Catherine McKinnell Portrait

Catherine McKinnell

Labour - Newcastle upon Tyne North

Treasury Sub-Committee
14th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Petitions Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Treasury Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Petitions Committee
14th Mar 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Education, Skills and the Economy Sub-Committee
9th Mar 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Education Committee
1st Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow Attorney General
14th Sep 2015 - 11th Jan 2016
Shadow Minister (Treasury)
18th Mar 2013 - 14th Sep 2015
Shadow Minister (Education)
7th Oct 2011 - 18th Mar 2013
Shadow Solicitor General
8th Oct 2010 - 7th Oct 2011
Political and Constitutional Reform Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 8th Nov 2010


Oral Question
Tuesday 18th May 2021
12:15
Ministry of Justice
Topical Question No. 2
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
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Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 27th May 2021
14:30
Petitions Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Brain tumour and childhood cancer research
27 May 2021, 2:30 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Peter Realf - Campaigner at Brain Tumour Research
Amanda Mifsud - Founder at Abbie's Army
Fiona Govan - Petition Creator at Private citizen
Ian Walker - Executive Director of Policy, Information and Communications at Cancer Research UK
Sue Farrington Smith - Chief Executive at Brain Tumour Research
Richard Gilbertson - Chair at Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission
Chris Jones - Professor of Childhood Brain Tumour Biology at Institute of Cancer Research
The Lord Bethell - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Department of Health and Social Care
Helen Campbell - Portfolio Manager at Department of Health and Social Care
Mike Batley - Deputy Director of Research Programmes at Department of Health and Social Care
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Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
National Security and Investment Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 194 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 358 Noes - 269
Speeches
Thursday 22nd April 2021
Business of the House

May I associate myself with the comments made by my hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Ian Mearns) on the …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
Weddings: Coronavirus
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to …
Early Day Motions
Monday 11th May 2020
Sustainable aviation beyond covid-19
That this House recognises the importance of the aviation industry to the national and regional economies of the UK; acknowledges …
Bills
Tuesday 14th September 2010
Apprenticeships and Skills (Public Procurement Contracts) Bill 2010-12
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Charlie Parsons Creative Ltd
Address of donor: 10 Queen St Place, London EC4R 1AG
amount of donation, …
EDM signed
Monday 26th April 2021
Political and security situation in Myanmar
That this House condemns the military coup in Myanmar (Burma); demands the immediate release of all political prisoners; extends solidarity …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Catherine McKinnell has voted in 216 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Catherine McKinnell 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)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(9 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(9 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(6 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(18 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(8 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(6 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Catherine McKinnell's debates

Newcastle upon Tyne North 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 Newcastle upon Tyne North signature proportion
Petitions with most Newcastle upon Tyne North signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Black Women in the U.K. are 5 times more likely to die during pregnancy and after childbirth compared to White Women (MBRRACE, 2019). We need more research done into why this is happening and recommendations to improve health care for Black Women as urgent action is needed to address this disparity.

Being the first to close and still no clue as to when we can open, this seasonal industry is losing its summer profits that allows them to get through the first quarter of next year.

Even if we are allowed to open in December, 1 months profit won't be enough to keep us open in 2021. We need help

The UK hospitality industry. Responsible for around 3m jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation. Yet, unlike the Arts or Sports, we do not have a dedicated Minister.

We are asking that a Minister for Hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments.

In the event of a spike we would like you not to close gyms as a measure to stop any spread of Covid. Also for gyms to not be put in the same group as pubs in terms of risk or importance. Gyms are following strict guidelines and most members are following rules in a sober manner.

Isolation essential to the Government’s strategy for fighting coronavirus, and UK citizens must remain healthy and exercise whilst keeping adequate distance between people. The Government should allow golf courses to open so families or individuals can play golf in order to exercise safely.

Weddings take months and even years of intricate planning. Myself and many others believe the maximum number of guests authorised at wedding ceremonies should be increased. The number of guests permitted at weddings should be calculated according to venue capacity.

Extend funding to nightclubs, dance music events and festivals as part of the £1.57bn support package announced by the government for Britain's arts and culture sector to survive the hit from the pandemic. #LetUSDance

In light of the recent outbreak and lock down, those on maternity leave should be given 3 extra months paid leave, at least. This time is for bonding and social engaging with other parents and babies through baby groups which are vital for development and now everything has been cancelled.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

I would like the government to review and increase the pay for healthcare workers to recognise the work that they do.

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.


Latest EDMs signed by Catherine McKinnell

24th February 2021
Catherine McKinnell signed this EDM on Monday 26th April 2021

Political and security situation in Myanmar

Tabled by: Rushanara Ali (Labour - Bethnal Green and Bow)
That this House condemns the military coup in Myanmar (Burma); demands the immediate release of all political prisoners; extends solidarity to fellow Members of Parliament who have been denied the right to exercise their democratically elected mandate; welcomes the establishment by Parliamentarians of representative committees from national, regional and state …
104 signatures
(Most recent: 11 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 48
Scottish National Party: 28
Liberal Democrat: 9
Conservative: 5
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Independent: 4
Alba Party: 2
Plaid Cymru: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
11th February 2021
Catherine McKinnell signed this EDM on Tuesday 23rd March 2021

Support to tackle food waste

Tabled by: Neil Parish (Conservative - Tiverton and Honiton)
That this House recognises the valuable work of FareShare, the UK’s biggest charity fighting hunger and food waste, in providing two million meals per week to people in need during the covid-19 pandemic; acknowledges that it is deeply regrettable that two million tonnes of food goes to waste in the …
61 signatures
(Most recent: 11 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 23
Scottish National Party: 18
Conservative: 6
Liberal Democrat: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Alba Party: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
View All Catherine McKinnell's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Catherine McKinnell, 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.


Catherine McKinnell has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Catherine McKinnell has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Catherine McKinnell


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require certain public procurement contracts let by public authorities to include a commitment by the contractor to provide apprenticeships and skills training; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 14th September 2010

Catherine McKinnell has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


80 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
1 Other Department Questions
13th Jan 2021
What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on encouraging more schools to take part in the period product scheme.

Nobody should miss out on their education because of their period. Our Period Product scheme makes free products available for primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in England. Our supplier is actively contacting organisations who have not yet ordered products. Period products should be available, if learners need them, even during lockdown. I encourage all schools and colleges to make use of this fantastic scheme.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to publish guidance for weddings and civil partnerships taking place in Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap for the easing of covid-19 restrictions.

In the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, the Government has set out the gradual and cautious approach to reopening different sectors in England, guided by science and the data. It is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions, so that we can see the impact of the steps we are taking before moving to the next step.

For that reason, we will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation. Guidance on weddings at Step 3 will be updated at least a week in advance, taking into account developments in the pandemic.

At Step 3, no earlier than 17 May 2021, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID-19 Secure venues. Receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people in a COVID-19 Secure indoor venue, or outdoors, which includes private gardens.

For further information, please refer to the guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships

For further information, please refer to the guidance for for wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-wedding-and-civil-partnership-receptions-and-celebrations

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of increases in the domestic supply of coal on global carbon emissions.

Domestic production of coal, alongside the amounts of coal imported in the UK, have been steadily declining in the last five years. This is evidenced by the figures published by the Department here: DUKES table 2.4.

In order to tackle climate change and deliver a net zero economy by 2050, we need to further reduce our use of coal. We are among the first countries in the world to commit to closing all unabated coal power plants. We intend to do this by 2024.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of increased domestic supply of coal on levels of coal imports.

Domestic production of coal, alongside the amounts of coal imported in the UK, have been steadily declining in the last five years. This is evidenced by the figures published by the Department here: DUKES table 2.4.

In order to tackle climate change and deliver a net zero economy by 2050, we need to further reduce our use of coal. We are among the first countries in the world to commit to closing all unabated coal power plants. We intend to do this by 2024.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that platforms carrying user-generated video content engage with the British Board of Film Classification on their best practice age labelling guidelines.

The BBFC offers unparalleled expertise in content classification. Ministers and officials will continue to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including the BBFC, on the video sharing platform regime and the upcoming Online Safety Bill.

The video sharing platform regime, for which Ofcom is the regulator, came into force on 1 November 2020. UK-established video sharing platforms must now take appropriate measures to protect the public, including minors, from illegal and harmful material. Video sharing platforms are not currently mandated to adopt BBFC ratings, nor is it expected that they will be mandated to do so under Ofcom’s regulatory regime for video sharing platforms.

The Government recognises age ratings as an important tool for audience protection, however they are most effective when used in conjunction with other protection tools, such as age assurance and parental controls. Video sharing platforms encompass a broad range of services so it is important that there is flexibility in the regime to be able to adopt tailored approaches. Platforms should consider what measures are most appropriate and proportionate when introducing them on their services.

The BBFC is engaging with both Ofcom and online platforms to share their expertise on emerging technologies and the applicability of content ratings. The Government will also continue to engage with the BBFC, Ofcom and industry to encourage platforms to adopt appropriate content labelling and other age assurance measures in relation to the upcoming Online Safety Bill.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will consult with the British Board of Film Classification on the development of the Online Safety Bill in relation to (a) content standards and (b) the regulation of pornographic content.

Ministers and officials will continue to engage with a wide range of stakeholders on the development of the Online Safety Bill, including the BBFC. The BBFC offers unparalleled expertise in content classification, including pornographic content.

The video sharing platform regime, for which Ofcom is the regulator, came into force on 1 November 2020. UK-established video sharing platforms must now take appropriate measures to protect the public, including minors, from illegal and harmful material. Ofcom, and the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) have a strong collaborative relationship when working on audience protection issues. The BBFC is engaging actively with both Ofcom and video sharing platforms to share their expertise on emerging technologies and the applicability of content ratings.

Over the past year the government has also been working with the BBFC and industry to drive the voluntary adoption of the BBFC’s age rating symbols by video on demand platforms. We will continue to engage with industry to encourage platforms to use BBFC age ratings, and will keep the evidence for legislation in this area under review.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that video-on-demand and streaming platforms adhere to best practice age labelling guidelines produced by the British Board of Film Classification.

As the designated body for age classification of film content, the Government has great trust in the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) best practice age ratings.

While adoption of the BBFC’s age ratings by online platforms is currently voluntary, we welcome their usage by Video on Demand platforms. We were particularly pleased to see Netflix announce on 1 December 2020 that they have become the first platform to achieve complete coverage of their content under the BBFC’s ratings. We will continue to engage with industry to encourage other Video on Demand platforms to adopt the BBFC’s ratings across all of their content, and will keep the evidence for legislation in this area under review.

The video sharing platform regime, for which Ofcom is the regulator, came into force on 1 November 2020. UK-established video sharing platforms must now take appropriate measures to protect the public, including minors, from illegal and harmful material. The BBFC is engaging actively with both Ofcom and video sharing platforms to share their expertise on emerging technologies and the applicability of content ratings on the streaming platforms.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2021
What steps his Department is taking to support businesses in the (a) hospitality, (b) entertainment and (c) arts and culture sectors.

We know that businesses in arts, culture, entertainment and hospitality have been hit hard by this pandemic. That's why we secured an unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund of which over £1 billion has so far been allocated so far to over 3000 organisations.

This is along a world class package of broader economy measures worth hundreds of billions, including the furloughing scheme and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many times (a) he and (b) his officials working on the Online Harms Bill have met with representatives of (i) Facebook, (ii) Twitter, (iii) Google and YouTube, (iv) TikTok and (v) Ofcom in the last three months.

Ministers and officials have had regular meetings and discussions with industry, Ofcom and other stakeholders on a range of issues over the last three months, including online safety. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many and what proportion of urban properties are unable to access fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband and above the connectivity thresholds for the universal service obligation.

Ofcom’s Connected Nations Report 2019 found that 2% of all urban properties (approximately 322,000 premises) in the UK could receive a fixed broadband connection that was above the threshold for the Universal Service Obligation but below 30Mbps, the typical minimum speed delivered by Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology. These statistics consider only fixed network provision.

The Department does not hold the information about how many or what proportion of properties are specifically connected using Fibre to the Cabinet technology. Many urban properties can also access 30 Mbps speeds or more using cable networks, as well as 4G and 5G mobile services capable of delivering broadband speeds above the Universal Service Obligation thresholds.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many and what proportion of urban properties are unable to access fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband and qualify for assistance under the universal service obligation.

The Ofcom Connected Nations Report 2019 found that 1% of all urban properties (approximately 161,000 premises) in the UK were unable to access a fixed broadband connection that met the minimum speed thresholds under the Universal Service Obligation (USO). However, the vast majority of these premises are likely to be able to access a 4G or 5G mobile service that provides USO level download and upload speeds or higher and will not therefore be eligible for an upgraded connection under the Universal Service Obligation.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the minimum levels of connectivity required for assistance under the universal service obligation.

The speed and technical requirements of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) were set on the basis of advice from Ofcom that they would meet broadband requirements of a typical household, including both voice and video calls, and the government’s consultation on the USO. The USO acts as a digital safety net for households unable to access a broadband service that meets these requirements at present. The government is committed to keeping the USO specification under review in light of consumer’s evolving needs and connectivity usage trends.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 16 November 2020 to Question 114167, how much funding is planned to be allocated to each local authority in the North East from the Holiday Activities and Food programme in 2021.

On 16 December, we wrote to all local authorities to inform them of their individual indicative allocation of funding for the Holiday Activities and Food programme 2021. We are working closely with colleagues from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to finalise grant determination documentation, which will be published on the GOV.UK website in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to publish the data from the October 2020 school census.

There are no plans to publish a comprehensive dataset from the October 2020 (Autumn) school census.

Data collected in the autumn census on exclusions relates to the 2019/20 academic year and is expected to be published in July 2021. No data was collected on pupil absence in the autumn census 2020.

The Department release annual National Statistics in the Schools, pupils and their characteristics publication, based on the Spring Census, collected in January. This includes data on pupil numbers by characteristics including gender, age, free school meals eligibility, language, and ethnicity, alongside data on class sizes and school numbers. The latest release is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics.

Further information on Special Educational Needs is also produced from the Spring Census and released in the ‘Special educational needs in England’ publication, available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the economic benefits of short breaks for respite for children who need palliative care.

Palliative care can help children with life limiting or life ending conditions to have a good quality of life where they get treatment, care and support. Regular palliative care can enable parents to work and also can prevent escalation of needs later on.

While the government has not done any recent assessment of the economic benefits of short breaks for respite for children who need palliative care, local authorities have a statutory duty to assess the social care needs of disabled children and young people, and to provide respite care where necessary. Where it is appropriate, local authorities can fund respite care provided by hospices, either as a short-term stay or as a service provided to the child or young person in the family home by the hospice team. Local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups regularly liaise to plan and commission the most appropriate package of respite care for the children and young people with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition in their area.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the National Tutoring Programme’s Tuition Partners pillar, for what reason the Opportunity North East area has not been allocated additional provision under that pillar alongside his Department's other 12 Opportunity Areas.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) has been set up as part of the Government’s £1 billion response to support disadvantaged pupils to catch up from disruption to their education. The tuition partners pillar, delivered by the Education Endowment Fund (EEF), has 32 approved tuition partners, selected against a robust set of criteria, to provide high-quality subsidised tuition to schools.

The NTP tuition partners will support schools in all regions of England through a good blend of national and regional providers. Additional places have been allocated to regions with the largest numbers of disadvantaged pupils and in regions where access to tutoring has historically been lower. Regional allocations were determined by taking as a baseline the proportion of pupils eligible for the pupil premium within a region and then adjusting to recognise the disparities in current levels of tutoring provision. This also reflected the allocations made to Opportunity Areas and the North East of England. The programme opened to schools on 2 November and, working with EEF, we will continue to monitor tuition take-up throughout the course of this academic year to ensure that the NTP is taken up by schools with pupils who need the most support.

Further information on how schools can access tuition partner support can be found here: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/faqs.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the National Tutoring Programme’s Tuition Partners pillar, if he will publish the methodology used to allocate the additional provision under that pillar as stated to provide regional support to regions with the largest numbers of disadvantaged pupils and in regions where access to tutoring has historically been lower.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) has been set up as part of the Government’s £1 billion response to support disadvantaged pupils to catch up from disruption to their education. The tuition partners pillar, delivered by the Education Endowment Fund (EEF), has 32 approved tuition partners, selected against a robust set of criteria, to provide high-quality subsidised tuition to schools.

The NTP tuition partners will support schools in all regions of England through a good blend of national and regional providers. Additional places have been allocated to regions with the largest numbers of disadvantaged pupils and in regions where access to tutoring has historically been lower. Regional allocations were determined by taking as a baseline the proportion of pupils eligible for the pupil premium within a region and then adjusting to recognise the disparities in current levels of tutoring provision. This also reflected the allocations made to Opportunity Areas and the North East of England. The programme opened to schools on 2 November and, working with EEF, we will continue to monitor tuition take-up throughout the course of this academic year to ensure that the NTP is taken up by schools with pupils who need the most support.

Further information on how schools can access tuition partner support can be found here: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/faqs.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle racism and Islamophobia in (a) schools and (b) among young people.

The Department wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe, and equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. That is why we have made Relationships Education compulsory for primary school age pupils, Relationships and Sex Education compulsory for secondary school age pupils and Health Education compulsory for pupils in all state funded schools.

The statutory duty to implement the new subjects has now come into force. However, considering the circumstances faced by our schools, the Department is reassuring schools that they have flexibility over when they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching.

The statutory guidance sets out that as part of Relationships Education, all primary aged pupils will be taught the importance of respecting others, even when they are very different from them, or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs. Pupils will also be taught what a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative or destructive.

Schools can also teach about racism and religion in personal, social, health and economic education and citizenship education where pupils can develop their understanding of the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the UK and the need for mutual respect and understanding. All state funded schools are required by legislation or by their funding agreements to teach religious education to all registered pupils aged 5 to 18 years. Teaching religious education is also part of schools’ activity to meet their legal duty to promote young people’s spiritual, moral and cultural development.

Schools are required to actively promote fundamental British values, including democracy as well as the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faith and beliefs.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Adoption Support Fund, how many claims have been received on behalf of previously looked after children on special guardianship orders (a) in financial year 2019-20 and (b) since 1 April 2020; how many of those claims have been successful (i) in total and (ii) by local authority area; and what the average amount awarded for those claims was (A) in total and (B) by local authority area.

The information requested is set out in the attached table.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Adoption Support Fund, how many claims have been received on behalf of adopted children (a) in financial year 2019-20 and (b) since 1 April 2020; how many of those claims have been successful (i) in total and (ii) by local authority area; and what the average amount awarded for those claims was (A) in total and (B) by local authority area.

The information requested is set out in the attached table.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many of the looked-after children who were cared for in a friends and family foster placement were placed there as part of a voluntary agreement under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 in (a) 31 March 2019, (b) 31 March 2018, (c) 31 March 2017 and (d) 31 March 2016.

The figures requested are provided in the attached table.

The numbers of looked-after children as at 31 March in a foster placement with a relative or friend, under all legal statuses, are published annually in table A2 of the statistical release: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to amend the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 to allow contact between a looked-after child and a sibling that is not looked after.

As set out in my response of PQ 18831 (https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-02-21/18831/) on 23 February 2020, under section 34 of the Children Act 1989, children who are subject to a care order can apply to the court to make an order for contact with any named person, including their siblings. The child’s social worker or the Independent Reviewing Officer can assist the child in obtaining legal advice or in establishing whether an appropriate adult is able and willing to provide such assistance or bring the proceedings on his/her behalf.

Contact can be very important in helping children and young people develop their sense of identity and understand their lives and their sense of self. The government believes that contact between a looked after child and their siblings is very important and should be encouraged.

Ultimately, contact arrangements should be focused on, and shaped around, the child’s needs. The child’s welfare is the paramount consideration at all times and each child’s wishes and needs for contact should be individually considered and regularly assessed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many previously looked after children on a (a) special guardianship order, (b) child arrangements order, (c) residence order and (d) adoption order in each local authority area received a pupil premium plus grant in 2020-21.

The number of children previously looked after counted for Pupil Premium Plus in each local authority in 2020-21 are shown in the attached table, including the number of those on (a) special guardianship order, (b) child arrangements order, (c) residence order and (d) adoption order.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the cancellation by the Government of A-levels in 2020 as a result of the covid-19 outbreak, if he will make it his policy to enable schools to consider pupils' raw GCSE scores when determining their centre assessment grades and rankings at A-level.

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

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether (a) GCSE and (b) A-level exams sat by pupils in the Autumn term 2020 will be modified to reflect the break in teaching during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is discussing arrangement for the autumn GCSE and A level examination series with Ofqual, the independent qualifications regulator. Ofqual will set out further proposals for consultation as soon as possible.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether schools may request (a) non-exam assessments and (b) coursework not yet submitted by pupils to help determine (i) GCSE and (ii) A-level grades and rankings for the 2020 cohorts.

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

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what steps he is taking to ensure home-schooled pupils can obtain Key Stage 4 qualifications.

As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced to the House on 18 March, the Government has taken the difficult decision to cancel all examinations due to take place in schools and colleges in England this summer, as part of the fight to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Department’s priority is to ensure that students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including starting university, college or sixth form courses, an apprenticeship or a job. For students at Key Stage 4 taking GCSEs and technical awards, we will ensure they are awarded a grade which reflects their work. Our intention is that a grade will be awarded this summer based on the best available evidence, including any non-examination assessment that students have completed. This will apply to home-schooled pupils and to other private candidates where the head of the examination centre is confident that they and their staff have seen sufficient evidence of students’ achievements to make objective judgements. If they wish to do so, home-schooled students and others will have the option to sit an examination as soon as is reasonably possible after the beginning of the academic year.

Ofqual is urgently exploring whether there are alternative options for those students who do not have an existing relationship with an examination centre and who need results this summer for progression purposes. Ofqual published a consultation on the treatment of private candidates and other issues on 15 April.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, if he will issue guidance on precautions that pregnant school and college staff should take.

Our school and college leaders are central to the country’s response to this current crisis.

School and college staff who are pregnant should follow the central guidance from Public Health England (PHE). The guidance states that anyone who is pregnant should be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. The Government would expect all employers to support any staff who are pregnant and at risk. The guidance from PHE is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people.

Social distancing guidance for educational settings has been published, and states that staff at an increased risk of serious illness as a result of COVID-19, such as those that are pregnant, should work from home where possible, and education and childcare settings should endeavour to support this. This additional guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, if he will take steps to ensure that (a) parents with and (b) parents of children with underlying health conditions do not receive fines for unauthorised school absences during the covid-19 outbreak.

From Friday 20 March, schools, colleges and early years settings are closed to everyone except children of critical workers and vulnerable children, as part of the country’s ongoing response to COVID-19.

Guidance has been issued to schools setting out how they should record attendance at this time.

The Government has also introduced emergency legislation to allow a suspension of the requirement on parents to secure regular school attendance for their child of compulsory school age.

The Government has asked local authorities to suspend any penalty notice action or prosecutions for COVID-19 related absence with immediate effect. Local authorities should update their Code of Conduct for issuing penalty notices to make this clear. New cases should not be taken forward and any cases from 16 March should be withdrawn. This approach should also be applied to prosecutions for non-attendance.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, if he will issue guidance on the use of free school meal funding in the event of school closures.

On 19 March, the government published guidance for schools, giving them the flexibility to provide meals or shop vouchers to the 1.3 million children entitled to free school meals if they are no longer attending school, either due to closures or as a result of self-isolating at home.

The guidance can be viewed at the following address: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, if he will issue guidance for commissioners and providers of school-based medical services for children with complex health and care needs in special schools and other settings.

COVID-19 is clearly an unprecedented situation and the department’s highest priority.

We are working closely with colleagues across government to ensure that appropriate arrangements and support are in place for all the department’s sectors – from early years and childcare to schools and children’s social care, and for vulnerable groups including children with complex health and care needs.

The government has published guidance for implementing isolation in atypical settings, such as special settings, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings.

We have also published questions and answers about the provisions being made for vulnerable children and young people: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, if he will take steps to support exam boards that experience increases in requests for special consideration.

On 16 March, the Government announced that all exams due to take place in schools and colleges in England this summer would be cancelled as part of the fight to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Department’s priority is to ensure that students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including starting university, college or sixth form courses or apprenticeships in the autumn. For GCSE, A and AS level students, we will make sure they are awarded a grade which reflects their work. Our intention is that a grade will be awarded this summer based on the best available evidence, including any non-exam assessment that students have already completed. The qualifications regulator Ofqual is working urgently with the exam boards to set out proposals for how this process will work and more information will be provided as soon as possible. Given that exams will not be taking place, the normal special consideration arrangements will not apply to the awarding of grades this summer.

We recognise that some students may nevertheless feel disappointed that they haven’t been able to sit their exams. If they do not believe the correct process has been followed in their case, they will be able to appeal on that basis. In addition, if they do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam, once schools and colleges are open again. The existing special consideration arrangements will apply to any students who experience exceptional circumstances when sitting those exams: as we expect that many fewer students will be sitting the exams than in a normal exam series we are confident that the exam boards’ existing systems will be able to cope with the likely volume of such requests.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take to amend the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 to allow for contact to take place between a looked-after child and a sibling that is not looked after.

It remains our intention to undertake a review of the regulations, as committed to during the passage of the Children and Social Work Bill, as soon as resources permit. In the meantime, we are clear that allowing reasonable contact between looked after children and their siblings is absolutely right where this is in the best interests of the children involved and the Children Act 1989 already provides for this.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the number of looked after children by placement type as set out in National Tables: children looked after in England including adoption A2 in the last 12 months.

Information on children looked after as at 31 March 2019 by placement is published in Table A2 of the annual statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2018 to 2019’, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The information requested on family context is not held centrally.

Data relating to the year ended 31 March 2020 will be released in Autumn 2020, in line with our publication schedule.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the number of children in England aged (a) under one, (b) one to four, (c) five to nine, (d) 10 to 15 and (e) 16 and over in each placement type in National Tables: children looked after in England including adoption A2 in each (i) local authority area and (ii) region at 31 March (A) 2016, (B) 2017 and (C) 2018.

The information is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The latest figures on children taken into care by age and placement type are published for England at 31 March 2019 in Table A1 and A2 of the statistical release ‘Children Looked after in England including adoptions: 2018:2019’ which is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

Figures on children by age and placement type have also been published separately, at local authority and regional level, in the underlying data table ‘CLA2019’. These are available at the same link.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many looked-after children there were at (a) 31 March 2019, (b) 31 March 2018, (c) 31 March 2017 and (d) 31 March 2016 in England; and how many and what proportion of those children were (a) two or more siblings that were looked after, (b) two or more siblings that were placed together and (c) one or more children that were not placed with a brother or sister.

Information on children looked after as at 31 March 2019 by placement is published in Table A2 of the annual statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2018 to 2019’, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The information requested on family context is not held centrally.

Data relating to the year ended 31 March 2020 will be released in Autumn 2020, in line with our publication schedule.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the number of children in England that started to be looked by (a) placement type and (b) age in each year ending 31 March (i) 2015, (ii) 2016, (iii) 2017 (iv) 2018 and (v) 2019.

Information on the number of children who started to be looked after by individual age group and within a week of birth is shown in the attached table.

Table C2 of the statistical release ‘Children looked after in England (including adoption): 2018 to 2019’ is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019 and includes information for the same population of children by placement type.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many babies aged under 7 days old that started to be looked after during the years ending 31 March there were in each year from 2015 to 2019.

Information on the number of children who started to be looked after by individual age group and within a week of birth is shown in the attached table.

Table C2 of the statistical release ‘Children looked after in England (including adoption): 2018 to 2019’ is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019 and includes information for the same population of children by placement type.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with garden centres and other retailers selling horticultural items on phasing out the sale of peat-based compost.

My officials met with retailers, and other interested parties, at a roundtable on 24 August 2020 to consider the use of peat in the horticultural sector. The roundtable was part of a series of roundtables to discuss the England Peat Strategy. The Government continues to be committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England, and we will set out plans to speed this up in the England Peat Strategy. We plan on publishing the strategy later this year.

Data on the quantity of peat sold in the UK is only available for 2018 and 2019. The total volume of peat sold in 2018 was 2.11 million m3, and 2.06 million m3 in 2019.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the quantity of peat-based compost sold in garden centres and by other retailers in each of the last three years.

My officials met with retailers, and other interested parties, at a roundtable on 24 August 2020 to consider the use of peat in the horticultural sector. The roundtable was part of a series of roundtables to discuss the England Peat Strategy. The Government continues to be committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England, and we will set out plans to speed this up in the England Peat Strategy. We plan on publishing the strategy later this year.

Data on the quantity of peat sold in the UK is only available for 2018 and 2019. The total volume of peat sold in 2018 was 2.11 million m3, and 2.06 million m3 in 2019.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jan 2021
What assessment she has made of the effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on businesses in North East England that trade internationally.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement is the first free trade agreement the EU has reached based on zero tariffs and quotas and is fantastic news for the North East. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement includes Rules of Origin that frequently exceed what the EU has previously agreed. For example, innovative rules to support trade in electric vehicles will benefit our world-leading car manufacturers including in the North East.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the £2 billion allocated to UK Export Finance’s lending facility to support clean energy announced at Budget 2020, what the criteria for that support will be; what types of support will be offered; and what energy technologies will be eligible for that support.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) is currently determining eligibility criteria for the new Direct Lending Facility for clean growth solutions which was announced at the Budget in March. UKEF will publish guidance on its website shortly.

The facility will provide fixed-rate loans directly to overseas borrowers to help them finance the purchase of capital goods and/or services from UK exporters and suppliers to support clean growth project internationally up to a value of £200 million per loan.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to integrate UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) new facility to support clean energy into UKEF's existing energy portfolio to ensure that UKEF energy support is aligned with meeting the Paris Agreement commitment to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) new Direct Lending Facility for clean growth which was announced at the Budget in March will support overseas borrowers to help them finance the purchase of capital goods and/or services from UK exporters and suppliers to support clean growth projects internationally. The eligibility criteria for this new facility are currently being developed but the facility will contribute to supporting overseas countries in transitioning to cleaner energy sources, through renewable, low carbon and green growth solutions. It will complement UKEF’s competitive product range to help ensure no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance, while operating at no net-cost to the taxpayer.

In line with all its export credit support, and UK’s international commitments, UKEF will where applicable, conduct environmental, social and human rights due diligence of projects it is asked to support. This applies equally to its existing and new Direct Lending facilities.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the timeframe is for UK Export Finance to make a decision on whether to support the Category A Mozambique LNG project; and what (a) criteria and (b) methodology UK Export Finance will use to assess the potential direct and indirect (i) social, (ii) local environmental, (iii) climate risks (lifecycle emissions) and (iv) security risks associated with that project.

There is no set decision timeline for the Mozambique LNG project. UK Export Finance (UKEF), along with other finance parties, will assess timings at each relevant stage of the development of a transaction.

UKEF is committed to high standards of environmental, social and human rights (ESHR) risk management. It rigorously follows the requirements of the OECD Common Approaches and Equator Principles, which set the framework for managing such risks for export credit agencies and international financial institutions. It has a specialist ESHR team that reviews relevant projects prior to UKEF taking a decision. Supported projects are then monitored by the ESHR team throughout the lifetime of UKEF’s support to ensure compliance with these requirements.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the UK Export Finance Notice of 20 August 2019 on Category A project under consideration: Mozambique LNG project, what assessment the Government has made of (a) that project’s lifetime greenhouse gas emissions and (b) the extent to which UK Government support for that project aligns with the UK’s net zero emissions commitment.

The Government has published a Category A notice which includes a summary providing an overview of an Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment of the Mozambique LNG project.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/category-a-project-under-consideration-mozambique-lng-project/category-a-project-under-consideration-mozambique-lng-project

UK Export Finance is in the process of undertaking its due diligence of the project including environmental, social and human rights matters.

Individual overseas governments who are signatories to the Paris Agreement make their own decisions as to how they will reduce their national greenhouse gas emissions. However, the Government is committed to working with countries across the world to support their transition towards cleaner energy sources.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to Answer of 7 September 2020 to Questions 83804, 83805 and 83806, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of fares reforms for (a) long-distance leisure and (b) ad-hoc business travel passengers.

The Government is actively considering how we can modernise our fares and ticketing offer, to develop more convenient and better value options for everyone.

However, these are unprecedented times and our immediate focus must be on ensuring that we keep the railway available and safe for those who need to rely upon it.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of rail fares reform in order to (a) reduce overcrowding, (b) better spread passenger demand throughout the day, (c) improve passenger perception of value for money and (d) increase the number of rail passenger journeys.

The Government is committed to transforming our railways and building on the detailed, evidence based priorities Keith Williams set out. Covid-19 has had a clear impact across the sector and we are considering how best to deliver reform including fares reform in light of the unique challenges posed by Covid-19.

The Government recognises that Covid-19 has caused a fundamental change in working patterns and that this could have long-term effects on commuter behavior.

In order to support a green recovery and new working patterns, the Department is working with industry to explore options for flexible commuters, such as carnets, and what steps could be taken quickly to make these as useful and convenient for passengers as possible.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) rail fares reform and (b) different pricing for rail (i) leisure passengers, (ii) business passengers and (iii) commuters.

The Government is committed to transforming our railways and building on the detailed, evidence based priorities Keith Williams set out. Covid-19 has had a clear impact across the sector and we are considering how best to deliver reform including fares reform in light of the unique challenges posed by Covid-19.

The Government recognises that Covid-19 has caused a fundamental change in working patterns and that this could have long-term effects on commuter behaviour. In order to support a green recovery and new working patterns, the Department is working with industry to explore options for flexible commuters, such as carnets, and what steps could be taken quickly to make these as useful and convenient for passengers as possible.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential for rail fares reform to increase the number of additional journeys that could be undertaken by rail; and if he will make an estimate of the number of those additional rail journeys that would be (a) new journeys, (b) taken by rail instead of (i) car and (ii) of air.

The Government is committed to transforming our railways and building on the detailed, evidence based priorities Keith Williams set out. We want to create a railway that puts passengers first, where passengers know who is in charge, that delivers a fairer ticketing system and which delivers value for money.

Covid-19 has had a clear impact across the sector and we are considering how best to deliver reform including fares reform in light of the unique challenges posed by Covid-19.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect on regional economies of job losses in aviation as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Department for Transport is actively monitoring the impact on jobs in the aviation sector from Covid-19 at the national and regional level, with support from other government Departments. The unprecedented reduction in demand as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak means the aviation sector’s labour market has suffered a significant impact. The aviation sector and associated supply chain has seen a high uptake of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and tens of thousands of proposed redundancies, with impacts likely across the regions of the United Kingdom.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 October 2019 to Question 293440 on welfare assistance schemes, whether her Department plans to reconsider its decision not to conduct a review of pre-covid-19 local welfare assistance provision in England.

Local welfare assistance is an umbrella term used to describe local authority provision for people who are in need of urgent help. The ability of local authorities to act in this area are provided under various powers, for example, section 2 of the Local Government Act 2000 enables local authorities to provide financial assistance to any individual.

Provision of local welfare assistance is entirely the responsibility of local authorities. Councils have flexibility to use the funding they receive from the annual Local Government Finance Settlement for local welfare assistance. Next year, depending on local decisions, Core Spending Power in England may rise from £49 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22, a 4.6% increase in cash terms. If councils do decide to take up the entirety of the increase on offer, they will see an increase in line with last years. This recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain current service levels.

Going forward, we will continue working with individual local authorities to support the most vulnerable people affected during the pandemic.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the adequacy of pre-covid-19 funding for local welfare provision in England; and if she will make a statement.

Local welfare assistance is an umbrella term used to describe local authority provision for people who are in need of urgent help. The ability of local authorities to act in this area are provided under various powers, for example, section 2 of the Local Government Act 2000 enables local authorities to provide financial assistance to any individual.

Provision of local welfare assistance is entirely the responsibility of local authorities. Councils have flexibility to use the funding they receive from the annual Local Government Finance Settlement for local welfare assistance. Next year, depending on local decisions, Core Spending Power in England may rise from £49 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22, a 4.6% increase in cash terms. If councils do decide to take up the entirety of the increase on offer, they will see an increase in line with last years. This recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain current service levels.

Going forward, we will continue working with individual local authorities to support the most vulnerable people affected during the pandemic.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of (a) universal credit and (b) working tax credit have been affected by the benefit cap as a result of the temporary increase made to those benefits in response to the covid-19 outbreak; and how many children are resident in the households of those claimants so affected.

i) Entitlement to Working Tax Credit provides an exemption to the application of the benefit cap. Therefore, no benefit cap implications apply to Working Tax Credit claimants. There are a range of exemptions for when the cap should not be applied, including exemptions for the most vulnerable claimants who are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits. Information relating to Universal Credit claimants affected by the benefit cap as a result of the temporary increase made to Universal Credit in response to the covid-19 outbreak is not readily available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

ii) No estimate has been made of the number of kinship carers or children raised in kinship care households that have been affected by the benefit cap as a result of the temporary increase made to welfare benefits. The Government acknowledges the immense value of care given by family and friend carers who look after children whose parents are unable to provide the necessary care themselves. The Special Guardian’s Allowance which may be awarded to a kinship carer to support the long term placement for children is disregarded when calculating the benefit cap.

Claimants can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment from their Local Authority if they need additional help with rental costs. Kinship carers are listed in Local Authority Guidance as one of the priority groups for Discretionary Housing Payments.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate the Government has made of the number of (a) kinship carers and (b) children raised in kinship care that have been affected by the benefit cap as a result of the temporary increase made to welfare benefits in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

i) Entitlement to Working Tax Credit provides an exemption to the application of the benefit cap. Therefore, no benefit cap implications apply to Working Tax Credit claimants. There are a range of exemptions for when the cap should not be applied, including exemptions for the most vulnerable claimants who are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits. Information relating to Universal Credit claimants affected by the benefit cap as a result of the temporary increase made to Universal Credit in response to the covid-19 outbreak is not readily available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

ii) No estimate has been made of the number of kinship carers or children raised in kinship care households that have been affected by the benefit cap as a result of the temporary increase made to welfare benefits. The Government acknowledges the immense value of care given by family and friend carers who look after children whose parents are unable to provide the necessary care themselves. The Special Guardian’s Allowance which may be awarded to a kinship carer to support the long term placement for children is disregarded when calculating the benefit cap.

Claimants can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment from their Local Authority if they need additional help with rental costs. Kinship carers are listed in Local Authority Guidance as one of the priority groups for Discretionary Housing Payments.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to her Oral Statement of 9 November 2020, Official Report, column 636, how much funding is planned to be allocated to each local authority in the North East from (a) the Covid Winter Grant Scheme and (b) the Holiday Activities and Food programme.

Local authorities have been informed of their individual allocation of funding for the Covid Winter Grant Scheme and these will be published shortly on Gov.uk. The Holiday Activities and Food programme will be expanded across England next year and the Department for Education will work closely with local authorities to prepare for delivery of the programme to begin at Easter.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she will take to support disabled people who might be required to shield again as a result of covid-19 related local, regional or national public health restrictions.

Those who receive a notification that they need to shield will remain eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from their employer, and New Style Employment and Support Allowance, subject to the wider eligibility criteria. Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support, for example where they are not eligible for SSP, they may be able to claim Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of permanently removing the need for face-to-face assessments for disabled claimants following the temporary introduction of that policy during the covid-19 outbreak.

The health and safety of our claimants and staff is our key priority. We suspended all face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits in March. This temporary suspension, brought in to protect people from unnecessary risk of coronavirus at the outset of the pandemic is being kept under review in line with the latest public health guidance.

Where possible and in line with usual processes, paper-based assessments will be undertaken, and we continue to do telephone-based assessments where we can. Any re-introduction of face-to-face assessments would involve additional safety measures to comply with public health guidance.

We remain fully committed to making continuous improvements to the support we provide to people with health conditions and disabilities, and are evaluating the changes to our assessment approach which were temporarily introduced. This will inform the approach taken to conducting assessments in the future. We are using a range of information to inform these decisions, including research with PIP and ESA/UC claimants about their experiences of telephone assessments.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure the provision of respiratory physiotherapy for (a) patients with covid-19, (b) patients with long-term symptoms related to covid-19 and (c) non covid-19 patients in the event that physiotherapists and physiotherapy support workers have to self-isolate on the basis of contact with covid-19 positive patients while wearing PPE.

Physiotherapists are established as a core part of the multi-disciplinary team treating patients with COVID-19. Through its communication to general practitioner practices and commissioners on 31 July 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement set out the requirement that general practice, community and optometry services should restore activity to usual levels where clinically appropriate, and reach out proactively to clinically vulnerable patients and those whose care may have been delayed. The communication also stated community health services should continue to support patients who have recovered from the acute phase of COVID-19 but need ongoing rehabilitation and other community health services. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s letter is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/07/20200731-Phase-3-letter-final-1.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the guidance to track and trace assessors on whether (a) physiotherapists and (b) other medical staff wearing PPE should be required to self-isolate after coming into contact with patients with covid-19.

Public Health England provides guidance on the management of staff, patients and residents who have been exposed to COVID-19 which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-management-of-exposed-healthcare-workers-and-patients-in-hospital-settings

This guidance provides advice on the management of staff and patients or residents in health and social care settings according to exposures, symptoms and test results. It includes staff with symptoms of COVID-19, staff return to work criteria, patient exposures in hospital and resident exposures in care settings. This guidance is applicable to both physiotherapists and other medical staff.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that public sector procurement in relation to Lighthouse laboratories prioritises local UK firms.

The development of the Lighthouse Labs was a United Kingdom-based response to the COVID-19 pandemic and involved direct contract awards allowed within the procurement regulations. Contracts were placed on due diligence requirements of value for money and meeting service and performance quality standards. We know from the successful entrants that the majority are UK based organisations.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 23 September 2020 to Questions 90184 and 89844, what assessment his Department has made of the number of NHS trusts that still have restrictions in place on birth partners attending hospital during scans and from admittance during labour.

The Department expects trusts to use the ‘Framework to assist NHS trusts to reintroduce access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women in English maternity services’ and consider as a priority how access for partners, visitors and supporters of pregnant women can be reintroduced as soon as possible whilst maintaining the safety of all service users, staff and visitors.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are assured that 100% of trusts report that they are actively using the framework as they make local decisions on visiting restrictions, based on a risk assessment.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 23 September 2020 to Questions 90184 and 89844, what steps his Department is taking where NHS trusts continue to maintain restrictions on maternity unit visitors.

The Chief Midwifery Officer, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer (England), and the National Clinical Director for Maternity and Women's Health wrote to all National Health Service Directors of Nursing and Heads of Midwifery in England on 19 September to inform those that are still working through the guidance that this must happen now so that partners are able to attend maternity units for appointments.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many confirmed covid-19 cases were recorded under (a) Pillar 1 and (b) Pillar 2 testing strands in the Newcastle City Council area on each day since records began.

All upper tier local authorities have access to record level (including sex, age, occupation and postcode) test and case data.

We also publish public dashboards at a national, regional and local authority level and the Middle Layer Super Output Area (MSOA) map, which allows individuals to type in a postcode to find their MSOA and see how many cases there are in small areas of around 7,000 people


Data on the 7 day average for the number of people with COVID-19 identified through an NHS lab (Pillar 1) or from commercial swab testing (Pillar 2) back to March 2020 is available as part of the NHS Digital Progression Dashboard to upper tier local authority level and is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/dashboards/progression

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will allow non-hospice voluntary sector children’s palliative care organisations access to the funding for charities allocated by Government departments announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8 April 2020.

The announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8 April 2020, included funding of up to £200 million for hospices, as part of a wider package of £750 million for the wider voluntary and charity sector. This funding is supporting hospices to increase capacity of NHS services and provide stability as the Government manages its response to COVID-19.

Of the £200 million, some of this funding has already gone to non-hospice voluntary sector children’s palliative and supportive care organisations that have the capacity (within their inpatient services or community care provision) to take pressure off the NHS in line with the funding agreement.

In addition, a further £370 million will support charities working with vulnerable people. In England, this support will be provided through the National Lottery Community Fund. We will allocate £60 million of this funding through the Barnett formula so the devolved administrations are funded to provide similar support in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This will provide support for thousands of charities on the frontline of helping vulnerable people affected by COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish guidance on how children's hospices should provide care and support during the covid-19 outbreak.

Working with key stakeholders, NHS England and NHS improvement have developed a standard operating procedure (SOP), for palliative care for children and young people in community and hospice settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is due to published shortly.

The SOP is aimed at supporting staff who are providing care or supporting children and young people, and their families, who have palliative and/or end of life care needs in the community, including home and hospice care. Palliative care will include some children and young people who have life-limiting long-term conditions and complex health needs. It encourages all providers of children’s palliative care (statutory and voluntary sector) to work collaboratively and flexibly across health settings to support this group of children and young people and keep them safe during the pandemic.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2020
What recent comparative assessment his Department has made of the effect on regional economies of the Government's covid-19 financial support package.

The government recognises that every region is feeling the impact of this crisis, and has taken unprecedented steps to support people and businesses across the country.

For example, the government has helped over a million employers furlough 9.6 million employments, including 350,700 in the North East, and supported over 60 billion pounds of loans, including £1.4bn for over 40,000 businesses in the North East. Regional breakdowns are published regularly on gov.uk.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the VAT exemption on PPE for (a) self-employed physiotherapists and (b) independent providers.

The temporary zero rate of VAT on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was an extraordinary measure to help affected sectors (such as hospitals and care homes) during the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and when the global supply of PPE did not meet demand. The zero rate applies to PPE that meets the standard set out in the guidance from Public Health England (PHE).

This measure will come to an end on 31 October (as legislated), as new measures introduced by the Government will ensure supply of COVID-19 related PPE to affected sectors from 1 November. Face coverings that do not meet the standard set by PHE should not be affected by the temporary zero rate coming to an end.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with cabinet colleagues on exempting (a) self-employed allied health professionals and (b) independent healthcare providers from VAT on PPE during the covid-19 outbreak.

The temporary zero rate of VAT on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was an extraordinary measure to help affected sectors (such as hospitals and care homes) during the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and when the global supply of PPE did not meet demand. The zero rate applies to PPE that meets the standard set out in the guidance from Public Health England (PHE).

This measure will come to an end on 31 October (as legislated), as new measures introduced by the Government will ensure supply of COVID-19 related PPE to affected sectors from 1 November. Face coverings that do not meet the standard set by PHE should not be affected by the temporary zero rate coming to an end.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing 12 months business rates relief to airports in England and Wales in response to covid-19 pandemic.

Business rates policy is devolved. Decisions on rates in Wales are for the Welsh government. The Government has provided enhanced support through business rates relief to businesses occupying properties used for retail, hospitality and leisure.

A range of other measures to support all business, including airports, has also been made available, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep people in employment, and deferring Value Added Tax (VAT) payments. On 8 July the Chancellor set out a package of measures to support jobs across the UK, including a Job Retention Bonus to help firms keep furloughed workers and a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many times (a) he and (b) his officials have met with representatives of groups working to tackle online harms in respect of (i) anti-black racism, (ii) anti-Muslim hatred, (iii) antisemitism, (iv) homophobia, (v) child sexual exploitation and abuse and (f) terrorism in the last three months; and if he will make a statement.

Across Government, we regularly engage with civil society representatives to understand the online threat communities face and to help inform our efforts to tackle online harms. We are clear that what is unacceptable offline should be unacceptable online.

Within the Home Office, we work closely with our international partners and engage with industry colleagues to discuss how platforms can best safeguard their users from terrorism, while also encouraging tech companies work together as one coordinated body through the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), to reduce the availability of terrorist content online. We are also working with civil society partners and social media platforms to encourage victim reporting of online hate crime, including hateful online abuse related to Covid-19.

Home Office officials also meet a range of stakeholders regularly to discuss the online child sexual exploitation and abuse threat and what can and is being done to tackle it. This includes technology companies, non-governmental organisations and other government partners. We have recently been engaging with relevant organisations on the Voluntary Principles to Counter Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and the government’s online harms agenda.

The Government does not routinely comment on Ministerial meetings which are held as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle misogyny and racism experienced by Muslim women.

This government recognises the discrimination and intolerance faced by Muslim communities. We have some of the strongest legislation in the world to tackle hate crime and, where groups incite racial hatred or are engaged in racially or religiously motivated criminal activity, we would expect them to be prosecuted.

The Government has taken steps to combat anti-Muslim Hatred through supporting Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) with just over £2.8m between 2016 and 2020 to monitor and combat anti-Muslim hatred.

In addition, the Places of Worship protective security funding scheme, which provides security measures for mosques and other places of worship, has been allocated £3.2m for 2020-21, double what was awarded last year.

We also funded a national public awareness hate crime campaign in 2018 and 2019 which includes a specific example of anti-Muslim hatred to make clear the Government’s position that such incidents are unacceptable and are a crime.

The Home Office have also funded specific locally targeted projects including through the Building Stronger Britain Together programme tackling both the far right and perceptions of Islamophobia

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the letter he received from Professor Paul Ekins and colleagues on the climate impact of approving new coal mines.

The Department has noted the letter from Professor Ekins relating to coal and climate change.

The National Planning Policy Framework approach to coal extraction proposals is that planning permission should not be granted unless it is environmentally acceptable, or its likely effects are clearly outweighed by national, local or community benefits (taking all relevant matters into account, including any residual environmental effects).

We are currently consulting on a reform of the planning system which recognises that the planning system has a role to play in the efforts to combat climate change. There is an opportunity for Professor Ekins to engage in that consultation process and I would welcome his views on how our proposed planning system should address the concerns he raises.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to tackle (a) Islamophobia and (b) the number of Islamophobic incidents.

This Government remains committed to stamping out anti-Muslim hatred and all forms of hate crime. It is unacceptable for anyone to feel unsafe while practising their religion and we continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to Islamophobia.

We have continued to work closely with Muslim communities, to tackle hate against them, including underlying issues and trends, and continue supporting the work of the cross-Government Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group which provides valuable advice to Government on challenges faced by Britain’s Muslim communities and how to address those challenges. We have also supported Tell MAMA?(Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks)?with?just over £2.8 million between 2016 and 2020 to monitor and combat anti-Muslim hatred.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of children in temporary accommodation in the last three years.

Local authorities seek to place families into settled accommodation at the soonest possible opportunity. However, where this is not possible, temporary accommodation plays an important role in ensuring that no child is ever without a roof over their head, and this is particularly important when we are dealing with the impacts of Covid-19.

Reducing the number of households in temporary accommodation has been a priority for this Government and, a result, the numbers of households in temporary accommodation, 87,410 (as of?September 2019), remains below the September 2004 peak, when they hit 101,300. The number of children living in?temporary accommodation?is down from its peak in June 2006 at?134,470, with?127,890?in?September 2019.

The Chancellor recently announced that for 2020/21, we will increase the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that they are set at the 30th percentile of local rents. This will mean that many people renting in the Private Rented Sector see an increase in their housing support from April 2020, providing extra security during these uncertain times. The average claimant will gain an additional £600 per year in increased housing support.

The Homelessness Reduction Act, the most ambitious reform to homelessness legislation in decades, came into force on 3 April 2018. The Act requires local authorities and other public bodies to work together to actively prevent homelessness for people at risk. This is backed by the £63 million Homelessness Reduction Grant in 2020/21 which provides an uplift on previous years’ new burdens funding to implement the Homelessness Reduction Act and will enable local authorities to do more to prevent and relieve homelessness in their areas.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many victims of crime have been affected by delays in court proceedings during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps have been taken to communicate with them.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is working hard in partnership with the judiciary to keep our justice system functioning during this unprecedented public health emergency. Our priorities are to maintain access to justice and to protect the safety of all who work in the courts and tribunals.

We are continuously reviewing our approach in light of Public Health England advice and to understand impacts on our users. We do not collect information centrally on numbers of victims affected by delays in court proceedings during the outbreak. However, we are committed to ensuring victims continue to receive the support they need during this challenging time, and have robust and flexible plans in place to ensure that we can continue to deliver key services across the justice system, including the support of victims. We have been working across government and with justice partner agencies to ensure that there will be comprehensive support for victims and witnesses across England and Wales.

During the outbreak, magistrates’ courts have been covering urgent work and trials are now re-starting. Crown Courts have also been continuing to deal with a range of work, including sentencing hearings. The Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor are currently in close discussion regarding the safe re-start of limited Jury trials, which we hope can be resumed before the end of May. The decision to re-start jury trials is dependent on the system as a whole being ready. This will include HMCTS, the professions, those supporting victims and witnesses, and jurors who should have confidence that trials are able to operate effectively within social distancing guidelines.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)