Catherine West Portrait

Catherine West

Labour - Hornsey and Wood Green

Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

(since September 2020)
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
10th Apr 2020 - 2nd Sep 2020
Foreign Affairs Committee
19th Mar 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
10th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committees on Arms Export Controls
10th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
International Trade Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 25th Mar 2019
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
18th Sep 2015 - 29th Jun 2017


Department Event
Tuesday 6th September 2022
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
6 Sep 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 22nd June 2022
Health and Personal Social Services
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 99 Labour Aye votes vs 1 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 70
Speeches
Monday 27th June 2022
Education
Of the £5 billion, what proportion will be swallowed up by the inflation in costs of energy for schools, rather …
Written Answers
Thursday 30th June 2022
Financial Services Ombudsman: Standards
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Financial Services Ombudsman about reducing …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 7th January 2020
Anti-Semitic incidents
This House condemns the widely reported instance of a 13 year old boy receiving vile anti-Semitic abuse on a London …
Bills
Wednesday 20th February 2019
Asylum Seekers (Permission to Work) (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 29th November 2021
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: House of Representatives, Republic of Cyprus
Address of donor: 1402 Nicosia, Cyprus
Estimate of the probable value …
EDM signed
Friday 22nd October 2021
Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; …
Supported Legislation
Tibet (Reciprocal Access) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Catherine West has voted in 423 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Catherine West Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(22 debate interactions)
Michael Ellis (Conservative)
Paymaster General
(15 debate interactions)
Edward Argar (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
(13 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(47 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(38 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Catherine West's debates

Hornsey and Wood Green 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 Hornsey and Wood Green signature proportion
Petitions with most Hornsey and Wood Green signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Join other nations in providing a route to safety for refugees. Waive all visa requirements for Ukrainian passport holders arriving in the UK.

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

There should be a public inquiry into Government contracts granted during Covid-19. Many contracts have been granted without full and open procurement processes. A public inquiry would be able to ascertain whether contracts had been procured fairly and represent value for money for tax payers.

Government should support vulnerable children & #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals & activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger & increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme

The Government's manifesto stated “we will make intentional trespass a criminal offence”: an extreme, illiberal & unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms that would threaten walkers, campers, and the wider public. It would further tilt the law in favour of the landowning 1% who own half the country.

Matthew was taken to, ‘a place of safety’, and died 7 days later.
24 others died by the same means, dating back to the year 2000. An indicator that little was done to address the growing problems.
Something went terribly wrong with the NHS Mental Health Services provided to my son.

To not decide to scrap free travel for those who are under 18. As a teenager who has relied so much on free travel, it has allowed for me to go to school without the worry of an extra expense and explore around the beautiful city of London also. Destroying free travel would hurt so many of us.

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.

As the Coronavirus escalates, there are concerns that a trade deal between the UK Government and the US deal might not exempt our NHS, leaving it vulnerable to privatisation and in direct contradiction to promises this would not happen.

A significant number of students will sit their final 2021 examinations. The outcome of which undoubtedly will be their passport, for many of their future life chances and successes. In order for this to be done fairly, it is imperative that the amount of content they are tested on is reduced.

We want the Education Secretary and the Government to step in and review the exam board’s decision on how GCSE and A-Level grades will be calculated and awarded due to the current coronavirus crisis. We want a better solution than just using our previous data to be the basis of our grade.


Latest EDMs signed by Catherine West

23rd September 2021
Catherine West signed this EDM on Friday 22nd October 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 97
Scottish National Party: 16
Liberal Democrat: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
14th January 2021
Catherine West signed this EDM on Monday 18th January 2021

Godfrey Colin Cameron

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary security staff and member of the PCS trade union who passed away aged just 55 after contracting covid-19; extends our sincere condolences to his devoted wife Hyacinth, children Leon and …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 117
Scottish National Party: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Catherine West's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Catherine West, 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 West has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Catherine West

Friday 14th January 2022

1 Bill introduced by Catherine West


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision for certain asylum seekers to be granted permission to work; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 20th February 2019

1137 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
43 Other Department Questions
10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the efficacy of the system for issuing payments to refugees and hosts under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Relevant data will be published in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what proportion of local authorities have received the full amount owed to them by the Government to cover the cost of payments owed to hosts and refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Relevant data will be published in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department collects data on the number of (a) subsidence payments made to refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and (b) thank you payments made to hosts under that scheme.

Relevant data will be published in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether Ukrainian children who are travelling to the UK with relatives who are their legal guardians are eligible under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

I refer the Hon Member to the online guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-visa-under-the-ukraine-sponsorship-scheme.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of creating an inclusive playground fund to develop accessible playgrounds for disabled children.

Through our national design guidance we encourage public spaces, including play areas, to be designed in an accessible and inclusive way.

The Local Government Finance Settlement makes available £54.1 billion in 2022/23 for local government in England, an increase of up to £3.7 billion on 2021/22. The majority of this funding is un-ringfenced in recognition of local authorities being best placed to understand local priorities, such as local playgrounds.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th May 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he had discussions with (a) Prime Minister Modi and (b) other Indian Government officials on the sale of arms to the Myanmar military by India during his recent visit to India.

The UK is at the forefront of international efforts to prevent the flow of arms to Myanmar. On 27 March 2022, we coordinated a joint statement, agreed by 47 countries, which urged all countries to stop the flow of arms to Myanmar. We also worked with partners to secure strong language in the April 2022 Human Rights Council Resolution on Myanmar. We continue to raise this issue bilaterally with those who are reported to be providing arms to the Myanmar military.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to rehome Ukrainian refugees, who have arrived to the UK via the Homes for Ukraine Scheme in the event that they can no longer stay with their host families.

I refer the Hon Member to my answer to Question UIN 940 on 16 May 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he has taken to enhance private renter security in the context of increases in the cost of living.

This Government is committed to easing cost of living pressures and increasing security and stability for tenants.

I was very pleased to announce last week that we are bringing forward legislation to scrap Section 21 evictions.

This will prevevent tenants from being unfairly evicted and empower them to challenge unreasonable rent rises - as well as saving money on the costs of frequent house moves.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022, from what date leaseholders will be allowed to extend their lease or buy their freehold.

Under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 (as amended) and the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, leaseholders have statutory rights to extend their lease and/or buy their freehold. The Government remains committed to transforming the experience of leaseholders by making it easier and cheaper for them to extend their lease and/or buy their freehold.

We announced last year that the length of a statutory lease extension will increase to 990 years, from 90 years (for flats) and 50 years (for houses). Leaseholders will be able to extend their lease with zero ground rent on payment of a premium. We will also reform the process of valuation that leaseholders must follow to calculate the cost of extending their lease and/or buying their freehold. Our reforms will result in substantial savings for some leaseholders, particularly those with fewer than 80 years left on their lease.

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022, which comes into force on 30 June 2022, will make homeownership fairer and more transparent for thousands of future leaseholders, by preventing landlords under new residential long leases from requiring a leaseholder to pay a financial ground rent. This is the first part of major two-part legislation to implement leasehold and commonhold reforms in this Parliament.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he has had with Hackney Council, on the strip search of a 15-year-old black girl in a Hackney-based school conducted by the Metropolitan Police.

A meeting with Hackney Council has been requested by the Minister for Local Government.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending section nine of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulation 2006 to include the provision of recycling bins.

The Department has not made an assessment of the potential merits of extending section nine of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulation 2006. Under these regulations, Licenced HMO landlords must make adequate arrangements for refuse disposal, including with regard to the local authority’s agreed refuse disposal scheme. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a duty on local authorities in England to undertake waste management, including making arrangements for the collection of recyclable waste.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to tackle the rise in anti-semitic crimes and incidents.

The number of antisemitic incidents and the rise in the last year is unacceptable. The Government takes hate crime very seriously and are clear that victims should be supported and the individuals who carry out these heinous attacks must be brought to justice.

We are providing £14 million this year, and have provided £65 million to date, for the Protective Security Grant to protect Jewish schools and community buildings. Alongside this, the Governments Independent Advisor on Antisemitism, Lord Mann, continues to provide advice on the most effective methods to tackle antisemitism. We were also the first country to adopt the IHRA definition of Antisemitism and continue to encourage organisations and councils to adopt the definition – demonstrating their willingness to support the Jewish community.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the recommendations of the National Audit Office's report entitled Regulation of private renting, published in December 2021, what steps his Department is taking to improve the (a) quality and (b) availability of data on regulation of the private rented sector to support decision-making and best practice at national and local levels.

The Department utilises a range of data from a variety of sources to inform policy decisions. This includes Department-commissioned research, such as the English Housing Survey (EHS) and English Private Landlord Survey (EPLS). The EHS provides data at national and regional level, and the Department is currently exploring local authority level modelling to inform our insight into private rented sector quality as part of the EHS.

The Department also regularly engages with other Government departments, local authorities and stakeholders to enhance the Department’s insights into the sector.

The Department is working to further develop its approach to data, considering what additional data is needed to support its private rented sector reform programme and ensure effective regulation of the sector.  The Department is conscious, however, of the need to balance reporting requirements on local authorities to enable robust oversight of the sector with the associated local resource implications.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the recommendation of National Audit Office's report entitled Regulation of the private rented sector, published in December 2021, what steps his Department is taking to (a) understand the barriers local authorities face in regulating the private rented sector and (b) assess whether powers are adequate in regulating the private rented sector.

The Department regularly engages with local authorities and a range of tenant, landlord and agent stakeholders to enhance its insight into the sector.

We have recently undertaken research with Sheffield Hallam University to better understand the experience of local authorities undertaking enforcement and the barriers they face. Overall, the research findings suggest that the powers and the enforcement measures available to local authorities are valuable tools for tackling poor conditions in the private rented sector.

The Department continues to review and develop its approach to building the most effective evidence base and we are currently exploring proposals for introducing a landlord register in England.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the recommendations of the National Audit Office's report entitled Regulation of private renting, published in December 2021, whether the upcoming White Paper on reforms to the private rented sector (PRS) will include proposals on how his Department will report publicly on (a) progress against its aims for reforms of the PRS and (b) the impact of its legislative interventions.

We are reflecting on the outcomes of the NAO review into the regulation of the Private Rented Sector (PRS), published in December, and we are considering their recommendations. We are committed to improving the quality of homes in the PRS, giving tenants greater security, and supporting local authorities to crack down on poor practice.

We will bring forward a White Paper in Spring 2022 which will outline our plans to deliver a fairer, higher quality and more secure rental market.

We already report regularly on changes in the PRS using data gathered through the English Housing Survey. We will consider how to monitor and report progress against our PRS reforms as the work progresses.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the recommendation of the National Audit Office's report entitled Regulation of private renting, published in December 2021, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of dispute resolution schemes for tenants in the private rented sector (PRS), including whether those schemes (a) are accessible to all tenants, (b) provide effective redress for tenants when things go wrong and (c) provide his Department sufficient insight into emerging issues in the PRS.

In order to improve access to redress for private renters, it has been a legal requirement since October 2014 for letting and managing agents in England to belong to one of the two Government-approved redress schemes. The Department is committed to ensuring that the schemes’ systems and processes work well for tenants and landlords.

The schemes are independent from Government, and set out their own processes and procedures for supporting tenants, in line with the approval conditions set by Government. The schemes issue guidance to tenants and provide advice and support both by email and by phone, ensuring that digitally excluded tenants are still able to access redress. In 2020, the two schemes awarded a combined £2.3 million in compensation to tenants and landlords. The schemes also expelled and referred to trading standards 63 property agents after failing to comply with decisions.

The Department closely monitors the performance of each of the redress schemes through monthly data returns and quarterly meetings, to ensure the schemes are operating effectively and that emerging issues in the private rented sector are identified.

The Government does, however, recognise that the existing redress schemes are not accessible to all tenants. Tenants who rent directly from their landlords currently do not have access to free and impartial redress and this is not fair. This is why we have committed to require all private landlords to belong to a mandatory redress scheme, so that all private renters have access to redress where they have a legitimate complaint about their home. We will set out more details on how this commitment will be delivered in the Renters Reform White Paper later this year, with legislation following in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will review the Vagrancy Act 1824.

This Government believes that no-one should be criminalised simply for sleeping rough.

Following the review undertaken as part of the 2018 Rough Sleeping Strategy, the Government has confirmed that it will seek to repeal the outdated Vagrancy Act and replace it with more modern, fit for purpose legislation when parliamentary time allows.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he is developing to support local authorities to aid the transition to life in the UK for Afghan refugees.

Councils who support people through the Afghanistan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) or Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme will receive £20,520 per person, over three years, for integration support provision and other local costs, in addition to £4,500 for education per child, £850 for English Language courses per adult, and £2,600 for health provision per person. This funding will support councils to devise their own welcome programmes for new arrivals and the provision of services tailored to this group, which they are experts at and have long experience of - including via the Syrian programme plus welcoming many other migrant groups to live, work and settle in their areas.

We have also piloted a welcome week of learning sessions for residents encompassing life in Modern Britain, our values and laws, and sources of support. We are evaluating feedback from Afghans.

DLUHC has directly supported Afghan arrivals through setting up welcome weeks at bridging hotels and a Welcome Pack. They aim to improve understanding of life in the UK, including on education, employment, health, language, law, safeguarding and cultural norms. Additionally, DLUHC has a team of Local Engagement leads dedicated to working with councils to help find homes and settle Afghan arrivals.

Other departments are providing support including liaison officers in hotels to answer questions; utilising Strategic Migration Partners who are experienced in helping arrivals settle into the UK; and supporting Afghan families onto Universal Credit or into work, finding GPs and schools and of course finding homes

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will commit to building new public toilets.

Local authorities are best placed to make decisions about public toilet provision in their localities. In this year’s Settlement, the Government made available an increase in Core Spending Power in England from £49 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22, a 4.6% increase in cash terms. This recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain current service levels.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on public wellbeing of the removal of public toilets.

Local authorities are best placed to make decisions about public toilet provision in their localities. In this year’s Settlement, the Government made available an increase in Core Spending Power in England from £49 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22, a 4.6% increase in cash terms. This recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain current service levels.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will provide additional funding to local authorities for the construction of new public toilets.

Local authorities are best placed to make decisions about public toilet provision in their localities. In this year’s Settlement, the Government made available an increase in Core Spending Power in England from £49 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22, a 4.6% increase in cash terms. This recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain current service levels.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department plans to grant additional funding to local authorities to assist with (a) littering, (b) anti-social behaviour and (c) other issues that arise at transport hubs.

Government will outline proposals for distributing funding to local authorities in the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement later this year. Government has a long-standing policy to provide grant funding to local government on a non-ringfenced basis as part of the commitment to greater localism. This policy provides greater funding flexibility to local authorities and supports them to make spending decisions based on their local needs and priorities.

On anti-social behaviour (ASB) specifically, the Government is committed to tackling and preventing ASB. We know the serious impact that persistent anti-social behaviour can have on both individuals and communities. In July the Beating Crime Plan laid out the Government's plan for tackling crime and its commitment to working with local agencies and partners to drive down ASB using the full range of powers and tools in the 2014 Act. That is why we provided the police, local authorities and other local agencies with a range of tools and powers that they can use to respond quickly and effectively to ASB through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. It is for local areas to decide how best to deploy these powers depending on the specific circumstances.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department plans to change the English planning system to mitigate fire risk in the context of the Grenfell disaster.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017 the Government commissioned the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt. The report highlighted the need to transform the fire and building safety regime and recommended that “some minimum requirements around fire safety will need to be addressed when local planning authorities are determining planning applications and will require input from those with the relevant expertise.”

The review took into consideration the experience of other countries’ building regulatory frameworks. It noted that many of the concerns recognised with the English regulatory framework were shared across different countries. This included deviations from designs, potential conflicts of interest for third-party inspectors, lack of adequate competence, as well as lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities. The review’s findings and subsequent recommendations were also informed by case studies from countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Finland, the outcome of which was to move towards a culture of shared responsibility in how our planning system approaches building and fire safety.

In response to the review’s recommendations, the Government introduced new requirements known as planning gateway one on 1st August 2020, which require the developer to submit a fire statement setting out fire safety considerations specific to the development with a relevant application for planning permission for development which involves one or more relevant buildings.

Relevant buildings under planning gateway one must contain two or more dwellings or educational accommodation and meet the height condition of 18 metres or more, or 7 or more storeys.

These changes are intended to help ensure that applicants and decision-makers consider planning issues relevant to fire safety, bringing forward-thinking on fire safety matters as they relate to land use planning to the earliest possible stage in the development process and result in better schemes which fully integrate thinking on fire safety.

Additional guidance on fire safety and high-residential buildings can be found in the following planning practice guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fire-safety-and-high-rise-residential-buildings-from-1-august-2021

23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an assessment of the advantages of planning and building inspectorates of other OECD countries.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017 the Government commissioned the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt. The report highlighted the need to transform the fire and building safety regime and recommended that “some minimum requirements around fire safety will need to be addressed when local planning authorities are determining planning applications and will require input from those with the relevant expertise.”

The review took into consideration the experience of other countries’ building regulatory frameworks. It noted that many of the concerns recognised with the English regulatory framework were shared across different countries. This included deviations from designs, potential conflicts of interest for third-party inspectors, lack of adequate competence, as well as lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities. The review’s findings and subsequent recommendations were also informed by case studies from countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Finland, the outcome of which was to move towards a culture of shared responsibility in how our planning system approaches building and fire safety.

In response to the review’s recommendations, the Government introduced new requirements known as planning gateway one on 1st August 2020, which require the developer to submit a fire statement setting out fire safety considerations specific to the development with a relevant application for planning permission for development which involves one or more relevant buildings.

Relevant buildings under planning gateway one must contain two or more dwellings or educational accommodation and meet the height condition of 18 metres or more, or 7 or more storeys.

These changes are intended to help ensure that applicants and decision-makers consider planning issues relevant to fire safety, bringing forward-thinking on fire safety matters as they relate to land use planning to the earliest possible stage in the development process and result in better schemes which fully integrate thinking on fire safety.

Additional guidance on fire safety and high-residential buildings can be found in the following planning practice guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fire-safety-and-high-rise-residential-buildings-from-1-august-2021

23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of integrating the English planning and building inspectorate systems to help ensure that Fire Authority planning application recommendations are implemented.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017 the Government commissioned the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt. The report highlighted the need to transform the fire and building safety regime and recommended that “some minimum requirements around fire safety will need to be addressed when local planning authorities are determining planning applications and will require input from those with the relevant expertise.”

The review took into consideration the experience of other countries’ building regulatory frameworks. It noted that many of the concerns recognised with the English regulatory framework were shared across different countries. This included deviations from designs, potential conflicts of interest for third-party inspectors, lack of adequate competence, as well as lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities. The review’s findings and subsequent recommendations were also informed by case studies from countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Finland, the outcome of which was to move towards a culture of shared responsibility in how our planning system approaches building and fire safety.

In response to the review’s recommendations, the Government introduced new requirements known as planning gateway one on 1st August 2020, which require the developer to submit a fire statement setting out fire safety considerations specific to the development with a relevant application for planning permission for development which involves one or more relevant buildings.

Relevant buildings under planning gateway one must contain two or more dwellings or educational accommodation and meet the height condition of 18 metres or more, or 7 or more storeys.

These changes are intended to help ensure that applicants and decision-makers consider planning issues relevant to fire safety, bringing forward-thinking on fire safety matters as they relate to land use planning to the earliest possible stage in the development process and result in better schemes which fully integrate thinking on fire safety.

Additional guidance on fire safety and high-residential buildings can be found in the following planning practice guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fire-safety-and-high-rise-residential-buildings-from-1-august-2021

23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has plans to introduce national schemes or grants for home-owners on a low income to undertake essential repairs or home improvements.

My Department has put in place a range of schemes to support low income homeowners. This includes the means-tested Disabled Facilities Grant that helps meet the cost of home adaptations for disabled people of all ages and tenures to live safely and independently at home. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also runs a number of programmes to support homeowners to improve the energy performance of their homes, including the Home Upgrade Grant and Energy Company Obligation schemes.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing additional support for London councils to support homeless people during the winter.

We are committed to make sure that rough sleepers will be offered the support they need to get off the streets and are protected from the cold this winter.

We are providing over £70 million to support rough sleeping services in London this year through the Rough Sleeping Initiative 2021/22.

On top of the significant Rough Sleeping Initiative investment, the Winter Pressures Fund (WPF) was announced on 29 October 2021 as part of a wider winter funding announcement. WPF is a £10 million fund targeted to 35 local authorities, 16 of them in London, who have the highest numbers of rough sleepers, from the 2020 Rough Sleeper Snapshot, or the highest number of un-housed non-UK nationals.

DLUHC have and continue working closely with London councils, and the Greater London Authority, and we are discussing with both of them the provision of pan-London winter capacity.

The Department is providing over £71.5 million across Greater London, this is more than a 100% increase from the £34.6 million provided in 20/21 and is providing over 2,800 bed spaces and more than 700 support staff.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing uniform criteria for the distribution of the Business Rates: Covid-19 additional relief fund.

The Government announced a £1.5 billion pot of additional business rates relief for properties affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that have not otherwise been eligible for support linked to business rates. The £1.5 billion fund will be allocated to local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area whose sectors have been affected by COVID-19 and are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates. Local authorities will use their knowledge of local businesses and the local economy to make awards.

My Department will publish guidance to help local authorities set up their local schemes once the legislation relating to COVID-19 Material Change of Circumstances provisions has passed. The Government will support local authorities to do this as quickly as possible, including through new burdens funding.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to ensure the timely delivery by local authorities of the Covid-19 business rates additional relief fund.

The Government announced a £1.5 billion pot of additional business rates relief for properties affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that have not otherwise been eligible for support linked to business rates. The £1.5 billion fund will be allocated to local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area whose sectors have been affected by COVID-19 and are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates. Local authorities will use their knowledge of local businesses and the local economy to make awards.

My Department will publish guidance to help local authorities set up their local schemes once the legislation relating to COVID-19 Material Change of Circumstances provisions has passed. The Government will support local authorities to do this as quickly as possible, including through new burdens funding.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a national register of landlords.

The Government has committed to exploring the merits of introducing a national landlord register in England as part of a commitment to drive up standards in privately rented accommodation. We are engaging with a range of stakeholders and potential users of a register such as private landlords, local authority enforcement officers, letting agents and private tenants to inform this work. We will publish a White Paper in 2022 that will set out our proposals for private rented sector reform.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to publish guidance for local authorities on the Business Rates: Covid-19 additional relief fund; and if he will make a statement.

The Government announced a £1.5 billion pot of additional business rates relief for properties affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that have not otherwise been eligible for support linked to business rates. The £1.5 billion fund will be allocated to local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area whose sectors have been affected by COVID-19 and are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates. Local authorities will use their knowledge of local businesses and the local economy to make awards.

My Department will publish guidance to help local authorities set up their local schemes once the legislation relating to COVID-19 Material Change of Circumstances provisions has passed. The Government will support local authorities to do this as quickly as possible, including through new burdens funding.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, if he will use the remainder of his time as COP President to establish a process to identify (a) the scale of funding required to address loss and damage and (b) suitable mechanisms to deliver that finance to developing countries.

In Glasgow, COP26 made progress on the issue of loss and damage. It agreed to establish a process to discuss the funding of actions to avert, minimise and address loss and damage. It also recognised that funding for loss and damage already flows from a number of sources and called for this to be scaled up. COP further agreed on practical steps to deliver technical assistance to countries to set the needs they have and the action required on loss and damage.

In our Presidency year, we will be taking forward the decision made at COP, facilitating and encouraging further progress on the issue of loss and damage.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in the context of COP26, whether a decision has been made on the proposal to build a coal mine in Cumbria; and if he will make statement.

A public inquiry examining the proposal for a new coking coal mine in Cumbria took place in September and October. Following the close of that inquiry, the independent planning Inspector is preparing a report for Ministers to consider.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to help ensure that new and additional finance for loss and damage is included in the discussions on the new post-2025 climate finance target at COP26.

At both Ministerial and official level, we continue to raise the need for finance and action on loss and damage, noting that relevant finance for averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage comes from sources under and outside the UNFCCC.

As COP26 incoming Presidency, the UK has convened seven consultations which have devoted substantial time to the issue of operationalising the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage and included the question of finance to enable its work. The COP President also convened dedicated Ministerial sessions on loss and damage at the July Ministerial in London and at PreCOP. At these sessions, the issue of finance was discussed, including the post-2025 goal, with a view to political leaders providing the strategic framing for negotiator-level discussions at COP26.

As part of the COP25 Presidency and incoming COP26 Presidency joint informal work plan on finance, we have undertaken informal negotiator-level consultations on the post-2025 climate finance goal with all Parties that have expressed an interest. Public reflections notes on these engagements are available on the UNFCCC website. The COP26 Presidency role is to facilitate balanced progress on this item in Glasgow, reflecting the positions of all Parties as best possible.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the planning system enables local authorities to contribute to the Government’s net zero emissions target.

As Members will be aware, the Secretary of State is currently considering the best way forward on planning reforms and we will announce next steps in due course.

However, the hon lady will be aware that we are already taking action to ensure the homes we build are fit for the future through the Future Homes Standard and the 2021 interim uplift to the energy efficiency standards for new homes. And last week the Government published its Net Zero Strategy, setting out our commitments to enable local areas to deliver net zero.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 14 July 2021 to Question 28276, Elections: Proof of Identity, what steps he is taking to ensure that the application process for voter cards is fully accessible to blind and partially sighted people.

It is important to be clear that a Voter Card will only be necessary where electors do not already possess one of the wide range of forms of identification that will be acceptable. Many blind and partially sighted people who choose to vote in person will likely find they already possess such a form of identification. However, where electors do not possess this, local authorities will be legally obliged to provide a Voter Card free of charge.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and a wide range of charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that the requirement to provide photographic identification at the polling station is rolled out in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

This will include continued engagement with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), which is a member of the Government's expert Accessibility of Elections Working Group.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 14 July 2021 to Question 28276 on Elections: Proof of Identity, what steps he is taking to make blind and partially sighted people aware that they are entitled to a Voter Card to enable them to vote.

It is important to be clear that a Voter Card will only be necessary where electors do not already possess one of the wide range of forms of identification that will be acceptable. Many blind and partially sighted people who choose to vote in person will likely find they already possess such a form of identification. However, where electors do not possess this, local authorities will be legally obliged to provide a Voter Card free of charge.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and a wide range of charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that the requirement to provide photographic identification at the polling station is rolled out in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

This will include continued engagement with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), which is a member of the Government's expert Accessibility of Elections Working Group.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
9th Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, how many and what proportion of the UK’s team of delegates are women; and for each (a) team and (b) role within the UK delegation, what the gender breakdown is.

We are currently developing plans related to the makeup of the COP26 UK delegation. It is too early to confirm names at this stage.

The UK has committed to championing diversity and inclusion throughout our COP26 Presidency and all civil servants in the Cabinet Office COP26 unit have been appointed in line with civil service guidance and rules. In the COP Unit, 45% of the senior management team in the COP26 unit are women. In 2020, the Prime Minister appointed Anne-Marie Treveylan as the COP26 Adaptation and Resilience Champion.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what discussions he has had with the new US Administration as part of preparations for the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

I welcomed the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, to London on Monday 8 March 2021, his first international visit since his appointment. We discussed the new US Administration’s climate ambition and our joint efforts to ensure that COP26 is a success. Our discussion built on previous conversations I have had with Secretary Kerry and with Gina McCarthy, US National Climate Advisor.

I refer the hon. Member to the joint statement on climate change from myself and Special Envoy Kerry published on GOV.UK on Tuesday 9 March 2021. The UK and US will be working closely together to ensure that President Biden’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate on 22 April and the UK-hosted G7 build momentum on the way to COP26 in Glasgow.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of trends in the number of veterans who have died from suicide in the last five years; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer given to PQ 88289 on 21 September 2020.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the (a) European Audiovisual Media Services Directive and (b) Directives relating to Copyright will be transferred to UK law after the transition period.

The government outlined its approach to Audiovisual Media Services Directive in its public consultation launched in May 2019, and confirmed plans for implementation in its response in February 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to bring forward proposals to increase the transparency of financial donations to Members of the House of Lords.

The Register of Lords' interests can be accessed on the parliamentary website at the following address:

https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-financial-interests/house-of-lords-commissioner-for-standards-/register-of-lords-interests/

How donations to Members of the House of Lords are regulated and what interest needs to be disclosed in the Register of Interests is a matter for the House of Lords.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what opportunities the Government plans to make available for university graduates to join the civil service in the context of the civil service fast stream programme not running in 2023.

Fast Stream places for this Autumn 2022 will be honoured and our direct entry and internship schemes will continue to bring new and diverse talent to the Civil Service. Whilst we pause the Fast stream for the 2023 intake, we will take the opportunity to further improve the Fast Stream offer. This reform will ensure that when the scheme reopens, it is focused on driving up specialist skills in the Civil Service, as well as improving the regional representation of the Fast Stream.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether products from the Malaysian company, ATA, in the UK’s public procurement supply chain are supplied through public sector contracts to Schneider Electric.

Details of Government contracts above £10,000, and £25,000 in the wider public sector, are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

Information regarding products within the UK public sector supply chain is not held centrally.

This government is committed to preventing modern slavery occurring in public sector supply chains.

The Cabinet Office has published commercial policy and guidance setting out the steps that all Government departments must take to identify and mitigate modern slavery and labour abuse risks throughout the commercial life cycle - focussing on the areas of highest risk. This policy is mandatory for all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies. The policy can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0519-tackling-modern-slavery-in-government-supply-chains.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether products from the Malaysian company, ATA, are in the UK's public procurement supply chain.

Details of Government contracts above £10,000, and £25,000 in the wider public sector, are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

Information regarding products within the UK public sector supply chain is not held centrally.

This government is committed to preventing modern slavery occurring in public sector supply chains.

The Cabinet Office has published commercial policy and guidance setting out the steps that all Government departments must take to identify and mitigate modern slavery and labour abuse risks throughout the commercial life cycle - focussing on the areas of highest risk. This policy is mandatory for all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies. The policy can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0519-tackling-modern-slavery-in-government-supply-chains.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what products Dyson supplies to the UK public sector; and which Departments and services that includes.

This information is not held centrally.

Details of Government contracts above £10,000 and £25,000 in the wider public sector are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether any Departments are affiliated to the labour rights monitoring organisation Electronics Watch.

This information is not held centrally.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has previously held a contract with Electronics Watch, which expired in June 2021. CCS are currently reviewing the service to assess whether it is the best source of data for labour rights monitoring and how this data can be shared more widely.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to increase the proportion of applications to the Civil Service Fast Stream from poorer and disadvantaged backgrounds.

The proportion of ethnic minority groups overall being appointed to the Civil Service Fast Stream in 2021 was 23.3%, this aligns with the 2019/20 Higher Education Statistics Agency graduate population level of 23.7% for ethnicity.

Steps to ensure that students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are successful in their application to the Civil Service Fast Stream start with outreach, attraction and marketing activity, which is designed to encourage applications from individuals from all backgrounds and locations. This is undertaken via early stage schools, college and apprenticeship engagement, along with industrial and internship placements. We have developed an inclusive website, social media strategy, and refreshed the target university list for outreach.

Further to this, the Cabinet Office is:

  • expanding the range of internships we offer,

  • undertaking cultural bias reviews of our selection processes,

  • increasing assessor diversity, and

  • improving our fair and inclusive selection processes by incorporating more regional/virtual assessment.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to increase the proportion of black applicants in the Civil Service Fast Stream.

The proportion of ethnic minority groups overall being appointed to the Civil Service Fast Stream in 2021 was 23.3%, this aligns with the 2019/20 Higher Education Statistics Agency graduate population level of 23.7% for ethnicity.

Steps to ensure that students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are successful in their application to the Civil Service Fast Stream start with outreach, attraction and marketing activity, which is designed to encourage applications from individuals from all backgrounds and locations. This is undertaken via early stage schools, college and apprenticeship engagement, along with industrial and internship placements. We have developed an inclusive website, social media strategy, and refreshed the target university list for outreach.

Further to this, the Cabinet Office is:

  • expanding the range of internships we offer,

  • undertaking cultural bias reviews of our selection processes,

  • increasing assessor diversity, and

  • improving our fair and inclusive selection processes by incorporating more regional/virtual assessment.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect on the environment of the Prime Minister's use of a private jet to travel from London to Cornwall on 9 June 2021 ahead of the G7 Summit.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 14211 on 29 June 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed Voter ID reforms on the number of eligible voters in Haringey.

Everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so.

Any voter who does not have one of the wide range of accepted documents will be able to apply for a free, locally issued Voter Card from their local authority.

We continue to work with local authorities and other stakeholders, including charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that voter identification works for all voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to pay the cost of providing voter cards to people with no other forms of photographic document for identification purposes.

Everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so.

Any voter who does not have one of the wide range of accepted documents will be able to apply for a free, locally issued Voter Card from their local authority.

Cabinet Office will cover costs of Voter Cards for local authorities.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has plans to discuss (a) EU touring for musicians and other creatives professionals and (b) the proposal for a bespoke UK-EU visa waiver for the creative industry at the next meeting of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement Partnership Council.

At the first UK-EU Partnership Council on 9 June, the UK raised the issues faced by touring performers and noted work under way with Member States to try to resolve the barriers presented by visa and work permit requirements.The UK and EU have not yet agreed a date or agenda for the next Partnership Council. We continue to discuss these issues with all EU Member States to find solutions that work for our great creative industries.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he made of the potential merits of including a question on disability in the 2021 Census.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to support (a) veterans and (b) recently discharged personnel during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government continues to provide a full range of support services for veterans and recently discharged personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic, with appropriate adjustments to keep people safe. Veterans continue to access a range of NHS services, including Op COURAGE, a new single point of access for all veterans’ mental health and wellbeing services in NHS England. Veterans can also access support through Veterans UK and MOD services including its welfare services, employment support for service leavers through the Career Transition Partnership, the Defence Transition Service, and a helpline telephone call back service.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs has also funded a new study with King’s College London, exploring the impact of COVID-19 on veterans, and given £6m in grants to over service 100 charities across the UK whose operation had been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, directly supporting over 90,000 members of the Armed Forces community. In this year’s Budget, an extra £10m has been allocated to help deliver charitable projects across the UK that support veterans with their mental health and wellbeing needs in the wake of the pandemic.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the scientific advice for the decision to close outdoor sports facilities during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021 and keep children's playgrounds open.

Throughout the pandemic, we have consistently adapted our response as we have learnt more about the virus and how best to tackle it. Decisions on when to lift restrictions, and in which order, seek to strike a balance between the epidemiological evidence and advice, the impact lockdown is having on people’s health (including mental health and disproportionate impacts on certain groups), wellbeing, and the economy. Scientific evidence supporting the government response to coronavirus is regularly published here - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

On 22 February the Government published its 'COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021'

roadmap to recovery. The roadmap outlines four steps for cautiously easing restrictions across England. The first measures of Step 1 took place on the 8th March. Schools breaking up for the Easter holidays will provide an opportunity for further, limited relaxation particularly in outdoor settings where there is less risk. Therefore from 29 March, outdoor sports and leisure facilities will reopen and organised sport (for adults and children) will resume.

The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of our country.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have died of covid-19 as a proportion of the overall death toll to the start of January 2021 have been people with a known pre-existing condition and would meet the definition of disability in the Equality Act 2010.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his Department's policy is on handling the personal details of journalists; and what guidance his Department has published on responding to Freedom of Information requests.

This Government is fully committed to transparency, and ensuring all requests for Freedom of Information (FOI) are handled appropriately. All requests are considered in an applicant-blind manner, regardless of - for example - the occupation of the applicant. The Cabinet Office FOI process complies with relevant protections under the Data Protection Act 2018.

Under section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the Cabinet Minister issues a Code of Practice, available on gov.uk, which provides guidance and advice to public authorities on the handling of Freedom of Information Requests. In addition, and in line with practice since 2005, the Cabinet Office provides advice to Departments, to ensure cases are handled consistently, and sensitive material handled appropriately. A Clearing House was established in 2004 and has operated in different forms since the FOI Act came into force in January 2005 as an advice centre to coordinate complex requests across Whitehall. There is now no stand alone Clearing House team, but coordination functions are carried out by a number of staff members who have a range of wider responsibilities. Policy responsibility for Freedom of Information transferred from the Ministry of Justice to the Cabinet Office in 2015.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his Department's average reply time has been for ministerial letters in each of the last five months.

Correspondence is a vitally important interface with members of the public, Members of Parliament and Peers, and should be given the highest priority.

The Government attaches great importance to the effective and timely handling of correspondence. Departments have seen a significant increase in correspondence during the pandemic but are required to provide a substantial response to all correspondence from MPs and Peers in 20 days. Departments are not required to keep a record of the average response time. The Cabinet Office responded to 58% of MP and Peer correspondence within 20 days between April - June 2020, and to the remaining correspondence as quickly as possible. Officials are working to improve response time.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many times the guidance entitled, Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees, was followed in 2018.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner had statutory oversight of the Consolidated Guidance and reported on it annually to the Prime Minister. I refer the Honourable Member to section 10.19 of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s 2018 annual report where the (then) Commissioner explained why it was not appropriate to publish these details.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner's 2018 Annual Report can be found at:

https://www.ipco.org.uk/docs/IPCO%20Annual%20Report%202018%20final.pdf

The Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how times decision-making under the Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees, was escalated to a Minister in 2018.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner had statutory oversight of the Consolidated Guidance and reported on it annually to the Prime Minister. I refer the Honourable Member to section 10.19 of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s 2018 annual report where the (then) Commissioner explained why it was not appropriate to publish these details.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner's 2018 Annual Report can be found at:

https://www.ipco.org.uk/docs/IPCO%20Annual%20Report%202018%20final.pdf

The Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many times the intelligence agencies informed the Investigatory Powers Commissioner of (a) instances of non-compliance with the Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees and (b) instances in which they did not identify that the Consolidated Guidance review process should have been followed, for the year 2018.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner had statutory oversight of the Consolidated Guidance and reported on it annually to the Prime Minister. I refer the Honourable Member to section 10.19 of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s 2018 annual report where the (then) Commissioner explained why it was not appropriate to publish these details.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner's 2018 Annual Report can be found at:

https://www.ipco.org.uk/docs/IPCO%20Annual%20Report%202018%20final.pdf

The Government does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people that died in (a) care homes and (b) the community that had their deaths classified as non-covid-19 related had post-mortems to confirm that classification since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of deaths due to covid-19 have been among homeless people; and how that death rate compares with death rates for the same period of time in previous years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on the recommendations of the 2018 Review of Parliamentary Constituency Boundaries; and if he will make a statement.

The final reports of the four Boundary Commissions in the 2018 Boundary Review were submitted to the Government and laid before Parliament in September 2018.

The Government will continue to monitor closely the current legal proceedings in relation to the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland’s final report.

As we set out in our manifesto, the Government will ensure we have updated and equal parliamentary boundaries, making sure every vote counts the same.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to tackle poor working conditions and practices in the garment industry in (a) Leicester and (b) the UK.

The Government launched Operation Tacit to address allegations of widespread non-compliance in the Leicester garment sector. Since June 2020, HMRC have considered the National Minimum Wage (NMW) risks associated with more than 500 Leicester textiles businesses as part of Operation Tacit.

HMRC have also taken part in more than 360 visits to businesses providing advice and support to employers and workers on NMW obligations and rights, and taking enforcement action where concerns have been identified. Based on HMRC's extensive, on the ground experience, their findings are that the NMW risks in the Leicester textile industry are in line with the rest of the UK manufacturing sector.

We continue to encourage anyone with information to come forward.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of a recent study commissioned by the Garment and Textile Workers Trust that more than half of the Leicester garment workers are paid below the minimum wage and receive no holiday pay.

The Government launched Operation Tacit to address allegations of widespread non-compliance in the Leicester garment sector. Since June 2020, HMRC have considered the National Minimum Wage (NMW) risks associated with more than 500 Leicester textiles businesses as part of Operation Tacit.

HMRC have also taken part in more than 360 visits to businesses providing advice and support to employers and workers on NMW obligations and rights, and taking enforcement action where concerns have been identified. Based on HMRC's extensive, on the ground experience, their findings are that the NMW risks in the Leicester textile industry are in line with the rest of the UK manufacturing sector.

We continue to encourage anyone with information to come forward.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with fashion brand Missguided on whether UK (a) suppliers and (b) factories will receive payment for products ordered prior to it going into administration.

On 1st June 2022 it was announced that Missguided had been bought by the Frasers Group. The company will be supervised by the administrators for a transition period of eight weeks, after which the new owners will take over responsibility for running the business. The Government has no role in the strategic direction or management of private retail companies.

No announcement has yet been made regarding redundancies. However, we recognise that this will be a worrying time for Missguided’s employees and their families and the Government stands ready to support those who may be affected. As a consequence of Missguided’s administration, any employees who have been made redundant can apply to the Insolvency Service’s Redundancy Payments Service to claim for redundancy, unpaid wages, holiday pay and loss of notice pay. To qualify for a redundancy payment, employees must have at least two years’ continuous employment with their former employer. Employees who do not have two years’ continuous employment can still claim for wages, holidays and loss of notice. Further information regarding how to submit a claim will be provided by the joint administrators.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the clothing retailer Missguided falling into administration, what steps he is taking to support affected UK (a) suppliers and (b) factory workers.

On 1st June 2022 it was announced that Missguided had been bought by the Frasers Group. The company will be supervised by the administrators for a transition period of eight weeks, after which the new owners will take over responsibility for running the business. The Government has no role in the strategic direction or management of private retail companies.

No announcement has yet been made regarding redundancies. However, we recognise that this will be a worrying time for Missguided’s employees and their families and the Government stands ready to support those who may be affected. As a consequence of Missguided’s administration, any employees who have been made redundant can apply to the Insolvency Service’s Redundancy Payments Service to claim for redundancy, unpaid wages, holiday pay and loss of notice pay. To qualify for a redundancy payment, employees must have at least two years’ continuous employment with their former employer. Employees who do not have two years’ continuous employment can still claim for wages, holidays and loss of notice. Further information regarding how to submit a claim will be provided by the joint administrators.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the clothing retailer Missguided falling into administration, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on job security for UK factory workers who supply that company.

On 1st June 2022 it was announced that Missguided had been bought by the Frasers Group. The company will be supervised by the administrators for a transition period of eight weeks, after which the new owners will take over responsibility for running the business. The Government has no role in the strategic direction or management of private retail companies.

No announcement has yet been made regarding redundancies. However, we recognise that this will be a worrying time for Missguided’s employees and their families and the Government stands ready to support those who may be affected. As a consequence of Missguided’s administration, any employees who have been made redundant can apply to the Insolvency Service’s Redundancy Payments Service to claim for redundancy, unpaid wages, holiday pay and loss of notice pay. To qualify for a redundancy payment, employees must have at least two years’ continuous employment with their former employer. Employees who do not have two years’ continuous employment can still claim for wages, holidays and loss of notice. Further information regarding how to submit a claim will be provided by the joint administrators.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will conduct a review into the supply chain for fashion businesses in light of evidence of human rights abuses in China.

The Government has taken steps to help ensure that no British organisations profit from, or contribute to, human rights violations against the Uyghurs or other minorities in China. This includes new guidance for UK businesses on the risks of doing business in Xinjiang and enhanced export controls, as well as the introduction of financial penalties under the Modern Slavery Act. Organisations are expected to report on the action they are taking to tackle and prevent modern slavery risks in their supply chains as part of their annual modern slavery statement. Our overseas business risk guidance makes clear to UK companies the risks of operating in Xinjiang and urges them to consider their corporate responsibilities when making investment decisions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential extent to which business profits from human rights abuses and forced labour in China are passed through UK companies.

The Government has taken steps to help ensure that no British organisations profit from, or contribute to, human rights violations against the Uyghurs or other minorities in China. This includes new guidance for UK businesses on the risks of doing business in Xinjiang and enhanced export controls, as well as the introduction of financial penalties under the Modern Slavery Act. Our overseas business risk guidance makes clear to UK companies the risks of operating in Xinjiang and urges them to consider their corporate responsibilities when making investment decisions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 5 January 2022 to Question 93062, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to introduce carer's leave.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for North East Fife on 5th January 2022 to Question 93062: legislation to introduce carer’s leave will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that Ofcom takes effective and timely regulatory action in relation to Royal Mail when required.

It is for Ofcom, as the independent regulator of postal services, to set and monitor Royal Mail’s service standards and decide how to use its powers to investigate and take enforcement action should Royal Mail fail to achieve its obligations without good justification.

Ofcom is preparing to review Royal Mail’s performance for the 2021/22 financial year and has stated that it will not hesitate to act where necessary.

The Government’s sets out its strategic priorities and desired outcomes for telecommunications, the management of radio spectrum and postal services in the Statement of Strategic Prioritise which is available online at www.gov.uk/government/publications/statement-of-strategic-priorities. Ofcom is required to have regard to the Statement when exercising its regulatory functions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the significance of Newport Wafer Fab for the UK's semiconductor industry; and what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of potential Chinese ownership of that factory.

The Government appreciates the vital role of the semiconductor sector in the global economy.

As an open economy, we welcome foreign trade and investment where it supports UK growth and jobs, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements and does not compromise our national security. Where we identify concerns, we will not hesitate to use our powers to protect national security.

We are unable to comment on the details of businesses' commercial transactions, or on national security assessments. The Government is considering the case and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the launch date is for the builder upgrade scheme.

BEIS does not offer a builder upgrade scheme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of renters pay their gas and electric bills directly, rather than through their landlord.

The Government does not have data covering the energy billing arrangements of renters. Only energy suppliers and landlords will be able to identify the number of cases in which a tenant pays their gas and electricity bills directly

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to provide urgent insulation to low-income households in order to help with increased gas and electric bills in response to Ofgem's energy cap increase.

In the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Government set out a comprehensive package of measures to retrofit the nation’s buildings. The Government has also announced over £3.9 billion of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings, bringing this Parliament’s commitment to £6.6 billion.

Much of this funding has gone towards grant schemes which improve the energy efficiency of low-income homes through measures such as insulation. These schemes include the Local Authority Delivery Scheme, the Home Upgrade Grant, and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, which will all deliver upgrades this year.

In addition, the government have committed to extending the Energy Company Obligation Scheme from 2022 to 2026, boosting its value from £640 million to £1 billion a year. This will help an extra 305,000 households with green measures including insulation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to remove the fee charged by energy companies to consumers when switching from a pre-payment to a standard meter.

Rules around the amount energy suppliers can charge for switching meter types are set by Ofgem. Ofgem expect that customers should not be penalised because of their choice of payment method, whether by prepayment or standard credit meter, and any charges should be reflective of the cost to the supplier. Ofgem permits suppliers to charge less than the actual cost or to waive the charge of installing or removing a prepayment meter, particularly where this can benefit customers in vulnerable situations. The Government will continue to work with Ofgem to consider what reforms are needed for future retail market regulation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will hold discussions with energy companies operating prepayment meters on the potential merits of increasing the (a) temporary credit and (b) extra temporary credit available to households with those meters.

Ofgem has robust rules in place to protect Prepayment meter customers. In December 2020 Ofgem introduced Licence Conditions that require energy suppliers to provide extra support for customers using prepayment meters. These include an obligation on suppliers to make emergency and friendly-hours credit available to all pre-payment meter customers.

In addition, where a supplier identifies that a prepayment customer is in a vulnerable situation, including where a customer is self-disconnecting or self-rationing their supply, they must also offer additional support credit. When assessing how a customer will repay any credit offered, suppliers must also consider their ability to pay.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ask energy companies to equalise tariffs on a standard meter with those on pre-payment meters.

Supply Licence Conditions, as enforced by the independent energy regulator Ofgem, stipulate payments must reflect the cost to the supplier. The costs of supplying prepayment meters compared to standard meters are higher due to the different meter requirements and different payment systems. The Energy Price Cap ensures those on prepayment meters pay a fair price for their energy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that incidents such as the Post Office Horizon scandal will not happen again.

On 29 September 2020, BEIS formally launched the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry which will establish a clear account of the implementation and failings of Horizon over its lifetime, as well as ensuring lessons are learnt so that a similar situation will not be repeated in the future.

The Post Office’s Chief Executive is leading a programme of improvements to overhaul the culture, practices and operating procedures throughout every part of its business. The Government continues to closely monitor delivery of these improvements. Ministers and officials are holding the Post Office to account for taking on board the lessons learned through the litigation and will want to see clear evidence that real change has taken place.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the 555 litigants who won civil proceedings against Post Office Ltd in 2018-19 will be included in the Post Office Horizon compensation scheme.

The 555 subpostmasters involved in the Group Litigation Order (GLO) agreed a settlement of £42.75m plus costs. My officials have recently met their representatives to understand the harms which they have experienced.

Postmasters who have had their Horizon-related conviction overturned are eligible for interim compensation payments of up to £100k. This includes postmasters with quashed convictions who were also part of the GLO.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that labour rights are respected for employees from BAME communities.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission enforces the Equality Act 2010, including in cases of race discrimination in the workplace.

On 22 November, the EHRC launched a new fund to tackle race discrimination and help victims seek justice. The Race Legal Support Fund is open for a minimum of two years, with up to £250,000 allocated this year to tackling race discrimination, harassment, and victimisation, and more available in future years. From December 2021, legal practitioners will be able to apply for funding to seek advice and help to resolve complaints of race discrimination, up to and including legal proceedings where appropriate.

Employees from BAME communities have the same routes to advice and redress as other employees. Acas provides free advice to workers and employers to enable them to understand their rights and responsibilities. Where disputes cannot be resolved earlier on, the Employment Tribunal system would be the primary enforcement method for most employment rights. There are only a few exceptions where the state enforces employment rights, such as ensuring employers pay the National Minimum Wage.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to increase funding for local authorities to improve the (a) regulation, (b) sale and (c) use of fireworks.

The Government takes the issues associated with the use and sale of fireworks seriously and we understand the importance of ensuring that the comprehensive legislation in place for fireworks is enforced effectively.

Local Authority Trading Standards work with retailers to ensure that fireworks being sold are safe, and they have powers to enforce against those who place non-compliant fireworks on the market. Trading Standards (and local fire and rescue authorities in metropolitan counties) can also enforce against those selling fireworks without an appropriate licence, for example, outside the normal selling periods of November 5th, Diwali, New Year’s Eve and the Chinese New Year.

Funding for local authority regulatory services is determined locally and provided as part of the revenue support grant to the local authority. The role of the Office for Product Safety and Standards is to lead and co-ordinate the product safety system, provide national capacity and support local enforcement.

We continue to engage with Local Authorities, as part of our ongoing programme of work on fireworks, to better understand the issues they face and to ensure that the Government is providing the appropriate support.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on reducing reliance on Russian gas imports.

The UK is in no way dependent on Russian gas – less than 3% of the UK’s gas was sourced from Russia in 2020. The UK meets around half of its annual gas supply through domestic production, and the vast majority of imports come from reliable suppliers such as Norway. There are no gas pipelines directly linking the UK with Russia.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will commit to the allocation of new funding for new approach methodologies, including the use of advanced cultures of human cells and tissues, artificial intelligence and organ-on-a-chip technology.

Following the recent Spending Review, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will set R&D budgets through to 2024/25. Further details of how this funding will be allocated will be announced in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to COP26, whether a decision has been made on the potential development of the Cambo oil field.

The Cambo oil field was first licensed in 2001. Development proposals for fields with existing licences, such as Cambo, are subject to a rigorous scrutiny process prior to consent by the independent Oil and Gas Authority, as well as an environmental impact assessment and a public consultation by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning. No decision has yet been taken on the Cambo project.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking in response to the recommendation of the International Energy Agency that there should be no new investments in oil and gas production fields, coal mines or unabated coal power plants beyond 2021.

While the Government is working to drive down dependency for oil and gas, there will continue to be ongoing demand over the coming years, as recognised by the independent Climate Change Committee. Given the maturity of the UK Continental Shelf, even with continued development, the UK is projected to remain a net importer out to 2050.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is planning to take to decarbonise domestic heating supply.

The Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out how the Government is taking ‘no-regrets’ action now for decarbonising domestic heating supply, particularly on heat pumps, whilst supporting ongoing trials and other research and innovation on our future heating systems, including on hydrogen. The Government will make a decision on the potential role for hydrogen in heating buildings by 2026, learning from the Hydrogen Village pilot. Heat pump technology will play a key role in all scenarios, so for those who want to install them now, the government is supporting them to do so.

The Government want, to ensure that, in future, heat pumps are no more expensive to buy and run for consumers, the fossil fuel boilers. Households will benefit from £5,000 government grants through the £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme to help install low-carbon heating systems, part of more than £3.9 billion of new funding to decarbonise heat and buildings. With this transition taking place over the next 14 years, no-one will be forced to remove their existing fossil fuel boilers. This will enable homeowners to easily make green choices gradually and in an affordable, practical and fair way,

A £60m innovation fund has been launched to make clean heat systems smaller and easier to install and cheaper to run. This will support the Government’s new target for all new heating systems installed in UK homes by 2035 to be either using low-carbon technologies, such as electric heat pumps, or supporting new technologies like hydrogen-ready boilers, where the government is confident it can supply clean, green fuel.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the bailout of carbon dioxide supplier CF Fertiliser.

This is commercially sensitive information that relates to a company’s production costs and sales. It is not appropriate to provide estimated figures at this time.  Details of our support will be published in the 2021-22 BEIS Annual Report and Accounts which will be available on gov.uk.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of UK energy suppliers on (a) the impact of high global gas prices on the UK energy market and (b) protecting household energy bills during winter 2021-22.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have been in regular contact with the regulator, Ofgem, and energy suppliers.

On 20 September 2021, a roundtable was held with leading energy suppliers and consumer groups to hear about the challenges they currently face.

A further roundtable was held on 21 September 2021 with smaller and challenger energy suppliers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make available immediate funding for low income households who will experience an increase in their gas and electricity bills from October 2021.

Ofgem updates the energy price cap to reflect changes in underlying costs, such as purchasing wholesale gas and electricity prices, which are global markets. Wholesale prices are increasing, but the energy price cap still saves 15 million households on default tariffs up to £100 a year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what financial support will be made available to low-income households when energy and gas household bills increase on 1 October 2021.

Ofgem updates the energy price cap to reflect changes in underlying costs, such as purchasing wholesale gas and electricity prices, which are global markets. Wholesale prices are increasing, but the energy price cap still saves 15 million households on default tariffs up to £100 a year.

The Government continues to support low income and fuel poor households with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount which provides eligible households with £140 off their bills. In addition, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments will help ensure those most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, what steps the Government is taking to support (a) low-income and (b) vulnerable families under that plan.

The Ten Point Plan is part of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister's mission to level up across the country, mobilising £12 billion of government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK, and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030.

At every step on the path to Net Zero, we will put affordability and fairness at the heart of our reforms.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the compatibility of the Cambo oilfield in Scotland with the UK's upcoming role as President of the COP26 summit.

The development proposal from Cambo is being scrutinised in line with robust regulatory procedures and no decision has yet been taken by OGA yet.

The UK is leading the way in the energy transition and this year the UK published the North Sea Transition Deal – the UK is the only G7 country to have agreed a landmark deal to support the oil and gas industry’s transition to green energy by 2050 while at the same time supporting 40,000 jobs.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the environmental impact of the Cambo oilfield in Scotland.

The Environmental Statement submitted by Siccar Point Energy E&P Limited considers the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed project of the Cambo Phase 1 Field Development. That Environmental Statement is currently being assessed by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) in accordance with the Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, Production, Unloading and Storage (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2020.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the IEA report entitled Net Zero by 2050, A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector, published in May 2021, what steps he plans to take in response to the recommendation there should be no new investments in oil and gas production fields, coal mines or unabated coal power plants beyond 2021.

As we move towards net-zero, oil and gas will play a smaller, but still an important role in meeting UK energy demand. All scenarios proposed by the Climate Change Committee setting out how we could meet our 2050 net zero emissions target include continuing demand for oil and natural gas.

The IEA report acknowledges that continued investment in existing sources of hydrocarbons will be required to meet the world’s energy demands on the pathway to net zero.

Looking forward, the Government will introduce a climate compatibility checkpoint which will be used to assess whether any future licensing rounds remain in keeping with our climate goals. We have committed to launching this checkpoint by the end of 2021.

In relation to coal powered generation, in June, we announced the deadline for phasing out unabated coal generation in Great Britain will be brought forward to 1 October 2024 as part of our drive to go further and faster in decarbonising the power sector as we work towards net zero emissions by 2050.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to improve the rights of factory workers.

We have already taken steps to improve the rights of workers by legislating to close a loophole which sees agency workers employed on cheaper rates than permanent workers, by quadrupling the maximum fine for employers who treat their workers badly, and by giving all workers the right to receive a statement of their rights from day one. On top of this, in the past year alone, the Government has taken action to support workers by increasing pay for around 2 million workers and enabling workers to carry over more annual leave, due to the pandemic.

The Government also spends around £35 million on state enforcement of employment rights for vulnerable workers. Over the past year, a multiagency taskforce (Operation TACIT) has been operating in Leicester to tackle allegation of abuse in the city's garment factories, which has visited over 300 premises and taken appropriate enforcement action where necessary, as well as working with Leicester City Council to engage with the community and increase whistleblower confidence.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 June 2021 to Question 13160, Deloitte: Arts, what the cost to the public purse was of commissioning Deloitte to produce that guidance on EU Member State immigration systems.

The maximum value of our contract with Deloitte is £200,000, excluding VAT. The cost covers the initial provision of information, and three subsequent reviews to maintain this information, to ensure it remains accurate and is of use to businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect of increased smartphone use in hospitality settings on people without digital access.

Hospitality venues have a legal requirement to support NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all their customers, visitors and staff for 21 days. Customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, but venues must also make sure that there is a method of checking in that does not rely on the customer using a smartphone or other technology, in order not to digitally exclude people without digital access.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to tackle abusive purchasing practices by UK garment retailers.

The Government expects businesses to be open and transparent in responding to consumers’ interest in where and how the products they source have been manufactured, including the use of raw materials. Since the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act, we have seen more businesses open up about their supply chains, identify high-risk areas and introduce tailored steps to support vulnerable workers.

UK listed companies are required to report on social and environmental impacts material to their business, including information about supply chains, where this is necessary for an understanding of the business as part of annual reports.

The Government response to the Transparency in Supply Chains consultation, published on 22 September 2020, committed to taking forwards an ambitious package of changes to strengthen and future-proof the Modern Slavery Act’s transparency legislation, including:

  • Extending the reporting requirement to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more.
  • Mandating the specific reporting topics statements must cover.
  • Requiring organisations to publish their statement on the new Government digital reporting service.
  • Setting a single reporting deadline by which all modern slavery statements must be published.
  • Considering enforcement options in line with the ongoing development of the Single Enforcement Body for Employment rights.

Under section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the UK became the first country in the world to require businesses to report on how they prevent modern slavery in their operations. Following consultation, the Home Office has announced a series of measures to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act. Organisations will be required to include information about their organisation’s structure and supply chains in their modern slavery statement or to explicitly state that their statement omits this information. These new measures will be introduced once parliamentary time allows.

The Government has been engaging with the British Retail Consortium on their proposals for a licensing scheme, and with Traidcraft on the Garment Trade Adjudicator to understand the impact that further regulation would have.

BEIS and the Home Office are also working in partnership with the industry through the Apparel and General Merchandise Public and Private Protocol, a partnership between enforcement bodies and industry partners, including, the British Retail Consortium, UK Fashion and the Textile Association. This is aimed at tackling all forms of labour exploitation in the garment industry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of the Government's climate policies on BAME communities.

The impacts of climate change are not equally distributed across people or communities, and it is well-established that existing social inequalities result in a disproportionate negative impact of climate change among disadvantaged groups. BEIS has committed to improving how it takes account of equality, diversity and inclusion in its policy-making, to develop our interventions in a more inclusive way. We comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty by considering the equality impacts of our climate policies on different protected characteristics – including BAME communities. BEIS will be setting out more detail on the work it is undertaking across its responsibilities, including climate change, to build understanding and take actions to reduce inequalities in areas relating to its responsibilities.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what research his Department has carried out into employer compliance with the work from home requirement during the covid-19 outbreak.

In the most recent data from the ONS Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, covering the period 3-14 February, 48% of working adults stated that they had worked from home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the last seven days. This figure is up from 46% the week previously.

As detailed in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement on 22 February and the publication of the COVID-19 response roadmap, the Stay at Home requirement remains in place until 29 March. Until that point it is important that people stay at home wherever possible to minimise the risk of transmission.

People will no longer be legally required to Stay at Home from 29 March although the guidance will set out at that stage that people should continue to work from home where they can. Government will continue to reinforce these messages when engaging with businesses and representative organisations across a range of different sectors.

The Government has developed Safer Working Guidance with employers and trade unions, and employers are encouraged to discuss their COVID-19 risk assessment and mitigation measures with trade unions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Green Homes Grant applications have been received in each English region.

The Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme opened for application on 30 September 2020. As of 31 January, 69,053 grant applications have been received. Applications1, given by region in England, are as follows:

  • North East: 2,593
  • North West: 12,098
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: 9,712
  • East Midlands: 6,698
  • West Midlands: 8,556
  • East of England: 7,401
  • Greater London: 6,491
  • South East: 8,369
  • South West: 6,696

1 There is a discrepancy between the quoted total number of grant applications (69,053) and total English regional grant applications (68,614). This is due to 439 applications not listing an English region.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether any underspend in the first tranche of the £2 billion Green Homes Grant programme to March 2021 will be rolled over to the extended scheme in 2021-22.

The original funding for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme was announced as a short-term stimulus, for use in the 2020/21 financial year only. In the 2020 Spending Review, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £320 million of funding for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme for 2021/22, as part of funding allocated to make homes and buildings more energy efficient and less carbon intensive.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, of he will publish all correspondence between his Department and their European counterparts on work visas for creative workers between 1 June 2020 and 24 December 2020.

This Government recognises the importance of the UK’s thriving cultural industries, and that is why it pushed for ambitious arrangements to make it easier for performers and artists to perform across Europe as part of the negotiations on our future relationship with the EU.

This Government proposed to the EU that musicians, and their technical staff, be added to the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors in the entry and temporary stay chapter of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This would have allowed musicians and their staff to travel and perform in the EU more easily, without needing work-permits.

The UK’s legal texts reflected this position, as the EU has now acknowledged. These texts are confidential negotiating documents and it is not appropriate for them to be published.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish all correspondence between his Department and the (a) Cabinet Office, (b) Home Office and (c) Department for Culture Media and Sport on work visas for creative workers in the last six months.

This Government recognises the importance of the UK’s thriving cultural industries, and that is why it pushed for ambitious arrangements to make it easier for performers and artists to perform across Europe as part of the negotiations on our future relationship with the EU.

This Government proposed to the EU that musicians, and their technical staff, be added to the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors in the entry and temporary stay chapter of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This would have allowed musicians and their staff to travel and perform in the EU more easily, without needing work-permits.

As with legal text shared in confidence with trading partners, publishing correspondence between departments related to the development of legal text for trade agreements would not be appropriate as this correspondence would have been provided in confidence.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits aligning the deadlines for all Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme phases with the Voucher Scheme deadline of March 2022.

The Local Authority Delivery and Vouchers schemes have been designed to work alongside each other whilst reflecting the differences in delivery methods. Both schemes’ primary objective is to provide a short-term economic stimulus.

BEIS has allocated Local Authority Delivery funding to 55 projects totalling £74.3m of expenditure for delivery by March 2021, which can play an important role in sustaining and creating jobs in all regions of England.

BEIS anticipates funding in excess of £124m of LAD scheme projects imminently with a delivery date of September 2021, and a further £300m is allocated to the regional Local Energy Hubs for delivery by December 2021.

These staggered dates intend to balance the aim of the scheme to support economic recovery whilst being pragmatic over delivery timescales.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of including energy from waste incineration emissions in the UK's net-zero plans.

The UK’s climate change framework enables the Government to determine how best to balance emissions reductions across the economy. Emissions are managed within the Government’s overall strategy for meeting carbon budgets and the 2050 net zero target, as part of an economy-wide transition.

The UK follows the agreed international approach for estimating and reporting greenhouse gas emissions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, which is for countries to report the emissions produced within their territories.

The Climate Change Act defines UK emissions as being those of greenhouse gases from sources within the UK, i.e. consistent with international reporting practice. Therefore all emissions from UK sources, including those produced in energy production through waste incineration, are accounted for.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase the level of human relevant life sciences in the UK.

Since 2017, the Government has invested approximately £1 billion through two Life Sciences Sector Deals, helping to generate significant levels of industry investment in the UK.

At Budget this year, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the Life Sciences Investment Programme (LSIP), a new dedicated investment programme of up to £600 million of joint Government and industry investment. The LSIP aims to unlock the potential of the UK’s best health and life science innovations, allowing companies to grow in the UK.

This reflects the Government’s manifesto commitment to make the UK the leading global hub for life sciences.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the election of Joe Biden as US President Elect on the COP26 summit.

The UK welcomes President-elect Biden’s commitment to re-join the Paris Agreement and to put the US on a path to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

As the incoming Presidency of the G7 and COP26, we look forward to working with the new US administration to address the urgent challenge of climate change and to encourage countries across the world to increase their climate ambition.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the UK's ability to manufacture key materials and goods.

Manufacturing key materials and goods is critical for our economy. The Department has been engaging with industry and suppliers throughout the pandemic to understand the impacts on production and what support is needed in order for businesses to remain operational.

We have put in place an unprecedented package of Government support to help manufacturers with business continuity and to enable any businesses that may have had to pause production to get back up and running as soon as they are able. The sector has so far benefitted from £2 billion in Government-backed finance through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme; £2.3 billion through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme; and £4.78 billion to manufacturers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of opening up the sale of locally produced renewable electricity.

The current licensing framework, which Ofgem operate and enforce, already allows electricity generators to apply for a licence to sell energy to consumers. A supplier licence allows the licensee to supply electricity to domestic and non-domestic premises, or non-domestic premises only. It also bestows upon them certain obligations towards consumers through standard licence conditions (SLC) and also charges to be passed onto consumers, such as network costs and the cost of Government policies. In addition, the licensee is required to maintain, become party to, or comply with the industry codes that underpin the wholesale and retail markets.

Nonetheless, Ofgem recognises that a one size fits all licensing framework may be too prescriptive for some business models and introduced a Licence Lite which allows aspiring suppliers or distributed energy generators to apply for a supply licence and receive a direction which relieves them from the obligation in SLC 11.2 – compliance with industry codes. In addition, Ofgem have introduced a regulatory sandbox in which innovators can try new products and business models.

Government and Ofgem are reviewing the licensing framework in light of changing business models and our commitment to reach Net Zero. We want to ensure that the regulatory regime continues to protect consumers and is flexible in response to a changing energy system.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the future of sustainability of car manufacturing in the UK in the event that no trade deal is agreed with the EU before the end of the transition period.

We are confident we can reach a deal and will continue to work hard to reach an agreement with the EU, for as long as there is a constructive process ongoing. The Political Declaration sets out our ambition for a zero tariff and zero quota Free Trade Agreement.

Extensive engagement has taken place and continues between the Government and the automotive sector on future trade negotiations. We shall continue to work with companies over the next few months to ensure that they are well prepared for the end of the transition period.

In addition, the Government has a long-standing programme of support to maintain the competitiveness of the UK automotive sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure private companies provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for their workforce; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of penalising firms who reject requests from workers for PPE.

We have provided guidance on how to work safely in a number of different working environments, such as offices, factories, and working outdoors – so that employers can use the guidance which is most relevant to them. Ensuring the safety of all workers is at the forefront of this guidance. Our approach is clinically led, based on the expert advice of the UK’s Chief Medical Officer for England, the NHS and Public Health England. We are led by the evolving science in this work and as the scientific and medical advice changes, the guidance will be updated to reflect this.

Where workers already wear PPE for protection against non-COVID risks, such as dust, they should continue to wear this PPE.

The best way to manage the risk of COVID-19 is to implement robust social distancing measures and other physical controls. Outside of a clinical setting there is very little evidence to support the use of PPE and we would anticipate that an employer’s risk assessment and risk management decisions would reflect that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited.

We recommend that PPE is not used in working environments where it would not normally be required. Good hygiene and minimising social contact remain the most effective way of managing the risks of COVID-19. However, if an employers’ risk assessment does show that PPE is required, employers must provide this PPE free of charge to employees.

Employers should consult with unions and employees when carrying out their risk assessment to make sure their concerns can be taken into account. If employees continue to have concerns, they can raise them with union safety representatives, or ultimately with the organisation responsibility for enforcement in their workplace, either the Health and Safety Executive or their local authority.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to take steps to prevent travel agents from withholding a proportion of refunds for holidays that have been cancelled as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Package travel agencies are required to comply with The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, which protect consumers who have bought package holidays. Consumers are entitled to a refund?if forced to cancel a package holiday due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances, which should be issued?within 14 days, depending on the nature of the contract in place. BEIS officials have held regular discussions with travel and tourism sector representatives, travel businesses and consumer advocacy bodies to assess the impact of cancellations made in light of the covid-19 outbreak. Further information on the rights and responsibilities of consumers and businesses was published on 30 April by the Competition and Markets Authority who have also set up a covid-19 taskforce for consumers seeking refunds.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to require that utility companies pause non-urgent gas inspections during the covid-19 outbreak.

Under Gas Supplier Licence Condition 29 (SLC29) Gas Suppliers are required on request to carry out free annual gas safety checks to certain vulnerable domestic customers living in non-rented premises.

In the current circumstances, Ofgem does not consider it is necessary for it to relax Condition 29 because gas suppliers undertake their free annual gas safety checks only on request by and with the permission of the customer.

This position is held under the current circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic provided that relevant parties follow the Government guidance, public health advice and safety legislation more generally. Ofgem’s Chief Executive Jonathan Brearley wrote to the energy supply companies on 8 April 2020 setting out the expectations of them during the COVID-19 outbreak and reminding them of their primary need to follow this guidance, public health advice and safety legislation.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps are being taken to support self-employed professionals to compensate for lost business during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government is closely monitoring developments in relation to potential economic impacts on the UK economy, including on individuals, individual businesses, supply chains and for consumers.

We want to make sure our welfare system works quickly and effectively to provide security for people.

Self-employed individuals who are not eligible to receive sick pay may be able to claim Universal Credit and/or new style Employment and Support Allowance. For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice. The Government have announced additional financial support which includes £330bn in loans and £20bn in other aid, business rates holiday and grants for retailers and pubs.

A dedicated helpline has been set up to help self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline can be contacted from 11 March 2020 for advice and support. To ensure ongoing support, HMRC have made a further 2,000 experienced call handlers available to support firms and individuals when needed.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to take steps to ensure that households with pre-paid electricity meters continue to have electricity in the event that occupants are required to self-isolate as a result of covid-19.

At the end of 2019 36% of all prepayment meters were smart meters in pre-payment mode, which enable energy consumers to top up without needing to leave their homes.

There are existing general protections for traditional prepayment meter customers who are unable to access top-up outlets, including emergency credit if credit has been exhausted on the meter. Suppliers also operate a friendly hour’s policy, when supply would not be interrupted, normally during evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays.

For traditional prepayment meters, suppliers can also send pre-loaded keycards to customers to provide additional credit, where consumers need to self-isolate for a longer period of time. The consumer would need to inform their supplier that they need assistance.

The Department is actively engaging with Ofgem and industry to ensure all customers receive the support they need.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the (a) time taken to process applications at the Land Registry and (b) adequacy of that waiting period.

HM Land Registry (HMLR) receives 120,000 applications per day, of which 95% are processed within the service standard of 5 days for register updates (to an existing title) and 25 days for more complex applications that require the creation of a new title (for example on the first registration of a property or a new lease). There is a backlog of some complex casework involving the creation of a new title, which account for 5% of applications.

HMLR recognise that this situation needs addressing and are implementing plans to reduce the waiting times for those cases. These applications relate to an already completed property transaction but HMLR will expedite cases where necessary to avoid adverse impacts on customers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional steps her Department has taken to increase the supply of renewable energy production.

This Government is committed to meeting net zero by 2050, and in 2019, the Government became the first major economy in the world to have legislated for a net zero target to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050. We agree with the Committee on Climate Change’s view on the importance of a diverse mix of power generation sources to achieve that with renewables providing the majority of our electricity by 2050 alongside firm low carbon power from sources such as nuclear, and gas or biomass generation with carbon capture and storage.

The Government has introduced many initiatives to increase the supply of renewable energy production in the UK and with this support, carbon emissions have reduced by 42%, while the economy has grown by 73% since 1990. We have also seen rapid deployment of solar PV over the last 8 years, with over 99% of the UK’s solar PV capacity deployed since May 2010 and half of the world’s offshore wind deploying in the UK. We have committed up to £557m of annual support for future Contracts for Difference, providing developers with the confidence they need to invest in bringing forward new projects and we are supporting our world-leading offshore wind industry through the 2019 sector deal.

In order to support smaller scale renewable electricity generation, the Government introduced the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) on 1 January, which gives small scale low-carbon electricity generators, such as homes with solar panels, the right to be paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid. Unlike the previous Feed-in Tariff scheme, the SEG is a market-driven mechanism. It paves the way to projects being deployed without subsidies.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) supports the transition to low-carbon heating in the UK, helping generate renewable heat for schools, hospitals and more than 12,000 social housing properties. The scheme is designed to bridge the gap between the cost of fossil fuel heat sources and renewable heat alternatives through financial support for owners of participating installations. The RHI helps to sustain and build the supply-chains needed to deliver our aspirations for renewable heat in 2020 and beyond

We are working to develop a new policy framework for the long-term decarbonisation of heat. We have committed to publishing a policy roadmap in summer 2020. This will set out the programme of work required to enable key strategic decisions in the first half of 2020 on how we achieve mass transition to low carbon heating.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department plans to commission an independent review into the cost of energy.

The government plans to publish an Energy White Paper in 2020, which will address the transformation of the energy system in line with our net zero commitment and will set out the importance of affordable energy in support of a high productivity economy.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment her Department has made of the effect on people on low incomes of increasing the minimum top up amount on a prepayment meter; and whether she has had discussions with (a) British Gas and (b) other energy providers on such a change.

British Gas are introducing a minimum top up of £5 for most of their prepayment customers starting on 1 January. This is a commercial decision of British Gas. Although a £5 minimum top up is not uncommon practice amongst suppliers, there are many that offer a minimum top up of £1.

BEIS officials are liaising with Ofgem to confirm whether they were given prior notification of British Gas’ decision, and also that British Gas has met its obligation to treat customers fairly and ensure that each customer was provided with information about the assistance and advice that is available to them.

Customers are protected through the price caps on standard variable and prepayment meter tariffs. A key challenge now is for suppliers to put the consumer first and improve their customer service.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much of the £300 million summer sports recovery package, announced in 2021, has been delivered to cricket organisations; and which organisations have received that funding.

The Sport Survival Package launched in November 2020 to ensure sport organisations survive the period of coronavirus restrictions which prevented spectators from attending spectator sport events. Whilst coronavirus restrictions were in place, we engaged with the whole sport sector, including the England and Wales Cricket Board as cricket’s national governing body, to understand the evolving challenges and support recovery. No cricket organisations applied for funding through the package and therefore did not receive Survival Package support. Every eligible organisation who could demonstrate an urgent financial need in alignment with the fund criteria received support from the package.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will publish a strategy setting out how the UK can help ensure resilience in (a) domestic and (b) international supply chains of semiconductors and other critical technologies.

The Government recognises the importance of semiconductor technology to the global economy. Semiconductors are a fundamental enabling technology for electronic devices and there is significant attention being paid to the sector internationally, not least because a confluence of unexpected events have caused a global chips shortage with global ramifications. The supply chains for semiconductor products are incredibly complex, spanning a large number of countries and the government understands the potential for future disruptions to the supply chain.

The Government is reviewing its approach to the semiconductors sector working closely with industry experts and representative bodies. We are considering how best to mitigate the risk of future disruption to technology supply chains, and ensure that the UK can continue to get access to the chips it needs. We are working closely with our international partners, recognising that, as a set of global markets, these issues cannot be solved by the UK alone.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is taking steps to review the resilience of (a) semiconductor and (b) other critical technology supply chains.

The Government recognises the importance of semiconductor technology to the global economy. Semiconductors are a fundamental enabling technology for electronic devices and there is significant attention being paid to the sector internationally, not least because a confluence of unexpected events have caused a global chips shortage with global ramifications. The supply chains for semiconductor products are incredibly complex, spanning a large number of countries and the government understands the potential for future disruptions to the supply chain.

The Government is reviewing its approach to the semiconductors sector working closely with industry experts and representative bodies. We are considering how best to mitigate the risk of future disruption to technology supply chains, and ensure that the UK can continue to get access to the chips it needs. We are working closely with our international partners, recognising that, as a set of global markets, these issues cannot be solved by the UK alone.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to tackle skills shortages in the performing arts technical skills sector.

As the creative sectors continue to grow and build back better from the pandemic, the government understands the importance of ensuring that the creative industries do not suffer from skills shortages, including the performing arts technical skills sector. That is why the government has supported initiatives to boost training and employment opportunities in these sectors, such as the industry-led Creative Careers Programme.

Throughout the pandemic, DCMS Ministers and officials have had, and continue to have, regular meetings and discussions with representatives of the theatre sector on a range of issues. The Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay has had a number of meetings with theatres, both one-to-one and collectively. In February, the Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure held a creative apprentices roundtable with industry to mark apprenticeships week - this was attended by apprentices from the Royal Opera House and the National Theatre. We continue to involve the theatre sector in ongoing policy work.

At last year’s Budget, the Chancellor announced a new £7 million pilot fund to test ‘flexi-job’ apprenticeships, which will better suit the working practices of the creative industries and enable more young people to enter the workforce. This builds on the DCMS-funded ScreenSkills Apprenticeship Pilot with Netflix and Warner Media, relaunched last Summer with apprentices working across multiple productions and employers.

DCMS supports the industry-led Creative Careers Programme, which has to date showcased creative career pathways to over 115,000 pupils at over 1,500 schools across England, as well as the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme through which over 8,000 creative industry placements are now available to young people across the country.

DCMS is also leading on the development of a Creative Industries Sector Vision, due to be published in summer 2022, which will set out our vision for the sector in 2030 and a long-term strategy focused on promoting growth within the sector. This includes considering the skills, workforce and talent pipeline challenges and opportunities for the sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with the theatre industry about skills and training opportunities in the performing arts technical skills sector.

As the creative sectors continue to grow and build back better from the pandemic, the government understands the importance of ensuring that the creative industries do not suffer from skills shortages, including the performing arts technical skills sector. That is why the government has supported initiatives to boost training and employment opportunities in these sectors, such as the industry-led Creative Careers Programme.

Throughout the pandemic, DCMS Ministers and officials have had, and continue to have, regular meetings and discussions with representatives of the theatre sector on a range of issues. The Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay has had a number of meetings with theatres, both one-to-one and collectively. In February, the Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure held a creative apprentices roundtable with industry to mark apprenticeships week - this was attended by apprentices from the Royal Opera House and the National Theatre. We continue to involve the theatre sector in ongoing policy work.

At last year’s Budget, the Chancellor announced a new £7 million pilot fund to test ‘flexi-job’ apprenticeships, which will better suit the working practices of the creative industries and enable more young people to enter the workforce. This builds on the DCMS-funded ScreenSkills Apprenticeship Pilot with Netflix and Warner Media, relaunched last Summer with apprentices working across multiple productions and employers.

DCMS supports the industry-led Creative Careers Programme, which has to date showcased creative career pathways to over 115,000 pupils at over 1,500 schools across England, as well as the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme through which over 8,000 creative industry placements are now available to young people across the country.

DCMS is also leading on the development of a Creative Industries Sector Vision, due to be published in summer 2022, which will set out our vision for the sector in 2030 and a long-term strategy focused on promoting growth within the sector. This includes considering the skills, workforce and talent pipeline challenges and opportunities for the sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to increase the participation of BAME young people in grassroots football.

The government is clear that racism has no place in football, sport, or society at large. Our strategy ‘Sporting Future’ is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in sport and physical activity, including football. We are in regular dialogue with the football authorities across a range of matters, including tackling racism and increasing racial diversity in grassroots football.

In October 2021 the FA launched their new equality, diversity and inclusion strategy (2021-24) ‘A Game for All’. We also welcomed the launch of the County FA’s Code of Governance in May 2020 and the FA’s ‘Football Leadership Diversity Code’ in October 2020, which is a step in the right direction to ensure English football better represents our modern and diverse society, on and off the pitch. The FA has committed to following this with a version adapted, in 2021, for the National League System and grassroots clubs.

Opportunities for participation are crucial too. The government invests £18m a year into football facilities, through the Football Foundation, to improve access to quality facilities across the country with an additional £75m announced in 2021 as well. Inclusivity forms a part of the assessment criteria for any application for funding from the Foundation, with it being a core value of the organisation.

The government will continue to liaise closely with the football authorities on their efforts to improve diversity in the sport and will be addressing it in the upcoming revised Sport Strategy.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make it her policy to ban the use of website cookies.

The use of cookies and similar technologies is regulated by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR). Currently, PECR prohibits the placement of cookies and similar technologies on a person’s computer, or other connected device, without the consent of the individual. There are currently two exceptions from gaining consent; for purposes that are essential to provide an online service at someone’s request (e.g. to remember what’s in their online basket, or to ensure security in online banking) and where this technology is needed to transmit a communication over a communications network.

Organisations must provide clear information about what data is being collected via cookies and how it will be used, but we recognise that privacy information displayed in cookie banners can sometimes be long and complex. That is why we have been exploring a range of measures through the public consultation 'Data: A New Direction' to tackle the issue. Proposals include limiting cookie pop-up banners in relation to non-intrusive cookies, so that consumers can engage meaningfully with more important choices about how their personal data is used. We are also exploring how we can facilitate innovative technologies, such as browser-based solutions, to help people manage their consent preferences on the internet.

The consultation closed on 19 November 2021 and the government’s response will be published in the spring. The consultation paper can be viewed here.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the impact on accessibility to swimming pools for low income families' access to swimming pools of the VAT charged on the hire of swimming pools.

All generations and communities should be able to enjoy the physical and mental health, wellbeing, social and other benefits of being active; as well as having access to high quality facilities in which to do so.

Since May 2019 Sport England has invested £9,112,554 to support grassroots development in Swimming & Diving. Sport England continues to monitor participation levels throughout the country to ensure these investments are made where they are most needed.

The hiring of swimming pools, and swimming lessons, qualify for an exemption from VAT when certain conditions are met as outlined in VAT Notice 742 paragraph 5. The Government has no plans to change this.

Tax is reserved to the Chancellor of Exchequer and HM Treasury.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the prevalence of Islamophobia in organised sport.

Recent reports of racism in cricket have highlighted that discrimination, including anti-Muslim hatred, is sadly too prevalent within sport. There can be no place for it. The Government expects sports bodies to take robust action to tackle discrimination whenever and wherever it occurs.

Earlier this year UK Sport, Sport England and the other UK sports councils published reports into racism and racial inequalities in sport, including a report capturing people’s lived experiences of racism in sport. The sports councils have agreed some initial overarching commitments, and are working to develop their own action plans to further deliver on these commitments.

This is in addition to steps such as the forthcoming update of UK Sport and Sport England’s Code for Sports Governance, which will place an increased focus on diversity in decision making and ensuring that sports organisations reflect the communities they serve. Sports receiving the most funding will be required to agree a diversity and inclusion action plan with Sport England and UK Sport, which will be published and updated annually.

Getting faith groups more involved in sport and activity is also a key part of Sport England’s 10-year strategy “Uniting the Movement”, published earlier this year. Through this strategy Sport England have committed to providing opportunities to people and communities that have traditionally been left behind and helping to remove the barriers to activity.

The Government, and our sports councils, are committed to making sure sport is inclusive for everyone. Where action taken by sports does not go far enough, the government is prepared to step in.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the prevalence of racism in professional cricket; and what steps she plans to take to tackle that matter.

For a full answer please refer to the Urgent Question debated on Tuesday 9 November 2021.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will commit to allocating funding to youth centres in Hornsey and Wood Green constituency.

The Youth Investment Fund (YIF) is designed to achieve levelling up across the country. The YIF will invest in safe spaces for young people in the areas of greatest need, giving them access to support from youth workers and enabling them to engage in beneficial activities. Plans for the fund are subject to the 2021 Spending Review, following the DCMS review of its offer to young people.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she plans to take to protect jobs in the travel industry after the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Government has provided over £35 billion in support to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors over the course of the pandemic in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks.

For example, the Government cut VAT for tourism and hospitality activities to 5% last July, with this significantly reduced rate remaining until the end of this month. To help businesses manage the transition back to the standard rate, a 12.5% rate will then apply for a further six months.

We are committed to supporting tourism’s return to pre-pandemic levels ahead of independent forecasts, as set out in the Government's Tourism Recovery Plan published in June. The Government is regularly engaging with stakeholders, including via the Tourism Industry Council, to monitor the pandemic’s impact and to support the sector’s recovery.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what financial support will be made available to the tourism industry after the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Government has provided over £35 billion in support to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors over the course of the pandemic in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks.

For example, the Government cut VAT for tourism and hospitality activities to 5% last July, with this significantly reduced rate remaining until the end of this month. To help businesses manage the transition back to the standard rate, a 12.5% rate will then apply for a further six months.

We are committed to supporting tourism’s return to pre-pandemic levels ahead of independent forecasts, as set out in the Government's Tourism Recovery Plan published in June. The Government is regularly engaging with stakeholders, including via the Tourism Industry Council, to monitor the pandemic’s impact and to support the sector’s recovery.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the context of racist online abuse received by Sir Lewis Hamilton after winning the 2021 British Grand Prix, what steps he is taking with (a) social media companies and (b) sporting bodies and organisations to tackle racist online abuse of sportspeople.

The racist abuse targeted at Sir Lewis Hamilton and other sportspeople is unacceptable. Under the draft Online Safety Bill, services in scope will need to minimise and remove illegal content. Major platforms will also need to address legal but harmful content for adults. The Bill has been published in draft for pre-legislative scrutiny. The process to formally set up the Joint Committee that will scrutinise the draft Bill has begun.

The Government’s sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’ sets out a clear ambition to increase diversity, and tackle racism and inequality in sport.

In addition, Sport England, UK Sport and the other home nations’ sports councils recently published the results of a detailed, independent review into tackling racism and racial inequality in sport. Each Council is now developing its own action plans to deliver on commitments relating to people; representation; investment; systems and insight.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to encourage growth in the creative industries.

The creative industries contributed approximately £116bn to the UK economy in 2019. The Government has recognised the sector as one of the key sectors to drive growth across the country in the Chancellor’s Plan for Growth.

We are actively supporting the creative industries through a range of initiatives such as:

  • £4m towards the Creative Scale-Up programme which seeks to help creative businesses expand their operations.

  • £39m towards the Creative Clusters programme through UKRI which connects businesses and academia to take advantage of the most recent research and innovations so they can grow.

  • £33m towards the Audience of the Future which encouraged creative businesses to use innovative new technologies to reach new audiences.

  • £20m towards the first round of the Cultural Development Fund to support business growth and productivity through investment in cultural and creative infrastructure via five projects in places like Wakefield and Worcester, in addition to a further £18.5m for a second round as part of the landmark Cultural Investment Fund, launched in May 2021.

  • HMG committed over £2m to the Creative Careers Programme which aims to address aspirational and informational barriers to entry amongst young people and their carers. To date over 115,000 young people have engaged with the programme at over 1500 schools in England and Wales.

  • Continuing to work with industry through the Creative Industries Trade and Investment Board to increase exports in the creative industries.

  • The Government supports trade promotion in the CIs through DIT’s export hubs, the Internationalisation Fund, the Export Academy. All this support will feature in the Creative Industries Export Campaign which will encourage both new exporters and companies wanting to look at new export markets to take advantage of the fantastic opportunities available to the UK as an independent trading nation.

  • The Government is also looking carefully at options for an Export Office.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has commissioned Deloitte to produce guidance for the creative sector on visas and work permits for EU member states.

This government recognises the importance of the UK’s creative and cultural industries, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people.

The British people voted to take back control of our borders and end free movement with the EU in the 2016 referendum. That was a key part of the manifesto on which the Government won the 2019 election and is reflected in the agreement. It was inevitable therefore that there would be changes in the arrangements under which creative workers work in the EU.

UK performers, artists, and musicians are of course still able to tour and perform in the EU, and vice versa. As the Secretary of State has said, we have moved at pace and with urgency and have provided much greater clarity about the current position. We are committed to supporting the sectors as they get to grips with the changes to systems and processes. This includes the development of sector specific ‘landing pages’ for GOV.UK, aimed at the creative sectors, which will allow cultural and creative professionals to easily locate and access guidance that is relevant to them. We are also engaging directly with Member States to ensure their guidance on their visa and work permit requirements is clear and accessible.

Separately, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commissioned Deloitte to provide enhanced guidance on EU Member State immigration systems for GOV.UK to help businesses navigate the new business travel rules, following the end of the Transition Period. The guidance is deliberately sector-neutral, but it does capture any mention of sector-specific rules that feature on Member State websites. So far, 15 country guides have been published, representing more than three quarters of UK services exports to the EU, Norway and Switzerland by value. The remainder will follow in the coming weeks.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has commissioned Deloitte to produce guidance for the creative sector on visas and work permits for EU member states.

This government recognises the importance of the UK’s creative and cultural industries, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people.

The British people voted to take back control of our borders and end free movement with the EU in the 2016 referendum. That was a key part of the manifesto on which the Government won the 2019 election and is reflected in the agreement. It was inevitable therefore that there would be changes in the arrangements under which creative workers work in the EU.

UK performers, artists, and musicians are of course still able to tour and perform in the EU, and vice versa. As the Secretary of State has said, we have moved at pace and with urgency and have provided much greater clarity about the current position. We are committed to supporting the sectors as they get to grips with the changes to systems and processes. This includes the development of sector specific ‘landing pages’ for GOV.UK, aimed at the creative sectors, which will allow cultural and creative professionals to easily locate and access guidance that is relevant to them. We are also engaging directly with Member States to ensure their guidance on their visa and work permit requirements is clear and accessible.

Separately, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commissioned Deloitte to provide enhanced guidance on EU Member State immigration systems for GOV.UK to help businesses navigate the new business travel rules, following the end of the Transition Period. The guidance is deliberately sector-neutral, but it does capture any mention of sector-specific rules that feature on Member State websites. So far, 15 country guides have been published, representing more than three quarters of UK services exports to the EU, Norway and Switzerland by value. The remainder will follow in the coming weeks.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department undertook an assessment of the public health benefits of non-professional singing prior to publishing the covid-19 guidance that allows six people to sing together indoors.

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

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

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to increase participation in swimming and aquatics for black swimmers.

The Government is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in sport and physical activity, including swimming. Our strategy ‘Sporting Future’ sets out a clear ambition to increase levels of physical activity amongst under-represented groups, working closely with the sector to achieve this. We support the efforts of groups helping to promote diversity and inclusion in sport, including the Black Swimming Association who are working to increase swimming participation levels for black swimmers.

Sport England, DCMS's arm’s length body for grassroots sport in England, recently launched their new ten year strategy, Uniting the Movement. This reinforced their commitment to diversifying participation and tackling inequalities in sport and physical activity. Sport England have invested £12.6 million in Swim England to promote participation in swimming, including support for people from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Recently Swim England and the Black Swimming Association have announced a partnership to further increase numbers of participation in aquatic activity, which we welcome.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what correspondence the Government has had with the customs authorities of each EU Member State to ensure that border officials understand and uphold the exemption for musicians and accompanied instruments.

The EU’s customs legislation, the Union Customs Code, provides that relief from import duty can be given for portable musical instruments temporarily imported by travellers in order to be used as professional equipment, without the need to submit a formal customs declaration. The UK has an equivalent provision for similar movements into the UK. The management of EU import and export procedures are the responsibility of the customs authorities of the Member States. It is therefore important that individuals or businesses confirm the processes at their port of arrival and any conditions or procedures that may apply.

Officials in the Border and Protocol Delivery Group (BPDG) engage on a regular basis with the EU custom authorities. DCMS will continue to work with BPDG and the sector to engage with relevant customs authorities to address any issues facing musicians.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking with (a) the press and (b) media industries to tackle discriminatory speech towards the Haredi Jewish Community.

The government is committed to a free and independent press, and does not intervene in what the press can and cannot publish. We are clear, however, that with this freedom, comes responsibility, which media organisations must take seriously. It is important that there exists an independent self regulatory regime to ensure that the press adheres to a wide set of clear and appropriate standards, and to offer individuals a means of redress where these are not met.

The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). A small number of publishers have joined The Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS). These regulators issue codes of conduct which provide guidelines on a range of areas including discrimination, and set out the rules that members have agreed to follow.

Ofcom, the UK’s independent broadcast regulator, sets clear rules in its Broadcasting Code for licensed broadcasters to meet to ensure UK audiences are adequately protected from harmful material.

In addition, the government has been clear that more needs to be done to ensure safety online. Therefore this government is introducing new Online Harms legislation. This will require companies to tackle abuse on their services and take reasonable steps to protect users’ safety online. Users will be better able to report abuse, and should expect to receive appropriate support from the relevant platform if they do so.



1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how each regulatory mechanism governing consumer-compensation schemes with respect to broadband service providers is monitored to ensure it is (a) accessible to and (b) practically functional for individual consumers.

To help protect telecoms consumers, the Government strengthened Ofcom’s powers through the Digital Economy Act 2017. As a result, in April 2019, Ofcom introduced a voluntary automatic compensation scheme for customers of broadband and landline services for when things go wrong, such as missed engineer appointments, delayed start of a service or delayed repairs. BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Zen Internet, Utility Warehouse and Hyperoptic have all signed up to the scheme. The scheme is designed to help ensure customers receive appropriate redress when things go wrong and, over time, incentivise companies to improve their service.

Since its launch, Ofcom has been monitoring the scheme through regular engagement with the signatory companies, Openreach and with telecoms alternative dispute resolution providers. Under the voluntary agreement, signatories are also required to provide information to Ofcom, such as volumes of issues and the amounts of compensation paid. Following a review of the scheme in August 2020, Ofcom concluded that the scheme was launched successfully, that it covered around 80% of the broadband market, and that it had increased compensation payments to consumers where repairs or installations had been delayed.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that customers who have been identified as being of vulnerable or priority status under coronavirus guidance, and therefore in need of broadband services as critical infrastructure, are able to ensure prompt repair and resumption of their broadband services where those are suspended.

The Government recognises the importance of digital connectivity, particularly during this difficult period. For repairs, broadband providers are able to send new equipment to their consumers via postal delivery or using click and collect services, and telecoms engineers are able to visit residential properties to instal or fix broadband connections under the current Covid-19 guidelines.

More broadly, Ofcom has rules in place, known as general conditions, which all providers must follow, that mandate communication providers to have procedures and policies in place to identify and support vulnerable consumers. Under these industry rules, providers must provide a priority fault repair service for disabled consumers of landline, broadband and mobile services.

Ofcom has also recently published a vulnerability guide for providers, setting out their expectations and good practice on how vulnerable telecoms consumers should be supported. This includes steps providers can take to identify vulnerable consumers, and an expectation that all providers implement specialist teams in order to provide extra support for vulnerable consumers.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department is providing support to national museums on the furloughing of their staff under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

In accordance with the guidance issued by HM Revenue & Customs, the national museums - as publicly funded bodies - are expected to consult their sponsor department before applying to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In recognition of their reliance on self-generated income which would normally supplement their Grant in Aid from government, DCMS has agreed that the national museums and galleries may furlough staff where it is necessary and proportionate to do so, and in such a way that ensures value for public money.

27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure Internet Service Providers promptly complete repair work to ensure a reliable internet connection.

To protect telecoms consumers the government has strengthened Ofcom’s powers through the Digital Economy Act 2017. As a result, in April 2019, Ofcom introduced a voluntary automatic compensation scheme for customers of broadband and landline services for when things go wrong, such as missed engineer appointments, delayed start of a service or delayed repairs. BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Zen Internet, Utility Warehouse and Hyperoptic have all signed up to the scheme.

The scheme is designed to help ensure customers receive appropriate redress when things go wrong and, over time, incentivise companies to improve their service. Following a review of the scheme in August 2020 Ofcom concluded that the scheme was launched successfully, that it now covers around 80% of the broadband market and that it has increased compensation payments to consumers where repairs or installations had been delayed.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional funding his Department plans to make available to sports clubs to carry out additional cleaning of sports facilities required to restart outdoor club sports during the covid=-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. It is important that sports clubs remain accessible for people from all backgrounds as we make efforts to return to normality after the Covid lockdown period.

Sport England have announced a £210 million package of support to help community clubs through this crisis.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance he has published for amateur sports clubs to return safely during the covid-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. It is important that sports clubs remain accessible for people from all backgrounds as we make efforts to return to normality after the Covid lockdown period.

Government guidance on team sports is available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/return-to-recreational-team-sport-framework#team-sport-guidance

Guidance on indoor sports is available: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/providers-of-grassroots-sport-and-gym-leisure-facilities

General guidance is available on line at :www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus

This guidance includes advice on existing rules on social distancing and hygiene, and updates on those rules when they change with the evolving situation.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the findings of the sport and leisure sector task force were in relation to soft play and indoor play centres; and when those centres will be allowed to re-open as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

On 13 August, the Government announced that indoor play and indoor soft play venues can open from 15 August. We have also been working with BALPPA, the trade body that represents the industry to develop guidance that lays out detailed measures that should be taken by indoor play and indoor soft play operators to make venues COVID-secure. These include closing ball pits and sensory areas, reducing capacity of venues and soft play frames, regular deep cleaning, pre-bookable timed sessions, increased sanitation, and a rigorous process to support track and trace. Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active and the Government is committed to reopening facilities as soon as it is safe to do so. Since 4 July other indoor facilities, including some indoor games, recreation and entertainment venues have reopened.


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

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with representatives from the swimming sector (a) ahead of and (b) following the decision not to allow swimming pools to reopen in the next phase of the easing of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by understanding the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities.

We recognise the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and we agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

We are holding regular discussions with representatives from the leisure sector and national sports organisations including swimming to develop guidance that will support them to open their facilities in a timely and safe manner once lockdown measures are eased.


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

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the continued closure of swimming pools during the covid-19 outbreak on people's physical and mental wellbeing.

We recognise the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy both mentally and physically. We are holding regular discussions with representatives from the leisure sector and national sports organisations including swimming to develop guidance that will support them to open their facilities in a timely and safe manner once lockdown measures are eased.

The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by understanding the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the continued closure of swimming pools on swimming pool operators.

We recognise the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy both mentally and physically. We are holding regular discussions with representatives from the leisure sector and national sports organisations including swimming to develop guidance that will support them to open their facilities in a timely and safe manner once lockdown measures are eased.

The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by understanding the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the scientific advice the Government received to support the decision not to reopen swimming pools.

The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by understanding the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities.

We recognise the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and we agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the level of support required by BAME charities working to support people in Hornsey and Wood Green constituency who are being disproportionately affected by covid-19.

BAME charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises play a vital role in supporting communities throughout the country. Their work has become even more critical in the response to this unprecedented crisis.

Government recognises that organisations require extra support in order to continue their vital work while experiencing significant pressures due to Covid-19, through either, or both, a loss of income and increasing demand for services increases.

This is why the government has made an unprecedented £750 million package of support available, specifically for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF) forms a central part of this package, and is being administered through the National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF). £200 million has now been made available for TNLCF to distribute and they are engaging extensively with BAME organisations to improve the reach of the Fund.

A diverse advisory panel has been set up to assist in the distribution process for the Fund. DCMS will continue to work closely to assess how we can support BAME charities and social enterprises in doing their important work. The Minister for Civil Society holds a fortnightly roundtable to hear directly from BAME civil society organisations to highlight concerns and responses to Covid-19. DCMS will continue to work closely to assess how we can support BAME charities and social enterprises in doing their important work.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department plans to allow the reopening of outside gyms and sport pitches following their closure in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active and the Government is committed to reopening facilities, including outside gyms and sport pitches as soon as it is safe to do so.

We are holding regular discussions with representatives from across the sport sector to develop guidance that will support them to open their facilities in a timely and safe manner once lockdown measures are eased.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the creative industries following the covid-19 lockdown.

We appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to many of DCMS’ sectors including the creative industries, which is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

DCMS is engaging with a range of departments to support the economic response, and ensuring that the needs of its sectors, and those who work in them, are fully understood. DCMS will continue to work with these valuable sectors to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

To ensure we are assisting all our sectors as effectively as possible, regular ministerially-chaired roundtables are held with business representative organisations as well as trade associations from across the Creative Industries. In addition, officials are in regular contact with stakeholders from these sectors, and we continue to speak with HM Treasury colleagues to ensure that the full spectrum of government support reaches the UK's world-leading media and Creative Industries.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department provides to Leisure Trusts that are not eligible for the covid-19 business support schemes introduced by the Government.

The Government is aware of the financial challenges that the leisure sector is facing and is in discussions with sector representatives and local authorities to explore what additional support is needed.

As set out on 1 May, the Government is making a further £617m available through a Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund to support small businesses previously outside the scope of existing business grant funding schemes. Grants up to a maximum of £25,000 will be available and the allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.

Through Sport England, DCMS has made available a £210m package of support to the sport and physical activity sector to support it through the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes a £35m Community Emergency Fund to support organisations suffering immediate financial hardship.
Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take to enable the timely reopening of swimming pools after the covid-19 lockdown is lifted.

On 11 May, the government published updated guidance on lockdown measures, including updates on how people can be active in outdoor spaces and on outdoor sports courts as long as they participate by themselves, or with members from their same household, or two metres apart from one member of another household.

The government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health. The government is in discussions with representatives from the sport and physical activity sector about the steps required to restart grassroots sport and will update the public when it is deemed safe to open up indoor facilities such as swimming pools, leisure centres and gyms.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of swimming pool closures on people that cannot exercise on land as a result of health conditions.

It is vital that people continue to be active throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to support their physical and mental wellbeing. It is also important that those people who have to overcome specific barriers to getting active are supported as far as possible to continue to engage in activity.

The Government has not undertaken a specific assessment of the effect of swimming pool closure on this group of people. However, Sport England is gathering data on the impact of lockdown restrictions on different demographic groups via a weekly survey. It has also launched its ‘Join the Movement’ campaign which provides resources and tips via its #stayinworkout hub on how people can access activities that best meet their needs whilst maintaining social distancing.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing financial support for football league teams in the event that they play matches without fans as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities, they have unique social value and many with a great history.

We will continue to liaise closely with the sector as the situation develops.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what information his Department held on the Rugby Football Union’s plans to reduce funding for championship clubs; and what steps he is taking to help ensure the viability of club rugby.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport does not hold any information on the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) plans to reduce funding for championship clubs. The stewardship of rugby union in England is the responsibility of the RFU, as the National Governing Body for the sport. The Government expects good governance from all our sports bodies, as set out in the sports governance code.

Through Sport England, government has invested £11.53m into grassroots rugby union in the three years to 2018/19. This includes investment in both the RFU as the national governing body for the sport, together with investment in specific community rugby union projects. Over this time period, Sport England has invested a further £12.61m in multi-sport projects where rugby union is one of the sports benefitting.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to tackle ticket-touting in sport.

We are committed to cracking down on unacceptable behaviour in the ticketing market and improving fans’ chances of buying tickets at a reasonable price. We have strengthened the existing ticketing information requirement in the Consumer Rights Act 2015, and have introduced a new criminal offence of using automated software to buy more tickets online than that allowed.

We support the work of enforcement agencies in this area, such as the Competition and Markets Authority, National Trading Standards, and the advertising industry's own regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority.

Recent announcements of enforcement action by these agencies demonstrate that we are prepared to go after those who flout the law or abuse the ticketing market.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of his Department's spending was allocated to grassroots sport in each year from 2010.

Between April 2010 and March 2019, The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has provided over £870m in Exchequer funding to Sport England, the arms-length body of government responsible for investing in and supporting grassroots sport in England. The table below provides a year-by-year breakdown.

Sport England Grant-In-Aid/Funding

Year

Outturn £'000

2010/11

£121,389

2011/12

£97,571

2012/13

£99,814

2013/14

£88,634

2014/15

£83,044

2015/16

£93,885

2016/17

£105,649

2017/18

£81,343

2018/19

£98,765

Details of DCMS's Exchequer funding to other policy areas can be found in the department's annual reports which are available online.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of his Department's work is dedicated to sport.

At 31 December 2019 DCMS employed 1,264 Civil Servants, 50 of whom worked directly on projects relating to sport. A significant number of staff cannot be directly linked to digital, culture, media or sport as they are either part of the corporate centre (e.g Finance and HR), part of cross-cutting teams working across multiple policy areas (e.g the department’s Central Analytical Team) or part of teams which aren’t directly linked to any of these areas (e.g. the Office for Civil Society and the Gambling team).

This information relates to Civil Servants on DCMS’ payroll. This includes permanent staff, those on fixed-term contracts, those on paid loan/secondment in/out of DCMS and those on paid maternity leave. DCMS also sponsors a number of Arms Length Bodies (ALBs) which work on projects related to sport, including Sport England, the Birmingham Organising Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Sports Grounds Safety Authority, UK Anti-Doping, and UK Sport. Their total staff numbers are as follows:

Sport England

289

Birmingham Organising Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games

117

Sports Grounds Safety Authority

20

UK Anti-Doping

76

UK Sport

151

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to introduce safe-standing at football stadia in the event that the Sports Ground Safety Authority review makes that recommendation.

As set out in our manifesto, the government is already committed to work with fans and clubs towards introducing safe standing. To deliver this we will be relying upon the expertise of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to ensure existing levels of safety are maintained, and I welcome the latest findings from research they have commissioned in this area.

Over a million people watch live football at a ground every week, and this an issue many feel passionately about, but it is imperative that watching football continues to be safe. The SGSA will continue to gather evidence over the remainder of this season and work with the relevant authorities, clubs and fans to deliver our commitments.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics on levels of grassroots sport participation.

Government commissioned an independent consortium to carry out a meta-evaluation of the benefits of London 2012. These reports are published on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/london-2012-meta-evaluation) and cover a broad range of research areas such as grassroots sport participation economic benefits, sustainability standards and the impact on volunteering.

Government, in conjunction with the Mayor of London, published four annual reports on legacy between 2013 and 2016. These described legacy benefits in the areas of sport and physical activity, economic impact, communities, East London regeneration and the impact from the Paralympics. Again, these reports are available on GOV.UK via https://www.gov.uk/society-and-culture/2012-olympic-and-paralympic-legacy.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to increase levels of cycling.

Government is committed to making sure that everyone regardless of ability or background feels able to take part in sport and physical activity. Government’s Sporting Future strategy committed to increasing levels of physical activity regardless of the type of sport or activity.

Over 2017-21, through Sport England, government is investing over £17m in British Cycling to support the growth of grassroots cycling and cycling talent.

Since 2017, Sport England has separately invested more than £4.5m directly in grassroots cycling projects to support the growth of cycling at local level.

Government is also investing up to £15m in off-road cycling facilities to help drive a legacy from the 2019 UCI Road World Cycling Championships held in Yorkshire.

Almost £2 billion is projected to be invested in cycling and walking infrastructure over the 5 years from 2016/17 to 2020/21, and spending in England has doubled from £3.50 per head to around £7 per head over the current Spending Review period.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment on the effect on older people of the decision by the BBC to end the red button service; and what representations he has made to the BBC on this decision.

The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government; therefore, the government has no role in deciding whether BBC services, such as the BBC Red Button teletext service, should be continued.

It is the BBC’s responsibility to assess the potential effect of the closure of the BBC Red Button service on older people. The Government welcomes the BBC's decision to pause the closure of the Red Button service, ahead of its review of the impact of the closure on the most vulnerable including the elderly, and deaf and blind licence fee payers.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help older people manage the increasing reliance on technology in society.

Government is committed to helping elderly people acquire basic digital skills.

Through the £400,000 Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund, the Government is supporting projects aimed at addressing the digital exclusion of older and disabled people. One pilot, led by Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service, is developing “smart homes” for elderly people to improve their digital skills, supported by their peers and younger ‘digital buddies’.

Government funds the Future Digital Inclusion programme delivered through Online Centres based in libraries and other community spaces. This supports some of the hardest to reach groups in society, including older people. Over the last five years, the programme has supported over 1.3 million adult learners to engage with digital technology and develop their basic digital skills in community settings.

Libraries are a vital source of advice and support on digital skills. Government invested £2.6m to enable 99% of libraries in England to offer free wifi to users; and older people can also gain access and support in using computers and other technology.

Government ensures its services are accessible by design and for the services it provides, has committed to ensuring that assistance is always available for those who are not online. Government departments are mandated to provide assisted digital (offline) support for their services where it is required.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has had discussions with Premier League football teams on paying the living wage to their employees.

The National Living Wage is the statutory minimum wage for those aged 25 and over, and the Government is committed to ensuring that everyone entitled to the National Living Wage receives it.

It is up to individual businesses to decide whether they would like to pay employees under the age of 25, the National Living Wage.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department has provided to LGBT+ football fans in relation to tackling homophobia in that sport.

Homophobia or any form of discrimination has no place in football or society, and we want sport to be at the forefront of promoting equality.

On 15 January, I met with the Football Association and discussed their progress on combatting discrimination in football, including their work improving reporting mechanisms at grassroots levels. Whilst progress has been made, there is still more to do and we will be calling in all the footballing authorities for a further update about their work on this important issue.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport supports the work of Sport England (our national sport council) with the national governing bodies of individual sports and sport organisations on anti-homophobia initiatives aimed at encouraging inclusion, for example Stonewall's Rainbow Laces Campaign. Government is determined to show support for LGBT+ equality and inclusivity in sport, on and off the pitch.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Department has made an assessment of the adequacy of the powers of the Gambling Regulator.

The Gambling Commission has broad and flexible powers to set licence conditions and take action where there is evidence of harm, including the power to suspend or revoke a licence, impose financial penalties or prosecute criminal offences.

The Government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. We will announce further details in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to increase participation by people with disabilities in sport.

Government recognises the great importance of sport and physical activity for disabled people who take part, at both the grassroots and elite levels. Government’s strategy for sport and physical activity, ‘Sporting Future: A New Strategy for An Active Nation’, aims to create a more physically active nation, where people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy the benefits that sport and physical activity can provide. The strategy focuses on people in groups that are currently less likely to take part in sport and physical activity, which includes disabled people.

Sport England, our national sport council, invests in programmes that help disabled people get active and make sport more inclusive of their needs. They also ensure that programmes for disabled people are included across each of their investment programmes. Since 2016 they have invested almost £40m to support disabled people to get more active.


On 27 January I made a statement announcing our decision to add all future Paralympic Games to Ofcom’s list of “protected” sport events, meaning the Games will remain free to watch, rather than be subject to a subscription service or be paid for. This will enable the Games to reach the widest possible audience, and aims to increase visibility of para-sports globally. The full statement is available to read here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-01-27/HCWS66/.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help increase the participation of children in sport.

The School Sport and Activity Action Plan sets out our commitment to ensuring that all children and young people have access to at least 60 minutes of high quality PE and physical activity every day. We are working closely with the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care and will publish more detail on our ambitious plans later this year.

I regularly meet with Sport England who are investing over £190m into physical activity for children and young people over 2017-2021. This includes programmes such as the £40m Families Fund, which encourages low-income families with children to do sport and physical activity together. Sport England is also investing up to £125m to improve sports facilities across England.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the effect of in-game betting on the development of gambling problems among children and young people.

The Government is aware of concerns that entertainment products, such as some video games, could encourage gambling-like behaviour. We have committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age, and to consider concerns about loot boxes. We will announce further details in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle homophobia in sport.

The government recognises that there is no place for homophobia or any other kind of discrimination in sport. The government’s sport strategy ‘Sporting Future’ set out our intention to encourage as many people and groups to enjoy sport as participants, spectators and in the workforce, including the LGBT community.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport supports the work of Sport England (our national sport council) with the national governing bodies of individual sports and LGBT-focused sport organisations on anti-homophobia initiatives aimed at encouraging inclusion, for example Stonewall's Rainbow Laces Campaign.

Sport England have also commissioned Pride Sports to produce an in-depth report looking at barriers to LGBT participation including volunteering, provision, and attitudes and behaviours. This will also include a comprehensive look at LGBT participation, and a report on LGBT sport infrastructure across the country. Following this Sport England will consider what further steps could be taken to support LGBT participation.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle racism in sport.

The government is clear that racism has no place in sport or society at large. The sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. Government remains supportive of a number of anti-racism initiatives that work with sports bodies from grassroots to the elite, including Show Racism the Red Card and Kick it Out.

Over the past year the government has led debates in the House of Commons on tackling racism in sport (on 22nd May 2019 and 12th July 2019), and hosted an Anti-Racism Summit in February 2019. This led to the three main English football organisations making clear commitments to tackle racism in football stadia from July 2019. The Sports Minister met with the FA last week and discussed their progress in delivering against these commitments, and will be calling in all the footballing authorities for a further update about their work on this important issue. Further to these commitments, ministers and officials continue to speak to the FA and relevant football bodies to explore what more can be done.

Grassroots sport clubs receive support in tackling racism from our national sport council, Sport England, who provide free support and learning in running a club through its "Club Matters" programme.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if her Department will undertake a trial of safe standing areas in football stadia in England for the next football season.

We are working with the football authorities and supporters’ groups to deliver the government’s commitment to move towards introducing areas of standing in football stadia currently subject to the all-seater policy. I will be setting out the government’s next steps once I have considered the findings of the independent research commissioned by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority into the management of standing at football, the associated safety risks, and how these can be mitigated.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to enable a fan-led review into football club ownership and management.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities, they have unique social value and many with a great history. It is vital they are protected and fans should have their voices heard.

We have committed to a fan led review of football governance, which will include consideration of the Owners’ and Directors’ test. I recently met with the EFL to discuss the progress of their own review into club governance and we will take this into account as we decide the scope and structure of a government review.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that there are adequate numbers of early years teachers and practitioners.

The department recognises the huge contribution that early years educators make to giving every child the best start in life, and we are committed to supporting the sector to develop a workforce with the appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience to deliver high-quality early education and childcare.

That is why the department announced up to £153 million in programmes to support workforce development as part of our work to support recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department is also creating new early years training routes by increasing the number of places available for early years initial teacher training. Free level 3 early years qualifications are available through the Lifetime Skills Guarantee for adults without a level 3 or higher qualification, and from April 2022, eligibility was expanded to include adults who are unemployed or earning below the National Living Wage annually, regardless of any other qualifications held. Employer trailblazer groups have also developed level 2 and 3 apprenticeships, and in August 2021, the department launched a level 5 apprenticeship.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the (a) implications for his policies of the report by the Early Years Workforce Commission entitled A Workforce in Crisis: Saving Our Early Years, published in 2021 and (b) impact of levels of pay on early years staff.

The majority of the early years sector is made up of private, voluntary, and independent organisations who set their own rates of pay. However, the department acknowledges the concerns raised by the report, and more generally by the early years sector, regarding the perceived impact of salary rates and the link this has to workforce recruitment and retention.

The department is working with the sector to build our understanding of the early years workforce, and how we might support providers in this area.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve and expand education partnerships between the UK and Taiwan.

The UK’s longstanding policy on Taiwan has not changed. We have no diplomatic relations with Taiwan but a strong, unofficial relationship, based on dynamic commercial, educational and cultural ties, which we will continue to grow. Taiwan is the world’s 21st largest economy and the UK’s 28th largest trading partner.

Taiwan has set out plans to become a bilingual society in Mandarin and English by 2030. We are supporting this ambition by helping their efforts to ensure higher education can be taught in English, improve standards in teaching, learning and assessment of English, and build greater education links in both directions.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason funding for free school meals for all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 has not increased in line with inflation since that scheme was introduced in 2014.

Through the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Under this government, eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

In addition, the temporary extension of FSM eligibility to some groups with no recourse to public funds that has been in place since 2020 was extended to all groups and made permanent, subject to income thresholds.

The department thinks it is right that provision is aimed at supporting the most disadvantaged, those out of work or on the lowest income. We will continue to keep all FSM eligibility under review, to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

The department encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools.

It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the School Food Standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. The department is confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards. In recognition of cost pressures, after the National Funding Formula rates were set, we received additional funding from Her Majesty’s Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by 2.5 billion in 2022/23, compared to last year.

The department holds regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies. We also spend around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy, and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal policy in 2014. The per meal rate of £2.34 per child was increased in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to amend the eligibility criteria for free school meals in the context of the increases in the cost of living.

Through the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Under this government, eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

In addition, the temporary extension of FSM eligibility to some groups with no recourse to public funds that has been in place since 2020 was extended to all groups and made permanent, subject to income thresholds.

The department thinks it is right that provision is aimed at supporting the most disadvantaged, those out of work or on the lowest income. We will continue to keep all FSM eligibility under review, to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

The department encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools.

It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the School Food Standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. The department is confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards. In recognition of cost pressures, after the National Funding Formula rates were set, we received additional funding from Her Majesty’s Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by 2.5 billion in 2022/23, compared to last year.

The department holds regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies. We also spend around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy, and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal policy in 2014. The per meal rate of £2.34 per child was increased in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the cash for free school meals in primary schools, priced at £2.34 per meal.

Through the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Under this government, eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

In addition, the temporary extension of FSM eligibility to some groups with no recourse to public funds that has been in place since 2020 was extended to all groups and made permanent, subject to income thresholds.

The department thinks it is right that provision is aimed at supporting the most disadvantaged, those out of work or on the lowest income. We will continue to keep all FSM eligibility under review, to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

The department encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools.

It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the School Food Standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. The department is confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards. In recognition of cost pressures, after the National Funding Formula rates were set, we received additional funding from Her Majesty’s Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by 2.5 billion in 2022/23, compared to last year.

The department holds regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies. We also spend around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy, and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal policy in 2014. The per meal rate of £2.34 per child was increased in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with schools in England on the impact of inflation on the (a) size and (b) quality of school meals.

Through the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Under this government, eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

In addition, the temporary extension of FSM eligibility to some groups with no recourse to public funds that has been in place since 2020 was extended to all groups and made permanent, subject to income thresholds.

The department thinks it is right that provision is aimed at supporting the most disadvantaged, those out of work or on the lowest income. We will continue to keep all FSM eligibility under review, to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

The department encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools.

It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the School Food Standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. The department is confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards. In recognition of cost pressures, after the National Funding Formula rates were set, we received additional funding from Her Majesty’s Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by 2.5 billion in 2022/23, compared to last year.

The department holds regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies. We also spend around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy, and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal policy in 2014. The per meal rate of £2.34 per child was increased in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the number of language assistants from the EU in UK schools.

The department continues to welcome talented individuals to teach, or train to teach, in the UK, including through the Language Assistants Programme. UK schools can continue to benefit from the presence of a language assistant by applying through the official programme, managed by the British Council on behalf of the Department for Education and devolved administrations.

This year, requests to host modern language assistants (MLAs) in the UK have increased by 29%, from 506 to 653. These assistants will be supporting the teaching of languages across the UK during the 2022/23 academic year. The MLAs will come from 14 partner destinations worldwide, six of which are EU member states.

The language assistants programme is offering schools in the UK the option to apply for shorter posts of under six months. This is encouraging for both assistants and hosts, since MLAs applying to stay in the UK for less than six months do not have to pay for the health surcharge as part of the visa application, reducing the overall cost of hosting an MLA. This makes the programme more affordable and appealing for UK schools.

The British Council also runs targeted marketing campaigns, including case studies and information sessions, across educational institutions of all levels to show the wide-ranging benefits of hosting language assistants.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact on graduate disposable incomes of the increase in student loan interest rates.

The government has not yet made a decision on what interest rates will be applied to student loans from September 2022. We will be considering all options over the coming months and will confirm in due course the rates to apply from 1 September.

Changes to student loan interest rates will not increase monthly student loan repayments. Monthly repayments are calculated as a fixed percentage of earnings above the relevant repayment threshold and do not change based on interest rates or the amount borrowed. If income is below the relevant repayment threshold, or a borrower is not earning, then they do not have to make repayments at all. Any outstanding debt, including interest accrued, is written off after the loan term ends (or in case of death or disability) at no detriment to the borrower. There are no commercial loans that offer this level of protection.

Over a lifetime, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has made clear that changes in interest rates have a limited long-term impact on repayments. Interest rates affect lifetime repayments only for those who will repay their loans in full within the loan term (or who come very close to doing so), principally high earners and/or those with small loan balances. Currently only 23% of borrowers who enter full-time higher education (HE) next year are forecast to repay their loans in full.

To further protect borrowers, the government, by law, must cap maximum student loan rates to ensure the interest rate charged on the loan is in line with market rates for comparable unsecured personal loans. The government monitors student loan rates against the Bank of England’s data series for the effective interest rates on new and existing unsecured personal loans.

We announced in February 2022 that we will be reducing interest rates for new borrowers and so from 2023/24, new graduates will not, in real terms, repay more than they borrow. Alongside our wider reforms, this will help to make sure that students from all walks of life can continue to receive the highest-quality education from our world-leading HE sector.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to introduce a register of overseas donations for universities.

As my right hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has stated, we are further exploring the issues raised in the proposed Report Stage amendment to the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, seeking to introduce transparency and public reporting of foreign donations to universities.

I will provide an update on the outcome of this work when the Bill returns to the House of Commons.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will reintroduce Government Training Centres to help adults with learning new work skills.

The government has already put in place a wide range of opportunities for adults to gain the skills they need for employment. We are delivering the Lifetime Skills Guarantee to allow adults to upskill and reskill at different points in their life.

Provision for adults is available to learners across the country through a range of providers, including further education colleges and independent learning providers.

The department invests in education and skills training for adults through the adult education budget (AEB) (£1.34 billion in academic year 2021/22), which fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to help them gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship, or further learning.

The AEB also funds colleges and training providers to help adult learners to overcome barriers which prevent them from taking part in learning. This includes Learner Support, to support learners with a specific financial hardship, and Learning Support to meet the additional needs of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

We are investing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) in the National Skills Fund. This is a significant investment and has the potential to deliver new opportunities to generations of adults who may have been previously left behind.

We are investing £1.6 billion through the Fund in the next three years, on top of the £375 million already committed in financial year 2021/22. This is funding the free courses for jobs offer, which gives eligible adults the chance to access their first level 3 qualifications for free. In addition, we have recently announced that from April, any adult in England earning under the National Living Wage annually (£18,525) or unemployed, will also be able to access these qualifications for free, regardless of their prior qualification level.

Complementing this support for adults through the fund, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with an employer.

There will also be opportunities for adults across the whole of the UK to develop their numeracy skills through the Multiply programme, supported by £560 million across the next three years funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. This means that wherever people live, and whatever stage of life they are at, they will be able to access training and education that gives them the skills that employers want and can lead to good jobs and career progression.

There have been over 5 million apprenticeship starts since May 2010. Since 2015, we have transformed apprenticeships into a prestigious option that better meets the skills needs of employers across the country. There are currently over 640 high-quality, industry designed standards available and we are aiming to continue to improve and grow apprenticeships, so more employers and individuals can benefit from them. We are making apprenticeships more flexible for employers in all sectors and creating new pathways for high-quality employment.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with representatives of Hackney-based secondary schools on student protection and welfare.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has not had discussions with representatives of Hackney based secondary schools on student protection and welfare.

Department officials have recently met with representatives of Hackney local authority and have been advised of the local authorities’ intention to disseminate safeguarding guidance about searches and protocols to all schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to introduce a multi-sensory impairment education fund for all schools in England.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), including those with multi-sensory impairments, receive the support they need to succeed in their early years, at school, and at college.

This government continues to deliver year on year, real terms per pupil increases to school funding. The total core schools budget is increasing to £56.8 billion by the 2024/25 financial year. This represents a £7 billion cash increase, compared with the 2021/22 financial year.

Within that overall budget, the department is increasing high needs funding for children and young people with the most complex SEND, including those with multi-sensory impairment, by £1 billion in the financial year 2022-23, to a total of £9.1 billion.

Decisions around funding for SEND provision are taken locally. School leaders and local authorities have the flexibility to make their own decisions on how to prioritise their spending to invest in a range of resources and activities that will best support their pupils.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with schools to promote technical theatre skills as a valid career path.

The department works with The Careers & Enterprise Company to support schools and colleges to embed best practice so that young people are aware of the full range of careers, including technical theatre roles, and have access to meaningful encounters with a range of employers and workplaces.

The department funds Careers Hubs which lead partnerships of secondary schools, colleges, employers, Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities, and careers providers to help young people connect closely to local skills and economic needs through a responsive careers education programme. Through this network, schools can make links with employers from a wide range of sectors who are working with schools and colleges to improve careers education to help young people make informed choices and develop the skills they need and employers want.

Employers can register their interest to support schools and colleges, for example through the Enterprise Adviser Network or as a Cornerstone Employer, via The Careers & Enterprise Company’s website. This website is available here: https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/employers/become-a-cornerstone-employer/. Cornerstone Employers are a flagship group of employers from a range of sectors that work with networks of schools and colleges to improve careers education and make sure key skills for their sector are understood by teachers and education leaders.

In addition, The National Careers Service, a free, government-funded careers information, advice and guidance service draws on a range of labour market information to support and guide individuals. The service website gives customers access to a range of useful digital tools and resources to support them, including ‘Explore Careers’ which has information on more than 130 industry areas and more than 800 job profiles. This includes a range of technical theatre roles, describing what those roles entail, qualifications and entry routes.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase awareness of, and enhance, allergy management in schools.

Under Section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014, schools have a duty to support pupils at their school with medical conditions. This could include ensuring that a child with an allergy is able to eat a school lunch.

The Food Information Regulations 2014 requires all food businesses including school caterers to show the allergen ingredient information for the food they serve. This makes it easier for schools to identify the food that pupils with allergies can and cannot eat.

From October 2021, the Food Information Regulations include new requirements for the labelling of allergens on prepacked for direct sale foods. These are foods which are packaged on the premises before the consumer orders them.

Updated allergen guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of breakfast clubs on children's performance in schools.

The government is committed to continuing support for school breakfast clubs and we are investing up to £24 million to continue our national programme for the next two years. This funding will support around 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas, meaning that thousands of children from low income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to better support their attainment, wellbeing and readiness to learn.

The department recognises that healthy breakfast clubs can play an important role in ensuring children from all backgrounds have a healthy start to their day so that they enhance their learning potential. An independent evaluation by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, published by the Education Endowment Foundation, found that supporting schools to run a free of charge, universal breakfast club before school delivered an average of 2 months’ additional progress for pupils in Key Stage 1 with moderate to low security. This evaluation can be found here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects-and-evaluation/projects/magic-breakfast. In addition, a 2017 evaluation commissioned by the department also found that schools perceived important benefits from having a breakfast club, including improving concentration and behaviour in class. More information can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/603946/Evaluation_of_Breakfast_Clubs_-_Final_Report.pdf.

Throughout the current contract we will be working with our provider, Family Action, to monitor different aspects of the current programme, including the benefits the programme is having on pupils who are attending. We will consider the best opportunities to share information on the programme as it progresses.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will allocate additional funding to support breakfast clubs in schools in England.

The government is committed to continuing support for school breakfast clubs and we are investing up to £24 million to continue our national programme for the next two years. This funding will support around 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas, meaning that thousands of children from low income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to better support their attainment, wellbeing and readiness to learn.

The department recognises that healthy breakfast clubs can play an important role in ensuring children from all backgrounds have a healthy start to their day so that they enhance their learning potential. An independent evaluation by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, published by the Education Endowment Foundation, found that supporting schools to run a free of charge, universal breakfast club before school delivered an average of 2 months’ additional progress for pupils in Key Stage 1 with moderate to low security. This evaluation can be found here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects-and-evaluation/projects/magic-breakfast. In addition, a 2017 evaluation commissioned by the department also found that schools perceived important benefits from having a breakfast club, including improving concentration and behaviour in class. More information can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/603946/Evaluation_of_Breakfast_Clubs_-_Final_Report.pdf.

Throughout the current contract we will be working with our provider, Family Action, to monitor different aspects of the current programme, including the benefits the programme is having on pupils who are attending. We will consider the best opportunities to share information on the programme as it progresses.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on (a) non-Christian festivals such as Eid and Diwali being recognised more in state schools and (b) allowing non-Christian students to get a legal holiday for their religious festivals.

Schools play an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain. This involves supporting pupils to understand the society in which they grow up and teaching about respect for other people and for difference. All schools are required to actively promote fundamental British values, including mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs.

The government does not specify how schools should teach religious education or the topics that religious education must cover. State funded schools either follow a locally agreed syllabus for religious education or design and deliver their own curriculum. This leaves them free to recognise or teach about non-Christian festivals if they choose to.

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, as amended, sets out that schools should treat a pupil’s absence as authorised if it is on a day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the parent belongs.

The department does not define which specific days schools should authorise for religious observance, though generally, it may be a day when the pupil’s parents would be expected by the religious body to which they belong to stay away from their workplace in order to mark the occasion. We advise schools to seek advice from the relevant religious body if they are in doubt.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the findings of the survey of 20,000 parents by Mumsnet with 13 other groups, published in September 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the cost of childcare on (a) household bills and (b) the career choices of parents.

The department welcomes the contribution that Mumsnet and their partner organisations have made around this topic. However, it is important to note that this survey is unweighted, and the sample size represents a small proportion of all parents with a child or children in the early years.

Ipsos MORI conducted wave 9 of our parent poll, ‘Childcare use, perceived impact on child development, information on working from home, and awareness and use of free entitlements for families of 0-4 year-olds during COVID-19’ in July 2021, with a smaller but representative sample of 1,000 parents of children aged 0-4 in England. This is available at: https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/childcare-use-perceived-impact-child-development-information-working-home-and-awareness-and-use.

The data has been weighted to match the population profile of parents of children aged 0-4 in England by region, social grade, and the age of the selected child.

The Parent Poll asked different questions to the Mumsnet survey but key points from the findings include:

  • The affordability of weekly childcare costs is unchanged for just over half of parents compared to before the COVID-19 outbreak, and for 3 in 10 parents their weekly childcare costs are now easier to meet.
  • The majority of parents (91%) who used formal childcare before the COVID-19 outbreak, and are currently using it, say that their child is spending about the same number of hours or more in formal childcare as they did before.
  • More than half (56%) of parents report that their child is currently using formal childcare, this increases to 94% when looking at just those children who were receiving formal childcare before the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Only 6% of parents whose child was not receiving formal childcare said they would like to use formal childcare but have not been able to find a suitable provider. This is only approximately 2% of all parents.
  • Nearly two thirds of parents of 0-4 year olds currently using childcare (64%) agree that the hours their child(ren) can access formal or informal childcare/school fits with the working hours of the adults in the household.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether British nationals living in the EEA and Switzerland will be required to pay international fees at universities in the UK or UK university home fees.

UK nationals and their family members living in the EEA or Switzerland on 31 December 2020 will generally be eligible for home fee status, tuition fee and maintenance support from Student Finance England for courses starting on or after 1 August 2021 and before 1 January 2028 if they meet the following conditions:

  • they were living in the EEA or Switzerland on 31 December 2020 (or have moved back to the UK immediately after living in the EEA or Switzerland); and
  • they have lived in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar for at least the last three years; and
  • they have lived continuously in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar between 31 December 2020 and the start of the course.

This was announced in a Written Ministerial Statement on 4 April 2019: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2019-04-04/HCWS1483/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure timely approval of tutoring organisations for the National Tutoring Programme in the context of 16 of those organisations having not yet been approved.

Our delivery partner, Randstad, has approved 38 Tuition Partners to provide high-quality, subsidised tuition to schools in the current academic year: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/tuition-partners/approved-tuition-partners/. These organisations were recruited via an open competition to meet the necessary quality standards.

The programme ensures that additional support has been allocated to regions with the largest numbers of disadvantaged pupils and in regions where access to tutoring has historically been lower. This will cover all the locations across the UK geographically.

Schools can access high-quality tutoring from an approved list of tutoring providers known as tuition partners. Each tuition partner has been robustly assessed and has passed a set of quality, safeguarding and evaluation standards. Tuition partners offer a range of subjects and provide targeted support for pupils in small group or one-to-one sessions. This offers additional tutoring capacity to schools, especially where this is scarce. It is a flexible service for schools and its selection of providers can tailor their expertise to support pupil needs.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether international students studying at UK universities in the 2021-22 academic year will be required to be double vaccinated with a covid-19 vaccine that is approved for use in the UK.

Although there is no requirement to be vaccinated in order to study at university in England, it is important that students engage with the vaccination programme to protect themselves and those around them and to break chains of transmission.

International students can be vaccinated in the UK free of charge. They should be encouraged to register with a GP and get an NHS number. They can also request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as unregistered patients through local GP practices.

International students must pay regard to and comply with border measures that have been introduced to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19, available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-quarantine-when-you-arrive-in-england. They should refer to the latest information on country risk levels which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england.

NHS England has produced Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for students, which includes information about vaccinations that international students might have received before coming to England. The FAQ is available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/covid-19-vaccination-programme-faqs-on-second-doses/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional financial support he is providing to universities to increase covid-19 testing capacity for the academic year 2021-22.

Asymptomatic Tests will continue to be provided free of charge by NHS Test and Trace to Higher Education Providers for testing on return and home testing until the end of September when this will be reviewed subject to the latest public health advice. Students should test twice on their arrival at an on-site testing facility or at home. Students should then continue to test twice a week until the end of September.

Higher Education providers have been supported with the recovery of costs for the set up and running of asymptomatic testing sites. Cost recovery for tests performed at test sites will continue until the end of September, when ongoing testing arrangements will be reviewed.

Home testing will be delivered through a collect model, meaning that students and staff are advised to collect their home testing kits from a location on campus, which could be an existing asymptomatic testing site or any other site considered suitable. Please note there is no cost recovery for the set up and running of LFD collect sites, which are not otherwise testing sites.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to introduce a fully funded re-training programme to support people to re-train in new jobs in response to the transition to a green economy.

In November 2020, the government established the Green Jobs Taskforce, comprising individuals from industry, academia, unions and the education and skills sector. It was tasked with assembling evidence on the skills needed in the green economy and setting out independent recommendations for how government, industry and a wide range of stakeholders might work together to meet the green skills challenge and grasp the opportunities presented by the transition to net zero.

The taskforce’s final report was published on 14 July. We will consider its recommendations carefully ahead of setting out, later in the year, our Net Zero Strategy.

In England, the reforms to the skills system set out in the recently published Skills for Jobs white paper provide the foundation on which we can build. This programme of reform, which places employers at the centre of our technical education system, includes the introduction of new T Levels, flexible apprenticeships, Skills Bootcamps and occupational traineeships. Earlier in the year, we marked a major milestone in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, with the rollout of almost 400 qualifications which are now available and fully funded for any adult who has not already achieved a level 3 (A level equivalent) qualification. We will ensure that these programmes include supporting more people to get the skills they need to move into green jobs and consider where we might need to go further or faster to fill identified skills gaps.

We are already making progress. The Skills Bootcamps will, from July this year, support flexible training in key green sectors such as construction and nuclear. A Green Apprenticeship Advisory Panel is identifying existing apprenticeships that best support green career pathways and our Free Courses for Jobs offer is supporting more adults to study fully funded qualifications in subject areas crucial for green jobs, such as construction, forestry and engineering. The new Emerging Skills Electrification Project will foresight cutting-edge skills in the battery/electrification sector, develop short, modular content to meet the needs of employers and upskill the teaching workforce.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what mandatory education is provided to pupils and students at (a) schools and (b) universities on eating disorders.

Through our new compulsory relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) curriculum, pupils can learn about how to stay safe and healthy, and how to positively manage their academic, personal and social lives.

Body image and mental wellbeing are explicitly covered in the RSHE curriculum and, at secondary level, teachers may choose to discuss eating disorders when teaching these topics. However, schools are not medical professionals. It is important that school staff understand eating disorders to inform the pastoral support that they offer to pupils and how to seek specialist support where it is needed, particularly as there has been an increase in referrals to eating disorder services during the COVID-19 outbreak. The government’s £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme funded advisers in every local authority in England, reaching up to 15,000 schools with free expert training, support and resources for education staff to help them understand and respond to the mental wellbeing issues faced by children and young people. The department is providing an additional £7 million in this financial year to extend that support with an additional focus on directing schools towards the right local support.

Higher education providers are autonomous bodies, independent from the government and have a responsibility to support students with mental health conditions. They are well placed to identify the needs of their particular student body, including those who may have eating disorders. It is for each provider to determine what welfare and counselling services are needed by its students.

The government has set up the first waiting time standard for children and young people eating disorder services so that 95% of children with an eating disorder will receive treatment within one week for urgent cases, and within four weeks for routine cases. In the 2021-22 financial year, NHS England will receive around an additional £500 million to support recovery, which includes £79 million to expand children’s mental health services significantly, including allowing 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when updated guidance will be provided to schools on the safe running of transitional, taster and open days for new pupils in advance of the autumn 2021 term.

Schools can offer transitional, taster or open days to pupils from other schools within the existing framework of restrictions.

Schools should complete thorough risk assessments before running transitional, taster and open days in schools, to ensure that they are run in line with their system of controls and align with the advice contained within school guidance and the roadmap out of lockdown: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak?priority-taxon=b350e61d-1db9-4cc2-bb44-fab02882ac25 and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary#step-3---not-before-17-may.

This means that traditional transitional days are unlikely to be feasible this year, but the Department is keen not to restrict individual schools from designing events which maintain the integrity of bubbles and adhere to the system of controls in place.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on educational attainment of the need for whole class quarantine where a covid-19 outbreak occurs in school.

Tracing close contacts of those who test positive for COVID-19 remains important for preventing the transmission of COVID-19. The Department’s priority is to keep as many children as possible in face to face education. While in some cases a whole class might be required to self-isolate, many schools are using seating plans and other means to minimise the number of individuals that need to isolate.

Where pupils are required to self-isolate, schools are still required to provide 3 to 5 hours of remote education per day depending on their Key Stage. This includes either recorded or live direct teaching as well as time for pupils to work independently to complete assignments that have been set.

To support schools in delivering remote education throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department has delivered over 1.3 million laptops and tablets to schools, local authorities and academy trusts for disadvantaged children and young people.

The Department remains committed to helping all pupils make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why we have announced an extra £1.4 billion to support education recovery for children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges and early years, in addition to the £1.7 billion already announced.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on children's access to school swimming lessons.

Swimming and water safety is a vital life skill, which is why it is a mandatory part of the curriculum for physical education at primary school. The Department recognises that children have missed out on opportunities to learn to swim due to COVID-19 restrictions. We are working closely with Swim England and other swimming and water safety organisations to support pupils to return safely to swimming and to promote water safety education. This includes an additional £10.1 million to improve use of school sport facilities, including swimming pools.

Water safety education is a priority for the summer period to enable children to know how to be safe in and around water. The Department has made new virtual water safety lessons available through Oak National Academy and has supported the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s Drowning Prevention Week 2021.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies on the effectiveness of whole class covid-19 quarantine.

The Department regularly considers advice from a number of different sources, including the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), Public Health England (PHE), and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to ensure policies are guided by the most up to date scientific evidence.

The scientific evidence papers from SAGE meetings are published in tranches and are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Children’s Task and Finish Working Group, established by SAGE, provides consolidated scientific health advice to the Government. Advice from this group is used by the Department to understand the impacts of infection control measures in schools.

Alongside the March 2021 announcement of the full return to school, the Department published the following evidence summary: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963639/DfE_Evidence_summary_COVID-19_-_children__young_people_and_education_settings.pdf.

The decision on the length of time required for self-isolation following identification of a positive case is based on the latest public health advice received from PHE. Policy is subject to continuous review, and the Department will continue to work with colleagues in PHE and other relevant bodies to determine whether any changes to self-isolation policy are appropriate as soon as the public health advice allows.

An ongoing study led by PHE and NHS Test and Trace will help increase understanding of how effective daily contact testing could be for people who are contacts of positive COVID-19 cases. It could be used as an alternative to self-isolation.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has received specific covid-19 scientific advice on the decision to restrict (a) indoor school proms and (b) school open days.

The Department has not received specific scientific advice on events such as proms and open days. Schools should continue to assess risk and implement the system of controls set out in our guidance, including when considering any events. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls, and in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021.

The Department has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England (PHE) to develop guidance. Implementing the system of controls creates a safer environment for pupils and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. Working with PHE, the Department continually reviews the measures, which are informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice, and updates the guidance for schools accordingly.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the transmission of covid-19 in (a) schools and (b) other education settings through increased ventilation.

The Department is working closely with Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector, to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, and to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE supported system of controls.

The Department continues to review the ventilation requirements in the system of controls including considering whether monitoring Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels would be appropriate. We are working with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and NHS Test and Trace on a pilot project to measure CO2 levels in typical classrooms to enable us to provide more nuanced guidance to the sector. We will continue to consider updating our guidance as results from this pilot project emerge.

Current evidence recommends that the way to control COVID-19 is the same, even with the current new variants. The PHE supported system of controls which have been in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, which includes ventilation, continue to be the right measures to take.

PHE keeps all these controls under review, based on the latest evidence. Schools and colleges therefore need to continue to implement these controls. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare. Additional guidance from the Health and Safety Executive on air conditioning and ventilation during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation/index.htm.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the levels of sexual harassment and assault at universities; and what steps he is taking to tackle that matter.

Any form of harassment, violence or sexual assault is abhorrent and unacceptable anywhere in society, including in our universities which should be safe and inclusive environments. The government urges university leaders to ensure a zero-tolerance approach to all harassment and sexual misconduct and improve the systems for reporting incidents.

Higher education (HE) providers have clear responsibilities, including under the Equality Act 2010, and should have robust policies and procedures in place to comply with the law, and to investigate and swiftly address reports of sexual misconduct. Any student who feels that their complaint has not been dealt with appropriately or satisfactorily can escalate their complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education. Students also can and should inform the police if they believe the law has been broken. The government expects providers to support students in making a decision about the way forward, including whether to make a report to the police.

It is important that providers break down barriers to reporting and that students feel safe and able to report incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence. The government urges HE providers to collect comprehensive accurate data on harassment incidents, and continue to break down barriers to reporting, in spite of the potential for this to lead to initial spikes in reported instances.

The Office for Students (OfS) statement of expectations on harassment and sexual misconduct was published on 19 April 2021 and is a useful tool for providers, who should ensure their policies and processes reflect the expectations set out within the statement. As part of its next steps on harassment and hate crime, the OfS has indicated that it will consider options for connecting the statement of expectations to its conditions of registration.

The government has been working with and through the OfS and Universities UK (UUK) in recent years to improve the way the HE sector tackles sexual harassment and misconduct in HE. The department holds regular meetings with UUK and the OfS specifically on matters of sexual harassment and misconduct in HE, including in relation to progress on the implementation of the recommendations of the UUK 2016 Changing the Culture Framework. This framework was published by the UUK Harassment and Hate Crime Taskforce, which was set up in September 2015 at the government’s request.

Since 2016, a total investment of £4.7 million, match funded by HE providers, has been invested by the OfS and its predecessor, funding 119 safeguarding projects. £2.45 million of this was given to 63 projects specifically focused on tackling sexual and gender-based violence in higher education.

Despite these efforts, evidence (including testimonials on the Everyone’s Invited website) demonstrates that a significant change is still needed. The government is deeply concerned to see the disturbing testimonies which reference experiences within HE settings. The government will continue to work closely with the sector and its regulator, the OfS, to ensure students feel safe within HE providers, and that providers have robust policies and procedures in place to address incidents.

The government remains committed to working with the sector to prevent and tackle sexual harassment and assault.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) is planning to take to ensure that school children have adequate access to physical education as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased and children have returned to in-person teaching.

Physical Education (PE) plays a key role in pupils’ physical and mental wellbeing. It is a foundation subject in the National Curriculum at all four key stages and we expect schools to teach it to all pupils as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.

During COVID-19 restrictions schools have the flexibility to decide how PE will be provided to pupils whilst following their measures of control. The Department’s guidance sets out how schools can continue to provide PE, including making it clear that indoor lessons are allowed. It also signposts advice from the Association for Physical Education and the Youth Sport Trust is supporting schools to adapt the teaching of PE. Remote physical education lessons are also available from Oak National Academy.

We are also working closely with Swim England and Royal Life Saving Society UK to support schools to continue to provide swimming and water safety lessons for their pupils, which is a compulsory part of the primary PE national curriculum.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department will publish specific covid-19 guidance on residential school trips.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. The Department is working on advice for schools, nurseries and colleges on the planning and booking of residential trips when it is safe to do so and in line with the Government’s roadmap to recovery, as set out in: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021. The advice will be published shortly.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2021 to Question 137261, whether the Government plans to publish further guidance on this matter; and whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential effect of interest-payable loans as a barrier to Muslim students.

The government remains committed to ensuring that all individuals with the potential to benefit can access higher education and will provide an update on Alternative Student Finance in due course.

The government undertook equalities assessments on access to student finance for individuals of Muslim faith in November 2015 when introducing regulations to move from a system of maintenance grants to loans. Further analysis was published in May 2016 during the passage of the Higher Education and Research Bill. The assessments can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/482110/bis-15-639-student-finance-equality-analysis.pdf and https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/524226/bis-16-281-he-research-bill-equality-analysis.pdf.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of his Department's funding for covid-19 related catch-up will be spent in (a) London, (b) Haringey and (c) Hornsey and Wood Green constituency.

The Government has committed to a catch-up package worth £1 billion. This includes a universal ‘catch-up premium’ worth £650 million to support schools to make up for the impact of time outside of the classroom. The universal catch-up premium funding will be delivered in three payments across the 2020/2021 academic year in the autumn, late spring, and summer term. The first payment (25% of total) has been made to schools, providing the following amounts: (a) £24,218,670 for London, (b) £716,980 for Haringey and (c) £397,260 for Hornsey and Wood Green. Total payments of the 2020/2021 catch-up premium are provisionally set for each constituency: (a) London will receive £96,874,680, (b) Haringey will receive £2,867,920 and (c) Hornsey and Wood Green will receive £1,589,040.

On 27 January 2021, the Government announced a further £300 million of new funding for high-quality tutoring to help children and young people catch up. The Government will be working in collaboration with the education sector to develop specific initiatives for summer schools and a COVID-19 premium to support catch up, alongside developing a long-term plan to support pupils to catch up over the course of this Parliament. Further detail on this funding and support will be confirmed in due course.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent guidance his Department has published on the status of young carers during the covid-19 outbreak; what steps his Department is taking to help support the identification of pupils who are young carers; and what steps he is taking to ensure that support is accessible to young carers.

The Department for Education will do whatever it can to make sure no child – whatever their background or location – falls behind as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that young carers may be particularly vulnerable during this time, and ensuring that vulnerable children and young people remain protected is our top priority

Educational settings remain open and safe for vulnerable children and young people. The definition of vulnerable children and young people includes those who have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who are therefore in need of continued education provision – including young carers amongst others. Local authority duties to assess the needs of young carers, under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, remain unchanged.

The government has provided over £11 million to the See, Hear, Respond programme, to support vulnerable children and young people whose usual support networks have been impacted by the outbreak, including young carers as a target group. The programme provides a range of support, including online counselling and helping children and young people stay connected with school.

The government announced £1 billion of catch-up funding to support children and young people. This includes a £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020/2021 academic year to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time and a £350 million National Tutoring Programme to support those children and young people who need it the most.

Additionally, the ongoing £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return training programme, offered to every school and college in England, is helping support pupil wellbeing, resilience and recovery in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The training supports staff working in schools and colleges to respond to the additional pressures some children and young people may be feeling as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is in addition to requirements set out in statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ for school designated safeguarding leads to undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills to carry out their role, including a good understanding and alertness to the needs of young carers. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

The government has continued to support unpaid carers by providing funding to Carers UK to: extend their support phoneline; provide funding to the Carers Trust to make onward grants to provide support to unpaid carers experiencing loneliness during the COVID-19 outbreak; work with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance on reopening day services which we know provide important respite to carers; ensure unpaid carers can continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they need to self-isolate and recognised time providing emotional support as part of the 35 hours a week Carer’s Allowance care threshold.

The government has published guidance for both schools and local authorities on how best to support families and protect vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, alongside guidance for young people with caring responsibilities. The guidance includes information on how and where they can get help and support, including encouraging them to speak to someone they trust at their school or college, like a teacher or school nurse, about their caring responsibilities and how this might affect them.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what training is provided to teachers and school staff to identify and support pupils who are young carers; and whether such training is mandatory.

The Department for Education will do whatever it can to make sure no child – whatever their background or location – falls behind as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that young carers may be particularly vulnerable during this time, and ensuring that vulnerable children and young people remain protected is our top priority

Educational settings remain open and safe for vulnerable children and young people. The definition of vulnerable children and young people includes those who have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who are therefore in need of continued education provision – including young carers amongst others. Local authority duties to assess the needs of young carers, under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, remain unchanged.

The government has provided over £11 million to the See, Hear, Respond programme, to support vulnerable children and young people whose usual support networks have been impacted by the outbreak, including young carers as a target group. The programme provides a range of support, including online counselling and helping children and young people stay connected with school.

The government announced £1 billion of catch-up funding to support children and young people. This includes a £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020/2021 academic year to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time and a £350 million National Tutoring Programme to support those children and young people who need it the most.

Additionally, the ongoing £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return training programme, offered to every school and college in England, is helping support pupil wellbeing, resilience and recovery in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The training supports staff working in schools and colleges to respond to the additional pressures some children and young people may be feeling as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is in addition to requirements set out in statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ for school designated safeguarding leads to undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills to carry out their role, including a good understanding and alertness to the needs of young carers. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

The government has continued to support unpaid carers by providing funding to Carers UK to: extend their support phoneline; provide funding to the Carers Trust to make onward grants to provide support to unpaid carers experiencing loneliness during the COVID-19 outbreak; work with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance on reopening day services which we know provide important respite to carers; ensure unpaid carers can continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they need to self-isolate and recognised time providing emotional support as part of the 35 hours a week Carer’s Allowance care threshold.

The government has published guidance for both schools and local authorities on how best to support families and protect vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, alongside guidance for young people with caring responsibilities. The guidance includes information on how and where they can get help and support, including encouraging them to speak to someone they trust at their school or college, like a teacher or school nurse, about their caring responsibilities and how this might affect them.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether data is collected on local authority allocation of (a) training dedicated to safeguarding children with acute mental health conditions and (b) other training for foster parents.

The Department for Education does not collect data on local authority allocation of training.

The government provides a range of guidance on safeguarding children and for foster parents and agencies, including:

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to young carers while schools are closed during the covid-19 lockdown.

The Department for Education will do whatever it can to make sure no child – whatever their background or location – falls behind as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that young carers may be particularly vulnerable during this time, and ensuring that vulnerable children and young people remain protected is our top priority

Educational settings remain open and safe for vulnerable children and young people. The definition of vulnerable children and young people includes those who have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who are therefore in need of continued education provision – including young carers amongst others. Local authority duties to assess the needs of young carers, under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, remain unchanged.

The government has provided over £11 million to the See, Hear, Respond programme, to support vulnerable children and young people whose usual support networks have been impacted by the outbreak, including young carers as a target group. The programme provides a range of support, including online counselling and helping children and young people stay connected with school.

The government announced £1 billion of catch-up funding to support children and young people. This includes a £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020/2021 academic year to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time and a £350 million National Tutoring Programme to support those children and young people who need it the most.

Additionally, the ongoing £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return training programme, offered to every school and college in England, is helping support pupil wellbeing, resilience and recovery in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The training supports staff working in schools and colleges to respond to the additional pressures some children and young people may be feeling as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is in addition to requirements set out in statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ for school designated safeguarding leads to undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills to carry out their role, including a good understanding and alertness to the needs of young carers. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

The government has continued to support unpaid carers by providing funding to Carers UK to: extend their support phoneline; provide funding to the Carers Trust to make onward grants to provide support to unpaid carers experiencing loneliness during the COVID-19 outbreak; work with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance on reopening day services which we know provide important respite to carers; ensure unpaid carers can continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they need to self-isolate and recognised time providing emotional support as part of the 35 hours a week Carer’s Allowance care threshold.

The government has published guidance for both schools and local authorities on how best to support families and protect vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, alongside guidance for young people with caring responsibilities. The guidance includes information on how and where they can get help and support, including encouraging them to speak to someone they trust at their school or college, like a teacher or school nurse, about their caring responsibilities and how this might affect them.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of to what extent the interest payable on student loans is a potential barrier to Muslim students.

The government assessed the merits of a sharia-compliant alternative finance product, including the views of students and other stakeholders, as part of the response to the consultation published in September 2014. The consultation response is at the link below:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/349899/bis-14-984-government-response-to-a-consultation-on-a-sharia-compliant-alternative-finance-product.pdf.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase funding in retrofit skills as part of the Government’s National Skills Fund.

The new Green Jobs Taskforce, which was launched on 12 November 2020, has been set up to help the UK build back greener and deliver the skilled workforce needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This is a joint initiative between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education. Working with employers and relevant stakeholders, the Taskforce will develop an action plan to support 2 million good-quality, green jobs and the skills needed by 2030, supporting the UK to transition to a net zero economy and deliver a green recovery.

The Taskforce, which also includes members from the construction and retrofit sectors such as the Construction Industry Training Board and Retrofit Works, will represent views of businesses, employees and the skills sector. Involvement in this work will not be limited only to Taskforce members, and there will be opportunities for a wider set of stakeholders, including the private sector, to contribute.

Investment from the National Skills Fund will support the government’s commitment to green jobs. Starting this year, the government is investing £2.5 billion (£3 billion, when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) in the National Skills Fund. This is a significant investment and has the potential to deliver new opportunities to generations of adults who may have been previously left behind.

From the National Skills Fund, we are investing £95 million over the current spending review period to support any adult aged 24 and over who want to achieve their first full level 3 qualification – equivalent to 2 A levels, or a technical certificate or diploma – to access nearly 400 fully funded courses. The offer includes a range of qualifications that are valuable across the economy in multiple sectors (for example, digital skills, accountancy and engineering skills).

There are specific qualifications included on the course list which will contribute to developing retrofitting skills (for example, a diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment or a diploma in Engineering Construction Lifting, Positioning and Installing Structures, Plant and Equipment).

Through the National Skills Fund we have also introduced the Skills Bootcamps, which are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving adults aged 19 and over the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.

From April 2021 we are investing a further £43 million through the National Skills Fund to support this expansion of Skills Bootcamps in England. This will enable us to assist employers across England to fill their in-demand vacancies and we anticipate training upwards of 25,000 individuals. The Bootcamps were initially focused on digital skills but are now being expanded to also cover technical skills training, including engineering and construction.

The training undertaken by adults completing relevant Skills Bootcamps courses can help adults gain the skills required to work towards further training and employment in retrofitting. Furthermore, education providers and employers can put forward bids as part of our technical skills bootcamps to establish a bootcamp with the aim of training people in retrofit skills.

These level 3 and Skills Bootcamps offers will be followed by other investments from the National Skills Fund over the course of this Parliament. The government plans to consult on the National Skills Fund in spring 2021 to ensure that we develop a fund that helps adults learn valuable skills and prepares them for the economy of the future.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure transparency and accountability in the use that schools make of their allocation of the £650 million catch-up premium.

The Government has announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion, including a Catch up Premium worth a total of £650 million, to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. Head teachers have discretion over how to use this funding to best support the needs of their pupils, but we expect them to prioritise those who need the most catch up support. The Catch up Premium guidance is clear that schools should ensure that they provide appropriate transparency for parents in terms of how the premium is spent. The guidance can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium.

Schools are held accountable for the outcomes they achieve with all their funding, including through Ofsted inspections and by governors and trustees, and this will be no exception.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of postponing the return of the school term in January 2021 in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

A new national lockdown has come into effect and schools should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend face to face education. All other pupils will be taught remotely.

We know that receiving face to face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement, and we will review the restrictions on schools to ensure that children and young people return to face to face education as soon as the pressures on the NHS are easing. Limiting attendance at this time is about reducing the number of contacts that people have with other households, given the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and the intense pressure on the NHS.

For those pupils and staff still attending school, the system of protective measures that we have asked schools to implement continues to mean that any risks are well managed and controlled.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether national standards have been set for local authorities to ensure that foster parents receive comprehensive training in supporting children with complex mental health needs.

Fostering can be hugely rewarding, but also challenging, demanding skills and dedication. The statutory framework and National Minimum Standards (NMS) clearly set out that all foster carers must receive the training and development they need to carry out their role effectively. The NMS are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/192705/NMS_Fostering_Services.pdf.

Under NMS 6, there is an expectation that fostering services will promote the physical, emotional, and psychological health of children in foster care and NMS 20 covers the requirements around training and development of foster carers. These are essential for placement stability, and foster carers should receive the right training to meet the needs of the children in their care. They should have access to different or new training to develop their skills as need arises before and during placement. The Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care (TSD) sets out the minimum expectations of training for foster carers, and is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/287957/TSD_standards_guidance_for_supervisors.pdf. It is up to local fostering services to determine what training they offer, to whom and when, but information about that offer should be available to all foster carers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing private music lessons to take place in teachers' homes during the covid-19 outbreak.

As outlined in the guidance for education and childcare settings on new national restrictions from 5 November, out-of-school activities such as private tuition may continue to operate during the period of national restrictions. However, providers of these activities who are operating out of their own homes or private studios, should ensure they are only being accessed for face-to-face provision by parents if their primary purpose is registered childcare, or where they are providing other activities for children, where it is reasonably necessary to enable parents to work or search for work, or to undertake training or education; or for the purposes of respite care. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020#ooss.

Out-of-school activities that are primarily used by home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education, which could include private tutors, may also continue to operate for face-to-face provision for the duration of the national restrictions.

Tutors that continue to operate face-to-face provision during this period should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in the protective measures for holiday clubs and after-school clubs and other out-of-school clubs for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Providers operating out of other people’s homes should also implement the guidance on working safely in other people’s homes, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes.

All other out of school activities, not being primarily used by parents for these purposes and that can offer remote education, should close for face-to-face provision for the duration of the national restrictions. This will minimise the amount of mixing between different groups of people and therefore reduce the risk of infection and transmission of the virus.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he is providing to primary schools on enabling prospective parents to visit those schools in advance of school admissions deadlines during the covid-19 outbreak.

Local authorities are required, through the School Admissions Code and the School Information (England) Regulations 2008, to provide parents with information about all schools in their area ahead of application deadlines, through publishing a composite prospectus.

Traditionally, schools have also held open events and arranged visits for prospective parents in the autumn term. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, schools have also had to consider how to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus.

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

This sets out a framework for school leaders to put in place a range of proportionate protective measures for children, staff and visitors. These include minimising contacts between groups and maintaining safe distance where possible; encouraging regular handwashing; and enhanced cleaning. As a result, face to face open events and visits are unlikely to be possible and schools are considering alternatives.

The provision of information to parents remains an important part of enabling them to make an informed choice about the schools they wish their children to attend.

The Department is aware that many schools have worked creatively to do this, but if a school does decide to hold a face to face event it is essential that a risk assessment is carried out and appropriate control measures are put in place, in line with the guidance.

16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's average reply time has been for ministerial letters in each of the last five months.

The Department for Education aims to respond to all ministerial correspondence within 18 days of receipt. Due to the increase in correspondence received since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the average reply time (in working days) for ministerial letters due during each month from April to August this year exceeds the 18-day target, as set out in the table below:

Month Due

Average Days to Respond

April

32

May

36

June

33

July

45

August

36

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage schools to reopen their outdoor sports facilities in the evenings and weekends for (a) their own students and (b) external sports clubs.

It is important that children continue to remain fit and active and take part in the 60 minutes of daily physical activity recommended by the Chief Medical Officers wherever possible.

Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided for their own students, following the measures in their system of controls. The Department’s guidance includes information on how schools can provide PE and opportunities for pupils to be active, including links to detailed advice from subject organisations. Schools are able to offer curricular and extra-curricular team sport, including contact sport, where there is approved guidance from national governing bodies. Guidance can be found via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools are also able to open up their facilities for use by external sports clubs at evenings and weekends. In doing so, they should ensure they are considering carefully how such arrangements can operate within their wider protective measures and should also have regard to any other relevant government guidance. For example, when opening up sports facilities for external use, the guidance issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on working safely during the COVID-19 outbreak for providers of grassroots sport and gym or leisure facilities should be followed: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/providers-of-grassroots-sport-and-gym-leisure-facilities.

Schools and external providers should also consult the guidance produced for those who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how he plans to distribute funding to the most deprived communities for training and employment support as part of the Government’s post-covid-19 recovery plan.

We have been working across Government to build a package of support measures to boost skills among those who will be hardest hit by the labour market impacts of COVID-19. On 8 July, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced measures across a range of targeted work-based training offers to support people to build the skills they need to get into work in all communities across the country. This amounts to investment of £1.6 billion in employment support schemes, which will substantially expand existing provision. This includes:

  • £111 million to triple the number of traineeships;
  • £17 million to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements;
  • Paying businesses to take on new apprentices – an extra £2000 for each apprentice under 25 and £1,500 for apprentices over 25;
  • £32m to help 269,000 more people receive advice from the National Careers Service;
  • £101 million for school/college leavers to study high value courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.

Over the course of this Parliament, we are also providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) for a new National Skills Fund to help people learn new skills and prepare for the economy of the future.

We are continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) (£1.34bn in 2019/20 and 2020/21). We will continue to explore options within adult education and will be making decisions on where we may be able to introduce flexibilities to aid the Post-Covid recovery.

In areas where we have devolved the AEB, it is for Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) / Greater London Authority (GLA) to determine funding arrangements for adult education for their residents. We do, however, appreciate the importance of sharing, and where appropriate, co-ordinating, responses to attempt to ensure that providers, of all types, do not have their funding disrupted as a result of COVID-19. We are continuing to keep MCAs and the GLA updated on our skills response to COVID-19 through weekly conversations.

Devolving the AEB enables MCAs to directly support adults in developing the skills that local employers need, reducing skills shortages, boosting productivity and economic prosperity, and improving wellbeing in communities.

Within the AEB funding formula we pay a disadvantage uplift to provide extra funding to support the most disadvantaged learners, recognising that they are sometimes more costly to recruit and retain. The uplift is based on the learner’s post code and results in a funding increase for learners living in the most deprived areas of the country, as measured by the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015. There is also an area cost uplift within the AEB funding formula which reflects the higher cost of delivering training provision in some parts of the country, such as London and the South East.

We fund education and training for 16 to 19 year olds through the National Funding Formula which includes extra funding for disadvantaged students. This funding is provided to institutions specifically for students with low prior attainment, or who live in the most disadvantaged areas. We also provide an area cost uplift to reflect the higher costs of delivering education in some parts of the country such as London and the South East.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the level of skills funding for adults at risk of unemployment due to the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he plans to take to enable people to retrain for employment opportunities in their locality.

We have been working across Government to build a package of support measures to boost skills among those who will be hardest hit by the labour market impacts of COVID-19. On 8 July, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced measures across a range of targeted work-based training offers to support people to build the skills they need to get into work in all communities across the country. This amounts to investment of £1.6 billion in employment support schemes, which will substantially expand existing provision. This includes:

  • £111 million to triple the number of traineeships;
  • £17 million to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements;
  • Paying businesses to take on new apprentices – an extra £2000 for each apprentice under 25 and £1,500 for apprentices over 25;
  • £32m to help 269,000 more people receive advice from the National Careers Service;
  • £101 million for school/college leavers to study high value courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.

Over the course of this Parliament, we are also providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) for a new National Skills Fund to help people learn new skills and prepare for the economy of the future.

We are continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) (£1.34bn in 2019/20 and 2020/21). We will continue to explore options within adult education and will be making decisions on where we may be able to introduce flexibilities to aid the Post-Covid recovery.

In areas where we have devolved the AEB, it is for Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) / Greater London Authority (GLA) to determine funding arrangements for adult education for their residents. We do, however, appreciate the importance of sharing, and where appropriate, co-ordinating, responses to attempt to ensure that providers, of all types, do not have their funding disrupted as a result of COVID-19. We are continuing to keep MCAs and the GLA updated on our skills response to COVID-19 through weekly conversations.

Devolving the AEB enables MCAs to directly support adults in developing the skills that local employers need, reducing skills shortages, boosting productivity and economic prosperity, and improving wellbeing in communities.

Within the AEB funding formula we pay a disadvantage uplift to provide extra funding to support the most disadvantaged learners, recognising that they are sometimes more costly to recruit and retain. The uplift is based on the learner’s post code and results in a funding increase for learners living in the most deprived areas of the country, as measured by the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015. There is also an area cost uplift within the AEB funding formula which reflects the higher cost of delivering training provision in some parts of the country, such as London and the South East.

We fund education and training for 16 to 19 year olds through the National Funding Formula which includes extra funding for disadvantaged students. This funding is provided to institutions specifically for students with low prior attainment, or who live in the most disadvantaged areas. We also provide an area cost uplift to reflect the higher costs of delivering education in some parts of the country such as London and the South East.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government has taken to identify and protect children who may be at increased risk from safeguarding issues as a result of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Ensuring that vulnerable children remain protected is a top priority for the government. From the outset, we asked schools to remain open for children who are vulnerable, as well as children of critical workers. This remains the case as some year groups return to school.

The government has provided an unprecedented package of support for vulnerable children, including:

  • Over £3.2 billion so far, with a further £500 million announced on 2 July, bringing the total to £3.7 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including on children’s services.
  • £1.6 million of funding for the NSPCC to help promote and expand their national UK helpline which provides advice and guidance and support to adults reporting safeguarding concerns. Since the start of the campaign on 4 May, the NSPCC helpline has seen the number of calls and emails grow by 66% and has made over 9,000 referrals, with one out of every 9 referrals going to emergency services such as the police and children’s social care.
  • The Adoption Support Fund – £8 million to help families under pressure as a result of the outbreak.
  • The Innovation Programme – more than £12 million for 14 projects tackling increased risk, for example from domestic violence and supporting teenagers at risk of exploitation.
  • See, Hear, Respond – £7 million partnership of national children’s charities and local organisations to provide targeted support to vulnerable children, young people and their families who are affected by COVID-19.
  • Laptops and tablets for children with social workers and care leavers to help them keep in touch with the services they need, as well as 4G internet devices for connecting to the internet. As of 30 June, over 200,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers had been dispatched or delivered to local authorities and academy trusts.

Our Regional Education and Care Teams are working with local authorities directly to ensure the systems and processes for maintaining contact with vulnerable children are robust in every local authority in England.

We have also made temporary legislative changes to help reduce pressure on the system and enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children during these unprecedented times.

Our latest guidance on supporting vulnerable children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak was updated on 1 July and is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services.

The department has issued a suite of guidance to help and support schools and colleges. This includes interim safeguarding guidance, which is clear that schools and colleges should revise their child protection policies to reflect new arrangements. The guidance sets out that it is important that all staff who interact with children, including online, continue to look out for signs a child may be at risk. The safeguarding guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-and-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Schools and colleges should continue to have regard to statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, as per their legislative duty or funding agreement requirements, or both.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government's announcement on additional funding for school building repairs, if he will prioritise the upgrading of school changing rooms and sporting facilities (a) throughout England and (b) in Highgate Wood School in Hornsey and Wood Green constituency when allocating that funding.

We are providing £560 million of additional condition funding for the school system this year to support essential maintenance projects. This comes on top of over £1.4 billion capital funding already provided for school maintenance in the financial year 2020-21. We will set out details of how the additional capital funding will be allocated shortly.

As part of the condition funding already allocated this year, Highgate Wood Secondary School received £29,239 in Devolved Formula Capital funding to spend on its own capital priorities. Haringey local authority has also been allocated a School Condition Allocation of £2,959,147 to invest in condition priorities across its maintained schools, including Highgate Wood Secondary School. The school should discuss its needs with Haringey Council, so that they can be considered as part of local investment decisions.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of children classified as vulnerable attended (a) primary (b) secondary school in (i) May and (ii) June 2020.

The table below presents the latest weekly national figures for vulnerable children with an education, health and care (EHC) plan or social worker in attendance in England during May and June 2020.

Date

Vulnerable children with an EHC plan or social work in attendance

Proportion of vulnerable children with an EHC plan or social worker[1]

7 May 2020

48,000

9%

14 May 2020

51,000

10%

21 May 2020

52,000

10%

28 May 2020

23,000

5%

4 June 2020

78,000

15%

11 June 2020

92,000

18%

18 June 2020

112,000

22%

25 June 2020

116,000

23%

The data is available at:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Please note that the department has not produced separate figures for the primary and secondary phases.

We have also been monitoring contact between social workers and children in need and can confirm that the vast majority of those vulnerable children on a child protection plan have been seen or contacted by a social worker in the past four weeks.

Full guidance on the definition of vulnerable children and options for continued attendance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

[1] We estimate that the total number of vulnerable children with an EHC plan or social worker in England is 508,255.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the free school meals voucher scheme to children aged between two and four during the covid-19 outbreak.

Nurseries in maintained primary schools and maintained nursery schools are able to access the national voucher scheme where they have registered pupils who meet the benefits-related criteria, and who would usually receive education both before and after lunch. Private settings are not covered. Eligible children should receive vouchers at the same rate as school pupils. Newly eligible children will also be supported if they meet the above criteria and maintained nurseries and nursery schools should continue to accept free school meal applications.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support university students with accommodation they can no longer use as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

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

We expect universities to communicate clearly with residential students on rents for this period and to administer accommodation provision in a fair manner. A number of universities and large accommodation providers have waived rents for the summer term or released students early from their contracts.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current 2019/20 academic year.

Students who are tenants with individual private landlords can discuss with them the possibility of an early release from their tenancy agreement. Tenants without an agreed release are still liable for their rent and should pay this as usual.

If students face financial hardship and struggle to pay rent, support is available. In the first instance, they should speak to their landlord if they think they will have difficulty meeting a rental payment. In this unique context, tenants and landlords are encouraged to work together to put in place a rent payment scheme.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by the Covid-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds. This sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly. Students may be entitled to refunds from accommodation providers, depending on the terms of their contract and their particular circumstances. If students need help, organisations such as Citizens Advice offer a free service, providing information and support.

If a student thinks that their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/; https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and: https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with the university sector on the potential for rent refunds for students leaving campuses following the suspension of teaching as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We expect universities to communicate clearly with residential students on rents for this period and administer accommodation provision in a fair manner. Department officials, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education and I are in regular contact with universities and their representative bodies to learn about what they are doing to support students at this time and to guide as appropriate.

We are aware that a number of universities have waived rents for their students who were due to be staying in university halls for the summer term but will now not be doing so.

It is important to stress that accommodation providers should not have instructed any student to return home. If any accommodation provider did formally instruct a student to leave the property then it would be unacceptable to continue to charge student rents.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current, 2019/20, academic year. I have asked institutions to pay particular attention to the additional financial hardships that are being faced by student staff who have been reliant on income from campus-based jobs at this time. Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment.

To ensure universities can support students who need it most, the Office for Students has relaxed rules on the student premium to top up hardship funds.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she plans to take to ensure that young people can sit (a) GCSE and (b) A-level examinations following the closing of schools.

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.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether financial support is available to schools who have cancelled trips to central Italy as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) position advises against all but essential travel to Italy due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. The advice is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy.

As school trips to Italy would not be deemed essential travel, affected schools should check with their travel providers regarding securing refunds in the first instance. With the current FCO position, all schools signed up to the Risk Protection Arrangement for schools will be covered for any amounts they cannot recoup on trips to Italy, and other affected schools should contact their individual insurance providers.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to (a) allocate the disabled student allowance funding directly to Higher Education Providers (HEP's) and (b) require those HEPs to ringfence that funding for support of disabled students.

No decision has been made to allocate Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) directly to Higher Education Providers.

The government always keeps the DSAs system under review, to ensure that it is fit for purpose and provides good value for money. We are considering the recommendations made on DSAs in the Tailored Review of the Student Loans Company.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on privacy of Google Workshops operating in schools.

The Government takes data privacy, especially the privacy of more vulnerable citizens such as children, extremely seriously. The ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance reflects the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation, which makes clear that schools and colleges must have sufficient policies and procedures in place to meet their legal obligations, and secure pupils data protection and privacy.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the value was of apprenticeship levy funds expiring from employers’ accounts in each month from May 2019 until January 2020; what proportion of that funding will be returned to the (a) Education and Skills Funding Agency's apprenticeship budget and (b) HM Treasury.

The value of apprenticeship levy funds that expired from employers’ accounts in each month from May 2019 to January 2020 is set out in the table below:

Month

Value of expired apprenticeship levy funds

May 2019

£11,000,000

June 2019

£26,000,000

July 2019

£44,000,000

August 2019

£52,000,000

September 2019

October 2019

£114,000,000

November 2019

£72,000,000

December 2019

£83,000,000

January 2020

£90,000,000

Total Expired

£492,000,000

Notes:

  1. There was no expiry in September 2019 as this was cancelled due to an issue affecting apprenticeship payments. Cancelling expiry ensured employers and providers were not unfairly impacted as a result of this issue. All September 2019 expiry was therefore rolled forward into the process for October 2019.
  2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest million.
  3. Information is available at the end of each calendar month.

The funds in employers’ accounts reflect the ‘English percentage’ of an employer’s levy contribution and include a 10% top-up from government. Employers’ levy funds are available for them to use for 24 months before they begin to expire on a rolling, month-by-month basis. We do not anticipate that all employers who pay the levy will need or want to use all the funds in their accounts, though they are able to do so. Funds that expire are no longer available for the employer to spend on apprenticeship training.

The funds available to levy-paying employers through their apprenticeship service accounts are not the same as the Department for Education’s annual apprenticeship budget. The expiry of these levy funds does not, therefore, result in additional funds becoming available to the department or to HM Treasury.

The department’s ring-fenced apprenticeship budget was set in advance by HM Treasury for the current Spending Review period and is independent of the funds in levy payers’ accounts. In 2019-20, over £2.5 billion is available for investment in apprenticeships in England, which is double what was spent in 2010.

Our annual apprenticeship budget supports new apprenticeship starts both in levy-paying employers and non-levy paying employers as well as existing apprenticeships learners. Details of actual spend against the apprenticeships budget are published in the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s annual report and accounts.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for children with SEN to access support services.

There is a wide range of support services which children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their parents and carers can access.

Local authorities are required to make available local services which provide impartial information, advice and support to these families. The government has invested £20 million between June 2018 and March 2020 to improve the quality of these services and their accessibility. The funding also supports a national helpline and online service for families who have children and young people with SEND.

More broadly, it is the responsibility of schools and other educational establishments to ensure children and young people with SEND are identified and assessed, and that support is put in place to meet their needs. Some children and young people with SEND will need extra help and may require an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. Local authorities are responsible for putting EHC plans in place and for ensuring that the support identified to meet the needs identified in plans is available.

The government has increased local authorities’ high needs funding by £780 million in 2020/21, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020-21.

However, we recognise that there is work to be done to improve the SEND system, including access to support services and that is why we are conducting a review of the SEND system.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to (a) increase the level of science teaching in primary schools and (b) provide additional cost effective training for teachers to teach science at primary school level.

Increasing the number of young people who study science is important if we are to address the science technology engineering and maths (STEM) skills shortage and support the UK economy and its growth. Pupils’ experience of science in primary school can impact on their ambitions to pursue a STEM career.

This is why the Department has kept sciences a core subject from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 4. All state-maintained schools must teach the National Curriculum science programmes of study in full, with other state-funded schools such as academies required to teach science as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. In 2014 we introduced a new programme of study for primary science, providing sequenced year-by-year content to ensure appropriate introduction to key scientific concepts and clear articulation of subject knowledge required. The breadth of content ensures that the curriculum provides a strong foundation for further study at secondary school.

To support teachers in delivering excellent teaching in science, the Department funds a programme of high quality continuous professional development (CPD) for teachers. This includes our national network of over 40 Science Learning Partnerships, which deliver locally-led training to both primary and secondary teachers. Primary teachers are also eligible for Project Enthuse bursaries to attend residential CPD at the National STEM Learning Centre in York. The bursaries are targeted at schools most in need, including those with poor levels of progress or primary science leads who do not have post-16 science qualifications. Both programmes aim to improve teachers’ subject knowledge and the quality of science teaching.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of school-owned land has been designated as playing field land in each year since 2010.

The Department does not conduct a yearly designation of school land in this manner. The Department considers the circumstances of individual school sites as necessary, and in accordance with the statutory protections and requirements, should any movement, disposal, or change of use of that land occur.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many registered PE teachers have been employed in schools in England in each year since 2010.

The head count number of physical education (PE) teachers in service in state funded secondary schools in November 2010 to November 2018 is provided in the table attached.

While there is no formal register for PE teachers; for context, information is also shown on the percentage of hours spent teaching PE in each year and the percentage of hours of PE which are taught by a teacher with a relevant post A-Level qualification. A relevant post A-Level qualification is a Level 4 qualification or above in PE, sports science, sports physiology, sports psychology or dance (including ballet).

Information for teachers in primary schools is not available.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance her Department issues to (a) schools and (b) educational providers on protecting young and vulnerable people from cults.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance is clear that schools and colleges should have in place robust systems for the safeguarding and protection of children. Staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour, which could indicate there is a safeguarding risk and they may be in need of help or protection. If staff have concerns about a child’s welfare, they should act immediately, following their own organisation’s child protection policy and taking advice from the designated safeguarding lead.

All schools must offer a broad and balanced curriculum, which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. Citizenship in the curriculum teaches pupils how to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, debate and to make reasoned arguments.

From September 2020, relationships education for all primary aged pupils and relationships and sex education for all secondary aged pupils will be compulsory. Health education will also be compulsory for all state funded pupils. The subjects are designed to equip young people for adult life and focus, for example, on building positive relationships, developing physical and mental health, identifying risks and knowing how to seek help when needed.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure local authorities employ an adequate number of speech and language therapists.

The information requested is not held centrally. We do not collect data on speech and language therapists, as specialist speech, language and communication support is not funded directly by the Department for Education. Speech and Language Therapists working with children are employed by local authorities, the health service or directly by schools.

Nevertheless, we are committed to supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and recognise the importance of identifying SLCN early to enable the right support to be put in place and reduce the impact that SLCN may have in the longer term. For example, the department has funded a range of condition specific organisations to develop resources and training to equip the workforce, including specialist resources in relation to speech, language and communication skills.

Specific decisions on how many Speech and Language Therapists are employed by any local authority are a matter for the specific local authority. However, this government has increased local authorities’ high needs funding by £780 million in 2020/21, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020/21.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many speech and language therapists were employed by local authorities in each financial year since 2010.

The information requested is not held centrally. We do not collect data on speech and language therapists, as specialist speech, language and communication support is not funded directly by the Department for Education. Speech and Language Therapists working with children are employed by local authorities, the health service or directly by schools.

Nevertheless, we are committed to supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and recognise the importance of identifying SLCN early to enable the right support to be put in place and reduce the impact that SLCN may have in the longer term. For example, the department has funded a range of condition specific organisations to develop resources and training to equip the workforce, including specialist resources in relation to speech, language and communication skills.

Specific decisions on how many Speech and Language Therapists are employed by any local authority are a matter for the specific local authority. However, this government has increased local authorities’ high needs funding by £780 million in 2020/21, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020/21.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the privacy of young people of the Learning Records Service's provision of access to their data by gambling firms.

The recent use of the Learning Records Service (LRS) by a data broker was unauthorised and not sanctioned by the department. There was no data released about individual learners, only a confirmation or denial that a record existed.

Learning Record Service is designed to help learning providers verify their potential student’s previous educational achievements and their eligibility for additional funding.

Education Providers who wish to use the service must register with the UK Register of Learning Providers (UKRLP). Once they are registered with UKRLP, Education Providers fill out an LRS registration form where their UKRLP data is verified, and sign the LRS provider agreement that states their data protection and security responsibilities.

We have temporarily disabled the service whilst our investigations are ongoing.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government is proactively encouraging universities to divest from fossil fuel based activities.

The government wants the public and higher education sectors to lead by example through reducing energy use and driving decarbonisation across the UK economy. Last year I published an article calling on Universities to lead the climate change debate:

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/climate-change-carbon-neutral_uk_5d08a9cae4b0ea7c4a4f220b.

It is an important issue for universities to consider and we will continue to engage with them on this.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he made of the number of trees removed by local councils each year as a result of insurance companies claiming trees as liabilities due to the subsidence risk.

There is a general presumption against deforestation in England, and the vast majority of permitted felling of trees comes with restocking conditions attached. For this reason there are no official figures on the number of trees felled in England. Dangerous and nuisance trees are exempted from felling regulations.

We will be introducing the new Duty to Consult on street tree felling, as mandated in the Environment Act 2021, which will increase the awareness and transparency in decision making on street trees and create a space for the public to contribute to these decisions. We are currently developing appropriate guidance for the new Duty to Consult and will be seeking to commence the measure in 2023.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how his Department (a) consults communities, including taking residents' environmental concerns into account, in respect of the process of local tree felling.

The England Trees Action Plan sets out how trees should be seen as an essential part of the fabric of urban areas and aims to increase the number of trees in our towns and cities.

The Government is committed to protecting our valuable street trees. The new Duty to Consult on street tree felling as mandated in the Environment Act 2021 will increase transparency in decision making and allow the public to be consulted before a street tree is felled. We are currently developing appropriate guidance for the new Duty to Consult and will be seeking to commence the measure in 2023.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to work with the (a) the buildings insurance industry and (b) local authorities to find alternatives to tree felling where insurance companies claim trees as liabilities due to subsidence risk.

We will be introducing the new Duty to Consult on street tree felling, as mandated in the Environment Act 2021, which will increase the awareness and transparency in decision making on street trees and create a space for the public to contribute to these decisions. We are currently developing appropriate guidance for the new Duty to Consult and will be seeking to commence the measure in 2023.

We are also working to produce best practice guidance for local authorities to produce their own local tree and woodland strategies, supporting local authorities to expand, manage and protect local treescapes. The guidance will be in the form of a toolkit for Local Tree and Woodland Strategies and will be published by the Tree Council.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to ban the use of (a) butylphenyl methylpropional (lilial) and (b) zinc pyrithione in the UK.

Under UK REACH – key legislation affecting chemicals in GB - companies must identify and manage the risks presented by the chemicals they manufacture or market in GB. These provisions apply to butylphenyl methylpropional (also known as lilial or lysmeral) and zinc pyrithione.

There are no plans to introduce further risk management measures under UK REACH for lysmeral or zinc pyrithione at this time. The Health & Safety Executive recently published initial assessments of substances, including lysmeral, that were added to the EU REACH Candidate List for authorisation in 2021. HSE proposed that no action be taken now on lysmeral because, as this substance is used as a fragrance, they assess it as unlikely to be used at high enough concentrations to pose a risk (see https://www.hse.gov.uk/reach/resources/svhc-assessment-summaries.pdf for further information). However, we will continue to keep lysmeral under review and consider if it is appropriate to prioritise for further action under UK REACH in the future.

To ensure that products placed on the GB market are safe, the Government keeps the regulatory framework under review, including the use of specific chemicals in particular cosmetic products. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has responsibility for the regulation of cosmetic products and intend to prohibit the use of lysmeral and zinc pyrithione in these products. To do this OPSS will be laying the necessary statutory instrument before Parliament in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will include a target to reduce the UK’s single use plastic by 50 per cent by 2025 in the Consultation on environmental targets.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to ban plastic waste exports from the UK by 2025.

The Government has committed to banning the export of plastic waste to countries which are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and we plan to consult this year on the date by which this should be achieved.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will issue pet passports for Ukrainian refugees who arrive in the UK via the Ukraine Family Scheme visa with pets.

We recognise the difficult and distressing situation that people fleeing Ukraine currently face, and the UK Government is working at pace to support them.

People fleeing Ukraine can bring their pets to the UK. We are working with vets and quarantine facilities to make sure that the arrival of Ukrainians in the UK is not delayed by the process to make arrangements for their pets. Pets include cats, dogs and ferrets as well as other domesticated animals that are commonly viewed as pets but not legally part of the pet travel scheme.

Before arrival, people leaving the Ukraine or their carrier should contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) at pettravel@apha.gov.uk or call +44 3000 200 301 option 2. APHA will be able to confirm approval for an emergency licence and organise any necessary stay in quarantine which is required to complete the rabies risk management process. Any quarantine costs will be met by the Government.

The maximum stay in quarantine for a pet which has received no rabies vaccination is four months. Pets will be considered on a case by case basis, with a shortened quarantine period for those that are vaccinated. We are working with vets and quarantine facilities to make sure that the arrival in the UK of people fleeing Ukraine is not delayed by the process to make arrangements for their pets.

We advise those who are travelling to the UK from Ukraine with pets to contact APHA Centre for International Trade at the earliest opportunity to discuss their options.

There is a limited number of quarantine facilities in the UK and we will prioritise those fleeing Ukraine who wish to bring their pets with them, rather than animals being brought over on a commercial basis, including rescue imports. Commercial imports, including rescue imports must follow the usual process.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of withdrawing section 58 of the Deregulation Act 2015 to enable local authorities to enforce recycling to reduce contamination.

S.58 of the Deregulation Act decriminalised incorrect recycling for householders, required a warning before any fine, and allowed regulation of the maximum fine a council can impose in England. The Government continues to believe people should generally not receive a criminal record for using the wrong bin and supports a warning being given before a fine.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had discussions with representatives of water companies following the publication of research by Water UK on 4 February which found that water bills in the UK will rise by 1.7 per cent from April 2022.

Prior to the publication of estimated water bills for year 2022-23, Defra and Water UK discussed the potential increase and the support measures that are available to households who may struggle to pay their water bills.

Water companies will continue to offer a wide range of support, including bill discounts, adjusting payment plans and helping customers to get advice on benefits and managing debts. Water companies have also increased their customer engagement to inform households of these measures.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to ban the use of products which contain thiamethoxam on areas used to grow crops.

In 2018, the UK, along with other EU Member States, supported the withdrawal of approval for the outdoor use of three neonicotinoid pesticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) on any crops, including non-flowering crops such as sugar beet, due to the risk of harmful effects on pollinators. Although they have been withdrawn, emergency authorisations for neonicotinoids and other pesticides may be issued for limited and controlled use in special circumstances where diseases, pests or weeds cannot be controlled by any other reasonable means.

Our support for the overall ban remains the same and use of this product will only take place if a threshold is met and will be strictly limited to a non-flowering crop and tightly controlled to minimise any potential risk to pollinators.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of the Environment Act 2021 on use of neonicotinoid Cruiser SB.

When revising or making new policy on pesticides, the Secretary of State will take into account the relevant duties in the Environment Act.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of neonicotinoid Cruiser SB on bee health.

Cruiser SB is a plant protection product containing the active substance thiamethoxam, which is a neonicotinoid insecticide. Approval for the outdoor use of the neonicotinoids clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam on any crops, including non-flowering crops such as sugar beet, has been completely withdrawn in the UK. These restrictions are justified by the growing weight of scientific evidence that neonicotinoids are harmful to bees and other pollinators.

Under GB pesticides legislation, emergency authorisations for the limited and controlled use of pesticides may be granted where the legal requirements are met, including that use of the pesticide appears necessary because of a danger which cannot be contained by any other reasonable means. Defra granted an emergency authorisation for the limited use of Cruiser SB on the 2021 sugar beet crop to provide emergency protection against viruses that significantly impacted yields the previous year. Ultimately, Cruiser SB was not used on the 2021 crop as the conditions set by the Government as part of the emergency authorisation for the use of the product were not met.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will amend the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill [HL] to include all invertebrates.

The Animal (Welfare) Sentience Bill as drafted applies to vertebrates and gives the Secretary of State a power to extend the recognition of sentience to particular invertebrates in future.

Defra commissioned an independent external review of the available scientific evidence on sentience in decapod crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters, as well as sentience in the cephalopod class, which includes octopus, cuttlefish and squid.

We have carefully considered recommendations in the review. The evidence of sentience in decapods and cephalopods is clear and that is why we are amending the Bill which recognises these creatures as sentient.

We are led by the science, and at this time there is no intention to include any other invertebrates, beyond decapods and cephalopods in the Bill.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the research report entitled State of the World’s Fungi 2018, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the findings of that research that waste plastic broken down by fungi may be used to create sustainable building materials.

Defra is strongly committed to reducing the environmental harm caused by plastics. While we have not made a formal assessment of this particular piece of research, the Government has put together a package of over £100 million for research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from waste plastics.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has held recent discussions with manufacturers of wet wipes on (a) tackling fatbergs and (b) protecting waterways.

The incorrect disposal of wet wipes can cause sewer blockages and environmental damage. Wipes often combine with fats, oil, and grease, which are also often disposed into drains, to form fatbergs. My officials are working to assess the effects of wet wipes containing plastic on sewers and the environment and identify possible solutions.

Defra also continues to encourage the water industry and wet wipes manufacturers to work together to raise consumer awareness about the appropriate disposal of wet wipes and other non-flushable products. This will be crucial for generating meaningful behavioural change with consumers and customers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to implement the Ivory Act 2018.

Once commenced, the Ivory Act will introduce one of the toughest bans on elephant ivory sales in the world by banning the dealing in items made of or containing elephant ivory, regardless of their age, unless they fall within one of the narrow and carefully defined exemptions.


We plan to implement the Ivory Act this winter and for the ban to come into force in spring 2022.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of flood defences in inner cities.

The Government’s new six-year flood defence programme will invest £5.2 billion in flood and coastal erosion risk management schemes between now and 2027, and will better protect 336,000 properties from flooding and coastal erosion. This will benefit urban areas as well as coastal and rural communities. Climate change projections are built into the design of new flood defences to make sure they are fit for the future and offer the appropriate level of protection to communities.

Surface water is one of the sources of flooding in urban areas and the Government is taking action to tackle this risk which is increasing due to climate change and population growth. The Government published a surface water management action plan in 2018 with 22 actions and we will soon publish an update on this work.

We have already changed our flood defence partnership funding rules to enable more surface water schemes and launched a £200 million innovation fund which includes actions to support surface water flood risk actions. We are putting water company Drainage and Wastewater Plans on a statutory footing through the Environment Bill, to ensure drainage and sewerage systems are resilient to withstand the current and future pressures on them. Lead Local Flood Authorities (county and unitary authorities) have the leadership role on surface water flood risk management.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support the Government is providing to local authorities to assist with the appointment of more waste collection vehicle drivers during the shortage of people in that profession.

The Government is in regular contact with the waste sector and local authorities to ensure we have up to date information about current waste collection vehicle staffing levels. We are aware of some current impacts that HGV driver shortages are having on recycling collections and continue to work with the Department for Transport and the other departments involved to consider all the available options.

The Government has already taken action on heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver shortages, including ramping up vocational test capacity so 3,000 practical tests are available each week. The Government has also confirmed funding of up to £7,000 per apprenticeships for people training to be a lorry driver.

There are also increased incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice across the economy as we recover from the pandemic. Employers will receive £3,000 for new apprentices of any age who join their organisation from 1 April to 30 September 2021.

The Government is also working with industry and supporting job seekers to take roles in the profession.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government's recent announcement on the COP26 initiative to protect the world’s forests, what steps he has taken to strengthen measures to protect forests in the UK.

We are committed to increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament. We published our ambitious England Trees Action Plan on 18 May which sets out our plans to at least treble tree planting rates in England in support of this, using more than £500m from the Nature for Climate Fund.

The irreplaceable nature of ancient and long-established woodlands is recognised in our 25 Year Environment Plan. We therefore strengthened the protection of ancient and veteran trees in 2018 through the National Planning Policy Framework and guidance to planners. These outline that developments should be refused if they would lead to the loss and deterioration of ancient and veteran trees unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and suitable compensation measures.

The Government will also introduce a new category of ‘Long Established Woodland’, which are woodlands that have been in situ since 1840, alongside ancient woodland. We will consult on the protections these woodlands are afforded in the planning system, recognising their high ecological and societal value.

We will also continue to lead efforts to build resilience to protect and enhance our trees, woods, and forests for the future, implementing the four environmental goals of the Tree Health Resilience Strategy: Extent, Connectivity, Diversity, and Condition. This includes launching a new Centre for Forest Protection which will help protect our trees, woodlands, and forests from the threats from pests and pathogens through the provision of better evidence.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with representatives of Amazon following reports of large quantities of usable electrical goods being destroyed by that company.

We are aware of the recent news regarding Amazon and the alleged destruction of unsold stock and are closely monitoring the situation.

Businesses who handle waste including companies like Amazon are obliged to follow the waste hierarchy, under our Waste Regulations 2011, which requires action to prevent waste as the priority option. Failure to meet the legal obligation to take all reasonable steps to apply this can lead to enforcement action from the Environment Agency in England.

No business should be sending unwanted electricals to landfill or incineration. We have a producer responsibility system in place to ensure all waste electricals are collected and treated properly, in line with the waste hierarchy.

We in contact with Amazon regarding this issue, and have been absolutely clear that more goods must be reused or recycled to support the Government’s ambition to build a more circular economy. Ministers and officials will shortly be meeting with Amazon to discuss this further.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to support the competitiveness of British farming in the context of the proposed future UK-Australia trade deal.

The historic UK-Australia trade deal agreed by the Prime Minister offers benefits for businesses, producers and consumers across the UK.

It cuts all tariffs on UK exports to Australia, whilst protecting UK agricultural sensitivities and upholding our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. We’ve negotiated strong safeguards and quotas in the deal to protect UK farmers, while supporting them to grow exports of top-quality British produce overseas.

The deal is a gateway to joining CPTPP, a high standard free trade agreement of 11 Pacific nations. This will create new export opportunities for British farmers to export to these high growth markets. The Government is committed to supporting the sector to capture the full benefits of the market access secured through our international trade agreements. We are working in lockstep with partners like the NFU, the AHDB and the Food and Drink Federation to deliver tailored support on the ground for these farmers and food producers through our Open Doors programme. The Minister for Trade Policy has discussed the agreement with his counterparts in the Devolved Administrations and will continue to do so, including through the Ministerial Forum for Trade. We are also looking at what further export support we can put in place.

The Government is also facilitating agricultural productivity improvements through our domestic reform programme in England. We are putting forward an ambitious package of measures that will focus on enabling investment, supporting innovation, facilitating structural changes, and increasing capability and skills. This includes a package of reforms to agricultural tenancy policy and the legislative framework which will give tenants more flexibility to adapt their business to change as we bring in a new domestic agriculture policy. We are also improving transparency in the supply chain to help food producers strengthen their position at the farm gate and seek a fairer return from the marketplace.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of mature trees felled each year as a result of claims of subsidence damage to nearby buildings.

The irreplaceable nature of veteran trees and ancient woodlands is recognised in our 25 Year Environment Plan and further measures will be outlined in the Government's action plan on trees.

We have strengthened the protection of trees through the National Planning Policy Framework and guidance to planners. These outline that developments should be refused if they would lead to the loss or deterioration of ancient woodland and veteran trees, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and suitable compensation measures.

In addition, protection can be given to trees of particular significance by the local planning authority through a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Placing a TPO on a tree or group of trees means the landowner would require local planning authority consent before working on or felling the protected trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to set the personal water consumption target consulted on in 2019.

Good progress has been made in water efficiency policy development. Some of our work was paused last winter, to support work on Covid-19. Our efficiency work now continues at pace and we are committed to publishing the Government response this spring, which sets out our ambition and a package of policies to reduce household water consumption.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department are taking to encourage tree planting in urban areas.

We are committed to increasing tree planting and are setting out policies to achieve this in the Government’s action plan on trees, including planting and protecting trees in and around urban areas. We are already delivering on this through:

  • £80 million of charity-led projects funded through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, the first round of which supported a wide range of projects to protect, restore and connect people with nature, including a national street tree sponsorship scheme and tree planting around the NHS estate.
  • The £10 million Urban Tree Challenge Fund, supporting planting of up to 134,000 trees, including 20,000 street trees.
  • £12.1 million investment in England's ten Community Forests to create high quality, accessible woodlands around towns and cities.
  • £2.5 million to pilot innovative means to grow trees outside woods, in partnership with Local Authorities.

This complements wider support for urban greening through:

  • Creation of a Nature Recovery Network, connecting wildlife-rich places across our towns, cities and countryside.
  • Development of a National Framework of Green Infrastructure Standards to help local authorities, developers and communities to improve greening provision.
  • Designing and investing in healthy places to live and work through the forthcoming National Model Design Code, Towns Fund and new £4 billion Levelling Up Fund.
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what data is collected on the number of trees felled each year as a result of claims of subsidence damage to nearby buildings.

The Government is committed to seeing more trees planted and has a general policy against permanent loss of woodland cover.

Currently there is no assessment on the number of trees felled each year as result of claims of subsidence damage to nearby buildings. This information is held by local authorities as most felling its often done by a case by case basis.

The Forestry Commission does monitor felling to ensure that it is compliant with the felling license regime and uses enforcement action against individuals who allow the felling of trees without the appropriate licence.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of trees being felled in urban areas.

The Government has a general policy against permanent loss of woodland and tree cover, and the management and felling of trees is managed through the felling licence regime. We have developed the National Framework of Green infrastructure standard to help local authorities, developers and communities improve greening provisions in the area.

Through the Environment Bill we will introduce Forestry Enforcement Measures, strengthening Forestry Commission's ability to deter illegal tree felling across England. We will also introduce a duty for local authorities to consult and report the felling of street trees in their area.

We have strengthened the protection of trees through the National Planning Policy Framework and guidance to planners. These outline that developments should be refused if they would lead to the deterioration of ancient woodland and veteran trees, unless there are exceptional reasons and suitable compensation measures.

In addition, protection can be given to trees of particular significance by the local planning authority through a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Placing a TPO on a tree or group of trees means the landowner would require local planning authority consent before working on or felling the protected trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of trees felled in urban areas where they obstruct building construction and development.

The Government has a general policy against permanent loss of woodland and tree cover, and the management and felling of trees is managed through the felling licence regime. We have developed the National Framework of Green infrastructure standard to help local authorities, developers and communities improve greening provisions in the area.

Through the Environment Bill we will introduce Forestry Enforcement Measures, strengthening Forestry Commission's ability to deter illegal tree felling across England. We will also introduce a duty for local authorities to consult and report the felling of street trees in their area.

We have strengthened the protection of trees through the National Planning Policy Framework and guidance to planners. These outline that developments should be refused if they would lead to the deterioration of ancient woodland and veteran trees, unless there are exceptional reasons and suitable compensation measures.

In addition, protection can be given to trees of particular significance by the local planning authority through a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Placing a TPO on a tree or group of trees means the landowner would require local planning authority consent before working on or felling the protected trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the rules are on guide dog owners travelling to the (a) EU and (b) Northern Ireland following the end of the transition period.

On 3 December 2020 the EU voted in favour of giving the UK Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the transition period. This listed status has now been formally adopted by the EU. Part 2 listed status means similar health requirements to travel to the EU as before the end of the transition period, but new documentation is required for pets and recognised assistance dogs. We are disappointed not to have been awarded Part 1 listed status for pet travel, as we are clear we meet all the requirements for this and have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity. We will continue to press the EU commission on this matter, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of these new requirements.

In order to travel to the EU and Northern Ireland, users of recognised assistance dogs must ensure that the dog meets the following requirements:

  • It has been implanted with a microchip
  • It has received a valid rabies vaccination
  • It is accompanied by an animal health certificate unless the dog has been issued with a pet passport in an EU country or Northern Ireland
  • It is accompanied by a written declaration regarding the non-commercial nature of the movement.
  • It has received tapeworm treatment if travelling directly to Finland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta
  • The pet will need to enter an EU country or Northern Ireland through a Travellers’ Point of Entry (TPE) where the owner must contact the competent authority present for the purposes of the documentary and identity checks.

Passengers are also advised to contact the competent authority in the country they are travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before travel.

Defra has been proactively and positively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements to the EU after the end of the transition period. We will continue to closely work with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of adopting a target of 70 per cent recycling by 2030.

The Government has not recently assessed the potential merits of adopting a 70% recycling target for 2030. In 2019 we consulted on proposals to improve recycling for households and businesses and published an impact assessment alongside this which set out the benefits of achieving a 65% recycling rate by 2035. This impact assessment concluded that our proposals to ensure a consistent set of materials were collected for recycling from households and non-domestic premises together with other proposals to reform producer responsibility for recycling of packaging and to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers would achieve a 65% recycling rate by 2035.

The Environment Bill sets out the powers and duties necessary to achieve 65% recycling rate by 2035. We will consult on more detailed provisions and an updated impact assessment in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of a capital investment programme to support reuse, repair, remanufacturing, and recycling of scrap steel, glass, paper and card, plastics and biowaste.

The Government's Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our intention to move away from the linear 'make, take, use, throw' economic model to a more circular economy, keeping resources in use as long as possible so we extract maximum value from them.

We are investing some £3 billion of grant funding in 24 Private Finance Initiative waste infrastructure projects. Along with disposal of residual waste facilities (such as energy from waste plants), these grants support infrastructure including material recovery, mechanical biological treatment and anaerobic digestion facilities, as well as implementation and expanding kerbside recycling services, which help facilitate improvements in recycling levels.

In addition, £4.7 million of grant funding was announced on 12 June 2019 and made available through WRAP's Resource Action Fund to support new capital infrastructure projects that will help to recycle difficult plastic packaging and textile materials. A further £1 million of grant funding was also announced to provide capital support to increase recycling infrastructure for non-household municipal waste from businesses.

Infrastructure is central to our economic strategy, and the government will shortly publish a National Infrastructure Strategy (NIS) setting out further details on its long-term ambitions, including decarbonisation and levelling up.

The NIS will also formally respond to recommendations, including recommendations on waste, made by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) in its National Infrastructure Assessment, which is based on detailed consideration of the UK's long-term infrastructure needs.

The NIC's impartial, expert advice is central to the Government's infrastructure decision-making process. The NIC's work was the catalyst for many of the important spending decisions taken at previous fiscal events. The Government will build on this further when we publish the NIS.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is planning to take steps to manage the number of urban foxes in London and other urban areas.

The Government’s general policy is that individuals should be free to manage wildlife within the law. The fox is not a protected species so the decision to control them lies with the owner or occupier of the property where the problem occurs. Where urban foxes cause problems professional pest controllers with relevant specialist skills are likely to be the most suited people for the task of removing foxes.

Natural England, on Defra’s behalf, has a team dedicated to providing wildlife management advice to the public, both through online material and directly by telephone.

The Government has no plans to control the number of urban foxes in England.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will ensure that British firms do not have to repeat animal tests on products already in use in the UK following the end of the transition period pursuant to EU directive Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006.

We will recognise the validity of any animal tests on products that have already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing.

The grandfathering of all existing UK-held REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration.

The UK has been at the forefront of opposing animal tests where alternative approaches could be used. This is known as the "last-resort principle", which we will retain and enshrine in legislation through our landmark Environment Bill.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to incentivise home-owners to remedy subsidence damage from trees by underpinning their homes rather than felling mature trees which are vital in helping tackle climate change.

Responsibility for trees growing on private property lies with the property owner unless, for example the tree is endangering the public or subject to a Tree Preservation Order.

In our consultation on the England Tree Strategy, we welcome feedback on what changes need to be made to plant and protect more street trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government is taking steps to discourage businesses from using plastic non-reusable cups during the covid-19 outbreak.

In line with the waste hierarchy, the Government encourages the use of reusable cups and containers where possible to avoid waste and increase resource efficiency.

However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to follow the latest safety guidelines and only allow them where it is safe to do so. It is up to individual businesses to decide whether to allow the use of reusable cups or containers during this period. If reusable cups or containers are used, they should be washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water, or in a dishwasher, if suitable. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides further guidance in its business portal:

www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/reopening-and-adapting-your-food-business-during-covid-19.

The FSA advises making sure staff do not touch the customer’s equipment. Businesses can ask customers to leave their cups on the counter and then pour the drink into the cup from their own containers or ask staff to wash the container and their hands in hot soapy water.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to increase statutory fines for littering.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Portsmouth South on 10 June 2020, PQ UIN 52409.

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-03/52409]

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to permanently improve air quality in (a) London and (b) other UK cities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under the Environment Act 1995 to reflect this.

The Government’s Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. We have also put in place a £3.8 billion plan to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. Our Environment Bill makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables local authorities to take more effective action to tackle air pollution in their areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with supermarket leaders on social-distancing measures during queues.

We are in regular contact with the food industry to support them as they respond to COVID-19. This includes providing them with the guidance they need to keep their staff and customers safe, and Public Health England have recently published advice for retailers on social distancing measures in stores.

Representatives of our leading supermarkets have asked customers to shop considerately and we echo their call. We are grateful for the extensive support and positive collaboration that supermarkets have shown. We should be proud of all those across the country who are working round the clock to make sure people have the food they need.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure carers are able to get the food that they need in supermarkets.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and products they need. Industry has adapted quickly to these changes in demands, and we welcome the actions they are taking to support groups including NHS staff and the elderly.

To help supermarkets, the Government has already introduced new measures to keep food supply flowing. We have temporarily relaxed elements of competition law to enable supermarkets to work more closely together to ensure people can access the products they need. Food retailers will now be able to share data on their stock levels, cooperate to keep stores open and share staff, distribution depots and delivery vehicles. This will help keep shops open and staffed and better able to meet high demand. Guidance has been issued to local authorities to show flexibility to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets to ensure shelves can be replenished more quickly. The Transport Secretary has also announced a temporary and limited relaxation of the drivers’ hours rules so that more goods can be delivered to every store every day.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made in introducing a public plastic bottle deposit scheme.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston on 3 March, PQ UIN 20490.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the Government's progress in increasing tree coverage in the UK.

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on new planting of woodland by area in the UK. These are Official Statistics produced to meet the standards of the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Woodland area statistics can be found on the Forest Research website together with background information at: www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/forestry-statistics.

The area of new planting (woodland creation) for the UK in each of the last five years, taken from the published statistics, which are reported in hectares, is shown below. The total area of woodland in the UK was 3,187 thousand hectares in 2019, covering 13.1% of the land area.

New planting of woodland (thousands of hectares)

Year (ending 31 March)

New planting

2014-15

10.30

2015-16

5.65

2016-17

6.51

2017-18

9.09

2018-19

13.40

Source: Forestry Commission, Forestry England, Scottish Forestry, Forestry and Land Scotland, Natural Resources Wales, Forest Service grant schemes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that carbon sinks in the UK are not destroyed.

To reach net zero we must protect and enhance the capacity of our natural environment to capture carbon. Our manifesto committed to invest in nature-based solutions to climate change through a Nature for Climate Fund, to increase tree planting, peatland restoration and nature recovery.

The UK’s trees and woodlands currently capture 4% of our annual greenhouse gas emissions. We must protect the trees we already have, and plant more so that they can capture more carbon. That is why we committed to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares of trees per year by 2025. Forestry regulations also ensure that when trees are felled, for example for timber, they should be replanted and the land restocked.

Our peatlands are a natural carbon sink, but they have been drained and degraded, releasing emissions. We have therefore allocated £10 million to restore approximately 6,500 hectares of degraded peatland, reducing emissions, and will fund further restoration in this Parliament.

Coastal wetland habitats such as saltmarsh and seagrass provide carbon sinks. In the UK, these habitats are protected in some Marine Protected Areas and we are looking at whether their protection could be expanded further. There are also wider measures under the 25 Year Environment Plan to secure clean, healthy, productive and biologically diverse seas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what additional steps her Department is taking to improve air quality in inner-city areas.

Air quality is a key policy area for this Government and a great deal of work is being done to tackle air pollution. Implementing the commitments set out in the Clean Air Strategy, which was published last year, will help to clean up our air faster and more effectively in towns and cities.

The upcoming Environment Bill, which will shortly be reintroduced to Parliament, will deliver some key commitments in the Strategy. This includes introducing a duty to set a legally binding target for fine particulate matter concentrations, the pollutant of most harm to health. The Bill will also ensure that local authorities have a clear framework for tackling air pollution, and are better able to tackle a key source of fine particulate matter emissions – domestic solid fuel burning. It will also provide the Government with new powers to enforce environmental standards for vehicles and machinery.

The Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit is also working with a number of local authorities to deliver compliance with legal limits for nitrogen dioxide in the shortest possible time. The unit provides these local authorities with guidance and support to develop local plans to identify and implement suitable measures to achieve this objective, supported by £572 million dedicated funding. In some instances local authorities will be implementing charging clean air zones to deliver these reductions, and the Government is working closely with these authorities to ensure the necessary IT systems are in place and ready to use.

Further, Defra’s Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities, funding projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions affecting schools, businesses and residents. Defra has awarded over £60 million in funding to local authorities since the grant started in 1997.

These measures will improve air quality across the country, including in inner-city areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment has been made of the economic value of continuing with the policy of culling badgers.

Bovine TB is one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK and is a major source of distress for hard-working farmers and rural communities. The most recent badger control policy value for money analysis, carried out in 2019, estimates the Net Present Value of Badger Control over eleven years at £1.08 million per area.

Further information can be found on Gov.uk at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-badger-control-policy-value-for-money-analysis

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to amend the Hunting Act 2004 with regard to fox hunting.

The Government will not amend the Hunting Act 2004.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department plans to make the living income a priority of its Economic Development Strategy.

Supporting the conditions for the creation of quality jobs and raising the incomes of the world’s poorest workers is at the heart of DFID’s Economic Development Strategy. Since 2015, DFID has supported over 3.9 million people to have raised incomes and better jobs or livelihoods to work their way out of poverty and deliver safer, more secure and higher-return work for women. DFID is also one of the founding members of the Living Income Community of Practice, which aims to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers and enable them to achieve a decent standard of living.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what amount of funding his Department has invested in (a) renewable and (b) non-renewable energy projects in the last five years.

For the most recent five-year period of complete data (2014-2018), DFID bilateral spend on energy projects was £473m. Of this, £211m was on renewable energy and £12m on non-renewable. The remaining £250m spend was on energy policy, research, efficiency and distribution not directly associated with any fuel.

One of the UK’s development priorities is to help developing countries establish a secure and sustainable energy supply, in support of economic growth and poverty reduction, whilst simultaneously pursuing our climate and environmental objectives. DFID increasingly supports renewable energy projects to unlock affordable and clean energy and has not provided ODA bilateral assistance for coal-fired power generation since 2012.

Since 2011, the UK has provided 26 million people with improved access to clean energy and installed 1,600 MW in clean energy capacity.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment the Government has made of the compatibility of steps taken by the government of the People’s Republic of China to block Lithuanian imports with (a) the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and (b) other World Trade Organization agreements.

The Department for International Trade notes with concern the actions taken by China against Lithuanian goods and EU products with Lithuanian content. It also notes the request for consultations that the EU has made at the World Trade Organization (WTO) with respect to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and other WTO agreements on this issue. We stand with all WTO members in rejecting economic coercion.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what checks and safeguards are in place to ensure that UK gold imports from Brazil are (a) environmental sustainable and (b) free from human exploitation of indigenous people and their communities.

London is the global hub for the gold trade through the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). The LBMA has 146 members in twenty countries, including in Brazil.

All refineries on the LBMA’s ‘Good Delivery List’ are required to submit annual reports; they must demonstrate their efforts to combat violations of rights and responsibilities, and to respect the environment, in line with OECD guidance.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment the Government has made of the potential (a) environmental and (b) carbon impact of agricultural products entering the UK food market as a result of the proposed future UK-Australia trade deal.

HM Government has always been clear that any free trade agreement it signs will not threaten the UK’s ability to meet its environmental commitments or its membership of international environmental agreements. HM Government is seeking a deal with Australia that will further environmental and climate policy priorities and the UK will not compromise on high environmental protection.

HM Government carried out a public consultation and scoping assessment for its free trade agreement negotiation with Australia, which can be found on HM Government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uks-approach-to-negotiating-a-free-trade-agreement-with-australia/uk-australia-free-trade-agreement-the-uks-strategic-approach. This preliminary scoping assessment considered illustrative scenarios and served as a point of reference when concluding the agreement in principle. Following the conclusion of negotiations, a full impact assessment will be published prior to implementation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the new trade deal agreed with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein includes Mode 4 provisions that allow musicians and other performing artists and their crews to undertake professional work on a reciprocal basis.

The new trade deal agreed in principle with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein includes provisions for British musicians and performers, who will be able to perform in all three countries, and tour in Norway for up to 90 days every six months without a permit.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many British companies use the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect to invest in mainland China.

We do not hold information on the number of British companies using the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the UK arms licensing system is compliant with international law.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Our assessment of each export licence against the Consolidated Criteria takes into account our obligations under the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Australian bush fires and the climate emergency, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of barring UK Export Finance from providing credit for businesses investing in fossil fuels.

Tackling climate change and supporting the transition away from dependence on high greenhouse gas emitting energy sources is a priority for Government. As the world transitions to a low carbon economy, there remains a need for a mix of energy sources and technologies. UK companies have an important role to play in the transition away from fossil fuels and UK Export Finance (UKEF) will remain responsive to the evolving export financing needs of UK companies during this transition.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of airlines on disruption and delays at UK airports.

Since the beginning of the year, Ministers and Officials have been engaging extensively with the sector to gain a greater understanding of the issues facing the industry. We have taken action in a range of areas, including security alleviations, skills and recruitment to support the aviation industry. This includes the Secretary of State changing the law on the 29 April to alleviate pressures on industry background checks for new recruits going through training and has allowed HMRC Employment History letters to be used as part of the background check, with suitable safeguards in place. This will help speed up the recruitment process.

On 12 May Minister Hinds, Minister of State for Security and Borders and I, hosted a roundtable with leaders from across the aviation industry. This meeting addressed the upcoming increase in passenger demand for the May Half Term and Summer holidays as well as providing industry with a comprehensive update from Border Force on their preparations.

At the same time Senior Officials established the Summer Resilience Group ahead of the May half-term that brings together Operational Directors to work through key resilience issues, which continues to meet regularly in addition to regular bilateral meetings.

On 1 June, the Secretary of State and I chaired a meeting with airports, airlines and ground handlers in order to understand the specific issues they were facing over half term and the actions they were taking to result these.

An action from this meeting was to set up the Strategic Risk Group which I am now chairing on a weekly basis. This will bring together senior representatives of airlines, airports and ground handlers to focus on solutions that minimise disruption over the summer for the public.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with airport leaders on disruption and delays at UK airports.

Since the beginning of the year, Ministers and Officials have been engaging extensively with the sector to gain a greater understanding of the issues facing the industry. We have taken action in a range of areas, including security alleviations, skills and recruitment to support the aviation industry. This includes the Secretary of State changing the law on the 29 April to alleviate pressures on industry background checks for new recruits going through training and has allowed HMRC Employment History letters to be used as part of the background check, with suitable safeguards in place. This will help speed up the recruitment process.

On 12 May Minister Hinds, Minister of State for Security and Borders and I, hosted a roundtable with leaders from across the aviation industry. This meeting addressed the upcoming increase in passenger demand for the May Half Term and Summer holidays as well as providing industry with a comprehensive update from Border Force on their preparations.

At the same time Senior Officials established the Summer Resilience Group ahead of the May half-term that brings together Operational Directors to work through key resilience issues, which continues to meet regularly in addition to regular bilateral meetings.

On 1 June, the Secretary of State and I chaired a meeting with airports, airlines and ground handlers in order to understand the specific issues they were facing over half term and the actions they were taking to result these.

An action from this meeting was to set up the Strategic Risk Group which I am now chairing on a weekly basis. This will bring together senior representatives of airlines, airports and ground handlers to focus on solutions that minimise disruption over the summer for the public.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to provide advice to people who miss their flights as a result of airport disruption and delays.

Airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) provide air passengers information on what to do if something goes wrong with their flight. To further support air passengers, the Government announced as part of the Flightpath to the Future, that it will publish an Aviation Passenger Charter, developed in partnership with the sector and consumer groups, to ensure consumers are aware of their rights and responsibilities throughout their journey, including what to do if something goes wrong. The Charter will be essential for consumers, granting them clear and easily accessible information that they need when travelling by air.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to tackle airport staff shortages.

The aviation industry operates in the private sector and therefore it is the responsibility of the industry to manage demands, recruit and roster staff, and have appropriate mitigations in place. However, we are working closely with the sector and airports to ensure resilience and services are as should be expected for passengers, and are pressing the sector to ensure their summer schedules are deliverable.

As set out in Flightpath to the future: a strategic framework for the aviation sector, published on 26th May 2022, skills retention for highly trained jobs needs to be a key element of the aviation sector’s recovery plan. That is why my Department launched the Aviation Skills Retention Platform and Talentview Aviation in February 2021 and November 2021 respectively to support skills retention and recruitment in the aviation sector.

In addition, we have introduced new legislation to allow certain training to be undertaken while industry background reference checks are completed. I have also permitted HMRC employment history letters to be used as part of the reference check. Both will help to speed up recruitment times.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress he has made on tackling the backlog of practical driving test appointments.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recognises there is a high demand for learners who are wanting to take their practical driving test following the suspension of routine driver training and testing during the pandemic.

The DVSA is working hard to provide as many practical driving test appointments as possible and has a number of measures in place to do this.

These include:

  • offering a national recovery allowance and annual leave buy back to examiners;
  • asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests;
  • conducting out of hours testing, such as on public holidays and weekends; and
  • asking recently retired driving examiners to return to testing.

The DVSA is also launching a new national campaign to recruit an extra 161 examiners across Great Britain to help meet the increasing demand for driving tests. This is in addition to its previous campaign to recruit more than 300 additional examiners.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to stop UK airlines running empty or near-empty flights to retain landing slots at airports.

The Government acted swiftly to tackle the risk of empty or near empty aircraft continuing to fly during the pandemic solely to retain their slots. The rules requiring airlines to fly 80% of their slots in order to retain them for the subsequent season were fully suspended for the Summer 2020, Winter 2020/21 and Summer 2021 slot scheduling seasons.

The Government secured more flexible powers through the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft (ATMUA) Act 2021. This allows the Government to amend the usual landing slot rules, where the evidence supports, preventing airlines operating empty or near-empty flights.

For the current Winter 2021/22 season, the Government has used the ATMUA Act 2021 to introduce a package of measures designed to support the recovery of the sector and protect air carriers from operating empty or near-empty flights. For the Summer 2022 season, further alleviation is planned which will support the recovery in passenger demand and give airlines the flexibility not to operate their slots where there are COVID-19 related restrictions.

We will consult with airlines, airports and aviation industry bodies shortly on whether further alleviation is needed for the Winter 2022 season and beyond.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to make road insurance mandatory for e-scooter owners driving on roads.

E-scooters are currently classed as motor vehicles under the Road Traffic Act 1988. This means users must comply with the requirements for motor vehicles, which includes having appropriate insurance. It is currently an offence to ride an e-scooter without insurance. The Department is now considering options for a new regulatory framework for e-scooters. This includes working with industry to consider whether to require insurance and, if so, what kind.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will require taxi and minicab drivers to complete disability equality training.

Effective disability awareness training can help ensure that taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers have the knowledge, skills and confidence to provide passengers with appropriate assistance, so that they can travel independently and with confidence.

The Department wants every local licensing authority to require taxi and PHV drivers to complete this training, and will make this clear in updated best practice guidance, due to be published for consultation later in the year.

The Government also remains committed to introducing mandatory disability awareness training for taxi and PHV drivers through new National Minimum Standards for licensing authorities when Parliamentary time allows.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Air Quality Expert Group's report on Non-Exhaust Emissions from Road Traffic, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the report's findings that fully electric cars cause dust pollution from car brakes and tyres.

The Department for Transport recognises that fully electric cars, in common with all road vehicles, contribute particulate pollution from road, tyre and brake wear.

In February 2021, the Department commissioned a leading UK research provider to investigate the measurement techniques, materials properties and control parameters of brake and tyre wear emissions from road vehicles. The study will report in 2023 and will be used to inform policy decisions and any potential legislation that may be required to control and reduce these emissions, including from electric vehicles.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason Colombia is on the covid-19 red list for international travel.

Colombia has been on the red list since 15 January 2021 due to the ongoing presence of variants of concern. Government scientists will continue to engage with countries on the red list and keep the evidence on variants of concern, especially Lambda and Mu, under close review in order to ensure the UK’s approach remains proportionate.

Decisions on red country assignment and associated border measures will continue to be taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments alongside wider public health factors.

The data for all countries and territories will be kept under review and the Government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will take steps to give priority access to key workers and disabled people to fuel their cars during fuel supply chain pressures.

This is a matter for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will commit to allocating more funding to local authorities to build secure (a) cycle hangars and (b) on-street cycle parking spaces.

£239 million of capital funding is being made available to local authorities outside London this financial year for active travel measures, including cycle parking infrastructure. Local transport authorities have been invited to bid for this funding and allocations will be announced in the autumn.

In London, Transport for London (TfL) and the London Boroughs are responsible for the provision of public cycle parking. The Government announced a third funding and financing package for TfL in June this year, which includes £100 million to continue the delivery of healthy streets and active travel programmes.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to accelerate the conversion of the world fleet of commercial ships to green propulsion.

The Government is working actively to accelerate the transition of the shipping industry to zero emissions operations.

Internationally, the UK has played a key role in the development of the International Maritime Organization’s strategy for climate change, and we will be pushing for a zero emissions international shipping industry by 2050 in future negotiations.

Domestically, we have set out our next steps in the recent Transport Decarbonisation Plan and committed £23m to support research and development through the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support his Department is providing to local authorities to fund and increase the availability of electric charging points.

The Department is committed to ensuring consumers have reliable access to a comprehensive vehicle charging network so that they can easily and conveniently charge their vehicles wherever they live and travel. The Government has committed £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure which will see the installation of more on-street charge points near homes.

Local authorities will have a key role in planning and enabling the delivery of charge points to meet the needs of their local communities and areas, with particular focus on supporting those who do not have access to off-street parking. The On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) is available to all UK local authorities to provide public chargepoints for their residents without access to private parking. By 01 August 2021, the Scheme had supported 49 different local authorities to install over 1,400 chargepoints, while a further 88 local authorities have also been awarded grant funding to provide more than 3,200 on-street public chargepoints with their installations to be completed. This year, £20 million is available under the Scheme. Free support and expert advice for applications to the Scheme is provided on the Department’s behalf by Energy Saving Trust.

Government also committed at Spending Review a further £90 million to fund local EV charging infrastructure, to support the roll out of larger, on-street charging schemes and rapid hubs in England.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to help tackle road safety issues in respect of e-scooters hired under the Government’s e-scooter rental trials.

There are a number of ways in which the Department is making the trials as safe as possible. All trial e-scooters must meet minimum construction standards and have at least third-party insurance provided by the e-scooter operator. Trial areas were required to provide evidence of engagement with the local police before a trial could be approved, to ensure the police were aware of the trials and of their role in enforcement. If an e-scooter is ridden into a no-go zone, it will power down to a safe stop, requiring the rider to push it back to an area in which riding is permitted. It is for the police to take action against rider behaviour for offences including drink driving; riding on the footway; contravening red traffic lights and using a mobile phone. Those who ride private e-scooters on the public highway are liable to be issued with fixed penalty notices for offences including contravening cycle lanes, riding without insurance and riding without a driving licence.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason Canada was not included alongside the EU and USA for quarantine-free travel to the UK from 28 July 2021; and whether he plans to take steps to implement quarantine-free travel between the UK and Canada.

Canada was added to the UK government’s green list at 4am on Monday 30 August 2021, meaning travellers arriving in the UK from Canada will not have to quarantine regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated.

The government is taking a phased approach to expanding the policy for vaccinated inbound travellers, and in due course, we will explore expanding this approach to other countries, where it is safe to do so. At present, we are unable to give timescales for extending this policy, but we look forward to working with Canada as we progress towards a safe, sustainable and robust return to international travel.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his policy is on introducing grants to members of the public to assist with the (a) purchase and (b) maintenance of electric cars.

The Government has put in place various grant funding schemes to assist members of the public to reduce the up-front purchase price of electric vehicles. The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles provides a plug-in car grant of £2,500 towards eligible cars costing less than £35,000 and a plug-in van grant with small vans receiving up to £3,000 and large vans up to £6,000. Alongside cars and vans, the plug-in taxi grant gives licensed taxi drivers up to £7,500 off the price of a new vehicle and eligible zero emission mopeds and motorcycles can receive a grant of up to £1,500. In November 2020, Government announced more funding for the plug in vehicle grants. Including funding committed at Budget 2020, this brings a total of £582m for cars, vans, motorcycles and taxis to 2022/23. The March 2020 Budget included the extension of favourable benefit in kind tax rates for zero emission vehicles out to 2025; company car tax is only 1% for this financial year 2021/22 and 2% in 2022/23 through to 2024/25

The Government does not provide grants to assist with the maintenance of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles already have significantly cheaper running costs than petrol or diesel vehicles and all zero emission cars are exempt from vehicle excise duty (VED).

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to reduce the cost of public transport to encourage members of the public to drive and fly less.

The National Bus Strategy, published on the 15 March, will deliver better bus services for passengers across England, through ambitious and far-reaching reform of how services are planned and delivered, to make local bus services more frequent, more reliable, easier to understand and use, better co-ordinated with simpler fares. We expect Local Transport Authorities to produce Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) by the end of October 2021, setting out an ambitious vision for travel by bus in their area, meeting the goals and expectations in the strategy.

New national rail flexible season tickets were announced as part of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, reflecting modern working patterns and saving many passengers hundreds of pounds. The tickets went on sale on 21 June and became available for passengers to use on 28 June.

Great British Railways will use its leadership to simplify the current mass of complicated fares and tickets. Passengers will have simpler digital ticketing, be able to purchase tickets through a single industry website and app. There will be greater convenience for passengers through contactless travel in urban areas using contactless bankcards and smartphones.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to introduce recycling centres specifically designed to recycle materials from electric cars.

The Government is keen to create a circular economy for all electric vehicle batteries. That is why we are supporting the innovation, infrastructure and regulatory environment for a UK battery recycling industry. The Government’s £330 million Faraday Battery Challenge is playing a leading role in promoting the reuse and recycling of battery components. The 2009 Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations bans the disposal of EV batteries to landfill or incineration. Battery producers are obligated to take back EV batteries free-of-charge and treat them at approved facilities. The Government is providing grant funding support through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to a ground-breaking project (RECOVAS) to create a new circular end-of-life supply chain for the electric vehicle industry. RECOVAS will develop the UK’s first commercial scale recycling facility for automotive battery packs.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to increase the number of charging points for electric cars to help meet the Climate Change Committee's recommendation of 150,000 such points to be introduced by 2025.

The UK has been a global front-runner in supporting provision of charging infrastructure along with private sector investment. Our vision is to have one of the best infrastructure networks in the world for electric vehicles (EVs), and we want chargepoints to be accessible, affordable and secure.

We will invest £1.3 billion in accelerating the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next four years, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces, to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car. Later this year, we will introduce new regulations under the Automated Electric Vehicles Act (2018) to improve the consumer experience of public charging. We will also be publishing an EV Infrastructure Strategy to set out the vision and action plan for charging infrastructure rollout needed to achieve the 2030/35 phase out successfully. This will set expected roles for different stakeholders and how government will intervene to address the gaps between the current market status and our vision.

The Government has not set an overall target for the number of chargepoints because doing so risks assuming technology stands still and creating a uniform approach to charging mixes and needs across the country. We keep all our policies under review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking with local authorities to increase the number of heavy goods vehicle drivers who work in local authority waste collection.

Waste collection is a responsibility of local authorities, and this includes oversight of all components of the service provided.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he is having with Cabinet colleagues on recognising foreign certification of covid-19 vaccination for the purpose of travel to the UK.

We are working closely with medical and public health experts and international partners and will provide an update in due course on how we will approach vaccinated individuals from other countries.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department made of the potential effect on road safety of the decision to temporarily extend operating hours limits for heavy goods vehicle drivers.

It is important to remember that the relaxations are limited in nature. No requirements of the rules for breaks during the day, daily & weekly rest periods, and weekly & fortnightly driving limits have been removed. They have been relaxed in a controlled way. In addition, the relaxations are time limited and only made due to exceptional circumstances.

Our issued guidance makes clear that driver safety must not be compromised. Drivers should not be expected to drive whilst tired and employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users.

In addition, drivers remain bound by the requirements in the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005. This ensures that drivers do not work long hours, by limiting their overall working hours (which includes driving and any other work), to an average of 48 hours a week over a 17 to 26-week reference period. These regulations also limit drivers to a maximum of 60 hours in any given week, provided the average is still 48 hours. This guarantees drivers are not working continuously long hours, even if working under a temporary relaxation of the drivers’ hours rules.

There have not been any reported accidents identified to the Department involving drivers working under a drivers’ hours relaxation, although there is no specific reporting requirement.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Portugal and Malta introducing new obligations on arrivals, what discussions he is having with his European counterparts on international travel and requirements for vaccination for children aged 12 to 17.

Department for Transport ministers and/or officials have met with counterparts from Portugal, Malta and the EU to discuss the safe and sustainable unlocking of international travel. Our Embassies in these countries, and Mission to the EU are also very active in ensuring that we share relevant information, including on vaccination requirements.

We continue to work with international partners as we seek to cautiously balance the reopening of international travel with managing the public health risks.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish all relevant sources of information that were used alongside the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s publication of data used to inform Ministerial decisions in relation to the international travel traffic-light risk assessments on (a) 3 June 2021 and (b) 24 June 2021.

A summary of the JBC methodology has been published on GOV.UK, alongside key data from publicly available platforms such as GISAID, the World Health Organization and host government websites, in relation to the traffic light risk assessments for the 3 and 24 June 2021.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Transport Decarbonisation Plan will include targets to halt and reverse the growth of road traffic.

We will shortly publish a bold and ambitious Transport Decarbonisation Plan that will set out a credible pathway to deliver transport’s contribution to carbon budgets and meeting net zero by 2050. This will set out the measures needed to accelerate modal shift to public and active transport making them the natural first choice for our daily activities.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what engagement his Department has had with international partners on best practices for increasing the electrification of the rail network in the UK.

Departmental ministers and officials meet with international partners to discuss issues of mutual interest, which sometimes includes electrification practice. For example, the Rail Minister recently discussed electrification with representatives of the government of Poland. Rail industry research into efficient electrification and Network Rail-led advice to the Department about the decarbonisation of the railway both consider international practice.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the economic effect on Haringey of delays in the progress of proposals for Crossrail 2.

Transport projects are kept under continual review. Given current affordability constraints, Transport for London has confirmed that they are not in a position to prioritise investment in Crossrail 2, and the Government has agreed that they will stop development work on the project. No assessment has been made of the economic effect on Haringey.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with his French counterpart on the validity of British driving licenses for British residents in France since the end of the transition period.

The Government is committed to establishing reciprocal arrangements with France with the minimum of bureaucracy. The Government has secured interim arrangements with the French authorities which will allow UK licence holders, resident in France, to continue to use their valid UK licence until 1 January 2022. We are working urgently with the French government to find a solution for those with expired licences as well as to finalise a permanent arrangement. The Government commits to providing an update as soon as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether procedures are in place to ensure that all airlines have up-to-date lists of approved providers for day two and day eight covid-19 testing for travel.

The Government provides links to all post-arrival testing providers on Gov.uk to support operators as well as travellers who need to book post-arrival tests in the UK.

The test package prices listed on the website are for the provider’s standard service, which meets the Government’s minimum standards, although prices may differ to reflect different levels of customer service and speed of results.

The list is continually updated as providers are reviewed by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service and declare that they meet the required standards.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing long-term goals for increasing active travel in urban areas of the UK.

The Prime Minister’s 2020 Cycling and Walking Plan ‘Gear Change’ sets a new vision that cycling and walking will be the natural first choice for many journeys with half of all journeys in towns and cities being cycled or walked by 2030. This vision is complementary to the 2040 ambition contained in the 2017 Statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, that cycling and walking should be the natural choices for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey.

The second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS 2) will be published after the Government has agreed and set out its long-term spending plans for active travel at the next multi-year Spending Review. It will reflect and build on the commitments outlined in the Prime Minister’s Cycling and Walking Plan of July 2020, including targets for cycling and walking.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce domestic air travel in line with the Government's climate change policies.

Aviation must play its part in delivering the UK’s net zero commitment, but we also need to retain the ability to fly. The aviation sector is vital for the whole of the UK economy in terms of connectivity, direct economic activity, trade, investment and jobs, particularly where viable alternative modes of travel are limited. The Government is already supporting a variety of technology, fuel and market-based measures to address aviation emissions, and we will consult on a Net Zero Aviation Strategy in the coming months, setting out the steps to reach net zero aviation emissions by 2050.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce emissions on the rail network.

In the last three years, we have completed almost 700 single track miles of rail electrification in England and Wales, and we will continue to electrify more of the rail network in the years ahead. We are also supporting the development of new low-carbon technologies in rail, like battery and hydrogen trains, through innovation funding and research.

The Network Rail-led Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS) provides advice about which decarbonising technologies (electrification, hydrogen, or battery) could best suit each part of the network. TDNS will inform the Department’s forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Government decisions about the scale and pace of rail decarbonisation between now and 2050.

Emissions from diesel trains can contribute to air pollution hotspots, with stations being an area of particular concern. The Government is funding a new £4.5 million air quality monitoring network, which will measure air pollution in up to 100 stations across the GB railway. Once established, the network will help to identify priority locations where air quality improvement measures are most needed.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to support walking and cycling schemes.

Last summer the Prime Minister launched ambitious plans to boost cycling and walking in England, so that half of all journeys in towns and cities are cycled or walked by 2030. This includes a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over the next 5 years.

Over £200 million has been made available to authorities during the current financial year, via the Active Travel Fund, to support an active and green recovery from Covid-19. This will enable them to deliver safe and direct cycling and walking measures in their areas, such as protected cycle lanes, widened pavements, safer junctions and cycle and bus-only corridors. The Spending Review in November confirmed that a further £257 million of dedicated funding would be made available next financial year to support cycling and walking schemes.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of further extending the MOT eligibility period in response to the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans were automatically extended by six months from 30 March 2020 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These extensions ceased from 1 August 2020 and there are no current plans to reintroduce extensions to MOT due dates.

Most garages remain open and are carrying out MOTs. MOT garages have received guidance on how to carry out MOT tests in a COVID-19 secure way and many MOT providers have also been able to introduce contact-free testing services, including pick-up and drop-off of vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he is providing assistance to the Mayor of London in formulating strategic transport plans for the city.

The responsibility for transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and Transport for London.

Ministers and officials in the Department for Transport hold regular discussions with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor for Transport and Transport for London on a range of transport matters.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of accelerating the phasing out of diesel trains to help meet the UK's climate targets.

The Government is committed to rail decarbonisation to meet our target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Network Rail’s work to develop a Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy will inform our decisions about the scale and pace of rail decarbonisation, the deployment of different decarbonisation technologies on each part of the network to replace diesel trains, and the delivery of our ambition to remove all diesel-only trains from the railway by 2040.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) suspected and (b) confirmed cases of covid-19 have been reported among driving examiners in each month since June 2020.

The attached table sets out both the number of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among driving examiners and the driving test centres in which they have been reported in each month since June 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, in which driving test centres have (a) suspected and (b) confirmed cases of covid-19 been reported among driving examiners in each month since June 2020.

The attached table sets out both the number of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among driving examiners and the driving test centres in which they have been reported in each month since June 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to bring forward proposals on limiting the noise emitted from vehicles as a result of the noise camera trial launched in June 2019.

The Government takes the impact of road noise on health, wellbeing and the natural environment seriously. Vehicles are required to meet strict noise limits before being placed on the market and should not be altered to increase their noise level.

The Department’s initial trials of a prototype noise camera have now concluded and the results will be published shortly.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage passengers to return safely to rail travel as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We now understand the epidemiology of the virus better and can control it through targeted, local action. Our priority remains the safety of staff and passengers. We are working with rail operators to ensure passengers have the confidence to return to the railway, and continue to take all necessary measures to make rail travel safe. These include the installation of clear floor markings, the provision of extra staff to manage passenger flows and provide guidance, and the mandating of face coverings on public transport.

We have also asked the rail industry to increase the number of services they run. Rail operators continue to assess local demand regularly and deliver the services passengers need. From 7 September, the railway has been operating 91% of its pre-pandemic capacity, providing frequent and reliable trains for passengers.

To support a safe, green recovery and new working patterns we are also considering proposals to try to ensure better value and convenience for part-time and flexible commuters.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress has been made in the discussions with (a) Transport for London and (b) the Mayor of London on the Government’s review into Transport for London’s future financial sustainability.

The Government led review into Transport for London’s future financial sustainability is ongoing.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to promote the use of powered two-wheelers as an alternative to public transport during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s guidance issued on 12 May refers to “Private cars and other vehicles” as an alternative to using public transport, and encourages the public to “consider all other forms of transport before using public transport”. This would include private vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds where the journey to be made is appropriate.

In response to COVID-19, we are accelerating and expanding planned trials of rental e-scooters, allowing all areas that want to host trials to do so. We will introduce legislation in June to allow trials to begin.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to continue the recent additional funding for cycling as part of a long-term increase in cycling investment.