pollutant measurements as set out in the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010 and therefore it is not deemed necessary to legislate further for the standardisation of air quality monitoring.

Regarding the cost of standardised air quality monitors, this is driven by the market. When procuring equipment, officials always work to ensure the best value for money in any monitors procured. Additionally, the approach taken to quantify concentrations of air pollutants across the UK combines modelling with air quality monitoring at the 271 sites across nine national monitoring networks to ensure full coverage of the whole of the UK. The monitoring networks cost the Government approximately £7.5 million each year. Defra is closely following and considering current developments in alternative technologies for the measurement of air pollutants. Based on advice from our independent Air Quality Expert Group, Defra has commissioned work comparing the use of alternative sensor technologies with standard methods, is working with industry to establish performance standards for their use and is testing their real-world application. However, these technologies are not yet mature enough to replace high quality monitors.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to enable local authorities to monitor air quality in their areas.

The Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) regime requires that local authorities review and assess air quality in their area. When a local authority assesses that air quality objectives may be exceeded, they should carry out some additional air quality monitoring.

Defra provides technical and policy guidance to local authorities to assist them in meeting these LAQM responsibilities. Defra also provides technical support to local authorities via a dedicated local air quality management Helpdesk (phone, email and webpage) and calculation tools to support local authorities in their monitoring and modelling efforts to ensure a consistent approach.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to (a) further incentivise and (b) ensure that large retailers distribute the Plastic Bag Levy to sustainable causes.

The charge on single-use carrier bags was introduced to decrease the number of bags in circulation and to encourage consumers to use more sustainable, reusable bags. The introduction has reduced the sale of single-use carrier bags in the main supermarkets by 95%. We have announced our plans to increase the minimum charge to 10p and to extend the charge to all retailers from April 2021.

The government expects retailers to donate the proceeds of the charge to good causes, but it is ultimately for them to choose what to do with the revenue raised. Since the charge was introduced, our data shows that almost £180 million has been donated to charities and other good causes from the proceeds from the charge. Further details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prioritise (a) sustainable farming and (b) environmentally responsible policies.

Defra group’s mission is to protect and enhance the environment – with policies and actions that are also key to sustainable national growth. Defra has four objectives, two of which are to pass on to the next generation a natural environment protected and enhanced for the future and to lead the world in food and farming with a sustainable model of food production. So our approach to farming going forward is designed to move away from direct payments, and to focus on environmentally sustainable and responsible policies.

We believe that agriculture has a key role to play in the protection of the environment and helping us achieve our targets set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan. The Government is committed to maintaining and improving environmental standards.

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

Farmers and other land managers may enter into agreements to be paid for delivering the following public goods set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan:

  • clean air
  • clean and plentiful water
  • thriving plants and wildlife
  • protection from and mitigation of environmental hazards
  • mitigation of and adaptation to climate change
  • beauty, heritage and engagement with the natural environment

Moreover, during the seven-year agricultural transition period, the Government will introduce a range of measures and new schemes to help the industry adapt. This will give farmers time to adapt and restructure their farming business. We will provide grants to farmers, foresters and growers so that they can invest in equipment, technology, and infrastructure that will help their businesses to prosper while improving their productivity and enhancing the environment. The grants scheme will open in 2021 and will offer grants for a proportion of the total cost of the investment.

We will also reform our regulatory system for farming and land management to better meet our domestic objectives of protecting and enhancing the environment, animal welfare, and plant and animal health, as well as supporting a sustainable, productive and resilient agriculture sector.

The Government is committed to ensuring that those engaged in agricultural or horticultural activities meet the rules which protect environmental standards and animal and plant health and welfare. But, we want to break the ties between access to financial support and regulation and focus on the critical outcomes – protection of animals, plants and the environment.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that upcoming legislative proposals protect air quality.

This Government takes its air quality obligations seriously and the world-leading Clean Air Strategy, published in January 2019, sets out the comprehensive action required across all parts of Government to improve air quality for everyone.

The Environment Bill delivers key parts of this Strategy. It introduces a duty to set a legally-binding target for fine particulate matter concentrations, the pollutant of greatest harm to human health, alongside a duty to set a further long-term air quality target. It also ensures that local authorities have a clear framework and simple to use powers to address air quality in their areas; and provides government with new powers to enforce environmental standards for vehicles.

Alongside this, the Bill will include a UK Environmental Protections policy which will allow for greater transparency and strengthened scrutiny by Parliament regarding future environmental legislation, including on air quality.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities have the (a) knowledge and (b) capacity to tackle local air pollution.

Under the Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) framework, local authorities are responsible for mitigation of air pollution hot spots in areas where people may be exposed. Defra provides technical and policy guidance to local authorities to assist them in meeting these LAQM responsibilities. Defra also provides technical support to local authorities via a dedicated local air quality management Helpdesk (phone, email and webpage) and calculation tools to support local authorities in their monitoring and modelling efforts.

Through the Environment Bill we are improving the LAQM framework to enable greater local action on air pollution by widening the range of bodies that play a role in improving local air quality, including neighbouring local authorities and relevant public bodies, ensuring action is taken by all key players to tackle local pollution sources and to improve air quality locally.

We have also committed to a review of the National Air Quality Strategy, which will look to build the capacity of local delivery partners to effectively tackle localised air quality issues.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure strong partnerships between local authorities and the private sector to tackle roadside air pollution.

The Government is working with local authorities to develop clean air plans to tackle previously identified nitrogen dioxide exceedances, and encourages local authorities to actively engage with local businesses in the development of these plans.

Additionally Defra’s air quality grant scheme provides funding to local authorities to develop and implement measures to benefit local communities. For example, the 2019/20 air quality grant awarded funds to projects to reduce emissions from the delivery of goods and services for businesses, and to encourage up take of electric taxis.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities are making people aware of air quality levels in their areas.

Through the statutory Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) framework, local authorities are required to assess air quality in their area and prepare an Annual Status Report providing a summary of the state of local air quality, associated health impacts and the progress on actions the local authority is taking to improve air quality. LAQM statutory guidance requires the local authority to make these reports available to the public and local stakeholders through their website.

Defra’s Air Quality Grant scheme provides funding to local authorities and supports schemes which help councils develop and implement measures to benefit local communities, including campaigns to promote greater air quality awareness.

In the Environment Bill we are mandating a regular cycle of reviews for the Air Quality Strategy, and this will provide an opportunity to outline measures focused on protecting those most vulnerable to air pollution.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure local authorities make (a) young and (b) vulnerable people within their area aware of the health risks of air pollution.

Through the statutory Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) framework, local authorities are required to assess air quality in their area and prepare an Annual Status Report providing a summary of the state of local air quality, associated health impacts and the progress on actions the local authority is taking to improve air quality. LAQM statutory guidance requires the local authority to make these reports available to the public and local stakeholders through their website.

Defra’s Air Quality Grant scheme provides funding to local authorities and supports schemes which help councils develop and implement measures to benefit local communities, including campaigns to promote greater air quality awareness.

In the Environment Bill we are mandating a regular cycle of reviews for the Air Quality Strategy, and this will provide an opportunity to outline measures focused on protecting those most vulnerable to air pollution.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that disposable barbecues are not used in national parks.

We are clear that everyone should follow the Countryside Code. A key part of Government strategy is to get clear and consistent messages to the media and key stakeholders which highlight the problem and promote better behaviour in the countryside and encourage a partnership response.

There are existing powers in legislation which can be used by authorities to regulate and prohibit the lighting of fires on Access Land in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks. Current ‘Byelaw’ legislation allows for local authorities to restrict and enforce the use of disposable barbecues in parks and public spaces. The Government has no plans for additional legislative proposals to introduce a seasonal ban on the use of disposable barbecues.

Defra is working with AONBs, National Park Authorities and other Government departments to promote a series of guidance videos to educate users about travelling to and spending time outdoors safely in the wider countryside. This includes an updated Countryside Code which advises not to have barbecues or fires. This guidance is available at the following links:

Green space access:

www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-on-accessing-green-spaces-safely

The Countryside Code:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code/the-countryside-code

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the recommendation on breed specific legislation in paragraph 22 of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee's report on Controlling dangerous dogs, Ninth Report of Session 2017–19, HC 1040, whether he plans to repeal section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act.

The Government response to the report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) entitled "Controlling Dangerous Dogs (HC1040)", was published on 28 January 2019 and addressed each of the Committee's recommendations. In its response the Government noted it has commissioned research by Middlesex University into dog attacks. The research is ongoing and will help to inform implementation of some of EFRA's recommendations.

In their Ninth Report of Session 2017-19, HC 1040, EFRA stopped short of recommending the repeal of section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. In the summary, the Committee stated "We agree with the Government that it would be irresponsible to amend the breed ban immediately without adequate safeguards." In response to the EFRA report, the Government referred to the suite of powers and measures available to police and local authorities to respond to incidents involving dangerous dogs and to help prevent dogs from becoming dangerously out of control.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for International Trade and (b) other Cabinet colleagues on the establishment of a commission to ensure that British food standards are not lowered in the context of future free trade agreements struck after 31 December 2020.

Our manifesto is clear that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.

We are already engaging with the agricultural sector as part of our trade discussions. The Secretary of State regularly discusses a wide range of issues with Cabinet colleagues, and the Government will continue to work closely with the National Farmers' Union and other relevant stakeholders across the food chain to understand the key concerns about the impact of new trade deals. The Government has in place a range of stakeholder groups to feed into our policy development on trade. These include the Strategic Trade Advisory Group, the Agri-Food Expert Trade Advisory Group which are subject to regular review, and the various engagement groups such as the Arable Group, Livestock Group and Food and Drink Panel.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that Britain retains high quality food standards when the transition period concludes.

The UK Government will not compromise on our standards. Our manifesto is clear that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. We remain firmly committed to upholding our high environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards outside the EU. The EU Withdrawal Act will transfer all existing EU food safety provisions, including existing import requirements, onto the UK statute book.

The UK’s food standards, for both domestic production and imports, are overseen by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland. These are agencies that provide independent advice to the UK and Scottish Governments. They will continue to do so in order to ensure that all food imports comply with the UK’s high safety standards. Decisions on these standards are a matter for the UK and will be made separately from any trade agreement.

The Government has committed to a serious and rapid examination of what could be done through labelling in the UK market to promote high standards and high welfare goods. The Government is also prepared to consult, as I reiterated at the despatch box. Any scheme could not be devised until we have competed the transition period and would need to recognise World Trade Organization obligations.

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 steps he is taking to ensure that garden centres are able to sell their plants that will otherwise go to waste during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is keeping the situation on garden centres under review but concluded last week that it was too early to ease any restrictions on retail environments. Online sales have been able to continue subject to the same import requirements as other imports, and the plant health inspectorate conducts regular checks on this pathway.

We will continue to work closely with the representatives from the horticulture supply chain to understand what short-term and long-term support the sector needs and how we might be able to support them.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department plans to extend the five pence plastic bag charge to all retailers within the 2019 Parliament.

The 5p charge has been highly successful at reducing the use of single-use plastic carrier bags, doing so by over 90% in the main retailers since its introduction in 2015.

The Government consulted last year on extending the charge to all retailers and increasing the minimum charge to at least 10p. We will publish the summary of responses and a Government response setting out next steps as soon as possible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to increase the (a) accountability and (b) transparency of the allocation by retailers of revenue raised for environmental causes from the five pence plastic bag charge.

The introduction of the 5p charge on single use carrier bags has reduced sales by 90% by the main supermarket retailers. The regulations require retailers with more than 250 staff to charge a minimum of 5p and report data on their annual sales of single use carrier bags, including what they did with the proceeds from the charge.

The Department publishes a summary of the data reported in line with the regulations by 31st July each reporting year on the GOV.UK site.

As this is not a tax, the Government does not determine where the proceeds of the charge are redistributed. There is no legal requirement for businesses to donate the proceeds from the charge to charities. Businesses are, however, encouraged to donate the proceeds of the charge (after deducting VAT and reasonable costs) to good causes such as charities or community groups in accordance with guidance published on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/carrier-bag-charges-retailers-responsibilities#dealing-with-the-proceeds).

Around 55% of retailers, who accounted for 57% of all bags reported for 2018 to 2019, voluntarily provided information on donations they had made to good causes. Over the last three reporting years the charge has raised nearly £140 million.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the reliability of retailers to allocate revenue raised from the five pence plastic bag charge towards environmental projects.

The introduction of the 5p charge on single use carrier bags has reduced sales by 90% by the main supermarket retailers. The regulations require retailers with more than 250 staff to charge a minimum of 5p and report data on their annual sales of single use carrier bags, including what they did with the proceeds from the charge.

The Department publishes a summary of the data reported in line with the regulations by 31st July each reporting year on the GOV.UK site.

As this is not a tax, the Government does not determine where the proceeds of the charge are redistributed. There is no legal requirement for businesses to donate the proceeds from the charge to charities. Businesses are, however, encouraged to donate the proceeds of the charge (after deducting VAT and reasonable costs) to good causes such as charities or community groups in accordance with guidance published on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/carrier-bag-charges-retailers-responsibilities#dealing-with-the-proceeds).

Around 55% of retailers, who accounted for 57% of all bags reported for 2018 to 2019, voluntarily provided information on donations they had made to good causes. Over the last three reporting years the charge has raised nearly £140 million.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to increase regulatory oversight of the allocation by retailers of revenues raised from the five pence plastic bag charge.

The introduction of the 5p charge on single use carrier bags has reduced sales by 90% by the main supermarket retailers. The regulations require retailers with more than 250 staff to charge a minimum of 5p and report data on their annual sales of single use carrier bags, including what they did with the proceeds from the charge.

The Department publishes a summary of the data reported in line with the regulations by 31st July each reporting year on the GOV.UK site.

As this is not a tax, the Government does not determine where the proceeds of the charge are redistributed. There is no legal requirement for businesses to donate the proceeds from the charge to charities. Businesses are, however, encouraged to donate the proceeds of the charge (after deducting VAT and reasonable costs) to good causes such as charities or community groups in accordance with guidance published on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/carrier-bag-charges-retailers-responsibilities#dealing-with-the-proceeds).

Around 55% of retailers, who accounted for 57% of all bags reported for 2018 to 2019, voluntarily provided information on donations they had made to good causes. Over the last three reporting years the charge has raised nearly £140 million.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of oversight arrangements of the spending by retailers of revenue raised from the five pence plastic bag charge.

The introduction of the 5p charge on single use carrier bags has reduced sales by 90% by the main supermarket retailers. The regulations require retailers with more than 250 staff to charge a minimum of 5p and report data on their annual sales of single use carrier bags, including what they did with the proceeds from the charge.

The Department publishes a summary of the data reported in line with the regulations by 31st July each reporting year on the GOV.UK site.

As this is not a tax, the Government does not determine where the proceeds of the charge are redistributed. There is no legal requirement for businesses to donate the proceeds from the charge to charities. Businesses are, however, encouraged to donate the proceeds of the charge (after deducting VAT and reasonable costs) to good causes such as charities or community groups in accordance with guidance published on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/carrier-bag-charges-retailers-responsibilities#dealing-with-the-proceeds).

Around 55% of retailers, who accounted for 57% of all bags reported for 2018 to 2019, voluntarily provided information on donations they had made to good causes. Over the last three reporting years the charge has raised nearly £140 million.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions she is having with Cabinet colleagues on ensuring that environmental organisations are given priority for the allocation of funding raised from environmental charges and levies.

Across the Defra group, for many environmental services provided, HM Treasury requires that we seek to charge for those services through full cost recovery, levies or in some cases taxes. For these services, the revenue received from these charges can only support the services specified. The retention of revenue from levies or taxes is usually in agreement with HM Treasury.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking with the United Nations to co-ordinate the provision of humanitarian aid to civilians in Yemen.

The UK is working closely with the UN and other donors at all levels, to help ensure the humanitarian response in Yemen is as coordinated as possible. This includes supporting the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan and COVID-19 strategy in Yemen.

We engage regularly with senior UN officials, including through calls between Ministers and UN Agency Leads and between DFID’s Country Director for Yemen and the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen. We also actively participate in the UN’s weekly Yemen Humanitarian Country Team meetings.

Our recently announced £160 million commitment of UK aid to Yemen is being delivered through UN and NGO humanitarian and development partners in line with the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan. We maintain constant dialogue with these UN agencies and NGOs to ensure we understand the challenges they are facing on the ground and identify ways in which we can support them through UK influence and diplomacy.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that the Disability Inclusion Strategy (2018 to 2023), and its successor policies, will remain a priority for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

This Government is committed to supporting a long-term movement for change on the neglected global issue of disability inclusion. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda.

The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy is expected to conclude later in the year, which will define the Government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world and its outcomes will shape the objectives of the FCDO. Both the review and the merger are evidence of the Prime Minister’s commitment to a unified British foreign and development policy that will maximise our influence around the world, including on disability and gender equality.

As part of the merger discussions, we will review, refresh and build on all existing strategies, as well as developing new approaches where appropriate. We do not see the core ambitions of DFID’s Disability Inclusion strategy changing. The advancement of the inclusion of people with disabilities is as important now as when we published the strategy in 2018.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether it will remain Government policy to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on development aid when her Department merges with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and if she will make a statement.

On 16 June the Prime Minister announced that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development will merge to form a new international department – the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The Government remains committed to the target of spending 0.7 percent on aid, which is enshrined in law, and the UK continues to abide by the OECD DAC rules for aid.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recommendations of Unicef UK's report entitled, Ending Preventable Child Deaths: How Britain Can Lead The Way.

We welcome the UNICEF report and its recognition that DFID’s work already saves children’s lives and makes a real difference. The Government’s commitment to end preventable maternal, new-born and child deaths by 2030 is well aligned with the report’s recommendations.

We are currently working on the detailed action plan on ending preventable deaths, setting out the key shifts we, with partners in the international community, need to make to achieve the goal. An example of this action is the UK commitment to help secure at least $7.4 billion for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, through its replenishment this year. This funding will allow Gavi to vaccinate 300 million more children and save up to 8 million lives from preventable deaths by 2025.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what proportion of the aid budget goes to projects which work to fulfil the UN sustainable development goal of 12 years of education for every girl.

The Prime Minister has publicly stated that education, particularly girls’ education, is a priority for the UK. All UK aid education programmes have a focus on girls and young women.

Between 2009 and 2018 DFID’s spend on education doubled from almost £500 million to nearly £1 billion.

The latest data, from Statistics on International Development shows that 7% of total bilateral ODA is spent on bilateral education, all of which benefits girls. Between 2015 and 2019 DFID supported 14.8 million children to gain a decent education, of which at least 5.8 million were girls. DFID reaches and supports girls through our education investment in multilateral, international and non-governmental organisations, international influencing with other donors, foundations and non-governmental organisations.

The UK is also multilaterally the largest donor to the Global Partnership for Education, Education Cannot Wait and the new International Finance Facility for Education and we will continue to ensure that these deliver for the most marginalised girls.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many deals the UK is a signatory to that contain Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions.

The United Kingdom has investment agreements containing Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions with over 90 trading partners. This includes the vast majority of the UK’s bilateral investment treaties and the Energy Charter Treaty.

There has never been a successful claim brought against the United Kingdom nor has the threat of potential claims affected the Government’s legislative programme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government plans to maintain pedestrian protection standards for cars imported from (a) the US and (b) other countries in its negotiation of trade deals for after the transition period.

HM Government has been clear that we will not lower British standards as a part of future free trade agreements.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will (a) suspend exports of tear gas, rubber bullets and riot shields to the US in response to the recent steps taken by police against protestors and (ii) launch an investigation into whether British weapons were used by the US police against protestors; and if she will make a statement.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also 15 Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

Much information is in the public domain already. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK – at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data – and whilst data on actual exports is not required to be centrally held, the licences issued until the end of December 2019 are available.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the the protection of the National Health Service from future trade deals.

HM Government has been clear that the NHS will remain free at the point of need.

When HM Government is negotiating trade agreements, we have been clear that the NHS will not be on the table. The price the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. The services the NHS provides will not be on the table. The NHS is not, and never will be, for sale to the private sector, whether overseas or at home.

The Department for International Trade works closely with a number of Departments as part of the policy-making process, including the Department for Health and Social Care, to make sure that these rigorous protections are included. Our position was reaffirmed in our negotiating objectives for a Free Trade Agreement with the United States of America, published on 2nd March 2020.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
18th May 2020
To ask the right hon. Member for East Hampshire, representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of moving freight to and from the Restoration and Renewal construction site at the Palace of Westminster by river.

The Sponsor Body has agreed a strategic objective to mitigate the environmental impact of the Restoration and Renewal Programme during the construction phase and to minimise the impact in relation to the Palace's future operation. This objective has been endorsed by the Commissions of both Houses and will be kept under review as the Programme progresses. An Environment Impact Assessment will be conducted in due course once the preferred approach to the works has been determined as part of the business case process, which will consider the impact on air quality and river ecology. The Programme is also expected to agree a series of controls and mitigations, as well as monitoring arrangements, for air quality during the construction phase as part of the planning process. The merits of using the river for moving materials to and from the construction site, to minimise the effects of construction on road traffic emissions, will also be considered by the Programme.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on safety of the reduced requirements for HGV driver tests.

The elements currently assessed to determine the competence of test candidates to hold a lorry licence will not change. The proposal is to allow the off-road reversing manoeuvres and, for vehicles with trailer, the un-coupling and coupling exercise, to be conducted separately by authorised third-party assessors.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency examiners will continue to conduct the on-road driving test. Any driver that does not meet the required standards will not be granted a test pass.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with local authority leaders in the City of London to mitigate levels of (a) water and (b) air pollution within and around the River Thames.

The responsibility for transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London, and the River Thames in London is managed by the Port of London Authority.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had recent discussions with local authority leaders in London on increasing the number of jetties on the River Thames to (a) encourage more sustainable craft using that river and (b) mitigate the number of vehicles on London roads.

The responsibility for transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London, and the Rivers Thames in London is managed by the Port of London Authority. The number of jetties on the River Thames is the responsibility for the Mayor of London.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the sustainability of river craft in use on the River Thames.

The responsibility for transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London, and the River Thames in London is managed by the Port of London Authority.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of cars on the roads that are exceeding national emissions limits.

The Government continues to work with a number of local authorities to deliver compliance with legal limits for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the shortest time possible. Local authorities are responsible for identifying the appropriate solution to achieve this, and in some areas this will require the introduction of Clean Air Zones (CAZs). CAZs are designed to encourage drivers switch to cleaner vehicles or more sustainable modes of transport. Where a CAZ is needed, Government will work with local authorities to implement the zone and will provide funding to help local businesses/drivers adapt including support to upgrade vehicles.

In addition, most cars undergo an annual MOT test, which includes a tail pipe emissions test and specific checks of all visible and identifiable emissions control equipment. Vehicles that fail to meet the required limits for the fuel type and age of the vehicle, or where emissions control equipment fitted by the manufacturer is missing, obviously modified, or defective, will fail the test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) also takes emissions control very seriously. Its Market Surveillance Unit investigates retailers and test stations to ensure that vehicles and products in the UK market meet the required standards.

In addition, the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations make various offences for using vehicles in ways that do not meet in-use standards. The potential penalties for failing to comply with these regulations are significant, with fines of up to £1,000 for a car.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the viability of the use of hydrogen fuel cell cars in the UK.

Hydrogen is likely to be fundamental to achieving the full decarbonisation of UK transport. It is likely to be most effective in the areas ‘that batteries cannot reach’ and where energy density requirements or duty cycles and refuelling times make it the most suitable low carbon energy source. This might include use in HGVs, buses, rail, shipping and aviation.

The UK already has one of the largest hydrogen refuelling station networks in Europe, with fourteen publicly accessible stations that provide hydrogen suitable for use by cars, vans, trucks and buses. Government’s £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is supporting the deployment of hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles and growing the refuelling network by delivering new refuelling stations and upgrading some existing stations.

The £3m Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub is supporting hydrogen fuel cell vehicle deployments in the region and infrastructure investments by co-locating transport end-users with hydrogen production and refuelling. In addition, the Department for Transport's £20m Zero Emission Road Freight Trials and the government’s 4,000 Zero Emission Buses commitment may also provide the potential for an increase in hydrogen refuelling stations within the UK, subject to future years spending.

In June, the Government announced £20 million for zero-emission vehicle competition winners to power up the electric vehicle transport revolution. The winning bids included projects supporting the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technology.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the viability of the use of hydrogen fuel cell cars in Britain.

Hydrogen is likely to be fundamental to achieving the full decarbonisation of UK transport. It is likely to be most effective in the areas ‘that batteries cannot reach’ and where energy density requirements or duty cycles and refuelling times make it the most suitable low carbon energy source. This might include use in HGVs, buses, rail, shipping and aviation.

The UK already has one of the largest hydrogen refuelling station networks in Europe, with fourteen publicly accessible stations that provide hydrogen suitable for use by cars, vans, trucks and buses. Government’s £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is supporting the deployment of hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles and growing the refuelling network by delivering new refuelling stations and upgrading some existing stations.

The £3m Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub is supporting hydrogen fuel cell vehicle deployments in the region and infrastructure investments by co-locating transport end-users with hydrogen production and refuelling. In addition, the Department for Transport's £20m Zero Emission Road Freight Trials and the government’s 4,000 Zero Emission Buses commitment may also provide the potential for an increase in hydrogen refuelling stations within the UK, subject to future years spending.

In June, the Government announced £20 million for zero-emission vehicle competition winners to power up the electric vehicle transport revolution. The winning bids included projects supporting the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technology.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage more local authorities to introduce Clean Air Zones.

Under the 2017 UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations and its further Supplement in 2018, 61 local authorities were directed to develop plans for delivering Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) compliance in the shortest possible time.

As the plan sets out, it is for local authorities to determine what the appropriate solution is to tackling NO2 concentrations, reflecting the highly localised nature of the problem. In some cases, local authorities will determine that a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is the intervention required. However given the potential impacts on individuals and businesses, when considering between equally effective alternatives to deliver compliance, Government has been consistently clear that if a local authority can identify measures other than charging zones that are at least as effective at reducing NO2 to legal levels but with less of an impact, those measures should be preferred. Any alternative will need to deliver compliance as quickly as a charging CAZ if it is to be preferred for inclusion in the plans which local authorities develop.

Where a CAZ is needed to deliver legal NO2 levels in the shortest possible time, Government is providing guidance to local authorities to implement the zone, as well as financial assistance to help local businesses and individuals adapt - including grants to help upgrade vehicles The first two Clean Air Zones have been implemented by Birmingham City Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council, with further zones expected to be introduced later this year and next year.

Under the Transport Act 2000, local authorities are permitted to implement a charging zone to achieve air quality objectives independently of the Government’s NO2 programme.

The Government firmly believes that local authorities are best placed to implement solutions in local areas. These local authorities will devise their own criteria for their scheme to meet their objectives.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve air quality in urban areas.

The government’s Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. We have also put in place a £3.8 billion plan to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

The government’s Environment Bill makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables local authorities to take more effective action to tackle air pollution in their areas. The Bill completed its passage through the House of Commons on 26 May and is now proceeding through the various Parliamentary stages in the Lords, with Royal Assent expected in the Autumn. In the meantime, key work on implementing the Bill’s measures is continuing at pace, including the work to set legally binding air quality targets.

These measures will help to clean up air faster and more effectively in our towns and cities.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing further support to the building of hydrogen re-fuelling sites.

Hydrogen is likely to be fundamental to achieving the full decarbonisation of UK transport. The UK already has one of the largest hydrogen refuelling station networks in Europe with fourteen publicly accessible stations that provide hydrogen suitable for use by cars, vans, trucks and buses.

The Government’s £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is already supporting the deployment of hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles and growing the refuelling network by delivering new refuelling stations and upgrading some existing stations.

The £3m Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub is supporting hydrogen fuel cell vehicle deployments in the region and infrastructure investments by co-locating transport end-users with hydrogen production and refuelling.

In addition, the Department for Transport’s £20m Zero Emission Road Freight Trials will support UK industry to develop cost-effective, zero-emission HGVs and their refuelling infrastructure in the UK, and aim to demonstrate multiple potential technologies for decarbonising the largest road freight vehicles such as hydrogen, so that by the end of the decade we are able to start providing the necessary infrastructure for HGVs to meet our net zero targets.

The Zero Emission Road Freight Trials and the Government’s 4,000 zero emission buses commitment may also provide the potential for an increase in hydrogen refuelling stations within the UK, subject to future years spending.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing further support to the building of hydrogen re-fuelling sites.

Hydrogen is likely to be fundamental to achieving the full decarbonisation of UK transport. The UK already has one of the largest hydrogen refuelling station networks in Europe with fourteen publicly accessible stations that provide hydrogen suitable for use by cars, vans, trucks and buses.

The Government’s £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is already supporting the deployment of hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles and growing the refuelling network by delivering new refuelling stations and upgrading some existing stations.

The £3m Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub is supporting hydrogen fuel cell vehicle deployments in the region and infrastructure investments by co-locating transport end-users with hydrogen production and refuelling.

In addition, the Department for Transport’s £20m Zero Emission Road Freight Trials will support UK industry to develop cost-effective, zero-emission HGVs and their refuelling infrastructure in the UK, and aim to demonstrate multiple potential technologies for decarbonising the largest road freight vehicles such as hydrogen, so that by the end of the decade we are able to start providing the necessary infrastructure for HGVs to meet our net zero targets.

The Zero Emission Road Freight Trials and the Government’s 4,000 zero emission buses commitment may also provide the potential for an increase in hydrogen refuelling stations within the UK, subject to future years spending.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a scheme to financially incentivise fleet companies to transition to zero-emission heavy goods vehicles.

The Government is already providing £582 million to continue plug-in vehicle grants until 2022-23, including the plug-in truck grant. The plug-in truck grant reduces the purchase price of zero emission commercial vehicles. Grant rates for eligible trucks are set at 20% of the purchase price, with up to £25,000 of funding available for the largest HGVs. Decarbonisation of HGVs is at an earlier stage of development compared with cars and vans due to the different challenges of long-haul and heavy freight. To address this, we announced that we are investing £20 million this year in planning for zero emission road freight trials which will support UK industry to develop cost-effective, zero-emission HGVs and their refuelling infrastructure in the UK. These will advance R&D in the technologies of hydrogen, catenary electric and battery electric HGVs allowing us to begin the commercial roll out of the new technology before the end of the decade. We keep all policies under review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that a backlog of driving licence renewal applications does not occur as the extension to expiry dates comes to an end.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online services have been available and unaffected throughout the pandemic and are the quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence. However, many people still choose or have to apply for their driving licence using a paper application. The DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day which must be dealt with in person.

The DVLA has had a reduced number of operational staff on site to allow for social distancing, in line with Welsh Government requirements, but has leased an additional building to accommodate more operational staff. The DVLA has also extended the opening hours of its contact centre.

The DVLA sends renewal reminder forms to customers two months before licences are due to expire to ensure drivers know when they need to apply to renew their licence. This allows drivers time to make their renewal application and the forms can also be used to renew a licence online or at a post office.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to minimise the level of road air pollution outside of UK fast food restaurants and drive-through points.

Local Authorities are required to review and assess local air quality. If their assessment shows that local pollution levels exceed, or are likely to exceed, local air quality objectives in locations where members of the public might be regularly exposed they must declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and develop an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) with the aim of reducing air pollution to within statutory limits. This would include identifying and addressing any issues arising from fast food restaurants and drive-through points.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and (b) other Cabinet colleagues on supporting businesses with vehicle fleets to invest in environmentally sustainable hydrogen infrastructure.

Hydrogen is likely to be fundamental to achieving the full decarbonisation of UK transport. This is why we are supporting its development and use today through a number of measures.

On 30 March the Department launched the Zero Emission Buses Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme which will provide up to £120 million for zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them. The scheme could support the introduction of up to 500 zero emission buses and associated infrastructure. Local transport authorities will be able to apply for funding for hydrogen fuel cell buses or battery electric buses depending on which technology is best suited to their local area.

The Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan announced £20m this year in planning for zero emission road freight trials which will support UK industry to develop cost-effective, zero-emission HGVs and their refuelling infrastructure in the UK.

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is providing support to increase the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles and expand hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Our £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is funding the deployment of around 300 hydrogen vehicles, 8 new refuelling stations and upgrades to 5 existing stations. We have also been supporting public and private sector fleets to become early adopters through the £2m FCEV Fleet Support Scheme.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support businesses with vehicle fleets that are investing in environmentally-sustainable hydrogen infrastructure.

Hydrogen is likely to be fundamental to achieving the full decarbonisation of UK transport. This is why we are supporting its development and use today through a number of measures.

On 30 March the Department launched the Zero Emission Buses Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme which will provide up to £120 million for zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them. The scheme could support the introduction of up to 500 zero emission buses and associated infrastructure. Local transport authorities will be able to apply for funding for hydrogen fuel cell buses or battery electric buses depending on which technology is best suited to their local area.

The Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan announced £20m this year in planning for zero emission road freight trials which will support UK industry to develop cost-effective, zero-emission HGVs and their refuelling infrastructure in the UK.

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is providing support to increase the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles and expand hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Our £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is funding the deployment of around 300 hydrogen vehicles, 8 new refuelling stations and upgrades to 5 existing stations. We have also been supporting public and private sector fleets to become early adopters through the £2m FCEV Fleet Support Scheme.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many vehicles fitted with industrial refrigeration units are registered in the UK.

The Department for Transport does not hold information about the number of vehicles fitted with industrial refrigeration units that are registered in the UK as this information is not required for the vehicle registration process.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the use of private planes during the covid-19 pandemic does not enable people to break international travel restrictions.

Throughout 2020, monthly private flight movements have been lower than in the equivalent month of 2019 (except for September 2020).

The international travel regulations apply to all individuals and operators, including those that use private planes. As such, they are subject to the same requirements and enforcement, including by the Border Force and Civil Aviation Authority.

My Department has provided specific communications to the GA community on Covid-19 guidance and regulations, including through regular stakeholder meetings.

We have also worked closely with the CAA to collaborate on workshops, podcasts, specific publications and updates to help facilitate a safe return to flying.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the change in the level of use of private planes during the covid-19 pandemic.

Throughout 2020, monthly private flight movements have been lower than in the equivalent month of 2019 (except for September 2020).

The international travel regulations apply to all individuals and operators, including those that use private planes. As such, they are subject to the same requirements and enforcement, including by the Border Force and Civil Aviation Authority.

My Department has provided specific communications to the GA community on Covid-19 guidance and regulations, including through regular stakeholder meetings.

We have also worked closely with the CAA to collaborate on workshops, podcasts, specific publications and updates to help facilitate a safe return to flying.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plan to review the use of private planes during the covid-19 pandemic; and whether users of such aircraft have operated within international travel restrictions when compared to compliance across commercial airlines.

The international travel regulations apply to all individuals and operators, including those that use private planes. As such, they are subject to the same requirements and enforcement, including by the Border Force and Civil Aviation Authority.

In addition, my Department has issued guidance for the General Aviation (GA) sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. The guidance makes clear that international GA flying should follow the wider rules regarding international travel. This includes the requirement for anyone who has been in a travel ban red list country in the previous 10 days to arrive in England via an approved entry point. The enforcement of the entry ban on non-resident nationals from red list countries is managed by Border Force.

My Department is working across government to continuously review the effectiveness of international travel regulations to best protect public health and ensure they are working effectively. This includes considering health evidence and information on compliance from the Border Force and Civil Aviation Authority.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that private plane owners comply with international travel restrictions.

The international travel regulations apply to all individuals and operators, including those that use private planes. As such, they are subject to the same requirements and enforcement, including by the Border Force and Civil Aviation Authority.

In addition, my Department has issued guidance for the General Aviation (GA) sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. The guidance makes clear that international GA flying should follow the wider rules regarding international travel. This includes the requirement for anyone who has been in a travel ban red list country in the previous 10 days to arrive in England via an approved entry point. The enforcement of the entry ban on non-resident nationals from red list countries is managed by Border Force.

My Department is working across government to continuously review the effectiveness of international travel regulations to best protect public health and ensure they are working effectively. This includes considering health evidence and information on compliance from the Border Force and Civil Aviation Authority.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme data is made publicly available to ensure that local insights are provided in order to mitigate roadside air pollution.

The Department for Transport will publish new quarterly experimental official statistics on grants awarded under the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, with the first publication scheduled for 20 May 2021. This will include numbers of grant-funded chargepoint installations broken down by Local Authority and postcode district.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve the UK's global performance in mitigating harmful levels of air pollution through the introduction of economic incentives to increase the number of sustainable vehicles for personal and commercial use.

The Government committed £1.5 billion to support the early market and remove barriers to Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) ownership. We have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. This includes:

  • £582m to incentivise the uptake of ultra low emission cars, vans, motorcycles and taxis to 2022/23.
  • £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next four years, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.
  • Up to £1 billion to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, including developing “Gigafactories” in the UK to produce the batteries needed at scale

Our grant schemes and the £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will see thousands more electric vehicle charge-points installed across the UK.

Transitioning the new car and van market to ZEVs is vital if we are to meet our statutory commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Government is going further and faster to decarbonise transport by phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. This will also improve air quality in our towns and cities and support economic growth and position the UK at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to improve roadside air quality across the UK by incorporating diesel particulate filters during the MOT testing process.

The Department for Transport ensures good practice in the regulation of particulate matter emitted from vehicles by reviewing the best available evidence and commissioning research to inform future standards for new vehicles. This includes world-leading research commissioned by the Department to better understand emissions from brake and tyre wear, which is now estimated to account for the majority of particulate matter originating from road vehicles.

Checks for the proper functioning of diesel particulate filters already form part of the MOT test and are explicitly mentioned as an item to be checked in the MOT inspection manual. Where emission control equipment fitted by the manufacturer is missing, obviously modified or obviously defective, the vehicle should receive a “Major” failure and not pass the MOT test. Guidance on the implications of modifying a vehicle’s emissions system has been issued by the Department.

The Department has carried out research to assess whether new measurement equipment could be used to improve the assessment of emissions within the MOT test and roadside checks. This included equipment for detection of removed or damaged diesel particulate filters. Results of this research will be considered for any future changes to the MOT emissions test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) conducts roadside enforcement inspections nationally using specialist equipment to detect manipulations to vehicle systems and components. A driver using a vehicle on a public road where the diesel particulate filter has been removed may be issued with a prohibition or fixed penalty. Furthermore, the Market Surveillance Unit, within the DVSA, may prosecute a company or individual that carries out an emissions tampering service such as removal of a diesel particulate filter for vehicles used on the road.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) all UK-registered vehicles have an in-tact diesel particulate filter and (b) the UK ensures good practice in the regulation of particulate matter emitted from vehicles.

The Department for Transport ensures good practice in the regulation of particulate matter emitted from vehicles by reviewing the best available evidence and commissioning research to inform future standards for new vehicles. This includes world-leading research commissioned by the Department to better understand emissions from brake and tyre wear, which is now estimated to account for the majority of particulate matter originating from road vehicles.

Checks for the proper functioning of diesel particulate filters already form part of the MOT test and are explicitly mentioned as an item to be checked in the MOT inspection manual. Where emission control equipment fitted by the manufacturer is missing, obviously modified or obviously defective, the vehicle should receive a “Major” failure and not pass the MOT test. Guidance on the implications of modifying a vehicle’s emissions system has been issued by the Department.

The Department has carried out research to assess whether new measurement equipment could be used to improve the assessment of emissions within the MOT test and roadside checks. This included equipment for detection of removed or damaged diesel particulate filters. Results of this research will be considered for any future changes to the MOT emissions test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) conducts roadside enforcement inspections nationally using specialist equipment to detect manipulations to vehicle systems and components. A driver using a vehicle on a public road where the diesel particulate filter has been removed may be issued with a prohibition or fixed penalty. Furthermore, the Market Surveillance Unit, within the DVSA, may prosecute a company or individual that carries out an emissions tampering service such as removal of a diesel particulate filter for vehicles used on the road.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government to allocate funding to local authorities in order to (a) facilitate the implementation of Clean Air Zones and (b) promote better public health across local communities.

As a result of the 2017 NO2 Plan, a number of local authorities have been required to assess what action is needed to address NO2 exceedances in their area. This is supported by £880 million to develop and implement required measures such as Clean Air Zones (CAZs). We engage with MHCLG where needed.

The Clean Air Strategy set out a clear agenda for action to reduce people’s exposure to harmful pollutants and our priority is to implement the commitments we made. We will apply our understanding of the longer-term implications from these unprecedented changes in living and working patterns to delivering our environmental commitments, including our Clean Air Strategy and the air quality measures in the Environment Bill.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with commercial airline companies on issuing refunds to customers over the covid-19 period.

The Government is continuing to work with industry to ensure timely refunds to consumers during the pandemic. The Civil Aviation Authority reviewed airlines’ compliance on refunds last summer and worked collaboratively to improve their performance on consumer obligations. A significant majority of airlines now pay refunds within a reasonable time.

The Competition and Markets Authority are currently reviewing the practices of airline and travel agents in issuing refunds to customers affected by the travel restrictions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's Clean Air Strategy, what discussions he has had with the (a) Mayor of London, (b) Transport for London and (c) the Port of London Authority on encouraging the use of 100 per cent renewable diesel by scheduled Thames passenger services and other commercial river traffic.

The responsibility for transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London, and the Thames in London is managed by the Port of London Authority.

Officials have regular discussions with the Port of London Authority on environmental issues, these have focused on advanced fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia, as well as the use of battery electric vessels to address both air pollution and decarbonisation.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on granting the Mayor of London new powers to tackle non-road pollution sources including those on the Thames from scheduled passenger boats and commercial river traffic which still predominantly rely on fossil-based diesel.

The responsibility for transport in London and environmental planning is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London. Officials have regular discussions with TfL on environmental issues.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the (a) Mayor of London, (b) Transport for London and (c) the Port of London Authority on encouraging the use of 100 per cent renewable diesel by scheduled Thames passenger services and other commercial river traffic.

The responsibility for transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London, and the Thames in London is managed by the Port of London Authority.

Officials have regular discussions with the Port of London Authority on environmental issues, these have focused on advanced fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia, as well as the use of battery electric vessels to address both air pollution and decarbonisation.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has any plans to introduce a financial support scheme for victims of road traffic accidents that result in (a) serious injury or (b) death, as a result of an involuntary actions, where legal liability cannot be established.

We have some of the safest roads in the world, but the Government is not complacent about road safety and recognises the trauma associated with the deaths and serious injuries arising from road traffic collisions. Road deaths and injuries can cause suffering, economic loss and life-changing misfortune, and reducing this on our roads is a key priority.

In those cases where a motorist is insured, the provision of compensation should be met by the insurer. Where a driver is either uninsured or untraced, there is provision in place for compensation to be claimed from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. Since there are existing provisions for financial compensation no other direct financial support for victims is currently being considered.

However, the Department recognises that road crash victims or their relatives may need additional support to pursue claims, or in dealing with bereavement or other emotional and psychological trauma. The Department has previously made a contribution to the funding of the National Road Victim Service provided by the charity Brake. Additionally, the Department is funding the roads policing review. One of the concerns that the review is exploring is post collision victim care, the services available to victims and their families, and how they are funded. We await the findings of the review which we hope to have by the end of this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on the progress made by supermarket retailers in minimising their fleet’s contribution to roadside air pollution across the UK.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving, including the newly announced 2030 phase out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this. The Government’s £20m Low Emission Freight Trials funded a series of R&D projects aimed at encouraging the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets. Retailers including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco and John Lewis were all part of this innovation programme.

Data from the government’s national air quality model is used to assess the contribution of emissions from commercial vehicles to total emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter at the roadside. We have not conducted a specific assessment of emissions from supermarket deliveries.

Building on the commitments set out in the WHO-commended Clean Air Strategy (CAS), the Government has introduced air quality measures in the landmark Environment Bill. The CAS sits alongside extensive action that has been taken to reduce harmful emissions from road transport.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Highways England on tackling roadside air pollution.

Highways England has undertaken a programme of work to improve air quality on the Strategic Road Network (SRN), in the first Road Investment Strategy (RIS1) and RIS2, and has published its own air quality strategy at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/634933/N160081_Air_Quality_Strategy_Final_V18.pdf.

This programme has included monitoring the effectiveness of tall barriers and running an open competition to gather ideas from a wide range of organisations.

To support the mitigation of air quality issues, Highways England has invested £12.5 million of its Air Quality Designated Funding with authorities in Leeds, Coventry, Kent, Nottingham, Sheffield and Bristol to implement an electric van scheme to support the uptake of zero emissions vans. Schemes in Leeds, Coventry, Kent and Nottingham are now operating and will be followed by Sheffield and Bristol.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of supermarket vehicle fleets on rates of roadside air pollution in the UK.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving, including the newly announced 2030 phase out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this. The Government’s £20m Low Emission Freight Trials funded a series of R&D projects aimed at encouraging the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets. Retailers including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco and John Lewis were all part of this innovation programme.

Data from the government’s national air quality model is used to assess the contribution of emissions from commercial vehicles to total emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter at the roadside. We have not conducted a specific assessment of emissions from supermarket deliveries.

Building on the commitments set out in the WHO-commended Clean Air Strategy (CAS), the Government has introduced air quality measures in the landmark Environment Bill. The CAS sits alongside extensive action that has been taken to reduce harmful emissions from road transport.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that supermarket retailers minimise the roadside air pollution caused by their vehicles.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving, including the newly announced 2030 phase out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this. The Government’s £20m Low Emission Freight Trials funded a series of R&D projects aimed at encouraging the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets. Retailers including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco and John Lewis were all part of this innovation programme.

Data from the government’s national air quality model is used to assess the contribution of emissions from commercial vehicles to total emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter at the roadside. We have not conducted a specific assessment of emissions from supermarket deliveries.

Building on the commitments set out in the WHO-commended Clean Air Strategy (CAS), the Government has introduced air quality measures in the landmark Environment Bill. The CAS sits alongside extensive action that has been taken to reduce harmful emissions from road transport.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the engagement of businesses which specialise in delivery on minimising their fleet’s contribution to roadside air pollution across the UK.

We work closely with Ministers in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and right across Government to drive forward our ambitious plans to improve air quality. The Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources including road transport. Alongside this, Government has put in place a £3.8 billion plan to specifically tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of MOT testing on vehicle emissions on air quality.

Specific analysis relating to the impact of the MOT test on air quality has not recently been conducted by the Department. Emission limits for vehicles undergoing MOT testing have previously been set at a European level, most recently by Directive 2014/45/EU. These regulations were transposed into UK law by the Motor Vehicles (Tests) (Amendment) Regulations 2017.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking with supermarket leaders to help ensure that supermarket vehicle fleets are sustainable.

We recognise the important role large fleet operators have to play as we transition to zero emission driving. The Government plans to consult on phasing out the sale of new diesel heavy goods vehicles and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this.

The Government’s £20m Low Emission Freight Trials funded a series of R&D projects aimed at encouraging the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets. Retailers including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco and John Lewis were all part of this programme to cut emissions and improve air quality by focusing on emissions-busting technologies for trucks and vans.

The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase use of the River Thames as a means of increasing (a) sustainable commerce and (b) transport throughout London.

The responsibility for transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London. It would be a matter for the Mayor to determine what types of river boat services might operate on the River Thames.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) existing jetties on the River Thames are (i) protected and (ii) retained and (b) new jetties are developed to ensure that goods, construction materials, and waste can be put on and taken off the river.

The safeguarding of wharves and jetties on the Thames is the responsibility of the Mayor of London, and the Thames in London is managed by the Port of London Authority. It would be a matter for the Mayor to determine what types of river boat services might operate on the River Thames.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Transport for London on improving air quality and lowering congestion in London through improved use of the River Thames.

The responsibility for transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London, and the Thames in London is managed by the Port of London Authority. The Department has regular discussions with Transport for London and the Port of London Authority on a range of issues, including freight and environmental issues.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that Highways England is putting in place plans to reduce air pollution, including with its (a) contractors and (b) sub-contractors.

To measure the performance of its contractors in delivering better environmental outcomes, Highways England focuses on carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) in tons associated with its supply chain.

With certain contracts Highways England allocates work based on past performance. Therefore, if a supplier does not comply with the carbon measurement tool, it could lead to a reduction in the projects they are allocated.

Recent major tenders set out a clear CO2 statement and require carbon commitments from the bidders which are then built into contracts. Other live tenders include an environmental management plan which asks suppliers to target a reduction in carbon usage and to define their air quality strategy.

Furthermore, Highways England has for several years been investigating measures that it can take to reduce NO2 pollution from road users. This has included monitoring the effectiveness of tall barriers and running an open competition to gather ideas from a wide range of organisations. Highways England is now applying some of these measures where they will make a difference, as can be seen from the 60mph speed limits on the M1 and M6.

Further information on air quality activity, including links to the findings from research, is available online at https://highwaysengland.co.uk/our-work/air-quality/

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Sainsbury’s on improving the sustainability of their vehicle fleet.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving, including the recently announced 2030 phase out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans and the phasing out of the sale of new diesel heavy goods vehicles, which we will be consulting on. We will continue to work with fleet operators towards this.

The Government’s £20m Low Emission Freight Trials funded a series of R&D projects aimed at encouraging the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets. Retailers including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco and John Lewis were all part of this programme to cut emissions and improve air quality by focusing on emissions-busting technologies for trucks and vans.

The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Tesco Plc on improving the sustainability of their vehicle fleet.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving, including the recently announced 2030 phase out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans and the phasing out of the sale of new diesel heavy goods vehicles, which we will be consulting on. We will continue to work with fleet operators towards this.

The Government’s £20m Low Emission Freight Trials funded a series of R&D projects aimed at encouraging the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets. Retailers including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco and John Lewis were all part of this programme to cut emissions and improve air quality by focusing on emissions-busting technologies for trucks and vans.

The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Asda on improving the sustainability of their vehicle fleet.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving, including the recently announced 2030 phase out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans and the phasing out of the sale of new diesel heavy goods vehicles, which we will be consulting on. We will continue to work with fleet operators towards this.

The Government’s £20m Low Emission Freight Trials funded a series of R&D projects aimed at encouraging the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets. Retailers including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco and John Lewis were all part of this programme to cut emissions and improve air quality by focusing on emissions-busting technologies for trucks and vans.

The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Waitrose and Partners on improving the sustainability of their vehicle fleet.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving, including the recently announced 2030 phase out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans and the phasing out of the sale of new diesel heavy goods vehicles, which we will be consulting on. We will continue to work with fleet operators towards this.

The Government’s £20m Low Emission Freight Trials funded a series of R&D projects aimed at encouraging the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets. Retailers including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco and John Lewis were all part of this programme to cut emissions and improve air quality by focusing on emissions-busting technologies for trucks and vans.

The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Mark and Spencer on improving the sustainability of their vehicle fleet.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving, including the recently announced 2030 phase out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans and the phasing out of the sale of new diesel heavy goods vehicles, which we will be consulting on. We will continue to work with fleet operators towards this.

The Government’s £20m Low Emission Freight Trials funded a series of R&D projects aimed at encouraging the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets. Retailers including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco and John Lewis were all part of this programme to cut emissions and improve air quality by focusing on emissions-busting technologies for trucks and vans.

The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Royal Mail on their capacity to improve the sustainability of their vehicle fleets.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this. The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with DHL on their capacity to improve the sustainability of their vehicle fleets.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this. The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with XPO Logistics on their capacity to improve the sustainability of their vehicle fleets.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this. The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with FedEx on their capacity to improve the sustainability of their vehicle fleets.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this. The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with UPS on their capacity to improve the sustainability of their vehicle fleets.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this. The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Wincanton on their capacity to improve the sustainability of their vehicle fleets.

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this. The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to support fleet delivery companies to switch to (a) electric or (b) hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.

The transition to zero emission vehicles will help to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals, contribute to reducing poor air quality and contribute to economic growth in the UK by providing skilled jobs in the automotive sector. Our approach to delivering our long-term ambitions for greener transport is technology neutral and we are supporting hydrogen where the market favours its use.

As part of publishing the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Government announced that we will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 and that all new cars and vans will be fully zero emission at the tailpipe from 2035. To support the transition, we announced an accompanying support package of £2.8 billion. This includes £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.

In addition to grant schemes to install chargepoints at the workplace and at home, fleet delivery companies and their employees can also take advantage of our Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Fleet Support Scheme, which has supported both public and private sector fleets to become early adopters of hydrogen cars and vans. The Government has also put in place a favourable tax regime that rewards the cleanest vehicles, including company fleets.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to tackle the effect of haulage vehicles on air quality.

The Government is committed to improving air quality and the freight sector has a significant role to play in this. The Government encourages more sustainable alternatives to road haulage where practical, including e-cargo bikes and electric vehicles for urban deliveries and mode shift to rail freight.

The implementation of Clean Air Zones will affect the use of haulage vehicles substantially in some cases.

There are official level discussions with representatives of the road haulage industry about the implementation of existing policies and the development of further policy related to road freight and pollution.

Support is being provided by local authorities and through the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme to help businesses upgrade to newer vehicles and achieve compliance with NO2 limits where Clean Air Zones restrict access for older HGVs. We are also consulting on options for improving the productivity of existing fleets, for example through the use of longer semi-trailers which have reduced the number of HGV journeys and the associated emissions.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with representatives of the road haulage sector on reduce the effect of that sector on air pollution.

The Government is committed to improving air quality and the freight sector has a significant role to play in this. The Government encourages more sustainable alternatives to road haulage where practical, including e-cargo bikes and electric vehicles for urban deliveries and mode shift to rail freight.

The implementation of Clean Air Zones will affect the use of haulage vehicles substantially in some cases.

There are official level discussions with representatives of the road haulage industry about the implementation of existing policies and the development of further policy related to road freight and pollution.

Support is being provided by local authorities and through the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme to help businesses upgrade to newer vehicles and achieve compliance with NO2 limits where Clean Air Zones restrict access for older HGVs. We are also consulting on options for improving the productivity of existing fleets, for example through the use of longer semi-trailers which have reduced the number of HGV journeys and the associated emissions.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to help ensure the haulage sector to minimise its contribution to air pollution.

The Government is committed to improving air quality and the freight sector has a significant role to play in this. The Government encourages more sustainable alternatives to road haulage where practical, including e-cargo bikes and electric vehicles for urban deliveries and mode shift to rail freight.

The implementation of Clean Air Zones will affect the use of haulage vehicles substantially in some cases.

There are official level discussions with representatives of the road haulage industry about the implementation of existing policies and the development of further policy related to road freight and pollution.

Support is being provided by local authorities and through the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme to help businesses upgrade to newer vehicles and achieve compliance with NO2 limits where Clean Air Zones restrict access for older HGVs. We are also consulting on options for improving the productivity of existing fleets, for example through the use of longer semi-trailers which have reduced the number of HGV journeys and the associated emissions.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of queues at ports after the end of the transition period on roadside air quality.

The Department for Transport has assessed the potential for queues occurring at ports at the end of the transition period. We continue to work with Local Resilience Forums to reduce the negative effects of queues through their traffic management plans. We anticipate the traffic management plans will help mitigate queues at the ports and air quality impacts.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the economic viability of electric Heavy Goods Vehicles.

Technologies for zero emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are less developed than for cars and vans, but are now reaching the early market, making use of hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric technologies. Further innovation and development will be needed to ensure their mass adoption across all vehicle types is done in a sustainable and affordable way. In addition to the existing trials and research already completed, the Government is working with the Connected Places Catapult to assess the zero emission technologies most suitable for HGVs on the UK road network.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to (a) encourage and (b) incentivise the use of environmentally sustainable (a) Heavy and (b) Medium Goods Vehicles.

The Government is currently working to produce a Transport Decarbonisation Plan that will deliver a cross-modal approach to decarbonising transport, including road freight. We are also promoting best practice and effective actions to enable operators to reduce emissions and improve the environmental sustainability of their vehicles.

A number of local authorities are implementing Clean Air Zones (CAZ) in order to reduce NO2 emissions to legal levels. The Government is providing funding to these areas to allow them to offer grants to businesses operating HGVs impacted by CAZ charges to help them upgrade their vehicles to cleaner, compliant models.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to incentivise the use of air quality monitors on Heavy Goods Vehicles.

The Government does not currently have plans to incentivise the use of air quality monitors on Heavy Goods Vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to incentivise fleet delivery companies to install air quality monitors on their vehicles.

The Government does not currently have plans to incentivise the use of air quality monitors by fleet delivery companies in their vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) widespread public understanding of the laws on e-scooters and (b) e-scooter retailers are advising customers on those laws.

Departmental communications have made clear that e-scooter use is illegal. Detailed guidance on this has been published on gov.uk and the Department has supported police enforcement campaigns for illegal e-scooter use.

E-scooter retailers should make the legal position for e-scooters known at the point of sale and the Department has previously written to retailers asking them to do so. Retailers who mislead customers can be in breach of Trading Standards rules.

In e-scooter trial areas where use of rental e-scooters is legal, local authorities and e-scooter operators are ensuring users are aware of the rules, including through signage and training for users.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of e-scooters being sold by UK retailers and used illegally on roads.

The Department has not made an assessment of the number of e-scooters being sold by UK retailers. Using a privately-owned e-scooter on the road or pavement is illegal and retailers should make their customers aware of this at the point of sale.

The Department recognises that people want to take advantage of the benefits that e-scooters offer and we are running trials of rental e-scooters in several areas.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the merits of continuing to adhere to the EU rules on working time and digital tachographs for UK lorries driving in EU Member States after 31 December 2020.

The future drivers’ hours and tachograph rules which will apply between the UK and EU from 1 January 2021 will be determined by the outcome of the current negotiations on the UK-EU Free Trade Agreement; which are still ongoing.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of commercial fleet vehicles on air quality in (a) Huddersfield and (b) the UK.

Data from the government’s national air quality model indicates that in Huddersfield, emissions from HGVs, LGVs and buses combined contribute, on average, 45% of roadside NOx emissions. This is compared to 55% from cars. For the UK as a whole the average contribution is 48% from HGVs, LGVs and buses, and 51% from cars.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to publish the (a) data and (b) evidential basis for the Government's decision-making on including the Greek islands on the UK's quarantine list during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government takes a range of factors into account when deciding which countries to add or remove from the Travel Corridor list. This includes:

  • an estimate of the proportion of the population that is currently infectious in each country
  • virus incidence rates and rates of change
  • trends in incidence and deaths
  • transmission status and international epidemic intelligence
  • information on a country’s testing capacity, testing regime and test positivity rate
  • an assessment of the quality of the data available
  • effectiveness of measures being deployed by a country
  • volume of travel between the UK and that country

?

As this remains a relatively new virus, data about global infection rates and the trajectory of the disease are not always consistent or predictable between countries. That is why each destination is considered on an individual basis, and taken together, the different factors provide a risk assessment that allows Ministers to decide whether a country needs to be removed from the travel corridors list.

I refer the honourable member to the Secretary of State for Transport’s Written Ministerial Statement on travel corridors made on 6 June 2020.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of progress in the development of hydrogen technology and how it could be applied to public transport.

In 2018, the Department for Transport published the outputs of the Transport Energy Model. The model provides a clear assessment of the relative environmental impacts, including on greenhouse gas emissions and air quality, of a range of fuel and powertrain options for cars, vans, buses and heavy goods vehicles over the period to 2050, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The Transport Secretary is exploring options for green hydrogen in transport across freight, buses, trains, maritime and aviation and how the UK can lead the world in its deployment and use. Further details will follow in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of buses running public routes in the UK are using (a) diesel and (b) petrol engines.

Data on the fuel type used by buses running public routes in the UK is not available. However, at the end of 2019, for all licensed buses & coaches (including minibuses) in the UK, (a) 97% used diesel engines and (b) 2% used petrol engines.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the economic viability of electric buses.

The Government will use the £50 million All-Electric Bus Town pilot to put in place new infrastructure and work with local authorities to understand what can be achieved when there is a real commitment to move all buses in a place to electric zero emission. This is to better recognise the challenges of running a wholly electric bus fleet and obtain better insight into the impact that an electric fleet can have on running costs for bus operators.

The £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for regions outside London will include investment for at least 4,000 British built new zero emission buses, which may include electric buses.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the use of environmentally sustainable buses in West Yorkshire.

Through the 2018-2021 Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme (ULEBS), West Yorkshire Combined Authority and First West Yorkshire have been allocated £617,000 for 5 electric buses and charging infrastructure and £1,770,472.50 for 9 electric buses and charging infrastructure respectively, totalling £2,387,472.50. This is in addition to the 2016-2019 Low Emission Bus Scheme (LEBS) funding which has supported the purchase of 8 Low-Emission, Hybrid Buses with £234,000 in total provided to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The Government is also investing at least 4,000 Zero-Emission Buses (ZEBs) through the £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for regions outside London.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of covid-19 social distancing restrictions on learner drivers.

The Secretary of State for Transport has not had any recent discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions on learner drivers.

But the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), the part of his department responsible for driver training and testing, understands the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on learner drivers. The agency’s priority throughout the pandemic has been the safety of its staff and customers. That remains its priority as it restarts its services. The agency has developed new COVID-safe risk assessments and standard operating procedures and shared them with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Public Health England (PHE). PHE has said they comply with general public health principles and existing guidance for the reduction of virus transmission risk. The DVSA has also sought similar clearances with the respective public health bodies in Scotland and Wales.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have died riding electric scooters in the UK in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020 to date; and what steps he is taking to reduce the number of deaths from that activity.

The Department does not hold specific data on deaths involving electric scooters, as this information is not currently required from the police in the STATS19 data collection.

The Department is running trials of e-scooters which will gather evidence of the impacts they have on the road, including their safety. Regulations to enable trials limit the speed and power of e-scooters and allow them to be used in cycle facilities. We have also set minimum standards for braking and lighting for trial e-scooters. The evidence gathered during trials will inform future policy to ensure e-scooters can be used safely.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what comparative assessment his Department has made of road safety standards in the (a) UK and (b) US.

The Department for Transport has not made a comparative assessment between road safety standards in the UK and the USA because no direct comparison is possible.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the suitability of US (a) SUVs and (b) other larger vehicles for driving on UK roads in relation to a future free trade agreement with that country.

The Department for Transport has considered the differences between USA and UK technical standards across all vehicle types. In some areas the safety outcomes are broadly similar but there are also some important differences that would need to be considered, for example, the standards applicable to protecting pedestrians involved in collisions.

The British Government will decide how we establish and maintain our own standards and regulations, and no standards will be diminished as part of a Free Trade Agreement with the USA.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it remains the Government's policy to implement the EU (a) general safety regulations and (b) pedestrian safety regulations that will take effect in the EU from 2022.

The package of European measures known as the General Safety Regulation includes vehicle construction requirements covering pedestrian safety and a range of additional new technologies. The Department for Transport was involved in developing these requirements but as they are scheduled to apply after we have left the EU, it will be for the British Government to decide whether to mandate the same systems in GB; no decision has yet been taken.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that drivers are protected from poor air quality by adequate vehicle filtration systems.

The Government is determined to improve air quality and the Department’s officials are engaging with international expert groups, who are developing measurement procedures for vehicle interior air quality. There are currently no legislative requirements for vehicle cabin air filtration systems however some manufacturers install higher efficiency air filtration systems.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the level of compliance of transport operators' interpretation and implementation of Government guidelines on personal protective equipment for transport workers.

Keeping transport workers and passengers safe is of paramount importance as we continue to scale up services across the transport network as part of the restart.

Public Health England guidance has been clear that there is very little scientific evidence of widespread benefit from personal protective equipment outside of health and social care settings. Guidance on cleaning of non-healthcare settings and shipping and sea ports and how PPE may be used in these contexts has been published in February and March respectively. The Department has worked with and continues to work with operators to ensure they can meet the PPE needs as set out in this guidance.

The Department has held roundtables and meetings at all levels with operators across the transport sector in the response to COVID-19, including to support with the implementation of the Government’s PPE plan and the effective implementation of key measures of social distancing and good hand and respiratory hygiene in transport settings.

Ultimately is the responsibility of operators, and indeed all employers, to assess what measures should be in place for their staff on the basis of the risk assessments they are undertaking in line with guidance and to safely address operational needs.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with ferry operators on providing appropriate compensation to people who have had their journeys cancelled due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the extremely difficult circumstances consumers and many businesses are currently facing.

The Department for Transport is in regular contact with ferry operators and is working closely with the sector and consumer groups to help ensure ferry operators deliver on their commitments.

Under the maritime passenger rights rules, passengers are entitled to a full refund of the ticket price where a ferry journey has been cancelled by the operator. However, because the Covid-19 outbreak is considered an “extraordinary circumstance”, ferry operators are not liable to pay compensation as well under these rules.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on (a) ensuring the sustainability of and (b) minimising the disruption to transport networks caused by the Restoration and Renewal project on the Palace of Westminster.

Ministers at the Department for Transport have not had any recent conversations with colleagues on the impacts of the Restoration and Renewal project of the Palace of Westminster in regard to transport networks. We would expect the delivery authority appointed to take forward the project to engage with relevant transport authorities and providers on an ongoing basis as plans develop.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on encouraging private sector organisations to conduct commerce on the River Thames through the construction of more jetties.

Transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London. It would be a matter for the Mayor to determine what types of river boat services might operate on the River Thames.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the potential level of disruption to road traffic in central London from construction work carried out on the Restoration and Renewal project of the Palace of Westminster.

Ministers at the Department for Transport have not had any recent conversations with colleagues on the impacts of the Restoration and Renewal project of the Palace of Westminster in regard to transport networks. We would expect the delivery authority appointed to take forward the project to engage with relevant transport authorities and providers on an ongoing basis as plans develop.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to increase the use of the River Thames in the (a) commerce, (b) transport, (c) construction and (d) freight sectors.

Transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London. Policy on what types of services operate on the River Thames would be a matter for the Mayor.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to assist British nationals stranded overseas with cars whose ferry journeys have been cancelled and who cannot fly home.

My officials continue to work with FCO colleagues to monitor British Nationals travelling with cars/caravans in Spain and Portugal.

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve the provision of bus services serving Kirklees.

The bus market outside London is deregulated and decisions regarding service provision are primarily a commercial matter for bus operators. However, the Bus Services Act 2017 provides the tools local authorities need to improve local bus services and increase passenger numbers.

Of the £30 million of additional funding announced to improve current services and restoring lost services, West Yorkshire Combined Authority has been allocated £1,086,414 which will be available from April 2020 if the funding requirements are met.

This is from the £220 million Better Deal for Bus Users package to transform bus services. The Government’s ambition is to secure a long term, sustained improvement in bus services underpinned by a National Bus Strategy for England which will be accompanied by a long-term funding settlement.

Announced last week there will be £5billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London which may benefit bus services serving Kirklees.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of victims of motorcycle road deaths were working for (a) food and (b) other delivery services in each of the last five years.

The Department does not hold data on whether casualties in reported road accidents were working for food or other delivery services, as this information is not required from the police in the Stats19 data collection.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to reduce levels of poverty in people that are of pension age.

The Government is committed to action to alleviate levels of pensioner poverty. The overall trend in the percentage of pensioners living in poverty is a dramatic improvement over recent decades. Relative pensioner poverty rates (before housing costs) have halved since 1990. For the year 2019/20 there were 200,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty (both before and after housing costs) than in 2009/10. Material Deprivation, an alternative way of measuring poverty, is at an all-time low of 6% of pensioners.

Since 2010, the Government has increased the full yearly value of the basic State Pension by over £2,050 in cash terms. Around 1.4 million pensioners also receive some £5 billion of Pension Credit, which tops up their retirement income and is a passport to other financial help such as support with housing costs, council tax, heating bills and a free TV licence for those over 75. Around 70 per cent of eligible pensioners already receive the main Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit but we want all eligible pensioners to claim it. That’s why on 16 June as part of a media day of action on Pension Credit, DWP joined forces with Age UK as well as the BBC to help reach, via national and local media, older people who may be reticent about claiming it. We have also set up a working group made up of a range of stakeholders who have an interest in pensioners’ financial wellbeing to look at other opportunities and channels to get information about Pension Credit to pensioners and their family members.

In addition to these current measures, for future pensioners there is also auto-enrolment into workplace pensions, which has transformed pension saving for millions of workers. Furthermore, our 50 Plus: Choices agenda aims to maximise the labour market opportunities for people to earn and save for longer.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help ensure that women born in the 1950s who were affected by pension age changes are compensated.

The Government decided over 25 years ago that it was going to make the State Pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality. Raising State Pension age in line with life expectancy changes has been the policy of successive administrations over many years.

In the Judicial Review on changes to State Pension age, both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, finding we acted entirely lawfully and did not discriminate on any grounds.

There is no plan to compensate anyone affected by State Pension age legislation that Parliament has enacted.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, (a) what assessment she has made of the potential merits for increasing the earnings limit for Carer’s Allowance, and (b) for what reason the earnings limit for Carer’s Allowance did not increase in line with CPI in April 2021.

Carer’s Allowance has an earnings limit which permits carers to undertake some part-time work if they are able to do so. We know that some carers are keen to maintain contact with the labour market to benefit from greater financial independence and social interaction, so we want to encourage carers to combine some paid work with their caring duties wherever possible.

The Carer’s Allowance earnings limit is not linked to the number of hours worked or the level of “minimum wage” payments. There is no statutory requirement to review the earnings limit each year or to link it to some other factor. A number of factors are taken into account when looking at the Carer’s Allowance earnings limit to decide whether an increase is warranted and affordable, including changes to wages and work incentives and the position of the public finances.

The earnings limit has increased by nearly a third since 2010 (from £100 to £128 net earnings per week), reflecting an increase in average earnings in recent years. These increases have helped ensure that the earnings limit has maintained its value. The earnings limit did not rise in April 2021 because it wasn’t considered appropriate to increase it due to the uncertainty of the economic climate and the impact on earnings growth.

The department has been undertaking research which will touch on carers employment and potential barriers to them working. We will look at the findings from the research and other evidence and arguments with an open mind, and would consider changes to the way the earnings limit is calculated if they were deemed to be necessary and affordable.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support is in place to assist (a) people and (b) people with mental health difficulties with financial management and guidance on budgeting in cases where a large back payment has been awarded.

When a large back payment is made there are a number of mechanisms in place to support a customer, including those who may be vulnerable. These mechanisms depend on the legislative framework within the product line, and include payments being split between the customer and a third party with the customer’s consent, payments being paid in full to a third party who will support the customer to manage the payment, or paying smaller amounts staggered over a period of time.

For example, within Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit, where we identify that there may be an impact on the health, safety and wellbeing of a customer when they receive an arrears payment or a payment outside of their usual payment cycle, we work with the customer to understand their needs and help them to identify and access appropriate support.

This financial management support may include utilising the support of the Department’s Advanced Customer Support Senior Leaders and signposting customers to external organisations. These organisations include the Money Advice Service, Money Advice Trust, Citizens Advice or the customer’s own support worker, to ensure they are supported with the management of these funds.

We also offer budgeting support to customers receiving their regular benefits entitlement. In UC a referral process is in place where a need for Personal Budgeting Support is identified; this includes referral to online information, or a personal appointment by phone or in person to discuss a customer’s individual requirements. In some cases, an Alternative Payment Arrangement is agreed - where for example, payments are made more frequently or directly to a landlord to support claimants with longer term budgeting problems.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of an increase to carer’s allowance.

The proposed table of benefits / pension rates for 2021/22, including Carer’s Allowance, was published on 4 December 2020 in the House Library, following the Secretary of State’s annual review of benefit rates. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning around an additional £700 a year for carers. Between 2020/21 and 2025/26 real terms expenditure on Carer’s Allowance is forecast to increase by nearly a third (around £1 billion). By 2025/26, the Government is forecast to spend just over £4bn a year on Carer’s Allowance.

As of August 2020, there were 2,158 carers in the Huddersfield constituency that were claiming Carer’s Allowance, of which 1,667 were in receipt of Carer’s Allowance while 495 had an underlying entitlement to it (which can passport to carer premiums). In 2019/20 we spent approximately £5.7 million on Carer’s Allowance there.

Information on the number of people claiming Carer’s Allowance by Parliamentary constituency is published and available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/index.html

The latest information on benefit expenditure by parliamentary constituency including Carer’s Allowance is also published and available at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/920543/benefit-expenditure-by-parliamentary-constituency-2019-20.xlsx

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions her Department has had with Motability Operations Ltd on reviewing the eligibility for the Motability scheme.

Motability and Motability Operations are independent from Government. Motability Operations is responsible for the operational delivery of the Motability Scheme, and is accountable to Motability the charity. Whilst the Department is responsible for the disability benefits that provide a passport to the Motability scheme, and works closely with Motability, responsibility for the terms and administration of the Scheme sits with Motability and its Board of Governors.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to reduce the taper rate of universal credit during the covid-19 outbreak to help alleviate staff shortages.

Throughout the pandemic this Government has continued to support the lowest-paid families by targeting our support to those most in need by raising the national living wage, spending hundreds of billions to safeguard jobs, boosting welfare support by billions and introducing the £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme. It has also pledged to put an extra £1.7 billion a year into Work Allowances by 2023/24, increasing them by £1,040 a year for working parents and disabled claimants.

There are currently no plans to reduce the Universal Credit taper rate. This Government has already made significant investment to reduce it from 65% to 63% in 2017.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that all parents have access to infant formula at food banks.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. Decisions about which donations to accept and make available to food bank users are therefore a matter for food bank providers.


Healthy Start vouchers support pregnant women or those with children under four who are on a low income with the cost of milk (including infant formula), fruit and vegetables helping to boost children’s long-term health. The weekly value of these vouchers will increase from £3.10 to £4.25 from next April.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the effect of (a) ambient air pollution and (b) exhaust emissions on refuse collectors.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulates work-related health and safety in Great Britain. Employers, including Local Authorities (LAs), have existing duties under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 to manage health risks where workers may be exposed to hazardous substances as a result of work. The Regulations are supported by Workplace Exposure Limits (WELS) for substances hazardous to health. These will inform an employer’s assessment and management of risk from exhaust emissions and pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide that can give rise to Occupational Lung Diseases (OLD).

Low emissions vehicles have only recently become available and HSE is aware that a number of LAs are assessing their economic and environmental benefits. HSE’s remit does not include environmental pollution and HSE does not incentivize or encourage transition to low-emission vehicles. The responsibility for air quality is a devolved matter. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has responsibility for meeting limits in England and co-ordinates assessment and air quality plans for the UK as a whole.

Tackling OLDs as a result of exposure to hazardous substances at work is one of HSE’s health priorities. HSE works with a broad range of stakeholders including trade associations, employers, trade unions, third sector and professional bodies to reduce the incidence rate of OLDs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that drivers of heavy goods vehicles are sufficiently protected from poor air quality.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulates work-related health and safety in Great Britain. Employers, including Local Authorities (LAs), have existing duties under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 to manage health risks where workers may be exposed to hazardous substances as a result of work. The Regulations are supported by Workplace Exposure Limits (WELS) for substances hazardous to health. These will inform an employer’s assessment and management of risk from exhaust emissions and pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide that can give rise to Occupational Lung Diseases (OLD).

Low emissions vehicles have only recently become available and HSE is aware that a number of LAs are assessing their economic and environmental benefits. HSE’s remit does not include environmental pollution and HSE does not incentivize or encourage transition to low-emission vehicles. The responsibility for air quality is a devolved matter. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has responsibility for meeting limits in England and co-ordinates assessment and air quality plans for the UK as a whole.

Tackling OLDs as a result of exposure to hazardous substances at work is one of HSE’s health priorities. HSE works with a broad range of stakeholders including trade associations, employers, trade unions, third sector and professional bodies to reduce the incidence rate of OLDs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on ensuring that refuse collectors are not exposed to high levels of air pollution.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulates work-related health and safety in Great Britain. Employers, including Local Authorities (LAs), have existing duties under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 to manage health risks where workers may be exposed to hazardous substances as a result of work. The Regulations are supported by Workplace Exposure Limits (WELS) for substances hazardous to health. These will inform an employer’s assessment and management of risk from exhaust emissions and pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide that can give rise to Occupational Lung Diseases (OLD).

Low emissions vehicles have only recently become available and HSE is aware that a number of LAs are assessing their economic and environmental benefits. HSE’s remit does not include environmental pollution and HSE does not incentivize or encourage transition to low-emission vehicles. The responsibility for air quality is a devolved matter. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has responsibility for meeting limits in England and co-ordinates assessment and air quality plans for the UK as a whole.

Tackling OLDs as a result of exposure to hazardous substances at work is one of HSE’s health priorities. HSE works with a broad range of stakeholders including trade associations, employers, trade unions, third sector and professional bodies to reduce the incidence rate of OLDs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to (a) incentivise and (b) encourage local authorities to transition to low-emission refuse collection vehicles in order to protect refuse workers from high levels of air pollution.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulates work-related health and safety in Great Britain. Employers, including Local Authorities (LAs), have existing duties under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 to manage health risks where workers may be exposed to hazardous substances as a result of work. The Regulations are supported by Workplace Exposure Limits (WELS) for substances hazardous to health. These will inform an employer’s assessment and management of risk from exhaust emissions and pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide that can give rise to Occupational Lung Diseases (OLD).

Low emissions vehicles have only recently become available and HSE is aware that a number of LAs are assessing their economic and environmental benefits. HSE’s remit does not include environmental pollution and HSE does not incentivize or encourage transition to low-emission vehicles. The responsibility for air quality is a devolved matter. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has responsibility for meeting limits in England and co-ordinates assessment and air quality plans for the UK as a whole.

Tackling OLDs as a result of exposure to hazardous substances at work is one of HSE’s health priorities. HSE works with a broad range of stakeholders including trade associations, employers, trade unions, third sector and professional bodies to reduce the incidence rate of OLDs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people received Access to Work support while undertaking traineeships, internships or other unpaid work placements in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019; and if she will make a statement.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department collates data on the number of people in receipt of Access to Work support by (a) size of their employer, (b) age group, (c), gender, (d), ethnicity and (e) type of disability; and if she will make a statement.

The Department does collate data on the number of people in receipt of Access to Work support by (a) size of their employer, (b) age group, (c) gender and (e) type of disability. Data on the number of people in receipt of Access to Work support by (d) ethnicity is not collected.

Where the data has been collated, this information has been provided below.

When answering your question, please note that we have interpreted “receipt of Access to Work support” as receipt of at least one Access to Work payment.

(a) The number of people in receipt of Access to Work payment by employer size in 2018/19 is:

Total number of employees

Total number of people who receive Access to Work in 2018/19

1 to 49

10,220

50 to 249

2,000

249+

23,610

Not recorded

410

Note that figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

For parts (b), (c) and (e), Table 8 of the Access to Work statistics shows the number of people who have received an Access to Work payment broken down by age group, gender and primary medical condition.

The latest Access to Work statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2020

Background

The number of people in receipt of Access to Work payment by employer size in 2019/20 is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support is being made available for people who are required to self-isolate and not able to access (a) statutory sick pay or (b) the £500 covid-19 self-isolation grant.

People who are infected with Covid-19, or self-isolating in line with Government guidance are eligible for ESA, subject to the normal conditions of entitlement. We have removed the waiting days and claimants will be treated as having Limited Capability for Work in ESA without the requirement for fit notes or a Work Capability Assessment from day one. Households may also be able to claim Universal Credit where eligible. New claim advances are available urgently if a claimant needs financial support. These advances allow claimants to receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. The Budget already announced that claimants will be able to access advances via phone or online, instead of having to attend the jobcentre. This applies to all claimants, including those who are required to self-isolate.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of people that will be retrained by Government schemes after the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

No assessment has been made of the number of people who will be retrained by Government schemes after the end of the Job Retention Scheme.

We have a range of schemes available to support individuals to gain the skills they need to find work as the economy recovers from the Coronavirus crisis. We are establishing bespoke opportunities, working with employers and training providers to support claimants to fill job vacancies and pivot into new careers.

DWP are increasing participation in our sector-based work academy programmes including in priority areas, such as construction, infrastructure and social care. And, following announcements made by the Chancellor in July on the Government’s Plan for Jobs, the Department for Education is delivering a range of incentives to employers so that more people can boost their skills by taking on an apprenticeship or traineeship. Additional investment in the National Careers Service will also help more people access the support they need to retrain.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families with children have received the £20 per week uplift in universal credit standard allowance payments in Huddersfield in each month since that uplift was introduced.

The available information on the number of households with children with Universal Credit in payment, by parliamentary constituency, is published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure parity between the amount received by claimants of universal credit in relation to the covid-19 outbreak and claimants of (a) employment support allowance (b) Jobseekers Allowance and (c) other benefits.

Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support were increased by 1.7% in April 2020 following the Government’s announcement to end the benefit freeze.

It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) if they believe that they will be better off. There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from January 2021.

Claimants should check their eligibility before applying to UC as legacy benefits will end when they submit their claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits.

From 22 July 2020, a two-week run on of Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (IR) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (IB) is available for all claimants whose claim to UC ends entitlement to these benefits, to provide additional support for claimants moving to UC.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of fees and charges levied on the provision of medical letters on the number of people that bring forward appeals against a decision made by her Department relating to social security benefits.

No such assessment has been done.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to investigate the reasons for delays people may experience when obtaining (a) letters from GPs and (b) other supporting evidence when bringing forward appeals against a decision made by her Department relating to social security benefits.

Appeals against social security benefit decisions are lodged with and administered by HMCTS and as such, DWP is unable to answer questions related to obtaining evidence for appeals.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that health and safety standards are maintained in meat processing plants throughout the UK.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcement of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in Great Britain. HSE Northern Ireland has a similar responsibility in Northern Ireland.

HSE is not the regulator of food safety. The regulatory lead for public health matters, such as responding when workers in meat processing plant test positive for Covid-19, remains with public health bodies.

HSE has published guidance on health and safety in meat processing and other food businesses and regulated standards in this industry through operational activity, including inspections and investigating concerns raised by workers and incidents where there has been harm: https://www.hse.gov.uk/food/index.htm.

During the pandemic, HSE has worked with other government departments to provide additional guidance on health and safety risk controls appropriate to food production businesses, including meat processing:

https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/adapting-food-manufacturing-operations-during-covid-19.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a crisis funeral loan to (a) support grieving families and (b) provide confidence to funeral homes that their costs will be met in the context of the covid-19 pandemic.

The DWP Funeral Expenses Payments (FEP) scheme provides an important contribution towards the cost of a funeral arranged by someone who is in receipt of certain income based benefits including Universal Credit.

The scheme meets the necessary costs of a burial or cremation in full and in April 2020 the additional element that can help with the costs of a coffin or the services of a funeral director, was increased from £700 to £1000.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2020
To ask the right hon. Member for East Hampshire, representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what steps he will take to minimise air pollution in central London from the Restoration and Renewal project on the Palace of Westminster.

The Sponsor Body has agreed a strategic objective to mitigate the environmental impact of the Restoration and Renewal Programme during the construction phase and to minimise the impact in relation to the Palace's future operation. This objective has been endorsed by the Commissions of both Houses and will be kept under review as the Programme progresses. An Environment Impact Assessment will be conducted in due course once the preferred approach to the works has been determined as part of the business case process, which will consider the impact on air quality and river ecology. The Programme is also expected to agree a series of controls and mitigations, as well as monitoring arrangements, for air quality during the construction phase as part of the planning process. The merits of using the river for moving materials to and from the construction site, to minimise the effects of construction on road traffic emissions, will also be considered by the Programme.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support former employees of the UK aviation sector who have been made redundant due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We know this is a worrying time for people and we stand ready to support anyone impacted by job loss. In response to Covid-19 we have established an alternative service to our usual face to face offer. People will be able to access redundancy help and job search advice on the Department’s new Job Help campaign website (www.jobhelp.dwp.gov.uk). There’s also information on gov.uk and updated information packs provided to employers to help them signpost employees to the support that is available. The support includes:

  • Connecting people to jobs in the labour market
  • Helping with job search including CV writing, interview skills, where to find jobs and how to apply for them
  • Helping to identify transferable skills and skills gaps (linked to the local labour market)
  • Advising what benefits they may get and how to claim

The Rapid Response Service is co-ordinated nationally by the National Employer and Partnership Team (NEPT) and managed by Jobcentre Plus. Delivery partners include the National Careers Service, local training providers, employers, HMRC, Money Advice Service and the skills bodies in England.

These services are offered by equivalents in the Devolved Administrations PACE (Scotland) and ReAct (Wales). Redundancy support in Northern Ireland is devolved with separate funding and delivery arrangements where no partner support is available.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 lockdown on the operation of the Access to Work programme; and if she will make a statement.

Access to Work is continuing to provide support for people with a disability or health condition whether they are working in the workplace or are working from home. Access to Work service delivery teams are deploying available resources in line with the agreed priority areas and responding flexibly to meet customer demand. DWP remains committed to ensuring disabled people continue to receive support they need to move into and maintain employment and has prioritised payments.

In addition, to support disabled people during COVID-19 Access to Work has introduced various measures, these include:

  • Prioritising new applications from key workers and those with jobs starting within the next 4 weeks;
  • Extending the timeframe customers have to submit payment claim forms to 9 months;
  • Accepting employer and support worker signatures via email;
  • Extending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end by 6 months;
  • Adapting the way our assessments are undertaken to support customers who don’t know what support they need and/or where coping strategies are required as part of the Mental Health Support Service.
  • Accepting e mail claim forms from customers who request this as a reasonable adjustment
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled (a) employees and (b) business owners; and if she will make a statement.

We continue to monitor employment of disabled people using the quarterly Labour Force Survey along with other relevant sources. Collection of this information is contemporaneous with the covid-19 outbreak. There will be an interval until data needed to assess the effects of the outbreak is available.

Labour Force Survey statistics for the first quarter of 2020, will be reported by the Office for National Statistics on 19 May 2020, covering the very start of the covid-19 outbreak in March. Statistics for the second quarter of 2020 will be available in August.

The latest available disability employment statistics for quarter 4 2019, show that the employment rate for working age disabled people was 54.1%, compared with 82.2% for non-disabled people. Therefore, there was an employment rate gap between disabled and non-disabled people of 28.1 percentage points. The disability employment gap fell by 2.1 percentage points on the year. These statistics also show that similar proportions of disabled and non-disabled people in work were self-employed; 15% of disabled people in work were self-employed compared with 14% of non-disabled people.

The Office for National Statistics is producing a range of wider information about the social and economic impacts of covid-19 such as the Business Impact of Coronavirus (BIC) survey. Statistics from the ONS Omnibus survey for 3 April 2020 to 13 April 2020 show that a lower proportion of disabled people than non-disabled people were worried about aspects of work and household finances.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps is she taking to ensure that disabled (a) employees and (b) business owners continue to receive the (i) assistive technology and (ii) other forms of support they need to remain in work during the covid-19 lockdown; and if she she make a statement.

Access to Work is continuing to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work and during the pandemic is adapting existing awards to new working environments. This could include switching from face to face British Sign Language Interpreting to Video Remote Interpreting services where possible as well as making greater use of assistive technology and software.

For all other forms of support, such as support workers and travel to work (for customers not self-isolating), Access to Work continues to offer support. If support needs or workplaces have changed, Access to Work will work with the customer to understand what support is needed, and adapt the support package accordingly.

In addition, Access to Work is working with employers to ensure assistive technology can be transported from the workplace to support home working. If the support cannot be removed from the workplace, Access to Work may be able to provide the support at home, work with disabled employees to consider new adjustments or support adaptations to standard equipment.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what representations she has received on disabled (a) employees and (b) business owners not receiving support in work as a result of the covid-19 lockdown; and if she will make a statement.

A cross section of disabled people, employers and stakeholders’ organisations have been engaging with the department in relation to the impacts covid-19 policies. To support employees, Access to Work is continuing to provide support for people with a disability or health condition whether they are working in the workplace or are working from home.

In addition, to support disabled people and their employers during covid-19 Access to Work has introduced various measures, these include:

  • Prioritising new applications from key workers and those with jobs starting within the next 4 weeks;
  • Extending the timeframe customers have to submit payment claim forms to 9 months;
  • Accepting employer and support worker signatures via email;
  • Extending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end by 6 months;
  • Adapting the way our assessments are undertaken to support customers who don’t know what support they need and/or where coping strategies are required as part of the Mental Health Support Service; and
  • Accepting email claim forms from customers who request this as a reasonable adjustment.
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that (a) temporary workers, (b) people on zero and low hours contracts and (b) people that are self-employed may claim Statutory Sick Pay.

Gig workers or those on zero-hours contracts may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they meet all eligibility criteria. However, SSP is just one part of our welfare safety net and our wider government offer of support.

Many of those earning below £120 per week, who are not eligible for SSP, are already in receipt of benefits. For those on Universal Credit, their award will rise if their income falls.

Those who are not already in receipt of benefits may claim Universal Credit and/or new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on their individual circumstances.

Self-employed people unable to work because they are directly affected by COVID-19 or who are self-isolating will also be eligible for Contributory Employment and Support Allowance which is now payable from the first day of sickness, rather than the eighth.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to provide financial support for low-income households affected by the covid-19 outbreak; and whether her Department has plans to suspend the use of benefit sanctions during that period.

DWP took the decision to temporarily suspend both the requirement to attend a face to face appointments and to conduct checks on conditionality compliance with work search for 3 months from 19th March 2020. This means no sanctions will be applied for these reasons for the 3 month period, though DWP still encourages people who can work to seek work.

For people that are unable to access or use digital services, assistance to make and maintain their Universal Credit claim is available via the Freephone Universal Credit helpline.

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

  • making it easier to access benefits. Those applying for Contributory ESA will be able to claim from day 1 – as opposed to day 8 - and we have removed the need for face-to-face assessment. Both Universal Credit and Contributory ESA can now be claimed by phone or online;
  • increasing the standard rate of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by around £1000 per year;
  • temporarily relaxing the application of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for all self-employed claimants affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 to ensure that the self-employed can access UC at a more generous rate;
  • making Statutory Sick Pay available from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 - where an eligible individual is sick or self-isolating; and
  • increasing the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers at least 30% of the market rents in an area – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

Taken together, these measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We currently have no plans to cancel or suspend pre-existing sanctions. Claimants who were sanctioned before Covid 19 can continue to apply for hardship payments and are no worse off as a result of the pandemic. We continue to review our policies as the situation evolves.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Public Health England's guidance on social distancing and self-isolation, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of financial support for people with no recourse to public funds to enable them to follow that guidance.

Access to DWP income-related benefits such as Universal Credit flows from an individual’s immigration status. The Home Office determine whether persons granted leave to enter or remain in the UK are eligible to access public funds.

Those unable to access DWP income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit, may be eligible to access DWP contributions-based benefits, providing they meet eligibility criteria.

Government measures to support workers and their families through Covid-19 are also available for those who meet the eligibility criteria. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-employed Income Support Scheme and Statutory Sick Pay.

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on protecting self-employed workers from financial hardship during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Chancellor has announced a Self-Employed Income Support Scheme that will help millions of people across the UK, with those eligible receiving a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

The government has also announced a package of temporary welfare measures to support those on low incomes through the outbreak, including relaxing the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed claimants affected by the economic impact of COVID-19. Taken together, these measures provide over £6.5bn of additional support through the welfare system.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that women with triple-negative breast cancer are provided with the medical support that they need.

Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan), which can help women with triple-negative breast cancer, has received marketing authorisation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency through the regulator’s participation in Project Orbis, which accelerates licensing of some cancer medicines.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently developing guidance for NHS England and NHS Improvement on whether sacituzumab govitecan represents a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. NICE is expected to publish draft guidance in spring 2022. Since May 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement have also funded atezolizumab with nab-paclitaxel for treating PD-L1-positive, triple-negative, advanced breast cancer.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on ensuring that NHS ambulances do not contribute to worsening air quality in urban areas.

No such discussions have been held. The proportion of ambulances that are hybrid or electrically powered is not collected centrally. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement advises that a small number of electric or alternative fuel vehicles are currently in use across the ambulance fleet.

The Delivering a Net Zero National Health Service strategy, published in October 2020, sets out the ambition that the National Health Service will transition to a zero-emission fleet, ahead of its commitment to become net zero by 2040. Work is underway to develop zero emission ambulances.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of ambulances are hybrid or electrically powered.

No such discussions have been held. The proportion of ambulances that are hybrid or electrically powered is not collected centrally. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement advises that a small number of electric or alternative fuel vehicles are currently in use across the ambulance fleet.

The Delivering a Net Zero National Health Service strategy, published in October 2020, sets out the ambition that the National Health Service will transition to a zero-emission fleet, ahead of its commitment to become net zero by 2