Charlotte Nichols Portrait

Charlotte Nichols

Labour - Warrington North

First elected: 12th December 2019


Energy Bill [HL]
22nd May 2023 - 29th Jun 2023
Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill
1st Mar 2023 - 8th Mar 2023
Online Safety (Re-committed Clauses and Schedules) Bill
7th Dec 2022 - 15th Dec 2022
Social Housing (Regulation) Bill [HL]
23rd Nov 2022 - 29th Nov 2022
Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill
2nd Mar 2022 - 8th Mar 2022
European Scrutiny Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 2nd Nov 2021
European Statutory Instruments Committee
10th Feb 2020 - 2nd Nov 2021
Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill
7th Sep 2021 - 22nd Sep 2021
Shadow Minister (Equalities Office)
14th May 2021 - 14th Sep 2021


Department Event
Monday 26th February 2024
18:00
Department for Business and Trade
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
26 Feb 2024, 6 p.m.
The draft Limited Liability Partnerships (Application of Company Law) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Monday 26th February 2024
18:00
Department for Business and Trade
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
26 Feb 2024, 6 p.m.
The draft Limited Liability Partnerships (Application of Company Law) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
09:25
Department for Business and Trade
Third Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
27 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
09:25
Department for Business and Trade
Third Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
27 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024
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Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 28th February 2024
10:00
Zoological Society of London (Leases) Bill - Debate
Subject: To consider the Bill
28 Feb 2024, 10 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 28th February 2024
10:00
Zoological Society of London (Leases) Bill - Debate
Subject: To consider the Bill
28 Feb 2024, 10 a.m. View calendar
Department Event
Thursday 7th March 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 2nd May 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
2 May 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Reform)
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 77 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 63 Noes - 81
Speeches
Monday 19th February 2024
UK Economy
News that the UK is officially in recession comes as no surprise to my constituents, who have been battered by …
Written Answers
Monday 19th February 2024
Dental Services
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to her Oral Statement of 7 February …
Early Day Motions
Monday 23rd October 2023
Multiple sclerosis and 10 years of PIP
That this House recognises the devastating impact of the Personal Independence (PIP) assessment process on people living with Multiple Sclerosis …
Bills
Tuesday 7th September 2021
Transport (Disabled Passenger Charter) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to establish a passenger charter for disabled land transport passengers setting out their rights, the legal obligations of …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Nuclear Industry Association
Address of donor: 5th Floor, Tower House, 10 Southampton Street, London W2E 7HA
Estimate …
EDM signed
Monday 19th February 2024
Transport for London and London Underground maintenance workers
That this House is dismayed to learn that Transport for London (TfL) is re-tendering essential track maintenance work on the …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 21st February 2023
Sun Protection Products (Value Added Tax) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to exempt sun protection products from VAT; and for connected purposes.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Charlotte Nichols has voted in 751 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Charlotte Nichols 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
Paul Scully (Conservative)
(22 debate interactions)
Penny Mordaunt (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(20 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Independent)
(16 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(40 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(30 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(26 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Online Safety Act 2023
(3,134 words contributed)
Trade Bill 2019-21
(1,783 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Charlotte Nichols's debates

Warrington North Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Warrington North signature proportion
Petitions with most Warrington North signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

People with a lifelong illness should not be subject to regular reviews for eligibility for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). People suffering lifelong conditions should not have to prove they are still ill every couple of years.

The Government should remove the requirement for people claiming disability benefits, such as the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), to have to go through an assessment process. Claims should be based solely on evidence from medical professionals, such as a letter from a GP or consultant.

We want the Government to conduct a full review of the PIP process. This should look at DWP policy and the performance of ATOS and Capita, which conduct the health assessments for applicants. We believe the current process is inherently unethical and biased, and needs a complete overhaul.

I would like the Government to:
• make running conversion therapy in the UK a criminal offence
• forcing people to attend said conversion therapies a criminal offence
• sending people abroad in order to try to convert them a criminal offence
• protect individuals from conversion therapy

The Government is refusing to release official research on the characteristics of grooming gangs, claiming it is not in the “public interest”.

We, the British public, demand the release of the official research on grooming gangs undertaken by the Government in full.

The Home Secretary said what happened to victims of child sexual exploitation gangs was “one of the biggest stains on our country’s conscience.” Last year local authorities identified 18,700 suspected victims of child sexual exploitation. We want an independent public inquiry into Grooming Gangs.

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

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

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Charlotte Nichols

19th February 2024
Charlotte Nichols signed this EDM on Monday 19th February 2024

Transport for London and London Underground maintenance workers

Tabled by: John McDonnell (Labour - Hayes and Harlington)
That this House is dismayed to learn that Transport for London (TfL) is re-tendering essential track maintenance work on the Underground to private companies as part of its Track Labour Framework, rather than bringing this work in-house; expresses concern that, under existing sub-contracting arrangements, three-quarters of these sub-contracted workers reported …
18 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 16
Independent: 2
19th February 2024
Charlotte Nichols signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 19th February 2024

Cash payments and Avanti West Coast catering services

Tabled by: Cat Smith (Labour - Lancaster and Fleetwood)
That this House notes with concern reports that rail operator Avanti West Coast is proposing to withdraw cash as an accepted payment method for its catering services from March 2024; expresses concern about the impact of this decision on people who rely on, or prefer to use, cash; further notes …
23 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 17
Scottish National Party: 3
Independent: 2
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Charlotte Nichols's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Charlotte Nichols, 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.


Charlotte Nichols has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Charlotte Nichols

Thursday 15th December 2022

1 Bill introduced by Charlotte Nichols


A Bill to establish a passenger charter for disabled land transport passengers setting out their rights, the legal obligations of transport operators, complaints procedures, passenger assistance schemes and accessibility requirements; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 7th September 2021
(Read Debate)

1268 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
27 Other Department Questions
19th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to allow transgender people who are deceased to be legally remembered by the gender they lived by.

We recognise the sensitivity of these situations, particularly when family and friends are dealing with the loss of a loved one. The Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004 provides for people to change their legal gender. Those who have undergone this process and acquired a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) before the time of their death will, of course, be recognised in their new gender.

Without undergoing the process of legal gender recognition and acquiring a GRC under the provisions laid out in the GRA 2004, a person has not legally changed gender. Therefore they would not be recognised in their new gender upon the unfortunate event of their death. That said, where a person was using their new gender with an organisation prior to their death, and that was on their personal records, then we anticipate that the organisation would engage with their family members using the new gender. These organisations could include the NHS, their place of work or community groups.

We recognise that everyone who decides to undergo a change in how their legal sex is recorded deserves our respect, support and compassion throughout the process. The process does not currently allow for third party applications, such as posthumous applications on behalf of a deceased friend or relative, as any application will be a deeply personal undertaking and choice.

Following the GRA consultation and the subsequent changes we made to the application process, we have no plans to further amend the Act.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what her timeline is for bringing forward the proposed draft Bill on conversion therapy.

No one in this country should be harmed or harassed for who they are and attempts at so-called ‘conversion therapy’ are abhorrent. That is why we are carefully considering this very complex issue. We will be setting out further details on this in due course

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent steps she has taken to help close the ethnicity employment gap.

The ethnic minority employment rate is at a record high of 69.4 per cent. This is an increase of 1.1 percentage points on the previous year, and 3 percentage points above the pre-COVID rate (Jan-Mar 2019). There are now 4.9 million ethnic minority workers in employment in the United Kingdom. This is an increase of 391,000 on the previous year and is also a record high.

We want everyone to be able to find a job, progress in work and thrive in the labour market, whoever they are and wherever they live. For example, we are working with over 85 of the country's most influential employers through the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to widen participation in apprenticeships particularly for people from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups, including ethnic minorities.

We published Inclusive Britain in March 2022, our groundbreaking strategy to tackle negative ethnic disparities, promote unity and build a fairer Britain for all. Our update report to Parliament on 17 April set out the excellent progress we have made so far in delivering this strategy. This includes launching an Inclusion at Work Panel to tackle bias and ensure fairness, and publishing new guidance for employers on how to use positive action in the workplace and to report on ethnicity pay gaps.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will set out the Government's timeline for its pay transparency pilot.

We are currently considering the scope of the pilot and want to ensure that it provides informed insights for employers looking to implement greater pay transparency. Decisions about the form that the pilot takes will have an impact on the timeline for the work.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
12th Jul 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government taking to help close the (a) gender, (b) ethnicity and (c) disability pay gap.

Over the last decade the gender pay gap has fallen by approximately a quarter and mandatory gender pay gap reporting has helped motivate employers to improve workplace gender equality. To accelerate progress we have supported legislation to: enhance flexible working, extend redundancy protection for those on maternity leave, and introduce carer’s leave.

On ethnicity pay gaps; in April this year we published guidance for employers on how to voluntarily calculate and publish their ethnicity pay gaps. This will allow businesses to report accurately and in a consistent manner, and to address any unfair ethnicity pay gaps within their workforce.

With regard to the disability pay gap, we recognise that one of the greatest challenges is opening up opportunity in the workplace. In March 2023, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) published Transforming Support: The Health and Disability White Paper. This sets out how DWP will: support more disabled people to start, stay and succeed in work.



Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
16th Jun 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what checks are undertaken to ascertain whether candidates for election to (a) the House of Commons and (b) local authorities are on the sex offenders register.

A person is disqualified from being elected to a local authority in England and Wales if they are on the sex offenders register at the time of their nomination and on polling day.

The Scottish Government is consulting on introducing a similar disqualification for Scottish local government elections. There is not currently a similar disqualification in place in Northern Ireland, or for UK parliamentary candidates.

It is the candidate's responsibility, not the Returning Officer's, to ensure that the information they submit on their nomination papers is correct. If a candidate decides to stand despite not meeting the eligibility criteria, this would be a matter for the police.

20th Apr 2023
What recent assessment she has made of the impact of increases in the cost of living on disabled people.

This Government understands the impact of the rising cost of living on disabled people, which is why over 6 million people will receive the £150 disability cost of living payments, and 60% of these households will be entitled to additional means-tested cost of living payments worth up to £900.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with ticket sales and distribution companies on the level of their fees to customers.

My Department’s officials engage with the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (the self regulatory body for the entertainment ticketing industry in the United Kingdom) on a regular basis, as well as other organisations involved in the ticketing industry and consumer protection policy. In general, there are no limits on what service providers can charge for their services, but there are rules to prevent consumers from being misled as to the price of services. The Department for Business and Trade leads on policy relating to the primary ticketing market and my department continues to work closely with them on the issues in this area.

Consumer legislation requires information, such as price, to be upfront, where possible, and transparent. The transaction process should provide customers with details of the total price before the customer confirms the purchase. Alleged breaches of the legislation should be reported to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or via its website here. They are able to pass complaints onto Trading Standards for further enforcement action where appropriate.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential impact on trans people of press reports that use a trans person's former name.

The Government strongly supports editorial independence and does not interfere with what the press publishes. However, with freedom comes responsibility and the press is required to abide by the law of the land.

There is an independent self-regulatory regime to ensure that the press adheres to a wider 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 IPSO. A small number of publishers have joined Impress, while others, including the Financial Times and the Guardian, have chosen to stay outside either self-regulator with their own detailed self-regulatory arrangements.

The regulators enforce codes of conduct that provide guidelines on a range of areas. If they find that a newspaper has broken the code of conduct, they can order corrections. IPSO can also order critical adjudications and Impress can levy fines. IPSO has produced guidance on researching and reporting stories involving transgender individuals. The guidance Impress has published on its standards code also includes information on this subject.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of (a) reporting standards and (b) levels of public trust in the press, and whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to raise standards and restore public trust.

The Government is committed to independent self-regulation of the press, and does not intervene in or oversee the work of the press regulators.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether the Committee has had discussions with the Electoral Commission on guidance to be issued during the training of polling station staff on dealing with voters who do not have eligible ID.

The Speaker’s Committee has not had discussions with the Electoral Commission on the matter referred to.

The Electoral Commission has published guidance for Returning Officers on delivering the voter ID requirement, alongside a handbook and quick guide for polling station staff. These provide staff with support and guidance to implement the legislation on polling day and manage any issues which arise, including where a voter does not have an accepted form of ID.

Legislation requires polling station staff to collect data on the number of voters not issued with a ballot paper, whether because they have produced ID which is not on the list of accepted documents or have not produced any ID at all. This data will be anonymised and then provided to the Government and the Commission after polling day.

The Commission will report on how the May 2023 elections were delivered, including how voters found taking part, and what lessons can be learned for the future.

27th Feb 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what discussions the Committee has had with the Commission on the guidance issued to local authorities on requirements to record the (a) number and (b) identity details of people turned away from polling stations for not possessing required identification.

The Speaker’s Committee has not had discussions with the Electoral Commission on the matter referred to.

The Electoral Commission has published guidance for Returning Officers on delivering the voter ID requirement, alongside a handbook and quick guide for polling station staff. These provide staff with support and guidance to implement the legislation on polling day and manage any issues which arise, including where a voter does not have an accepted form of ID.

Legislation requires polling station staff to collect data on the number of voters not issued with a ballot paper, whether because they have produced ID which is not on the list of accepted documents or have not produced any ID at all. This data will be anonymised and then provided to the Government and the Commission after polling day.

The Commission will report on how the May 2023 elections were delivered, including how voters found taking part, and what lessons can be learned for the future.

23rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when she expects the proposed independent regulator for football to be established.

We recognise the need for urgent action to safeguard the future of football clubs throughout the English football pyramid, so will legislate to put the regulator on a statutory footing as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

As the White Paper makes clear, the Government is actively exploring establishing a shadow regulator ahead of legislation, to ensure that both the statutory regulator and regulated clubs can hit the ground running.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make it her policy to make it mandatory for all restaurants to provide braille menus.

Under the Equality Act 2010, businesses and service providers, including restaurants, already have an anticipatory duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

The anticipatory duty requires them to consider the disadvantage(s) that may be experienced by a group of disabled people - for example, those who are blind - rather than an individual disabled person and ensure that relevant adjustments are put in place before they might actually be needed, so that people with such disabilities would not be put at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled service users when using facilities or services.

Such adjustments should address the communication needs of deaf and blind customers and could include the provision of auxiliary aids, such as menus made available in Braille. We believe that a reasonableness test is appropriate, as individual circumstances will differ.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with her counterparts and legislators in (a) Malta, (b) France, (c) Canada, (d) New Zealand, (e) Greece and the relevant regional or state governments of the (i) US, (ii) Spain and (iii) Australia on their legislation on banning conversion practices and their protection of transgender people.

The Government has engaged with a wide range of international counterparts including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Malta, to understand the approaches they have taken to ban conversion therapy. We will continue to engage with counterparts around the world that are committed to protecting everyone from conversion practices to share insight and develop our approach.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on banning sexual orientation and transgender conversion practices.

The Government has been liaising with territorial offices and the devolved administrations including the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on this important issue.

Officials will continue to work with their counterparts across the devolved administrations to discuss the UK Government’s approach to protecting everyone in England and Wales from conversion therapy practices.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recommendations made by the Ending Conversion Practices Expert Advisory Group in Scotland on 4 October 2022.

The Government has been liaising with territorial offices and the devolved administrations including the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on this important issue.

Officials will continue to work with their counterparts across the devolved administrations to discuss the UK Government’s approach to protecting everyone in England and Wales from conversion therapy practices.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what work has been undertaken by her Department on transgender conversion practices since the Government set out its plans on this topic in its background briefing to the Queen’s Speech in May 2022.

Since May 2022, the Government has launched a support service open to all victims or those at risk of conversion practices regardless of their background or circumstances. The Government has committed up to £360,000 over three years to this service. The service includes a helpline, instant messaging service, and website to enable people to get the support they need.

More widely, the Government remains committed to protecting everyone from these practices. We are carefully considering the responses to the public consultation which closed earlier this year and will respond in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, which accredited medical, counselling or psychological organisations support the Government’s plan to not include transgender people in a ban on conversion practices.

The Equality Hub Ministers and officials have met with healthcare professionals in developing the policy approach to protecting all individuals from conversion practices. Many such organisations responded to the public consultation that closed in February 2022.

We will continue to meet with healthcare professionals to inform our approach and will respond to the consultation in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether her Department has consulted (a) NHS England, (b) NHS Wales, (c) the Royal College of GPs, (d) the Royal College of Psychiatrists, (e) the British Psychological Society and (f) the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy as part of its work to explore the issue of transgender conversion practices further.

The Equality Hub Ministers and officials have met with healthcare professionals in developing the policy approach to protecting all individuals from conversion practices. Many such organisations responded to the public consultation that closed in February 2022.

We will continue to meet with healthcare professionals to inform our approach and will respond to the consultation in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make it his policy to require large employers to collect socioeconomic background data for use in (a) outreach work with schools and (b) recruitment and progression policies.

This government believes the circumstances of one's birth should not determine life outcomes. The Social Mobility Commission (SMC), an independent body sponsored by the Equality Hub in the Cabinet Office, works to achieve this aim.

The Commission’s employer engagement team works with employers of varying size, across multiple sectors, to create more inclusive and diverse socio-economic workforces. Through their research and engagement with industry trade bodies and employers, and external diversity and inclusion research, they have produced guidance for employers that offers practical help and ideas. This includes guidance on how employers can collect the socio-economic background data of their workforce alongside other diversity data, which can be used by them to measure the socio-economic background of their employees and potential recruits in order to understand if their hiring or progression practices are as fair and meritocratic as they can be.

The SMC's advice is for employers to collect anonymous data from their workforce, apprentices and applicants using the key question "What was the occupation of your main household earner when you were about aged 14?" Optional supplementary questions include the type of school attended for ages 11-16 and eligibility for Free School Meals. Further information is available in their employers' toolkit.

The current approach encourages the collection of data on a voluntary basis, as a mandatory approach would represent a significant burden on employers.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make it his policy to require all large employers to collect socio-economic background data on (a) work experience schemes, (b) apprenticeships and (c) entry-level applicants for use in (i) outreach work with schools and (ii) recruitment and progression policies.

This government believes the circumstances of one's birth should not determine life outcomes. The Social Mobility Commission (SMC), an independent body sponsored by the Equality Hub in the Cabinet Office, works to achieve this aim.

The Commission’s employer engagement team works with employers of varying size, across multiple sectors, to create more inclusive and diverse socio-economic workforces. Through their research and engagement with industry trade bodies and employers, and external diversity and inclusion research, they have produced guidance for employers that offers practical help and ideas. This includes guidance on how employers can collect the socio-economic background data of their workforce alongside other diversity data, which can be used by them to measure the socio-economic background of their employees and potential recruits in order to understand if their hiring or progression practices are as fair and meritocratic as they can be.

The SMC's advice is for employers to collect anonymous data from their workforce, apprentices and applicants using the key question "What was the occupation of your main household earner when you were about aged 14?" Optional supplementary questions include the type of school attended for ages 11-16 and eligibility for Free School Meals. Further information is available in their employers' toolkit.

The current approach encourages the collection of data on a voluntary basis, as a mandatory approach would represent a significant burden on employers.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to ensure that trans people in England and Wales have the same right to a de-medicalised and shortened process of gender recognition as for trans people in Scotland.

This Government is committed to supporting LGBT people, tackling discrimination and improving the lives of all citizens.

In September 2020, we announced our response to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) consultation. We concluded that the current provisions within the GRA allow for those that wish to legally change their gender to do so and that the balance struck in this legislation is correct. There are no plans to make changes to the 2004 Act.

In our response, we also committed to making the process of applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) as straightforward and dignified as possible. We have already delivered on our promise to reduce the fee of applying for a GRC to £5, making the process more affordable. We are also progressing work to move the process online, to reduce the administrative burden and streamline the overall experience for applicants.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, for what reasons support services for victims of conversion therapy have not yet been commissioned; and what steps she plans to take to ensure that survivors of that therapy get the support they need to contribute to the Government’s consultation on banning conversion therapy.

The Government is working at pace to deliver on our commitment to ban conversion therapy. As previously stated, we will also ensure there is support available for victims of conversion therapy; the first time the UK Government has offered this. The support will be available to whoever considers themselves to be at risk of - or has undergone - conversion therapy, whatever the circumstances.

The importance of developing a quality service is of central importance, and we are working at pace to explore delivery options available to realise this commitment. An announcement with more details on the service and how it will be delivered will be made in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she plans to ban LGBT conversion therapies.

The Government has made clear its commitment to banning conversion therapy and will set out proposals shortly. To ensure we get our proposals right, we have undertaken research to understand the prevalence of practices and experiences of those impacted. Furthermore, officials have been speaking with a range of organisations who hold diverse views, to fully inform our next steps.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans she has to address prejudice and attitudes to inequality towards black and ethnic minorities in response to the findings of King's College's study, Unequal Britain: attitudes to inequality in light of Covid.

I will look carefully at the findings of the King’s College study, ‘Unequal Britain: attitudes to inequality in light of Covid’, as part of the government’s commitments to levelling up and to tackling prejudice, racism and discrimination.

This work will also take account of the findings of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which has been carrying out a deeper examination of the causes of disparities and which reported to the Prime Minister on 31 March.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
1st Jul 2021
What steps he is taking to increase the number of prosecutions relating to domestic violence.

This Government has introduced the landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

Coordinated multi-agency action and supporting victims are key components of the CPS’s ambitious programme of work published in January, which will help narrow the disparity between reporting and criminal justice outcomes.

The CPS recently hosted a virtual domestic abuse conference with the police and the courts, sharing best practice and innovation.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Attorney General, whether any (a) employed and (b) indirectly employed Crown Prosecution Service support staff have been furloughed.

The CPS has not furloughed any support staff that it a) employs or b) indirectly employs.

8th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if his Department will take steps to ensure that civil servants who have retired since 1 April 2022 are able to receive the £1500 cost of living award.

I refer the Honourable Member for Warrington North to the answer given on 25th October 2023 in response to PQ 203635.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
12th Jul 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department is taking steps to prevent public contracts being awarded to companies that blacklist workers.

The Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010 prohibit the compilation, usage, sale or supply of blacklists. The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 contain exclusion grounds which allow contracting authorities to exclude suppliers from procurements where their tender does not comply with labour law or where the supplier is guilty of grave professional misconduct. A breach of the Blacklists Regulations on a particular tender would render the supplier liable to exclusion and a breach more widely may amount to grave professional misconduct.

In all cases, individual departments and other public sector bodies are responsible for their own decisions on these matters

The Procurement Bill introduced by the Government, currently in the final stages of debate in Parliament, builds on and clarifies the exclusions measures in the existing regime. This includes specific measures enabling the exclusion of suppliers for labour market misconduct and professional misconduct.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
12th Jul 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what social value criteria the Government considers when awarding public contracts.

The Social Value Model launched in January 2021 (PPN 06/20) by this Conservative Government, standardises the assessment of bidder’s proposals for delivering social value outcomes, including tackling economic inequality, creating new businesses, jobs and skills, as well as increasing supply chain resilience and fighting climate change. The Model takes into account factors such as the number of local jobs or apprenticeships a contractor will provide, or the number of SMEs involved in their wider supply chain.

At the same time, the Procurement Bill we are introducing also confirms that while value for money remains paramount during contracting, buyers should take into account other relevant wider social and environmental considerations the supplier may bring.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent steps the Government has taken to engage with the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.

The Government is fully committed to constructive engagement with the Covid-19 Inquiry and has been since its establishment.

Government officials and lawyers meet with the Inquiry on a regular basis, both as part of a regular series of meetings and on an ad hoc basis to discuss specific issues. We have disclosed over 55,000 documents to the Inquiry to date.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure veterans can access well-paid employment.

Veterans employment in this country is strong, with 87% securing employment in 6 months after service, helping to deliver on the Government’s priority to grow the economy.

DWP’s 50 Armed Forces Champions across the JobCentre Plus network, a 12-month National Insurance Relief for employers recruiting veterans into their first civilian role, and recruitment pathways for veterans into Civil Service careers, such as Going Forward into Employment and a Great Place to Work, are all making a difference to veterans across the country.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
25th May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to require ministers to resign if they are found to have made an minor breach of the ministerial code.

The Ministerial Code is clear that graduated sanctions are in place for breaches of the Code; this is set out in paragraph 1.7. This has formally been part of the Code since May 2022 when the Code was amended, but this approach has just reflected actual practice from previous Administrations under successive Prime Ministers.

That formal amendment to the Code followed recommendations from the Committee on Standards in Public Life in 2021. The Chair of the Committee noted: “The current expectation that any breach of the Ministerial Code should lead to resignation is disproportionate. We recommend that there should be a proportionate range of sanctions” (Lord Evans correspondence to the Prime Minister, 15 April 2021).

The (then) Prime Minister agreed with this recommendation in his reply of 28 April 2021, explaining: “I agree with your recommendation... this has always been the case, but over time, an expectation has arisen that any breach should lead automatically to resignation, which I agree is disproportionate.”

The (then) Independent Adviser on Ministerial Interests, Lord Geidt, also concurred in his Annual Report of May 2021, noting: "I believe its [the Code’s] status is likely to be enhanced by a more proportionate approach to sanctions”.

The Committee repeated this recommendation in their ‘Standards Matter 2’ final report published in September 2021.

I would also observe that both Houses of Parliament takes a similar approach to breaches of the Code of Conduct by Parliamentarians, as do employers in their HR processes across the public and private sector.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much his Department has allocated for (a) marketing and (b) related activities for the Unicorn Kingdom campaign in the 2022-23 financial year.

The Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on the GREAT campaign, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-spend-data.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much his Department has spent on (a) marketing and (b) related activities for the Unicorn Kingdom campaign.

The Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on the GREAT campaign, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-spend-data.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
9th May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the processes were for appointing Government contracts to Infosys Limited.

Public sector contracting authorities are required to purchase products and services through competitive tender in accordance with public procurement legislation, and are responsible for their own commercial decisions, including the award of contracts.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if the Prime Minister will amend the ministerial code to require all new Ministers to publish their tax returns.

The Ministerial Code was last updated on 22 December 2022. There are no plans for any further updates.

In submitting their ministerial interest form Ministers are asked to declare their relevant interests in a number of categories. One such area on which information is required is Ministers’ tax affairs. The Prime Minister has recently re-affirmed the importance of ensuring this duty is undertaken conscientiously.

As stated in the answer of 2 February 2023, Official Report, PQ 135428, the Prime Minister has stated his intention to publish his own tax return, which will be published in due course.

However, as has been the case under successive administrations, it is not the intention of the Government to require all Ministers to publish their tax returns. In public life, a balance must be struck between reasonable expectations of privacy and accountability. This reflects that Parliament has previously legislated to maintain the principle of taxpayer confidentiality.

7th Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Prime Minister was first made aware of the allegations of bullying made against the Rt hon. Member for Esher and Walton.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given by the Prime Minister at Prime Minister’s Questions on 1 February 2023, Official Report, Columns 335-336.

30th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Prime Minister first became aware that the Rt hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon had not (a) declared to his permanent secretary and (b) disclosed in his ministerial declaration of interests the investigation by HMRC.

I refer the Hon Member to the Prime Minister's comments to the House on 25 January (https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2023-01-25/debates/CC1C6066-E0E7-4BF6-84D4-BB5C11BC1EBA/Engagements#contribution-2261E821-4652-4AE6-A3D4-43A2323BE174 )

As the Hon Member will be aware, the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests provided his findings to the Prime Minister in a letter sent on 29 January 2023. The findings detail the relevant facts in relation to the disclosures made by the Rt Hon Member for Stratford-on-Avon. The advice was published in full on GOV.UK on the day it was received by the Prime Minister, and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House. Correspondence relating to the tax affairs of individual taxpayers is subject to statutory requirements on taxpayer confidentiality.

10th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons he took a private jet on a journey to Leeds on 9 January 2023 instead of other forms of transport.

All Ministerial travel is undertaken using efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements.

As a whole, domestic flights within the United Kingdom allow Ministers to visit more parts of the United Kingdom in the time available, particularly areas further away from London, and reduce the need for overnight accommodation for Ministers and accompanying staff. Security considerations are also taken into account.

Details of departmental business travel are published in the Cabinet Office audited annual report and accounts.

8th Dec 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to update the List of Ministerial Responsibilities.

The List of Ministerial Responsibilities has been published and placed in the Libraries of both Houses. It can also be found on GOV.UK at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-ministers-and-responsibilities.

2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government will publish its complete response to the Sir Robert Francis KC Infected Blood Compensation Study before Christmas this year,.

I recognise the importance of the issue and the desire of the honourable lady to receive an update on Government work in relation to Sir Robert Francis’ recommendation.

It is my intention to provide an update to the House as soon as possible.

24th Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his planned timetable is for the launch of the emergency alert system.

The government remains committed to launching the emergency alerts capability this winter and is in the final stages of validating it is ready for this to happen. The initial focus will be on extreme weather scenarios and, subject to a review of the trial period, we will look to expand its use in the spring of 2023.

17th Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when an Ethics Advisor to the Prime Minister will be appointed.

I refer the Rt. Hon Member to my earlier response (PQ79302).

The Prime Minister has confirmed that he intends to appoint an Independent Adviser and that further details will be announced in due course.

The process to appoint an Independent Adviser is already taking place. It is an important role which needs to be considered carefully; this is happening at pace.

3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Prime Minister was provided with information on the adherence of the Rt. hon Member for Fareham to the Ministerial Code during her tenure as Secretary of State for the Home Department before her reappointment to that position.

I refer the hon. Member to my answers of 26 October 2022, Official Report, Column 299-307.

2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reviewing ministerial severance pay.

The entitlement to severance payments for those who cease to hold ministerial office is set out in the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991. The Government has no current plans to amend the Act.

27th Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much each Department has spend on lecterns in each of the last five years.

Spend on lecterns by each government department is not held centrally by Cabinet Office.


5th Jul 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, when he was first made aware of a formal complaint of inappropriate behaviour by the Right hon. Member for Tamworth while serving as a Foreign Office Minister between 2019 and 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to the right Hon. Member for Holborn and St Pancras during Prime Minister’s Questions on 6 July 2022.

5th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the Government spent on lawyers contesting the case put forward by deaf viewers that Downing Street press conferences should include a British Sign Language interpreter; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has been committed to supporting disabled people through every stage of the pandemic, including D/deaf BSL signers. BSL interpretation was available for No.10 press conferences via the BBC News channel (available on Freeview) and iPlayer. The BBC made their video feed for the BSL interpreter available to all other broadcasters and for use on No10 social channels. For the rare occasions when the BBC chooses not to have BSL, an agreement was reached for RedBee Media to provide an interpreter service to No. 10 for use on government social media channels.

The court ruled that the Government’s policy of using on-screen BSL interpreters was lawful during the pandemic.

More broadly, the Government has actively supported the British Sign Language Act 2022 to build a more inclusive and accessible society.

Cabinet Office spend on external legal services is available on GOV.UK.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what discussions he has had with his Independent Adviser on Ministerial Interests on the Chancellor of the Exchequer receiving a fixed-penalty notice for breaching covid-19 regulations; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the Hon. Member to the statement issued by my Rt Hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 12 March; this has been placed in the Library.

1st Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will confirm that the compensation study for the victims of the contaminated blood scandal will be published in full on the 14 March 2022; and whether the Government has plans to publish a timeline for the response to that report.

I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave on 24 February to PQ 125060.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to publish the infected blood compensation framework report by Sir Robert Francis QC on or by 14 March 2022.

The study will report to the Paymaster General no later than 14 March 2022. The Government will give full consideration to Sir Robert's study - which is separate from the independent public inquiry. The Government's response and Sir Robert's study will be published.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Minister in his Department has responsibility for fraud and corruption following the resignation of Lord Agnew of Oulton.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, as the senior Minister in the Cabinet Office, continues to have oversight of fraud against the public sector.

Policies on fraud against the public and business, as well as corruption, remain with the Home Office and the Minister of State for Security and Borders, assisted by the Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Champion, John Penrose MP.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, for what reason the telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 31 January 2022 was cancelled.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave to the Hon Member for Lewisham East during my oral statement. The call was rescheduled for 2 February. A readout from the call is available on the gov.uk website.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what estimate he has made of the cost of creating an Office of the Prime Minister.

I refer the Hon Member to my answer given to 114642.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, if he will publish details of planned meetings that he has (a) cancelled or (b) been unable to attend in (i) December 2021 and (ii) January 2022.

Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on gov.uk. There are no current plans to change that. Ministerial diaries frequently change to reflect wider government and Parliamentary business. The purpose of such transparency returns is to list what meetings actually take place.

26th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on what date he expects the inquiry into the covid-19 pandemic to commence.

The Prime Minister has appointed the Rt Hon Baroness Heather Hallett as the chair of the inquiry. Draft terms of reference will be published in due course.

21st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason a civil servant rather than a judge is carrying out the inquiry into gatherings at 10 Downing Street during the covid-19 outbreak.

These investigations are being carried out by Sue Gray, Second Permanent Secretary. It is a fact finding investigation, and it is facts that will be presented to the Prime Minister.

The investigation has been carried out by civil servants, who are bound by the Civil Service Code, including the values of impartiality and objectivity.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the number of additional children beyond the annual average who have lost a parent since the beginning 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.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

Charlotte Nichols MP
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

20 October 2021

Dear Ms Nichols,


As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what assessment has been made of the number of additional children beyond the annual average who have lost a parent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (57430).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes mortality statistics for England and Wales, compiled from information supplied when deaths are certified and registered as part of civil registration. Death registration figures for Northern Ireland and Scotland are available from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency1 and National Records of Scotland2, respectively.

An ONS report on ‘Excess mortality and mortality displacement in England and Wales: 2020 to mid-20213 showed that between 28 December 2019 and 2 July 2021, the number of deaths registered was 97,981 more than the five-year average for a similar calendar period, an excess of 11.9%.

The information collected at death registration does not include the number of children to whom the deceased was a parent. While family structure is recorded at the decennial census and could in principle throw some light on this question, information from the 2011 Census would be insufficient since it does not include children born since the 2011 census day, and corresponding data from the 2021 Census are not yet available.

It is therefore not possible at present to make any reliable estimate of the number or proportion of people who died who were parents, or of the number of children who sadly lost a parent.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

1https://www.nisra.gov.uk/statistics/births-deaths-and-marriages/deaths
2https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/vital-events/deaths
3https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessmortalityandmortalitydisplacementinenglandandwales/2020tomid2021

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on how many occasions Queen's Consent has been denied since 2010.

Queen's consent is a very long-standing convention and a requirement of the Parliamentary process where proposed legislation may affect Crown interests, including personal property and personal interests of the Monarch.

It is for the House Authorities to determine whether a Bill requires Queen’s consent. Where this is determined to be the case, consent is routinely sought by the Government and agreed by the Monarch as a matter of course.

Consent to Bills has never been refused by the Monarch in modern times and legislation is not amended in order to ensure Queen’s Consent.

Once granted, Queen’s Consent will be signified at Third Reading of the bill in each House. The hon. Member can ascertain such occasions from reviewing the Official Report.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on how many occasions proposed legislation has been amended to ensure Queen's Consent since 2010.

Queen's consent is a very long-standing convention and a requirement of the Parliamentary process where proposed legislation may affect Crown interests, including personal property and personal interests of the Monarch.

It is for the House Authorities to determine whether a Bill requires Queen’s consent. Where this is determined to be the case, consent is routinely sought by the Government and agreed by the Monarch as a matter of course.

Consent to Bills has never been refused by the Monarch in modern times and legislation is not amended in order to ensure Queen’s Consent.

Once granted, Queen’s Consent will be signified at Third Reading of the bill in each House. The hon. Member can ascertain such occasions from reviewing the Official Report.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on how many occasions Queen's Consent has been sought by each Department since 2010.

Queen's consent is a very long-standing convention and a requirement of the Parliamentary process where proposed legislation may affect Crown interests, including personal property and personal interests of the Monarch.

It is for the House Authorities to determine whether a Bill requires Queen’s consent. Where this is determined to be the case, consent is routinely sought by the Government and agreed by the Monarch as a matter of course.

Consent to Bills has never been refused by the Monarch in modern times and legislation is not amended in order to ensure Queen’s Consent.

Once granted, Queen’s Consent will be signified at Third Reading of the bill in each House. The hon. Member can ascertain such occasions from reviewing the Official Report.

13th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to have the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Group included in the membership of the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration.

Every death during the pandemic has been a tragic loss, made so much harder for those unable to say goodbye or grieve as they would have wished. It is absolutely right that we come together to mark and remember this period appropriately.

The Prime Minister announced on 12 May that the Government will support these efforts by establishing a UK Commission on Covid Commemoration. The Commission will carefully consider how communities across the country can remember those who have lost their lives and recognise those involved in the response in a fitting and permanent way.

The Government recognises the need for bereaved families to be represented on the Commission and are committed to ensuring this happens. I am grateful to them for all their efforts throughout the pandemic. The Government will set out the Commission membership and terms of reference in due course.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on the independent statutory public inquiry on its handling of the covid-19 pandemic to start in spring 2022.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed to this House that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022. Further details - including in respect of the inquiry’s terms of reference - will be set out in due course.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when his Department plans to publish the outcome of its review of the potential merits of covid-status certificates.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the 5 July 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) need for voters to provide identification during elections and (b) potential effect that policy may have on particular demographics who may be less likely to hold identification.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ188127 on 29 April 2021.


Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/voter-identification-faqs.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
12th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish evidence to show (a) that the Prime Minister paid for the refurbishment of the apartment at 11 Downing Street, and (b) to whom those payments were made.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Written Statement of 25 March 2021, HCWS895 on Infected Blood Update, when the Government plans to appoint an independent reviewer to carry out a study on the compensation framework; and when Government plans to publish a further update.

Work to appoint the independent reviewer is ongoing and a further announcement will be made on this in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that Census 2021 is accessible to people who do not have internet access.

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

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what ratio of paid staff to volunteers are working to assist in compliance with completing the census in 2021, compared with 2011.

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

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of altering the candidate nomination requirements for elections during a pandemic.

We have received representations from Parliamentarians on this issue, and we are currently considering the matter.

As I have stated in the House, we will keep Parliament updated on the election preparations, will engage with political parties and will publish detailed guidance in due course.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to introduce mandatory quarantine at hotels to reduce the spread of covid-19 by people arriving from outside the UK.

As we have said throughout the pandemic, we keep our measures under constant review.

The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that from 15 February anyone travelling to the UK from a country on the UK’s travel ban list will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for a period of 10 days. Full guidance for England is here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/booking-and-staying-in-a-quarantine-hotel-when-you-arrive-in-england

These actions provide further layers of protection to manage the risk of imported infections and protect our NHS while national lockdown and vaccinations take effect.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to publish regular redundancy statistics that combine age and sex data.

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

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral contribution of 17 June 2020, Official Report column 796, what the source is for his statement that there are 400,000 fewer families living in poverty now than there were in 2010.

I refer the Hon Member to the reply I gave to the Leader of the Opposition on 24 June 2020, Official Report, Col 1305.

Indeed, the Government believes the best way to improve children’s chances is by supporting families into secure, meaningful work.

Children living in workless households are around four times more likely to be in absolute poverty (after housing costs) than those where all adults work. As of December, the number of workless households has fallen by 1 million since 2010, meaning there are over 740,000 fewer children living in a household where no one works.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make regular reports to the House on the (a) frequency and (b) decisions of meetings of the Cabinet committee on climate change.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not normally shared publicly.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to lift the marriage ban in England.

The Government understands the huge significance of weddings. We recognise that because weddings have not been able to take place in recent months this has caused difficulty and distress for many people. As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, published in May, the Government has been examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups better to facilitate small weddings. We have worked closely with faith leaders and local government on how best to achieve this. The Prime Minister announced on 23 June that wedding and civil partnership ceremonies will be able to take place in England from 4 July. People should avoid having a large ceremony, and should invite no more than thirty family and friends. Venues should ensure they are COVID-19 secure.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will meet representatives of Royal Mail to discuss adherence to the universal service obligation.

Ministers and officials meet with Royal Mail regularly to discuss a range of issues in relation to its role as the universal postal service provider, including the overall provision of the universal service obligation.

I recently met the CEO of Royal Mail’s parent company to raise concerns about Royal Mail’s performance and he recognised that the current level of service is not good enough and has said that improving quality of service is his top priority. I note that Royal Mail has recruited an additional 3,000 postmen and is continuing to actively recruit new postal staff. I will continue to raise the issue if service levels do not improve.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what her Department's policy is on lenders threatening to charge additional fees and penalties on the repayment of loans under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme; and whether her Department has taken enforcement action against such lenders.

As part of the scheme design, no early repayment fees or other lender-levied fees of any type following drawdown were permitted.

The Lender Audit and Assurance Programme verifies appropriate administration of Covid Loan Scheme portfolios by accredited Delivery Partners in line with their contractual obligations. If any concerns are identified, remedial actions are agreed with Delivery Partners to rectify areas failing to meet guarantee requirements.

Should a person or organisation have any particular concerns or incidents to raise, these can be directed to the British Business Bank via the contact form available at: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/contact-details/.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what rules and regulations apply to the operation of Bounce Back Loan Scheme agreements as of 24 January 2024; and whether lenders may (a) levy fees and (b) charge additional interest under the scheme.

The Bounce Back Loan scheme provided financial support to businesses across the UK that faced disruption as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A lender could provide a six-year term loan from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover, up to a maximum of £50,000. The scheme gave the lender a full (100%) government-backed guarantee against the outstanding balance of the facility.

As part of the scheme design, no early repayment fees or other lender-levied fees of any type following drawdown were permitted. The Government covered the first 12 months of interest, which meant that borrowers paid 0% interest for the first year. Following that, an interest rate of 2.5% per annum applies.

A list of frequently asked questions is available on the British Business Bank’s website: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/bounce-back-loans/faqs-for-small-businesses/.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recourse is available to a business if they suspect that (a) a lender and (b) an organisation or person acting on behalf of a lender is not complying with the regulations of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme rules were developed with the British Business Bank, who accredited lenders to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. Any business concerned about compliance with the scheme rules, by a lender or an organisation or person acting on behalf of a lender, should follow the lender’s complaint process in the first instance, before pursuing with the Financial Ombudsman Service, if required.

Further information can be found on the Financial Ombudsman Service website: https://sme.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/complain/complaints-can-help/borrowing-money/government-backed-loan-schemes-context-covid-19-pandemic.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will conduct a review into the regulation of (a) sales of caravans and (b) management fees at static caravan sites.

Caravan park owners and operators are subject to consumer protection legislation in the same way as any other business which has dealings with consumers.

For example, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA), goods purchased (including caravans) have to be as described, of a satisfactory quality, and fit for a particular purpose.

The CRA also protects consumers from unfair contractual terms being applied by traders such as park operators.

We are further strengthening the enforcement of this framework in the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill. Therefore, the Government has no plans to further regulate the sales of caravans.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 8 November 2023 to Question 947 on Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership: Pesticides, when her Department plans to publish the report by the Trade and Agriculture Commission; and how much notice her Department plans to provide to hon. Members that the treaty will be laid.

We are expecting to receive the Trade and Agriculture Commission’s report on 30 November. It will be published and laid in Parliament shortly thereafter.

The treaty text was published and presented to Parliament on 17th July 2023. It can be found on gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/accession-protocol-of-the-uk-to-the-cptpp

The Government will work with relevant Select Committees to coordinate timelines as far in advance as possible to facilitate scrutiny work.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has had discussions with the Leader of the House on making time for a debate on a substantive motion on the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership during the ratification process.

The Government is committed to effective scrutiny of its trade agenda and has put in place a comprehensive framework for scrutiny of free trade agreements (FTAs). This includes a commitment to seek to hold a general debate on a new FTA where one is requested by the relevant Select Committee in a timely manner, subject to parliamentary time. The Government's view is that a general debate is the appropriate mechanism for Parliament to debate a new FTA.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what opportunities Parliament had to shape the negotiating mandate of the UK’s proposed accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

This Government is committed to transparency, and to ensuring that parliamentarians, UK citizens and businesses have access to the information they need on our trade negotiations.

The Government undertook a public consultation and published comprehensive information at the start of talks on accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, including our strategic approach and economic scoping assessment.

Throughout negotiations, Ministers and senior officials had consistent dialogue with select committees and we also published six updates in the form of written Ministerial statements to keep Parliament informed.

The Government also committed to facilitate requests for a debate on negotiating objectives, subject to available Parliamentary time.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how much funding the UK Government have allocated to the electric car industry between 2023 and 2030.

In the 2021 Net Zero Strategy, the Government announced £350m for the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF). This is in addition to the £500m for this programme announced in the 2020 Ten Point Plan.

Government and industry have jointly committed approximately £1.4bn in innovative projects through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), to accelerate the development and commercialisation of strategically important vehicle technologies, strengthening our competitive edge internationally.

In the coming months, after engagement with industry, the Government will build on the APC and ATF to take decisive action to ensure future investment in the manufacturing of zero emission vehicles in the UK.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made an estimate of the number of gigafactories that will be established in the UK by 2030.

We continue to work with industry via the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to support the creation of an internationally competitive electric vehicle supply chain in the UK, including gigafactories.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre forecasts that UK demand for EV battery manufacturing capacity is expected to reach 89 GWh per annum by 2030.

ATF funding has already helped secure key investments, including, Tata’s recent announcement that they will be investing over £4 billion to build a new gigafactory in the UK and the £1bn electric vehicle hub in Sunderland in partnership between Nissan and Envision AESC.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what estimate she has made of the carbon emissions created by the import of goods manufactured abroad in each of the last three years.

The department does not hold information on the estimated carbon emissions related to imported goods for 2021 and 2022. The latest data on carbon footprint associated with the UK's consumption of goods and services for the year 2020 was published by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on the 2nd of August 2023.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will take steps to ensure that services ordered online are able to be cancelled as (a) quickly and (b) easily once the contract has ended.

The Consumer Contract Regulations 2013 ensure that consumers can cancel qualifying contracts within 14 days of commencement and, throughout the contract period, are able to contact the trader to discuss the contract, including cancel, through at least a basic, local-rate helpline. The regulations also stipulate that contracts cannot be automatically renewed unless the consumer has signed up for one with automatic renewals, ensuring consumers are not forced into a new contract term they may not want.

In addition, the Government is strengthening the rules for subscription contracts which auto-renew. The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill require traders to provide clear information before consumers enter a contract and reminders before a subscription renews onto new terms, and clear and easy cancellation routes so it is as easy to leave a contract as sign up.

The Bill specifically prohibits traders from creating barriers that make it hard for a consumer to cancel their contract, and mandates that if a consumer can sign up to a contract online, they must be able to exit it online.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make it his policy to require all employers to introduce a menopause policy.

The Government has appointed Helen Tomlinson as the first ever Menopause Employment Champion. The Menopause Employment Champion will drive awareness of issues surrounding the menopause and encourage employers to create a more supportive environment to help women stay in work and progress. The Government has no plans to require all employers to introduce a menopause policy.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to increase the level of trade with Commonwealth countries.

The UK already has trade deals with 33 Commonwealth members. 18 members also benefit from preferential access to the UK’s newly launched Developing Countries Trading Scheme, one of the world’s most generous trade preferential schemes.

Our membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) includes Brunei and Malaysia and are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India. We recently announced future FTA negotiations with the Maldives.

Commonwealth Trade Minister’s met in June to set direction for commonwealth trade and investment where the UK secured important commitments aimed at boosting digital trade and investment facilitation.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department is taking steps to help protect jobs at Zimmer Biomet in Bridgend.

On the 29th June Zimmer Biomet communicated to union representatives and employees the decision to close the manufacturing operation at Bridgend with the loss of 540 jobs. With 30 sites worldwide this decision is part of the company’s strategy to reduce its global footprint.

The Department for Business and Trade and Welsh Government officials are working with the company to understand the reasons behind the decision, the impacts on Bridgend and how to safeguard the workers affected.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact of fire and rehire practices on the labour market.

The government previously asked the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service to collect evidence into how dismissal and re-engagement is being used by employers. This report was published in June 2021 and is available from https://www.acas.org.uk/fire-and-rehire-report.

The government is taking action to address the practice of dismissal and re-engagement. We have consulted on a draft Statutory Code of Practice and are currently analysing responses. The Code sets out employers’ responsibilities when seeking to change contractual terms and conditions of employment and seeks to ensure dismissal and re-engagement is only used as a last resort.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent estimate she has made of the level of compliance with the National Minimum Wage.

All businesses – irrespective of their size or business sector – are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff.

The government takes enforcing the minimum wage seriously and has more than doubled the budget for compliance and enforcement to £27.8 million for 2022/23, up from £13.2 million in 2015/16.

Since 2015, the Government has ordered employers to repay over £100 million to over 1 million workers.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to help increase exports.

My Department’s Export Strategy targets barriers to trade and supports businesses through a 12-point plan. The Strategy is implemented through the Export Support Service - answering exporters questions, Export Academy – offering free learning and development for potential exporters, and UK Export Finance - the UK’s export credit agency who have supported 55,000 UK jobs. This support has been imperative to boosting UK exports. Furthermore, we are also identifying opportunities to simplify existing regulation and equip businesses to capitalise on the new free trade agreements, state level agreements and wider removal of market access barriers.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to help support the steel industry.

The Government is actively engaging with the steel industry for a sustainable future and my Rt. Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business & Trade recently visited British Steel in Scunthorpe and Tata Steel in Port Talbot.

The British Industry Supercharger will bring energy costs for energy intensive industries, including steel, in line with the world’s major economies. The industry has been able to bid into various funds to support energy efficiency and decarbonisation. We have updated the Steel Procurement Policy Note to create a level playing field for UK steel producers, implemented a robust trade remedies framework to protect domestic industry, and acted to resolve market access constraints on steel trade with the US and the EU.

A Government loan to Celsa Steel UK supported 1,800 jobs and has been repaid in full.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make it her policy to require businesses offering automatically-renewing subscriptions to send consumers a reminder message with an option to opt-out before their renewal date; and if she will make a statement.

The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill strengthens consumers’ rights in relation to auto-renewing contracts, enabling them to manage them more effectively.

Under the new rules, traders must send consumers reminder notices before a trial or contract auto-renews, or at roughly 6 month intervals for shorter renewing contracts. The notice will include information on the steps the consumer can take to bring the contract to an end. In addition, a new ‘cooling-off period’ will give consumers 14 days to cancel certain contracts after they auto-renew to a period of 12 months or more, or after a free or discounted trial.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to increase green trade.

According to forecasts published in 2017, the UK could generate up to £170 billion green exports by 2030. These opportunities are immense, which is why we continue to drive green trade to futureproof the UK economy.

We continue to:

  • promote investment into the UK’s green industries – including through the Green Trade and Investment Expo and the upcoming Global Investment Summit in October,
  • promote the UK’s export strengths in mitigation and adaptation technologies, including at the COP27 UK Pavilion and upcoming COP28 summit, and
  • break down barriers to green trade, including through the new international coalition of trade ministers on climate, and other international climate cooperation, for example activities to support the development of the offshore wind market in Brazil.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has had discussions with supermarkets on the potential merits of supermarkets introducing reward schemes for purchases of healthy food.

Decisions about reward schemes are a commercial matter, and therefore a matter for individual retailers. The ‘Good Choice’ badge helps people identify healthier options using the NHS Food Scanner app and when shopping in store and online. The app and wider Better Health tools support families on their journey towards having a healthier diet.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make it her policy to bring the National Minimum Wage Apprentice Rate in line with the National Minimum Wage.

The Apprentice National Minimum Wage rate is set to acknowledge the costs to employers and the benefits to young people in apprenticeships. The Apprentice rate increased by 9.7% to £5.28 in April 2023. This increase maintains parity with the Under 18 National Minimum Wage rate.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department has guidance on penalties for companies who publish misleading adverts on clean energy claims.

The Advertising Standards Authority monitors advertising standards across sectors, including clean energy. Misleading advertising of products and services is a breach of consumer law and subject to criminal penalties.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how much funding her Department has allocated for Business Connect events in the 2023-24 financial year.

The delivery of Business Connect in April 2023 cost the Department for Business and Trade £260,551.32.

Business Connect was funded by the Department for Business and Trade’s Resource DEL budget for priority events for financial year 2023-24.

No further funding has been specifically allocated within the Department for Business and Trade for future Business Connect events in financial year 2023-24.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, from which Departmental budget the Business Connect event held on 23 April was funded.

The delivery of Business Connect in April 2023 cost the Department for Business and Trade £260,551.32.

Business Connect was funded by the Department for Business and Trade’s Resource DEL budget for priority events for financial year 2023-24.

No further funding has been specifically allocated within the Department for Business and Trade for future Business Connect events in financial year 2023-24.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what the cost to the public purse was of the Business Connect event held on 23 April 2023.

The delivery of Business Connect in April 2023 cost the Department for Business and Trade £260,551.32.

Business Connect was funded by the Department for Business and Trade’s Resource DEL budget for priority events for financial year 2023-24.

No further funding has been specifically allocated within the Department for Business and Trade for future Business Connect events in financial year 2023-24.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has had discussions with the Competition and Markets Authority on a potential merger between ASDA and EG Group.

Under competition law, the independent Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is responsible for investigating the impact of mergers and acquisitions on competition. The Secretary of State for Business and Trade is therefore not involved with specific cases. The Government has ensured that the CMA has significant powers and expertise to investigate the benefits and risks of mergers in relation to competition within the UK.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
27th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent progress her Department has made on establishing tariff-free trade with the USA.

We already have a strong trading relationship with the United States worth £279 billion in 2022, and we are working to further improve the trading landscape and open market access. Over the past year we’ve removed US tariffs on UK steel and aluminium and removed the US ban on UK lamb. We’ve also been working closely on shared priorities identified at the 2022 UK-US Trade Dialogues – including digital trade and support for SMEs.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what assessment her department has made on the potential impact of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership on the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

As a free trade area connecting a wide group of economies, CPTPP creates opportunities to deepen our trading links across the Americas and Asia-Pacific region.

It does not require us to cede sovereignty over our laws, borders, trade policy or money and as a sovereign nation we have the right to regulate as we see fit and in the best interests of the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what benefit joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership will have for the economy.

CPTPP will act as a gateway to the Indo-Pacific, one of the most dynamic and fastest growing regions on earth.

The Indo Pacific is expected to account for the majority of global growth by 2050.

CPTPP will grow almost 40% faster than the EU, over the next three decades.

And membership of the bloc will enhance access to a market of over 500m consumers for the UK's goods and services.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if he will make it his policy to increase the period of eligibility for Statutory Paternity Leave.

Employed fathers and partners can take two weeks of paternity leave and pay following their child’s birth or adoption, if they meet certain eligibility criteria. As outlined in our Manifesto, the Government is committed to making it easier for fathers and partners to take Paternity Leave. The Government consulted on parental leave and pay reform, including Paternity Leave and Pay in 2019. We are considering responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether he has had recent discussions with industry stakeholders on taking steps to reduce the carbon footprint of steel manufacturing.

The Government recognises the vital role that the steel sector plays in our economy. The 2021 Net Zero Strategy reaffirms our commitment to a sustainable steel sector and to continue working with the steel industry on decarbonisation.

Whilst decarbonisation pathways for specific sites will be a commercial decision for individual companies, we are working closely with industry stakeholders to support decarbonisation options and reduce the carbon footprint of steel manufacturing.

We regularly engage with industry stakeholders to ensure advances towards our Net Zero obligations and to help inform progress to reducing our carbon footprint.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has had discussions with British Steel on the closure of the coking plant in Scunthorpe.

The previous Business Secretary had discussions with British Steel which covered the potential closure of the coking ovens, amongst broader matters. He urged British Steel not to make any irreversible decisions whilst negotiations were ongoing, but this was ultimately a commercial decision.

I am in regular contact with the company, unions and other partners, as are Government officials. The Government stands ready to support employees affected by British Steel’s decision, and we continue working with British Steel on a plan for a long-term, sustainable future.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to require every employer to have a recognised trade union in the workplace.

Collective bargaining in the UK is largely a matter for individual employers, their employees and their trade unions. Many employers recognise a union voluntarily. Where an employer refuses to recognise a union, our trade union law provides for a statutory recognition procedure. This allows independent unions to apply to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to be statutorily recognised for collective bargaining purposes.

Unions that can demonstrate that they have majority support for recognition in the workplace will secure statutory recognition from the CAC. The UK’s system is based therefore on the democratic wishes of workers in the workplace.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to ban zero-hours contracts.

Zero hours contracts are an important part of the UK’s flexible labour market, for both employers where there is not a constant demand for staff and for individuals who may need to balance work around other commitments such as childcare and study.

The Government is determined to tackle unfair working practices. For example, we have extended the existing ban on exclusivity clauses, which restrict staff from working for multiple employers, to contracts where the guaranteed weekly income is equivalent to or below the Lower Earnings Limit of £123 a week.

We are also supporting my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool South's Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill, to ensure that workers have the right to request a more predictable working pattern. Qualifying workers would be able to make an application to change their existing contract if it lacks predictability in terms of the hours they are required to work, the times they are required to work, and/or the duration of their contract.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to her Department’s review of the UK’s membership of the Energy Charter Treaty, what discussions her Department has had with other signatories and contracting parties to that Treaty who are seeking to withdraw from it.

The UK holds regular meetings with Contracting Parties to the Energy Charter Treaty, including the EU and EU Member States.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the potential implications of the provisions of the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill for membership of the Energy Charter Treaty.

On 1 September 2023, the UK announced it would be reviewing its membership of the ECT if the modernised Treaty was not adopted by November 2023. The Government is considering the views of stakeholders in business, civil society, and Parliament as part of this process.

Investments in the UK energy sector are potentially in scope of the investment protection provisions of the Energy Charter Treaty. This protection is dependent on the details of the investment and the relationship between the investor and a Contracting Party to the Energy Charter Treaty.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether the Government has made an assessment of potential opportunities for collaboration with the Republic of Korea on nuclear energy projects in the UK.

We recognise the opportunities to cooperate with South Korea on civil nuclear, including on fuel supply chains; safety; security; non-proliferation; decommissioning; and the development of new reactors, in both countries. This is underpinned by agreements signed between us in November 2023.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if she will make it her policy to introduce an emergency energy tariff.

The Government recognises the challenges posed by the cost-of-living pressures, including energy bill costs, and is already providing extensive financial support. This includes a package of support worth £104 billion, or £3,700 per household on average, between 2022-2025.

The Government is continuing to support those most in need, with millions of vulnerable households receiving up to £900 in cost-of-living payments. This is in addition to established financial support for vulnerable households through the Winter Fuel Payment, which delivered £250 - £600, and the £150 Warm Homes Discount. We are continuing to monitor the situation and keeping options under review.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the policy paper entitled Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener, published on 19 October 2021, when she plans to publish the nuclear roadmap for delivery; and whether her Department has consulted with relevant stakeholders on this roadmap.

The Government is finalising plans for the civil nuclear roadmap, which will be published soon. The document aims to send a clear signal to industry and set out the Government’s role in supporting and enabling the delivery of our nuclear ambitions. The Department regularly engages with the nuclear sector regarding a range of issues, and these have helped inform the priorities for the civil nuclear roadmap.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the Answer of 16 June 2023 to Question 189111 on Energy Bills Rebate: Boats, what recent progress her Department has made on establishing a method for boaters without permanent moorings to prove that their boat is their main or sole residence.

The Government has launched the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding for continuous cruisers (EBSS AF CC) which is providing a £600 energy support voucher to individuals who held a long-term Canal & River Trust licence and were registered as a continuous cruiser for a minimum of one day while the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding was open (27 February – 31 May 2023). The first vouchers were provided from 6 September 2023 and the final vouchers will expire on 5 December 2023.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if she will make an estimate of the number and proportion of eligible households that did not receive an Alternative Fuel Payment.

In Great Britain, an estimated 85% of eligible households received the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) automatically via their electricity supplier during February.

In Northern Ireland, payment started in January and it is estimated that a higher proportion of households received the AFP automatically there, because it was a universal payment to all households.

More data on the AFP main scheme will be published in due course.

The most up-to-date figures on households receiving the Alternative Fuel Payment Alternative Fund can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-bills-support-scheme-alternative-fund-gb-ni-and-alternative-fuel-payment-alternative-fund-applications-made-by-customers.

As the data shows, as of 29 June 2023 fewer than 1.5% of applicants to AFP AF Great Britain that had been approved for payment had not been paid.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps she is taking to help people who use oil to heat their homes to transition to low carbon heating systems.

Decarbonising off-grid properties, including households that rely on heating oil, is a priority for the Government. The Government is providing support through schemes such as the £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme and the £950 million Home Upgrade Grant.

Low carbon heating measures can be costly to install and unaffordable for many low-income families. The Home Upgrade Grant will support these families to transition to low carbon heating and prepare for a low carbon future.

The Government is also improving its consumer advice and guidance and mobilising the Green Finance Market.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will take steps to require energy companies to change their standing charges in line with unit rates.

Decisions about standing charges are a commercial matter for energy suppliers. The standing charge is a fixed charge that suppliers pass on to their customers to cover the cost of providing a live supply. The standing charge and unit rates are subject to the maximum permitted under the Ofgem price cap.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what support is available for boaters without permanent moorings to help pay for solar panels and insulation.

The Government does not provide financial support for installing insulation or solar panels on houseboats. The Government is aiming to grow green finance options for consumers including by working with the new UK Infrastructure Bank to explore whether it can play a wider role in scaling up green home finance.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department made an assessment of the potential merits of including boaters without permanent moorings in the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding scheme.

To protect public funds against potentially fraudulent activity, we required applicants to show proof of address, such as a tenancy agreement or a utility bill. We understand that boaters without permanent moorings may not have been able to provide this evidence, which means they were not able to apply for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding. Officials are still working to determine if there is a robust method for boaters without permanent moorings to provide proof that their boat is their main or sole residence, whilst protecting public funds, so they can claim this support.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what support is available to help boaters without permanent moorings with the cost of energy.

Officials are working to establish if there is a robust method for boaters without permanent moorings to prove that their boat is their main or sole residence, whilst protecting public funds, so they can claim the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding and the Alternative Fuel Payment Alternative Fund. We recommend that these households visit the ‘Help for Households’ webpage on GOV.UK to view what other support they may be eligible for - https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make it his policy to end subsidies for power stations generating electricity from burning wood.

The Government has no plans to remove support for biomass generating stations that are already supported under the Renewables Obligation (RO) and the Contract for Difference (CfD). Such generators undertook their investments in establishing their stations under these schemes and have a statutory right to their existing support.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if she will make it her policy to increase the penalties on oil producers who spill oil routinely into UK waters.

Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) monitors offshore oil spills in UK waters as part of its regulatory process. OPRED takes necessary action on identification of all oil spills in line with its enforcement policy, including the use of penalties, which can be increased in cases where previous or repeated breaches have occurred.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an estimate of how many (a) landlords and (b) owner-occupiers will apply for the the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme has an approved budget of £450 million over three years (2022/23 to 2024/25), supporting up to 30,000 low carbon heat installations per year. Vouchers will be issued on a first come first served basis – to properties owned by both landlords and owner occupiers - who meet the eligibility requirements, until the budget cap for the financial year is reached.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps he plans to take to support (a) education and (b) training to help people gain skills to support the construction, commissioning and operation of new nuclear plants.

As recognised in Powering Up Britain, the Department is working closely with the wider sector and across Government through the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG), to deliver a joint strategic plan to provide the future roles and jobs that the sector needs. In parallel, Officials are also involved in wider stakeholder forums and working with other skills organisations, such as the National College for Nuclear, to support these ambitions too.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he plans to encourage energy firms to reintroduce energy saving sessions in winter 2023-24.

The 9th Big Energy Savings Week took place in January 2023. This annual campaign, led by Citizens Advice and working with the Energy Savings Trust, helps consumers get a better deal on their tariff, access discounts and make their homes more efficient. The Government welcomes the continuation of this work.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the article Location, location, location: finding sites for nuclear power plants by Professor Adrian Bull, published by the University of Manchester on 13 March 2023, if his Department will work with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to adapt their clean-up mission of nuclear decommissioning sites to take account of the need for substantial new nuclear capability.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has already been providing support to nuclear power developers who are interested in the potential for using the NDA land estate to deploy new nuclear reactors and has signed memorandums of understanding with Rolls Royce and Cwmni Egino in relation to this. They also work with other sectors interested in their land. This work is consistent with NDA’s mission to clean up the UK’s nuclear legacy sites safely, securely and cost-effectively, in order to release sites for other uses.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many people will no longer be eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme once the eligibility criteria has been changed to require a low energy performance certificate rating.

Eligibility for the Warm Home Discount in England and Wales is not based on the Energy Performance Certificate rating but on the Valuation Office Agency data for the type, age and size of the property. The government does not hold data for the households who received the Warm Home Discount rebate in previous years after applying to their energy supplier under the Broader Group element of the scheme.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps his Department is taking to develop and deploy carbon removal technologies.

Carbon removal technologies will be essential for reaching net zero. The Net Zero Strategy included an ambition to deploy at least 5MtCO2/yr of engineered removals by 2030, potentially rising to 23MtCO2/yr by 2035.

A consultation on GGR business models was published in July 2022, setting out proposals to attract private investment and enable GGR projects to deploy at scale from the late 2020s.

This builds on the £100m the Government is investing in research and innovation through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, including the Greenhouse Gas Removal and Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage Programmes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make it his policy to remove standing charges for those households who produce energy domestically and supply it to the national grid.

Standing charges recover the fixed costs of providing a live supply, including maintenance of the electricity and gas networks, the costs of metering energy, and supplier operational costs.

Ofgem has previously considered moving a portion of standing charges onto unit rates. It decided against this because it would increase costs overall and specifically increase costs for a number of higher users of energy including older pensioners on very low incomes (many in poverty or with health problems) and renters on low salaries with electric heating.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what estimate he has made of when direct air carbon capture will be in operation.

Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) technologies, including Direct Air Capture, will be essential for reaching net zero. The Net Zero Strategy included an ambition to deploy at least 5MtCO2/yr of engineered removals by 2030, potentially rising to 23MtCO2/yr by 2035.

A consultation on GGR business models was published in July 2022, setting out proposals for business models to attract private investment and enable GGR projects to deploy at scale from the late 2020s.

This builds on the £100m the Government is investing in research and innovation for GGRs, including the Direct Air Capture and GGR Innovation Competition. Phase 2 of the competition announced £54m of Government funding awarded across 15 of the most promising demonstration projects.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many Boiler Upgrade Scheme vouchers have been issued in each parliamentary constituency.

The number of Boiler Upgrade Scheme vouchers issued by Parliamentary constituency between May 2022 and January 2023 is available in Table 1 published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ad-hoc-request-on-boiler-upgrade-scheme-number-of-vouchers-issued-by-parliamentary-constituency

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many Boiler Upgrade Scheme vouchers have been issued to each constituency covered by Westminster City Council

Since the launch of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme in May 2022 and up to the end of January 2023 a total of 7 vouchers were issued to the constituencies covered by Westminster City Council.

These 7 vouchers comprised 5 in Westminster North and 2 in Cities of London and Westminster.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has had recent discussions with supermarkets on taking steps to install doors on their chillers.

The Energy related Products Framework identified commercial refrigeration as an area where energy efficiency could be improved. The Government is developing its understanding of the barriers to uptake and potential enablers:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-related-products-policy-framework.

The Government has recently funded a research project to support the refrigeration industry on its journey to net zero. Supermarkets are one of the six end use sectors in this study and a number of major retailers are involved. Investigation of the science, impact and benefits of fitting doors to retail display cabinets will be one of the technologies evaluated as part of this study.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department provided funding for biomedical research using (a) live animals and (b) non-animal for (i) organ-on-a-chip, (ii) computer modelling and (iii) other technologies in the period between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2022.

Government funds biomedical and biological research using animals and non-animal methodologies and technologies, recognising that the highly regulated and limited use of animals in scientific procedures remains necessary for understanding how biological systems work, in the development of new medicines, treatments and technologies, and for testing chemicals to protect human health and the environment. UKRI funds research and innovation aimed at reducing or eliminating the use of animals in research, providing approximately £10m per annum for the world-leading National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research to drive the development and uptake of 3Rs technologies – including organ-on-a chip and computer modelling.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what implications the Three-Vodafone merger will have on that department’s current contracts with Vodafone.

Ministers and Departmental officials regularly meet with Ofcom to discuss a range of telecoms issues.

It is the responsibility of the Competition and Markets Authority to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market of the proposed merger between Vodafone and Three, with input from sectoral regulators.

The Government does not comment on specific mergers or acquisitions, which are subject to the UK’s stringent legal and regulatory requirements.

20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what discussions she has had with Ofcom on the Three-Vodafone merger.

Ministers and Departmental officials regularly meet with Ofcom to discuss a range of telecoms issues.

It is the responsibility of the Competition and Markets Authority to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market of the proposed merger between Vodafone and Three, with input from sectoral regulators.

The Government does not comment on specific mergers or acquisitions, which are subject to the UK’s stringent legal and regulatory requirements.

1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of trends in the cost of mobile phone contracts on (a) the affordability of such contracts and (b) connectivity; and if she will make a statement.

Ofcom has a statutory duty to monitor affordability and pricing in the telecoms market. Its most recent Pricing Trends report found that mobile prices have continued to fall. The average monthly cost of a mobile service (excluding handset cost), was 12% lower in real terms compared to 2020, despite an estimated 52% increase in the average consumption of mobile data.

We recognise that this is clearly a difficult time for families up and down the country who are struggling to pay their bills as a result of the global rise in the cost of living. While telecoms represents approximately 4% of a household's budget, Ofcom’s affordability tracker, updated in February, showed that 8% of individuals reported an issue with the cost of their mobile service in the month of January.

In June 2022, DCMS convened a roundtable with leaders of the UK’s major broadband and mobile operators, agreeing a set of industry commitments to support people through the global rise in the cost of living, including more low-cost mobile offers.

On 23 January, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport met with Chief Executives from major mobile providers and urged providers to think carefully about the need for these rises and the impact they have on households already struggling with the global rise in the cost of living.

12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to abolish energy pre-payment meters.

Some households prefer to pay for their energy by prepayment meter as this allows them to control and budget the amount they spend and helps mitigate the risk of going into, or exacerbating, existing debt. A ban on using prepayment meters would leave court enforcement as the only recourse in cases of non-payment and large debt.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he expects energy bills to decrease following the drop in price of wholesale gas.

Recent reductions in gas wholesale prices are welcome, however the market remains volatile, and prices are still well above historical norms. Suppliers buy energy in advance of when it is delivered and Ofgem determines a maximum price they can charge consumers to recover the cost of this through the price cap. This means there is a lag time between changes in price and it being reflected in consumer bills. The Government has introduced the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) which will save a typical household around £900 this winter, on top of a £400 discount through the Energy Bill Support Scheme.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the UK’s gas supply for the rest of the winter; and if he will make a statement.

The Government remains confident in its plans to protect households and businesses in the full range of scenarios this winter. The cold snap in December demonstrated the resilience of UK energy supply. Gas was well-supplied and the markets responded effectively.

The Government works closely with Ofgem and National Grid to ensure system operators have the right tools to respond to fluctuations in supply and demand. Britain has a strategic advantage through access to North Sea gas reserves, steady imports from partners like Norway, the second largest Liquefied Natural Gas port infrastructure in Europe and investment in renewables.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that small and medium-sized enterprises are receiving the correct level of support from the Energy Bill Relief Scheme in Warrington North.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme is set out in legislation and will be applied in a uniform way by all licensed suppliers. The regulations include a robust compliance and enforcement regime to ensure requirements are being met. Suppliers are also required to inform customers about the details of support, including the amount of the discount and discounted supply price.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had recent discussions with businesses in Warrington North constituency on the potential impact of the cost of living crisis on those businesses.

The Government recognises the impact rising prices are having on businesses, including those in Warrington North, and is engaging with businesses across the UK to understand these challenges and explore ways to mitigate them.

The Government has reversed the National Insurance rise, saving SMEs £4,200 on average; cut fuel duty for 12 months; raised the Employment Allowance to £5,000 and introduced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme which is shielding businesses across the country from soaring energy prices, saving some around half of their wholesale energy costs.

We have also announced £13.6 billion of support for businesses over the next five years, reducing the burden of business rates for SMEs.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an estimate of the number of homes that have been retrofitted through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund in Warrington North constituency since the introduction of that fund.

The 2019 Conservative Manifesto committed to a £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) over a 10-year period. The SHDF Demonstrator and Wave 1 awarded a combined total of around £240m of grant funding to Local Authorities, with data held on local authority-led projects rather than at a constituency level. The SHDF Wave 2.1 competition, which closed on 18th November 2022, will allocate up to £800m of grant funding, with successful projects likely to be notified in March 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had recent discussions with the Minister for Women and Equalities on taking steps to improve accessibility to entrepreneurship and business ownership for people with protected characteristics in Warrington North constituency.

The Government is fully committed to supporting businesses and creating the best conditions for enterprise so that everyone, whatever their background, has the means and know-how to start and grow a business.

We are supporting early-stage entrepreneurs from all backgrounds through the Start-Up Loans Company which provides funding and intensive support to new entrepreneurs.

Since 2012, 40% of Start Up Loans have gone to women, worth over £344m and 20% of loans worth 187m have gone to Black, Asian, and Ethnic-minority businesses.

142 SMEs in Warrington North have received Start Up Loans to the value of £1,356,272 as of November 2022.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many homes were retrofitted with funding through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator in Warrington North constituency as of 31 October 2022.

The 2019 Conservative Manifesto committed to a £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) over a 10-year period. The SHDF Demonstrator and Wave 1 awarded a combined total of around £240m of grant funding to Local Authorities, with data held on local authority-led projects rather than at a constituency level. The SHDF Wave 2.1 competition, which closed on 18th November 2022, will allocate up to £800m of grant funding, with successful projects likely to be notified in March 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many homes had ECO scheme measures installed in Warrington North constituency as of 31 October 2022.

BEIS publishes information on the number of households in receipt of ECO measures by Parliamentary Constituency in Table 4.5 accompanying the latest Household Energy Efficiency Statistics release.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many projects were completed through the Green Deal in Warrington North constituency as of 31 October 2022.

BEIS estimates that in Warrington North constituency there have been no Green Deal projects completed (all measures installed and paid off). Between one and five projects are live (all measures installed but not yet paid off). To manage the risk of revealing personal or commercial data, the Government's approach is not to release non-zero counts of less than five for a small geographic area.

Data covers the period from May 2013 to October 2022.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many jobs the Green Homes Grant supported in Warrington North constituency.

An evaluation of the effectiveness of the voucher scheme, including analysis of scheme outcomes and evidence collected from scheme applicants and other stakeholders, is being undertaken by an independent research organisation. The evaluation includes an assessment of the effect of the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme on jobs, with findings available in Summer 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the average level of funding was to people who made successful applications to the Green Homes Grant scheme in Warrington North constituency since the introduction of that scheme.

The average government contribution per successful household application through the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme in Warrington North was £5,347 for the main scheme, and £6,853 for the low-income scheme. These figures use the same data as the latest release.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many homes were retrofitted as a result of the Green Homes Grant in Warrington North constituency as of 31 October 2022.

Information on the number of homes retrofitted by parliamentary constituency through the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme can be found in Table 4.4 accompanying the latest release.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many homes were retrofitted with funding through the Local Authority Delivery Scheme in Warrington North constituency as of 31 October 2022.

There were 128 homes retrofitted in Warrington through the Local Authority Delivery Scheme. This data is available in Table 13 of the December HULA Statistics release.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase the rate of energy efficiency measure installations in homes in Warrington North constituency.

The Government is committed to improving the energy performance of homes across the country, including Warrington North.

The Government is investing £6.6 billion in decarbonising heat and energy efficiency measures. In addition, the Energy Company Obligation Scheme is in its fourth iteration which will run until 2026 with a value of £4 billion. ECO + has also been announced, worth £1 billion and will run from Spring 2023 to March 2026.

£6 billion of additional Government funding towards supporting energy efficiency improvements will be made available from 2025 to 2028.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many applications to the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme were successful in Warrington North constituency since the introduction of that scheme.

Information on the number of applications by application stage for Green Homes Grant voucher (GHGV) scheme by parliamentary constituency can be found in table 4.4 accompanying the latest release.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many SMEs have received public funding to support increases in the cost of living in Warrington North.

The Government recognises the impact rising prices are having on businesses, including those in Warrington North.

Businesses in Warrington North will have benefitted from the Government’s reversal of the National Insurance rise, saving SMEs on average £4,200, cut fuel duty for 12 months and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, to protect SMEs from high energy costs over the winter. The Employment Allowance was increased to £5,000 from April and we have continued to provide business rate relief worth over £7bn, freezing the business rates multiplier for a further year.

The Government is providing financial support - 142 SMEs in Warrington North have received Start Up Loans to the value of £1,356,272 as of November 2022.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the performance of Royal Mail since its privatisation.

Royal Mail is accountable to Ofcom, as the independent regulator for the postal sector, for its performance against its universal service obligations. Ofcom continues to monitor Royal Mail’s performance to ensure it is providing the best service it can to customers, and publishes an annual report summarising its monitoring programme on its website:

www.ofcom.org.uk/postal-services/information-for-the-postal-industry/monitoring_reports.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an estimate of how many gigafactories manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles there will be in 2030..

Through the Automotive Transformation Fund, Government is supporting R&D and capital investments across strategically important parts of the electric vehicle supply chain, and the Government has prioritised securing investment in battery cell gigafactories. This is key for anchoring the mass manufacture of electric vehicles in the UK, safeguarding jobs, and driving emissions to net zero by 2050.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the rate of closure of small and independent breweries in the UK in the last 6 months.

This Department sponsors the hospitality sector and assesses the state of that sector on an ongoing basis. We also work closely with DEFRA on support for key supply chain companies, including the UK’s small and independent breweries, and maintain regulator contact with the Society of Independent Brewers.

The Government recognises hospitality businesses are facing higher costs driven by global factors, including high energy and cost of living pressures. The Energy Bill Relief Scheme ensures that businesses are protected from excessively high energy bills over the winter period.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Excheuquer recently announced in his Autumn Statement a range of measures to support firms with business rates worth £13.6 billion over the next 5 years, including increased and extended Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) relief.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he plans to provide to (a) pubs, (b) social clubs (c) breweries and (d) cider and perry producers for the cost of energy once the Energy Bill Relief Scheme ends; and if he will make a statement.

HMT is currently conducting a review of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme and evidence from care providers is included in that review. The Government cannot confirm which sectors will receive further support after 31st March 2023 until the end of the review, which will report by the end of this year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to extend the Energy Bill Relief Scheme beyond April 2023 for hospitality businesses; and if he will make a statement.

HM Treasury is currently conducting a review of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme and evidence from the hospitality sector is included in that. However, the Government cannot confirm which sectors will receive further support after 31st March 2023 until the end of the review, which will report by the end of the year 2022.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to bring forward the introduction of the ECO+ scheme to winter 2022.

The Government intends to lay the necessary legislation for the scheme to launch in Spring 2023 and run until March 2026. We are also working with energy suppliers to explore the potential for some earlier delivery in 2023, before the legislation comes into force.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to reduce the average cost of retro-fitting a household.

The Government is providing support to those on low incomes through our ‘Help to Heat’ schemes.

The Government is working to reduce the cost of low carbon heating technologies like heat pumps, including through the £60 million Heat Pump Innovation Fund and the £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

Launched in 2019, the Whole House Retrofit Cost Reduction Trajectory Competition is a key step in exploring the potential for reductions in domestic retrofit costs. Through the competition, £7.7 million has been awarded to three organisations. The results of the competition are due in the summer of 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he expects there to be 30,000 fully trained heat pump installers in the UK.

Analysis by the Heat Pump Association suggests that over 30,000 heat pump installers will be needed by 2028. Training is widely available, and the Government expect installers to continue to train in response to increasing demand.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to to make it easier for customers to claim unused credit on their energy accounts.

The Government has no plans to intervene in this area. Customers in Great Britain can claim unused credit at any time and their supplier must refund them promptly unless they have reasonable grounds not to.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to review the adequacy of fireworks legislation.

The Government endorses the considerate use of fireworks and action taken to reduce the risks and disturbances to individuals, animals and property. The majority of individuals who use fireworks do so in a responsible and safe manner and there are enforcement mechanisms in place to tackle situations when fireworks are misused. The Government has no current plans to legislate further but continues to monitor the situation.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will make it its policy to allow trade union members to vote online when deciding to take industrial action.

Before responding to the Knight Review recommendations, the Government was required by Section 4 of the Trade Union Act 2016 to consult relevant organisations, including professionals from expert associations, to seek their advice and recommendations.

We have done this and are now finalising our consideration of Sir Ken’s recommendations before we issue our response in due course.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of domestic properties using (a) oil and (b) liquefied petroleum gas for heating by parliamentary constituency.

Survey data only exists at a national level for the number of properties that use oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for heating.

Country

Oil for heating

LPG for heating

England1

762,000 dwellings (3.2 per cent)

159,000 households (0.7 per cent)

Scotland2

129,000 households (5 per cent)

18,000 households (1 per cent)

Wales3

135,000 dwellings (10 per cent)

Not available

Northern Ireland4

526,000 dwellings (67.5 per cent)

Not available

1 English Housing Survey, 2020 (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/energy-performance)

2 Scottish House Condition Survey, 2019 (https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-house-condition-survey-2019-key-findings/pages/4/)

3 Welsh Housing Conditions Survey, 2017/18 (https://gov.wales/welsh-housing-conditions-survey-energy-efficiency-dwellings-april-2017-march-2018)

4 Northern Ireland House Condition Survey, 2016 (https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/publications/northern-ireland-housing-statistics-2020-21)

The 2011 Census includes estimates that classify occupied household spaces in England and Wales by the types of central heating present, including oil central heating, for 2010 parliamentary constituencies (https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/census/2011/qs415uk)

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to make it easier to build wind farms on-shore.

The Government understands the strength of feeling that some people have about the impact of wind turbines in England, but is also serious about delivering cheaper, cleaner, more secure power. The Government will consider all options for increasing deployment in ways that local communities will support.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to establish more renewable sources of UK energy since 1 January 2022.

On 7 July 2022, the Government published the results of the fourth allocation round of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) renewable energy scheme. It delivered almost 11GW of new renewable projects, almost double what achieved in the previous round. Further information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/contracts-for-difference-cfd-allocation-round-4-results.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secrertary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Prime Minister will reconsider his decision not attend COP27.

I refer the Hon. Member to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s answer to my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford at Prime Minister’s Questions on 2 November 2022.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
28th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to replace gas boilers in domestic properties with more renewable heating sources.

The Government is committed to decarbonising heating by 2050 and has set an aim to phase out the sale of new and replacement gas boilers by 2035.

As well as introducing a package of measures including the £450m Boiler Upgrade Scheme and £60m in heat pump innovation to increase deployment of heat pumps, the Government will be expanding heat networks through the Green Heat Networks Fund as well as zoning and assessing the feasibility, costs and benefits of using hydrogen for heating to inform a decision to be taken on the role of hydrogen for heating in 2026.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to reduce the cost of energy since 1 January 2022.

The Government has announced unprecedented support within its Growth Plan to protect households and businesses from high energy prices. The Energy Price Guarantee will save a typical British household around £700 this winter. This is on top of existing government plans to give all households £400 off their energy bills through the Energy Bill Support Scheme. The Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) will provide a one-off payment of £100 to households that use alternative fuels for heating instead of mains gas. Eligible households in Great Britain will receive £100 credit on their electricity bill this winter.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support measures his Department will introduce to assist those who use oil to heat their homes with the rising cost of energy.

The Alternative Fuel Payment will provide a one-off payment of £100 to UK households that use alternative fuels for heating, such as heating oil. This payment will ensure that households who do not benefit through the Energy Price Guarantee receive support for the cost of the fuel they do use, comparable to the support provided to on grid gas users.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it is his policy to award an additional bank holiday for the coronation of the Monarch.

The Coronation is a historic event which will be watched and celebrated by millions across the world. Plans are being considered carefully and we will update in due course.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to provide employees identical rights from their first day of employment as someone has worked for 2 years for the same employer.

The current qualifying periods for employment rights contribute to jobs creation and economic growth through giving businesses more confidence when they consider taking on people. They also give more time to get the employment relationship right. The Government has no plans to change policy.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons his Department has not launched a public information campaign on saving energy.

The Government’s Help for Household campaign aims to increase the public’s awareness of support available to help with energy bills.

The campaign website explains the range of Government support available, including the Energy Price Guarantee and Energy Bills Support Scheme. It also provides homeowners with energy efficiency recommendations that could help save them hundreds of pounds a year.

The Government will look at how Help for Households can signpost the public to information on how to cut their energy bills further. The Government is also working with energy suppliers to ensure that support is available to their customers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses in the UK have between 250 and 500 employees.

Latest available data, referencing the start of 2022, showing the number of UK businesses with between 250 and 499 employees are given in the table.

Table 1: Number of UK businesses with between 250 and 499 employees,

start of 2022.

Whole economy

Private Sector

Central and local government

Non-profit organizations

5,030

3,880

580

570

Source: Business Population Estimates, 2022

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy of the National Grid's announcement of 6 October 2022 that the UK may experience power cuts lasting 3 hours per day during winter 2022; and if he will make a statement.

Power cuts are highly unlikely. The UK has a secure and diverse energy system. The Government is confident in its plans to protect households and businesses in the full range of scenarios this winter, despite the impact of Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine. The Government is working closely with Ofgem, National Grid and other key industry organisations to monitor the energy supply horizon and prepare for the upcoming winter.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps with Cabinet colleagues to mandate (a) existing and (b) new commercial warehouses to install rooftop solar panels.

The Government is encouraging businesses to install solar panels on their existing roof stock, for example through business rate exemptions and tax relief. However, a blanket requirement to deploy solar photovoltaic panels on every existing roof is impractical. Some roofs are not suitable because of shading, orientation and location.

In December 2021, the Government introduced an uplift in energy efficiency standards for new builds, which came into force on 15 June 2022. We expect that to meet the new standards, most new warehouses are likely to be built with renewables, principally roof mounted solar panels.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he had with representatives of the energy sector on reducing standing charges.

BEIS Ministers have regular discussions with representatives of the energy sector on a range of energy issues, including standing charges.

Standing charges are a commercial matter for individual suppliers, which reflects the necessary costs to provide and maintain a live supply to a customer’s premises.

Ofgem limits standing charges under the price cap which they set and ensure millions of households pay a fair price for their energy. Ofgem’s review of standing charges concluded that retaining the current methodology would protect users with greater energy needs, such as disabled users and users with electric heating in areas off the gas grid.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate the Government has made of what proportion of the UK’s energy supply will come from renewable resources by 2030.

The Government estimates that 70-80% of the UK's electricity supply will come from renewable sources by 2030.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of the UK’s energy supply the Government expects to be provided by renewable resources in 2030.

The Government estimates that 70-80% of the UK's electricity supply will come from renewable sources by 2030.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential environmental impact of lifting the moratorium on fracking.

Development of shale gas needs to meet rigorous safety and environmental standards set by regulators including the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and the North Sea Transition Authority.

Domestic gas typically has less than half the production emissions of imported LNG and, therefore, when substituted for imports, contributes to the UK’s carbon emission reduction goals.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons the Government has permitted a significant proportion of investment in Sizewell C nuclear power station to come from foreign investors.

The Government welcomes investment into the UK’s nuclear sector and values the important role of overseas investors in large-scale infrastructure projects. The Regulated Asset Base model will help attract the significant investment needed from UK and international pension funds, insurers and other institutional investors, reducing reliance on overseas developers for finance which led to the cancellation of potential projects. Investment involving critical nuclear infrastructure needs to satisfy our robust national security, and other legal and regulatory requirements.

The Government has also declared its preparedness to invest directly in the Sizewell C project, subject to ongoing negotiations and all relevant approvals.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will take steps to stop the burning of wood imported from the US at the Drax power station.

The UK Government supports the use of sustainable biomass and generators only receive subsidies for biomass that complies with strict sustainability criteria. Generators must demonstrate to the regulator that they meet the criteria, and their evidence is independently audited.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to require shops selling cold food to have doors on their chillers.

The Government set out in the Energy related Products Framework (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-related-products-policy-framework) that research has identified commercial refrigeration as a potential area for energy efficiency improvement.

The Government will continue to develop its understanding of the barriers preventing the uptake of the most energy efficient technology, and of the enablers which could help to lessen these barriers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will make an assessment of the impact of bringing energy companies into public ownership on energy bills.

The Government does not intend to make such an assessment. Nationalisation will not solve the current challenge of high global fossil fuel prices and the impact this is having on the cost of energy. Properly regulated markets, which incentivise private capital to invest in the energy system, provide the best outcome for consumers and promote market competition as the best driver of efficiency, innovation and value.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to assist (a) pubs, (b) bars and (c) restaurants with rising energy bills.

The Government announced a new six-month scheme – the Energy Price Guarantee for Businesses (EPGB) – to protect all businesses and other non-domestic energy users from soaring energy costs. It will offer comparable support to that being provided for consumers and we expect the scheme to be available in the autumn. After this initial six-month scheme the Government will provide focused support for vulnerable sectors, targeted to make sure those most in need get support.

The Government is also supporting pubs with business rates relief, freezing alcohol duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits, and by increasing the employment allowance.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason the Government decided not to have a bank holiday in the event that the England Women's National Football Team won the 2022 UEFA Women's Euro Championship.

The Government is extremely proud of the England Women's National Football Team and their success in winning the 2022 UEFA Women’s Euro Championship.

The current pattern of public and bank holidays is well established, and while an additional bank holiday may benefit some communities and sectors, the overall cost to the economy is considerable. The latest analysis estimates the cost to the UK economy for a one-off bank holiday to be around £2bn.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of (a) Royal Mail and (b) the Communications Workers Union to assist those parties to agree a pay deal.

Ministers and officials have discussions with different stakeholders on a range of issues however the dispute over pay is an industrial relations matter for Royal Mail, as a private company, and the Communication Workers Union to settle.

It is regrettable to see postal services being disrupted due to strike action and the impacts this will have on consumers, businesses and other users.

The Government is monitoring the situation closely and continues to strongly urge both sides to reach an agreement as soon as possible as talking is the best way to avoid industrial action.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it is his policy that employment law and its application will be different in freeport areas compared to the rest of the UK.

Freeports are not exempt from the UK’s high standards of employment laws and protections. The National Minimum Wage applies to all regions and sectors of the UK economy, including Freeports.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the minimum wage will be the same in the Government's planned freeports as it is outside of these areas.

Freeports are not exempt from the UK’s high standards of employment laws and protections. The National Minimum Wage applies to all regions and sectors of the UK economy, including Freeports.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to make an assessment of the adequacy of funding awarded to households under the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme is an £11.7bn scheme which forms part of the previously announced £37bn cost of living package for consumers. The package will see millions of the most vulnerable households receive at least £1,200 of support this year, with all domestic electricity customers receiving £400 to help with their bills.

This scheme is part of the ambitious support the Government is providing this winter. On 8 September, the Government announced the Energy Price Guarantee which will reduce the unit cost of energy in household bills from 1st October to ensure that a typical household in Great Britain pays, on average, no more than £2,500 a year on their energy bill.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will make an estimate of the number of trained heat pump installers there (a) were in each year between 2019 and 2021 and (b) will be in each year between 2022 and 2025.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) estimates that the number of heat pump installers working for MCS Certified businesses in the UK was approximately 2,700 in 2019, 3,200 in 2020, 3,500 in 2021 and 4,000 as of July 2022. The total number of trained installers is, however, likely to be greater than this, as MCS Certification is only required for installations receiving Government grant funding.

The numbers of installers are expected to continue to increase as demand grows between now and 2025; the Heat Pump Association estimates that we will need 6,800 installers in 2023, 9,400 in 2024 and 12,400 in 2025.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department undertook behaviour change research to support the design and delivery of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme was informed by a host of consultations, evaluations and social research evidence into consumer and installer preferences and attitudes including:

- Transforming heat: public attitudes research

o https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transforming-heat-public-attitudes-research

- BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker

o https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/public-attitudes-tracking-survey

- RHI evaluation – synthesis report

o https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rhi-evaluation-synthesis-report

- BUS Government Response

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-support-for-low-carbon-heat

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will estimate (a) what proportion of heat pumps sold in the UK were (i) manufactured in and (ii) imported to the UK and (b) the number of heat pumps imported from each country exporting to the UK in each of the last three years.

The latest data available is from the BEIS commissioned Heat Pump Manufacturing Supply Chain Research Project, which found that approximately 30 per cent of heat pumps sold in the UK in 2019 were manufactured domestically, and this is expected to increase over time as the market matures. The report also holds information on the origin of heat pumps imported into the UK, which come from more than 16 different countries.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of supporting the development of synthetic fuels.

The supply of low carbon fuels, including synthetic, will help reduce the environmental impact of transport. For example, Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), on average, could achieve over 70% emissions savings on a lifecycle basis. Presented in the Jet Zero Strategy, the Government aims to build a UK SAF industry that could support up to 5,200 jobs and Gross Value Added of up to £2.7bn.

The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund will support sites to switch to low carbon fuels (synthetic fuel production is not within scope). The Red Diesel Replacement competition has a Phase 1 project working towards producing synthetic fuel.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the causes of backlogs at HM Land Registry, including for applications to change properties from leasehold to freehold; and if she will make an estimate of the average waiting time are for those applications as of July 2022.

HM Land Registry (HMLR) processed over 135,000 information requests and applications, of widely varying complexity, every day in 2021/22 (+14% on 2020/21).

Over 90% of information requests are delivered instantly via digital services, with the remainder within three days. The average waiting time for all other applications was four weeks in June, although more complex applications can take longer.

If a delay might have a negative impact on future transactions, customers can request fast-tracking at no extra cost. HMLR processes around 1000 of these every day, with 95% completed within 10 working days.

11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of heat pumps that UK boiler manufacturers must sell to avoid a penalty under the market mechanism, in (a) 2024, (b) 2025 and (c) 2026.

Work is ongoing to develop sensible annual targets for the clean heat market mechanism, and the different means by which obligated parties will be able to achieve them. The Government will consult again in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Department's Heat Pump Ready Programme, what estimate he has made of the number of installers that will be required to meet the target of installing 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028.

The Heat Pump Association has estimated that over 30,000 heat pump installers will be needed by 2028.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the average time required to fit (a) an air-sourced heat pump and (b) a gas boiler in the Heat and Building Strategy, published in October 2021.

The time taken to install a heating appliance will vary, based upon the complexity of installation and whether it is a first-time installation or replacement. Research suggests that on average it takes five person-days for a first-time installation of an air source heat pump. Evidence from manufacturers suggests that installing a gas boiler takes one to three person-days.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions officials in his Department have had since 24 February 2022 with representatives of EDF on a potential life extension for Hinkley Point B.

Whilst there has been parliamentary and public interest in the potential for life extensions, the Department has no formal role in these decisions. The continued operation, or closure, of any UK nuclear power station is a decision for EDF (the stations’ owner and operator) and the independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (the ONR), based on safety and commercial considerations. The Department is in regular communication with EDF and the ONR.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to maintain two jubilee bank holidays every year.

To mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, this year’s Spring bank holiday was moved to Thursday 2nd June and there was an additional bank holiday on Friday 3rd June.

The additional bank holiday on Friday 3rd June provided an opportunity for communities throughout the United Kingdom to come together to celebrate this historic milestone.

There are no plans to make this a permanent bank holiday. Each bank holiday presents a considerable and significant cost to our economy and therefore each proposal has to be carefully considered on that basis.

15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the retirement of (a) Heysham 1 and (b) Hartlepool nuclear power plants on (i) electricity prices, (ii) security of electricity supply, (iii) balancing costs and (iv) carbon dioxide emissions.

BEIS regularly updates the latest assumptions around decommissioning dates of plants to ensure that its analysis of the power sector takes into account the latest available information. Published outputs inherently capture the impact plant retirements will have on electricity prices, security of supply, balancing costs and CO2 emissions.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department wrote to EDF to request examination of the possibility of a life extension for Hinkley Point B.

Whilst there has been parliamentary and public interest in the potential for life extensions, the Department has no formal role in these decisions. The continued operation, or closure, of any UK nuclear power station is a decision for EDF (the stations’ owner and operator) and the independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (the ONR), based on safety and commercial considerations. The Department is in regular communication with EDF and the ONR but has not written regarding the extension of nuclear power stations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Freedom of Information requests submitted to the Government in 2021 are still unanswered.

A total of 1358 Freedom of Information requests were submitted to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in 2021, and 68 are currently unanswered.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made a comparative assessment of (a) the price of electricity generated at Heysham I and Hartlepool nuclear power plants and (b) the wholesale market price of electricity.

Wholesale electricity market data is available at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/wholesale-market-indicators. Data on the price of the electricity sold by individual generators is commercially sensitive and not held by BEIS.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the price of electricity generated at Hinkley Point B and the wholesale market price of electricity.

Wholesale electricity market data is available at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/wholesale-market-indicators. Data on the price of the electricity sold by individual generators is commercially sensitive and not held by BEIS.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the retirement of Hinkley Point B on (a) electricity prices, (b) security of electricity supply, (c) balancing costs and (d) CO2 emissions.

The Government regularly updates the latest assumptions around decommissioning dates of plants to ensure that its analysis of the power sector takes into account the latest available information. Published analysis captures the impact of plant retirements on electricity prices, security of supply, balancing costs and CO2 emissions.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government’s policy is on business rate retention for local communities which are to host new nuclear power plants; and if he will make a statement.

Community benefits will form one part of the Government’s work on delivering ambitions for new build nuclear, as set out in the British Energy Security Strategy. The specifics, such as business rate retention, have not yet been determined.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it is his Department’s responsibility to ensure adequate national electricity supplies.

National Grid Electricity System Operator is responsible for balancing electricity supply and demand in real time. The Government is confident that it has the tools needed to operate the electricity system reliably.

The Capacity Market is the Government's main mechanism for ensuring security of electricity supply. Through competitive, technology-neutral auctions, it secures the capacity needed to cope with future demand peaks.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish his Department's modelling and scenarios on the potential for (a) power cuts and (b) energy rationing.

Great Britain has one of the most reliable energy systems in the world.

National Grid publishes a winter outlook each year which presents an assessment on the security of gas and electricity supply, including operational challenges it expects to manage over the winter period. These scenarios are used to ensure that network planning activities are updated to reflect these changes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of granting further life extensions for (a) Heysham 1 and (b) Hartlepool nuclear power plants on the security of electricity supplies.

Whilst there has been parliamentary and public interest in the potential for life extensions, the Department has no formal role in these decisions so has not received any formal requests. The continued operation of any UK nuclear power station is a decision for EDF (the stations’ owner and operator) and the independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), based on safety and commercial considerations. The Department is in regular communication with EDF and the ONR. Security of electricity supply is secured through the Capacity Market which provides capacity with the right incentives to deliver when needed.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had recent discussions with EDF on possible life extensions beyond March 2024 for (a) Heysham I Nuclear Power Station and (b) Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station.

Whilst there has been parliamentary and public interest in the potential for life extensions, the Department has no formal role in these decisions so has not received any formal requests. The continued operation of any UK nuclear power station is a decision for EDF (the stations’ owner and operator) and the independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), based on safety and commercial considerations. The Department is in regular communication with EDF and the ONR. Security of electricity supply is secured through the Capacity Market which provides capacity with the right incentives to deliver when needed.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department first received requests from third parties to extend Hinkley Point B.

Whilst there has been parliamentary and public interest in the potential for life extensions, the Department has no formal role in these decisions so has not received any formal requests. The continued operation of any UK nuclear power station is a decision for EDF (the stations’ owner and operator) and the independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), based on safety and commercial considerations. The Department is in regular communication with EDF and the ONR. Security of electricity supply is secured through the Capacity Market which provides capacity with the right incentives to deliver when needed.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department received requests from third parties to examine the possibility of life extensions for (a) Hinkley Point B and (b) Heysham I and Hartlepool.

Whilst there has been parliamentary and public interest in the potential for life extensions, the Department has no formal role in these decisions so has not received any formal requests. The continued operation of any UK nuclear power station is a decision for EDF (the stations’ owner and operator) and the independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), based on safety and commercial considerations. The Department is in regular communication with EDF and the ONR. Security of electricity supply is secured through the Capacity Market which provides capacity with the right incentives to deliver when needed.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions officials in his Department have had with EDF on a possible life extension for Hinkley Point B since 24 February 2022.

Whilst there has been parliamentary and public interest in the potential for life extensions, the Department has no formal role in these decisions so has not received any formal requests. The continued operation of any UK nuclear power station is a decision for EDF (the stations’ owner and operator) and the independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), based on safety and commercial considerations. The Department is in regular communication with EDF and the ONR. Security of electricity supply is secured through the Capacity Market which provides capacity with the right incentives to deliver when needed.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
27th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to exempt secondary residences from eligibility for the £400 energy payment grants; and if he will make a statement.

The £400 grant will be delivered to households via energy suppliers through electricity bills over six months from October.

The Government held a technical consultation on the Energy Bills Support Scheme from 11 April to 23 May. The responses to this consultation are being analysed and a response will be published later in the summer.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to encourage cooperation between the Department for Transport and relevant stakeholders on the delivery of the increased hydrogen production ambition set out in the British energy security strategy published in April 2022.

The Department continues to work with the Department for Transport and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to deliver on the production ambition set out in the British Energy Security Strategy. This includes working through the Regulators Forum to identify, prioritise and implement any changes to the existing regulatory frameworks to support the growth of a hydrogen economy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Electrification of Heat Demonstration project, what is the (a) mean average, (b) lower quartile and (c) upper quartile coefficient of performance for air source heat pumps.

Interim heat pump performance from the Electrification of Heat Demonstration project is currently being reviewed and quality assured. Project findings, including heat pump performance, will be released in due course following the completion of quality assurance processes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) air source and (b) ground source heat pumps sold in the UK in 2021.

Industry estimates that over 55,000 hydronic heat pumps were sold in the UK in 2021. This included around 50,000 air source heat pumps and 5,000 ground source heat pumps.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the proportion of air source heat pumps sold in the UK in the last year that were imported to the UK from abroad.

In 2020, the Government published the Heat Pump Manufacturing Supply Chain Research Project, which estimated that around 70 per cent of all heat pumps sold in the UK were imported from abroad.

The Government want the UK’s clean heat revolution to create tens of thousands of new jobs and do not want to make the same mistakes of the Labour Party where manufacturing was decimated and, 1.7 million jobs were lost.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what analysis his Department has conducted of the role hydrogen transport can play in delivering the increased hydrogen production ambition set out in the British energy security strategy published in April 2022.

Hydrogen will be fundamental to achieving the full decarbonisation of UK transport. The UK has increased its ambition for up to 10GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. Government analysis, set out in the UK Hydrogen Strategy, shows that transport will be a leading early market for low carbon hydrogen, with up to 6TWh demand in 2030 and up to 45TWh demand in 2035. The Government is exploring all options for low carbon hydrogen use across road freight, buses, trains, maritime and aviation to support the development of a thriving UK hydrogen sector – including through the recently announced £200m Zero Emission Road Freight Demonstrator programme and £206m UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE).

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has held discussions with the Secretary of State for Transport on the potential merits of planning for the provision of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for transport as part of the development of new hydrogen production facilities.

The Department continues to work closely with the Department for Transport on the role of hydrogen in decarbonising transport. Government support has included £30m for refuelling infrastructure, which helps support the deployment of 124 hydrogen fuel cell buses.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has held discussions with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (b) the Secretary of State for International Trade and (c) the Secretary of State for Transport on encouraging companies to invest in the manufacturing of hydrogen vehicles in the UK.

My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly meets his Cabinet colleagues to discuss measures to support the transformation of the road transport sector to net zero, including investment opportunities in hydrogen vehicles.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 14 March 2022 to Question 133181 on Private sector: nuclear energy, what the (a) purpose, (b) application process, (c) application criteria, (d) timescale and (e) launch date is for the Nuclear Fuel Fund.

In the 2021 Comprehensive Spending Review, the Government confirmed a £75 million Nuclear Fuel Fund, to be used alongside private sector co-investment, to preserve and develop the UK’s nuclear fuel production capability. The Fund’s scope and approach is in development, including the eligibility criteria, application process and evaluation criteria. A market engagement exercise will inform the Nuclear Fuel Fund design ahead of its launch later this year.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assistance the Government is providing to home owners who wish to install domestic wind turbines on their property.

The Government introduced the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) in January 2020 which is available to eligible small-scale renewable generators, such as home-owners with domestic wind turbines. The SEG is a market-driven mechanism designed to pave the way to projects being deployed without subsidies, so different tariffs are available from participating suppliers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government is providing to home owners who wish to install domestic wind turbines on their property.

The Government introduced the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) in January 2020 and is available to eligible small-scale renewable generators, such as home-owners with domestic wind turbines. The SEG is a market-driven mechanism designed to pave the way to projects being deployed without subsidies, so different tariffs are available from participating suppliers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the £40 annual charge on energy bills will be applied to new bill payers in households that do not receive a £200 reduction in their electricity costs through the Energy Bills Support Scheme in 2022.

The £200 payment to help with energy bills will be recouped from all domestic electricity meter points over five years from April 2023.

The Government is aware that there will be cases where changes in circumstances mean some people may not receive the reduction, but still have to pay the levy. There will also be recipients of the payment who do not in due course pay back the levy. We are seeking to make the Scheme as fair and straightforward as possible.

The Government’s consultation on the scheme will close on 23 May and a response will be published in the summer.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the decision to reduce support for disabled people through the Energy Company Obligation scheme, whether an assessment has been made of the impact on the finances of disabled people affected by this change.

The current Energy Company Obligation scheme, ECO4, has been designed to focus support on households with the lowest incomes and alleviate fuel poverty. This will include households with disabled people on the lowest incomes. The scheme is designed to improve the energy efficiency of homes, through the installation of insulation or heating measures, rather than provide a specific financial benefit.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the disproportionate energy costs faced by disabled people.

We are monitoring and assessing the impact of price increases on vulnerable consumers and coordinating work across regulated sectors to support households impacted.

Ofgem require energy suppliers to support disabled customers, including protection from disconnection during the winter, and the provision of additional services through a Priority Services Register. Ofgem monitors compliance with their rules protecting vulnerable consumers. Their most recent report is available at:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2021-10/Ofgem%20Consumer%20Protection%20Report%20Autumn%202021_Final.pdf.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the fuel poverty target has included an estimate of higher energy costs and usage by disabled people.

The fuel poverty target is to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C, by 2030. Its aim is to target energy efficiency support to low income households.

The 2030 target does not include estimates of energy costs.

Progress against the target is reported on in the annual fuel poverty statistics, which can be found https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fuel-poverty-statistics.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what targets he has set for energy suppliers to identify and support disabled customers.

Ofgem require energy suppliers to support disabled customers, including protection from disconnection during the winter, and the provision of additional services through a Priority Services Register (PRS).

The Priority Services Register is a free support service offered by energy suppliers to help people in vulnerable situations. Each supplier keeps their own register and disabled, and other vulnerable, customers may contact their supplier and apply to be added. Organisations such as Citizens Advice, charities and local authorities will be aware of the PRS.

Ofgem monitors compliance with their rules protecting vulnerable consumers. Their most recent report is available at:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2021-10/Ofgem%20Consumer%20Protection%20Report%20Autumn%202021_Final.pdf.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of support provided by energy suppliers to disabled customers through programmes such as benefit entitlement checks and debt write-off.

Some evidence suggests that households with a disability have higher than average heating costs. Within the fuel poverty strategy Sustainable Warmth the Government outlines our vulnerability principle, under which we specifically consider the needs of low income households most at risk from the impact of living in a cold home while designing fuel poverty policy.

Under the Warm Home Discount scheme, Ofgem reports on the Industry Initiatives supporting vulnerable households through measures including benefit entitlement checks and debt write-off. The 2020-2021 report is available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/warm-home-discount-annual-report-scheme-year-10.

Ofgem require energy suppliers to support disabled customers through a Priority Services Register. Ofgem monitors compliance with their rules protecting vulnerable consumers. Their most recent report is available at:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2021-10/Ofgem%20Consumer%20Protection%20Report%20Autumn%202021_Final.pdf.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason the Government did not progress proposals for £5 million of Industry Initiatives to support disabled people who are struggling with energy costs but may not be eligible for a rebate; and if he will make a statement.

Respondents to the Government’s consultation on the reformed Warm Home Discount last summer raised concerns about the risk of the proposed dedicated Industry Initiative duplicating support measures energy suppliers can already provide, including through existing Industry Initiatives. We will continue to work with interested industry partners and third-party organisations to develop an Industry Initiatives measure providing direct support for people with disabilities and significant health conditions. This will be subject to interest from energy suppliers and it will not be mandatory for suppliers to contribute.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will reconsider planned reforms to the Warm Home Discount eligibility criteria to enable those in receipt of Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance to be eligible for the support.

Introducing non-means-tested benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA), into the eligibility criteria would mean that many households on lower incomes and in deeper fuel poverty would lose out.

Around 62% of PIP and DLA recipients also receive one of the qualifying means-tested benefits and so would be considered low-income under the Core Group 2 criteria. Those households with high energy costs would be eligible for a rebate. Recipients of AA, a pension-age benefit, who claim Pension Credit Guarantee Credit will in most cases qualify for a rebate through Core Group 1.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of a person's disability and health status on energy costs; and if his Department will take a person's disability and health status into account in the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount.

Some evidence suggests that households with a disability have higher heating costs than average. However, no household-level data is available that could be factored into specifically targeting those with the highest heating costs.

The Warm Home Discount reforms will better target automatic rebates to fuel poor households on the lowest incomes. Our analysis models an increase in the number of recipients who declare they have a long-term illness or disability by 160,000. The proportion of rebates received by households with a disability or long-term illness will remain higher than the proportion of the fuel poor population or overall population with a disability.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who will qualify for the Warm Home Discount under the new Core Group 2.

The Warm Home Discount Core Group 2 will focus support to low-income households who are struggling to heat their homes. Eligibility will be linked to receipt of a qualifying means-tested benefit and tax credits and having high energy costs derived from property characteristics. These reforms will ensure that rebates are provided to fuel poor households on the lowest incomes.

The full eligibility criteria, including a list of the qualifying benefits, can be found in our recently published Government response on the scheme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he intends to bring forward the relevant legislative proposals to implement the reforms to the Warm Home Discount for winter 2022-23.

The Government intends to lay the Regulations for the reformed Warm Home Discount scheme in England and Wales in Parliament in the coming weeks, with the reforms coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.

The Government will consult, and lay separate Regulations for the Warm Home Discount scheme in Scotland.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is planning to take to help prevent further increases in household energy costs prior to winter 2022-23.

Gas prices are expected to stay high in the short term, driven by increased global factors.

The Government is engaging at an international level and with industry to monitor and share information on market developments that are impacting gas prices globally. Nevertheless, the Government has policies in place to protect vulnerable consumers from the impact of high energy prices and has introduced the Energy Bills Support Scheme to cushion domestic energy consumers from the worst impacts.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to equalize energy standing charges between the regions of the UK.

The standing charge element of an energy bill reflects the on-going costs that fall on energy suppliers to provide and maintain a live supply regardless of a consumer’s usage. One component of these costs relates to distribution. As it costs more to distribute electricity to some regions than others, there are regional variations in standing charges to reflect higher costs to serve.

For millions of households on default and standard variable tariffs the level of standing charge is protected by the energy price cap rate set by Ofgem.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to introduce regulatory limits on the price of (a) petrol and (b) diesel.

The retail fuels market is subject to UK competition law under the Competition and Markets Authority. A competitive market ensures that road fuel prices stay as low as possible. This framework delivers below the European average for pre-tax prices for both petrol and diesel in the UK. The Government therefore has no intention to introduce regulatory limits on petrol and diesel prices.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to increase the amount of tidal power generated in the UK.

The Government announced in November that the fourth Contracts for Difference allocation round will feature a £20m annual ringfenced budget for tidal stream energy.

The Government remains open to considering well-developed proposals for harnessing the tidal range energy around our coastlines. Any such proposal would need to demonstrate strong evidence of value for money before the Government could take a view on its potential.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of giving consumers the option to opt out of the repayable £200 discount on energy bills.

The intention is that all domestic electricity bills will receive this reduction to keep the scheme simple and administrative costs low. The Government will be consulting on the detail of the scheme in the coming weeks.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with Companies House on the estimated time it will take to implement the relevant powers and responsibilities contained in the Economic Crime Bill.

Departmental officials hold frequent discussions with Companies House counterparts on a wide range of issues, including measures to improve the integrity of information on the companies register and the implementation of any new powers and responsibilities.

The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill received Royal Assent this week. Work on implementing the relevant powers and responsibilities contained in the Act has now begun.

2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the current value of assets owned in the UK property market by (a) Russian oligarchs and (b) others associated with the Putin regime.

HM Land Registry (HMLR) registers legal ownership, interests, mortgages and other secured loans against land and property in England and Wales and in most cases the price paid is also recorded. Land Registration is a devolved matter in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.

The Register of Title held by HMLR does not record the nationality of individuals who own land or property.

Further details about the information that HM Land Registry holds, what is publicly available, and how it can be obtained, is set out online via the GOV.UK website.

28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions officials in his Department have had with Ofcom on allowing tracking in the Universal Service as part of the Review of postal regulation.

The Department has regular discussions with Ofcom on a wide range of issues, including its duty to ensure the provision of a financially sustainable and efficient universal postal service.

Ofcom has indicated in its consultation on its current review of postal regulation, that it does not intend to bring tracked products into the scope of the universal service (First and Second Class services) because of the potential impacts on end-to-end parcels competition. Ofcom’s consultation closed for responses on 3 March. The Government has no role in such decisions which are a matter for Ofcom as the independent regulator for postal services.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to ensure electricity tariffs for pre-payment meters are no more costly than tariffs on standard meters.

Setting tariffs is a decision of suppliers.

Supply Licence Conditions, as enforced by the independent energy regulator Ofgem, stipulate payments which 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 and Trade)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to reopen the Green Homes Grant scheme.

The Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme was designed to provide a short-term economic stimulus while tackling our contribution to climate change. However, it was not delivering at the rate and scale the government had originally intended, facing a number of delivery challenges. The scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021 and will not reopen.

To ensure we continue to deliver on our net zero ambitions and support a thriving building retrofit industry, the Government will be expanding its funding commitment for both the Homes Upgrade Grant scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund with up to £950m and £800m in additional funding respectively over 2022/23 to 2024/25. This takes our total funding to over £6.4bn across the lifetime of this Parliament. We are also introducing a new Boiler Upgrade Scheme worth £450 million, which will provide capital grants towards the cost of a heat pump.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress the Government has made on decarbonising the UK’s energy supply; what the current target for renewables is as a percentage of the energy supply; and when his Department expects the UK to reach that target.

We are committed to fully decarbonise the power system by 2035, subject to security of supply. Low carbon generation now provides over 50% of the UK’s electricity supply and renewable electricity generation has more than quadrupled since 2010. Renewables will play a vital role in meeting that decarbonisation commitment and the Government is taking major steps forward to deliver on this, for example in December we launched the fourth and largest round of the Contracts for Difference Scheme, to support the deployment of a range of renewable technologies.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department holds data on the number of commuters whose employment was terminated as a result of those people being unable to attend work as a result of disruption caused by protests in 2021.

The Department does not collect this information. However, we expect employers and employees to behave reasonably in relation to travel disruption and discuss whether it is possible to work from home, take leave or make the time up later if they cannot get to work because of travel disruption. More guidance is available at https://www.gov.uk/travel-disruption-your-rights-at-work.

4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress has been made on developing a new covid-19 vaccine which is more effective against new variants.

Recent analysis supports our understanding that the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which are currently being deployed in the UK, appear to work well against the current dominant variants of COVID-19 after a booster-dose. Continuing to administer these vaccines at scale remains essential in our path out of the pandemic.

The Government continues to assess our existing vaccine portfolio against current variants, working closely with vaccine manufacturers and the UK Health Security Agency to understand the efficacy of our current vaccine portfolio against new variants.

16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he will take to ensure that service levels within postal services are maintained at a high level throughout the Christmas period and the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the importance of a reliable universal postal service to customers and local communities across the UK and we know postal workers are working exceptionally hard to meet demand over the festive period.

Royal Mail has publicly stated that it is aware of the reduction in service levels in some areas and has taken action to minimise disruption to postal services throughout the Christmas period. This includes opening five temporary parcel sorting centres and recruiting thousands of seasonal workers to help sort the Christmas post at sites across the UK.

Royal Mail’s contingency plans to mitigate disruption to postal services are overseen by Ofcom, the independent regulator responsible for monitoring the delivery of the universal postal service.

Ofcom monitors Royal Mail’s performance and has powers to investigate and take enforcement action if Royal Mail fails to achieve its service delivery targets.

7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department set targets for the number of households that will apply for Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive for (a) biomass boilers, (b) solar water heating and (c) heat pumps.

The Department does not set targets for the number of households that will apply for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. However, as of October 2021, there have been 12,364 biomass applications, 8,952 solar thermal applications, and 74,960 heat pump applications for the scheme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to increase the amount of (a) pay and (b) leave granted of paternity leave.

As set out in our Manifesto, we are committed to making it easier for fathers to take Paternity Leave. In 2019, the Government consulted on high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay, this consultation included Paternity Leave and Pay. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the guidance of 16 February 2021, entitled Apply for free or subsidised training under the BEIS Skills Training Competition scheme and the 700 places available at BESA Academy for online or in person training for currently qualified plumbing and heating engineers to correctly install and maintain domestic heat pumps, available from early March until 30 September 2021, how many plumbing and heating engineers signed up and completed that training.

Seven hundred.

27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the guidance of 16 February 2021, entitled Apply for free or subsidised training under the BEIS Skills Training Competition scheme, how many of the 100 funded places which were available at The Green Register's retrofit training, have been taken up.

As of 30th September 2021, 34 trainees have started training, of whom 23 trainees have completed the Green Register’s retrofit training.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals on implementing a register of beneficial owners of UK property.

The Government remains committed to establishing a new beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property in order to combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency in the UK property market. We will legislate when parliamentary time allows. When we do implement these proposals, they will reflect the pre-legislative scrutiny Committee’s recommendations and will be more effective because of the broader powers we have since announced for Companies House, which also require primary legislation.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Prime Minister’s Office’s press release of 15 October 2021, titled Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan kickstarts green investment boom, what the evidential basis is for the statement that at least 56,000 jobs have been secured in the UK’s clean industries since the publication of that ten point plan.

Government analysis shows that around 56,000 green jobs have been secured across the UK since November 2020, when the Ten Point Plan was launched. This figure is broken by down by the relevant points of the Ten Point Plan as follows:

  • Point 1: Advancing Offshore Wind: 3,600 jobs
    • Six manufacturers have already announced major investments in the UK offshore wind sector, supported by Government investment schemes, and delivering up to 3,600 jobs by 2030.
  • Point 4: Accelerating the Shift to Zero Emission Vehicles: 7,150 jobs
    • Auto Transformation Fund. In July, funding was announced for the UK's first large-scale gigafactory - the investor has committed to supporting 1,000 jobs.
    • Wider automotive projects have secured an additional 950 jobs, towards a total of 1,950 jobs to be realised during the period to 2025/26.
    • According to companies participating in the Advanced Propulsion Centre R&D competition, projects agreed this year will support up to 5,200 direct jobs.
  • Point 7: Greener Buildings: 45,000 jobs
    • An estimated 45,000 jobs have been supported in greener buildings in the first year since the Ten Point Plan was launched, based on the deployment of Government funded building decarbonisation schemes.
  • Point 9: Protecting Our Natural Environment: 850 jobs
    • An estimated 850 jobs supported in environmental protection and enhancement, including flood defences (500 jobs) and from Green Recovery Challenge Fund (350 jobs).
Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to extend the Green Homes Grant to static caravans.

The Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme closed for new applications on 31st March 2021. Park home residents who own their park home were eligible to apply.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to keep energy prices low for household consumers.

Energy prices are subject to commercial decisions made by individual suppliers and in competition with each others. In order to protect customers, the Government introduced the energy price cap in 2019, which saves 15 million households on default tariffs up to £100 a year on average. The level of the price cap is set by Ofgem, the independent regulator.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to delay the repayment of bounce back loans by 12 months.

The Government has already taken action to give businesses the space and flexibility to repay their bounce back loans. Under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), no repayments are due from the borrower for the first 12 months of the loan. The Government also covers the first 12 months of interest payments charged to the business by the lender.

In order to give businesses further support, the Government introduced the “Pay as You Grow” (PAYG) measures last year, which allow individual businesses to tailor their repayments to their individual circumstances. Under these measures, the lenders are required to give all businesses that borrowed under the BBLS the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years, as well as the option to move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months, or to pause their repayments entirely for up to six months.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of how much and what proportion of all steel used in the UK in each of the next ten years will be imported.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are responsible for the collection and publication of data on UK imports and exports of goods to and from the UK. HMRC release this information monthly, as a National Statistic called the Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics (OTS), which is available via their dedicated website (www.uktradeinfo.com(opens in a new tab)).

BEIS annually publishes the Steel Pipeline, signalling upcoming steel requirements for national infrastructure projects. The most recent update shows how the Government plans to procure 7.6 million tonnes of steel over the next decade for infrastructure projects such as the expansion of offshore wind infrastructure, the construction of Hinkley Point C and the maintenance and upgrading of the UK’s motorway network.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has met with representatives from industry and campaigners to discuss hydrogen-based steel production.

The BEIS Ministerial team carries out regular engagement with steel and energy stakeholders. For example, The Steel Council offers the forum for government, industry and trade unions to work in partnership on the shared objective of creating an achievable, long-term plan to support the sector’s transition to a competitive, sustainable and low carbon future. At the latest meeting of the Steel Council, on 19 May, UK Steel presented its draft roadmap for how to achieve net zero steel production and the Secretary of State underscored the UK government’s commitment to this work.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) publishes details of ministers’ meetings with external organisations, on a quarterly basis. This can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of (a) the number of global trials trialling hydrogen-based steelmaking and (b) the potential merits of launching a similar trial in the UK.

The UK is monitoring international progress on low carbon steel making trials, using hydrogen and other technologies, and is actively engaged in international initiatives to support industrial decarbonisation innovation, including the Mission Innovation platform and the Leadership Group for Industry Transition.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Hydrogen Strategy will be published; and if it will include measures to use hydrogen to decarbonise the UK steel sector.

The UK’s first ever Hydrogen Strategy will set out what is required to build a hydrogen economy fit for 2030, Carbon Budget 6 and beyond, whilst maximising economic benefits. It will also discuss the role of low carbon hydrogen as a leading option for decarbonising industrial processes. Alongside this, we will also consult on priority policies including a hydrogen business model, a low carbon hydrogen standard, and the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.

The UK is monitoring international progress on low carbon steel making trials, using hydrogen and other technologies, and is actively engaged in international initiatives to support industrial decarbonisation innovation, including the Mission Innovation platform and the Leadership Group for Industry Transition.

Decarbonising UK industry is a core part of the Government’s ambitious plan for the green industrial revolution. The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published on 17 March, commits government to work with the Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’. The Steel Council offers the forum for government, industry and trade unions to work in partnership on the shared objective of creating an achievable, long-term plan to support the sector’s transition to a competitive, sustainable and low carbon future. Hydrogen-based steelmaking is one of the technological approaches being examined as part of this process. The UK steel sector will be given the opportunity to bid into industrial fuel switching innovation programmes under the £1bn NZIP portfolio, which is intended to promote switching away from more carbon-intensive fuel sources. The Government has also announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund to support the UK steel sector to transition to lower carbon iron and steel production, through investment in new technologies and processes.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to reports of major bottlenecks in the global container shipping industry, what plans he has to tackle the rising costs of shipping from China.

I refer the Hon. Member to the reply given by my Hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Trade on 29 June 2021 to Question UIN 20498.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional financial support he has made available to hospitality businesses that are unable to reopen until 17 May 2021 during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has brought forward a substantial package of financial support for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the Budget, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £65 billion plan to provide support for jobs and businesses, including small businesses in the hospitality sector, with extensions to furlough, self-employed support, business grants, loans and VAT cuts. The total financial support package provided to support the economy, lives and livelihoods throughout the pandemic is now worth £352 billion.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it her policy to introduce paid leave for women who lose their baby prior to 24 weeks gestation..

We recognise that a miscarriage can be deeply upsetting. We encourage employers to provide appropriate support to women who have suffered a miscarriage and respond sensitively to each individual’s specific needs.

The current entitlement to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay applies to employed parents of children under the age of 18 and those who suffer a stillbirth.

Because the death of a child is particularly tragic, in April 2020, we legislated to give parents who lose a child under the age of 18, including cases where a baby is stillborn after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy, a right to take up to 2 weeks off work in the 56 weeks following the death of their child. The policy is mapped against the clinical definition of a ‘stillbirth’: 24 weeks is a legally and medically important point in a pregnancy as it is the clinical age of viability.

Individuals who do not feel able to return to work following a miscarriage may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay while off work. All employees are also entitled to 5.6 weeks of Annual Leave a year and many employers also offer ‘Compassionate Leave’.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the evidential basis was for his decision to allow tradespeople to carry out non-essential works in other people’s home during the the covid-19 lockdown announced on 5 January 2021.

Government guidance on the current national restrictions enables tradespeople to work in peoples’ homes if it is a necessary part of their job. The Government is clear that businesses in certain sectors can remain open if they can adhere to Safer Working guidance. We continue to keep the guidance under review and will update it in line with new scientific evidence as it arises. When visiting peoples’ homes, tradespeople should follow the guidance and take appropriate Covid-19 secure precautions.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he is making available to businesses who are unable to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme as a result of a poor credit rating.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) is open to businesses who meet the scheme’s eligibility criteria, and pass customer fraud, anti-money laundering and know your customer checks. Certain lenders may require a prospective borrower to open a business account with them before they can apply, in line with their own standard policies, which may include credit checks. This is at the sole discretion of the lender.

If businesses are unable to access BBLS, there are also other forms of support available from the Government, which can be found at the following website: www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

The Start Up Loans Scheme is also available to businesses who have been trading for less than two years, it supports individuals by offering access to affordable Government-backed finance of between £500 and £25,000 per owner (limited to £100,000 per business), at a fixed 6% interest per annum.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to prevent employers using fire and re-hire tactics when negotiating employee contracts.

Despite the unprecedented package of support provided by this Government, some employers will need to offer different terms and conditions to their employees in order to ensure the sustainability of their business and avoid redundancies.

The Government is clear that using threats about firing and re-hiring as a negotiating tactic is unacceptable. There are laws are in place to ensure that there is fair procedure in redundancy and dismissal matters as well as contractual terms and conditions cannot discriminate unlawfully. In addition. if the employer changes any of the terms without the employee’s agreement, the employee may be entitled to seek legal redress.

The Department has engaged Acas to look into fire and rehire practises and they are talking to business and employee representatives, to gather evidence of how fire and rehire has been used.

15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will have discussions with those employers who continue to have large numbers of employees in their workplaces, to encourage them to send home employees who are able to work remotely.

The current Covid restrictions guidance states that you can only leave home for work purposes where you cannot reasonably work from home. It is important that people stay at home wherever possible to minimise the risk of transmission and I and those in my department will continue to reinforce this message when engaging with businesses and representative organisations across a range of sectors.

However, we must also recognise that those who cannot reasonably work from home should continue to travel to their workplace.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it Government policy to close click and collect services as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Click-and-collect services allow goods to be pre-ordered and collected without customers entering the premises, thus remaining in well ventilated spaces - which are, by definition, safer environments where transmission is less likely to occur.

Click-and-collect allows the public to have access to goods they need quickly, where they aren’t available from retailers that can remain open. Additionally, it allows businesses subject to closure to be able continue operating.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the fieldwork and other research that will form the basis for the Government’s evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave scheme was (a) initiated and (b) completed.

Work on the evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme started in July 2018 and has included commissioning and interrogating information collected through large scale, representative, surveys of employers and parents and a qualitative study of parents who have used the scheme. The various data sources will help us to better understand the barriers and enablers to parents taking Shared Parental Leave.

Fieldwork was completed in February 2020 and we are currently processing the data. Analysis of this data has taken longer than expected due to the impact of Covid-19 on our research partners and because we have necessarily prioritised work on supporting parents during the pandemic. However, the evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme remains important for the Government, and we will publish our findings in due course.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to implement the Government’s July 2019 commitment to establish a taskforce of employer and family representative groups to address pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace.

The Government is finalising plans to bring together a broad set of key stakeholders to look at what improvements can be made to the information available to employers and families to address pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace.

We will be setting up the first meeting shortly.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will undertake an inquiry into the collapse of Arcadia.

The administrators of Arcadia have three months from the date of administration to make a report on the conduct of the directors to the Insolvency Service. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to the Insolvency Service on 1 December asking it to review this report as soon as it is received. The Insolvency Service will do so and consider what further steps may be necessary.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government has issued loans via the British Business Bank to subsidiaries of (a) Stagecoach, (b) National Express, (c) Go-Ahead, (d) First Group, (e) Serco, (f) Arriva and (g) Abellio in response to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic on (i) revenue streams and (ii) operational matters.

The British Business Bank is the UK’s development bank, providing finance for small businesses via lending partners across a range of programmes. Part of the Bank’s wider role includes accrediting lenders for the Covid Support Schemes on behalf of Government.

The British Business Bank does not issue any loans directly to businesses. All credit decisions are delegated to accredited lenders in accordance with the rules set out under the terms of the three Covid Support Schemes.

Details of individual aid awards under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Bounce Back Loan Scheme will be published where required via the European Commission’s Transparency Aid Module in due course.

6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if businesses permitted to remain open can sell goods provided by businesses that are required to cease trading by the November 2020 covid-19 restrictions.

In England, COVID-secure businesses can continue to sell goods – such as a hairdressing salon selling shampoo or beauty products – online or via click-and-collect. If a business is able to trade goods in a COVID-secure manner while following the new national restrictions and all of the other trade requirements behind selling another good, they can.

3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that providers of Bounce Back Loans have the funds to grant the loans promptly.

The British Business Bank (BBB) administers the Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS) on behalf of Government. The Bank works to accredit lenders for BBLS and provides them with a full (100%), government-backed guarantee against the outstanding balance of the finance (both capital and interest). Providing lenders with a 100% government-backed guarantee and standardising the application form is designed to produce a faster process, with many loans becoming available within days.

The lenders themselves, however, are responsible for the delivery of those products to their customers and for ensuring they have sufficient capital available to meet their lending forecasts.

BBB does set out a series of minimum requirements which prospective lenders must satisfy in their application. This list does include having sufficient capital, but it is not the only factor.

Factors taken into account during the accreditation process are: a track record with SMEs, provision of evidence-based forecasts, sufficient capital available to meet lending forecasts, a viable business model, robust operations and systems, and having all the necessary regulations, licenses, authorisations and permissions to operate the scheme.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much Russian gas is imported into the UK; and what proportion of national gas consumption that represents.

The Government publishes Energy Trends statistics, including for gas, at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/gas-section-4-energy-trends. Table 4.1 shows production, total imports and demand. Table 4.4 shows import countries of origin.

The UK gas market is one of the most liquid and developed markets in the world and provides security through diversity of supply. Most of the gas supply to the UK comes from domestic production (46 per cent in 2019), as well as imports from reliable suppliers like Norway (31 per cent in 2019). The remaining 23 per cent of supply was from pipeline imports from the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from a diverse range of sources. There are no gas pipelines directly linking the UK with Russia.

In 2019, one-fifth of UK supply was from LNG. Within this, around 34 TWh of LNG was imported from Russia, representing less than 4 percent of the total supply of gas to the UK. The UK is in no way dependent on gas supply from Russia and our LNG was sourced from 12 different countries last year.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses have taken loans through the Bounce Back Loan scheme in each (a) nation and (b) region of the UK; and what proportion of the loaned money has gone to each (i) nation and (ii) region.

On 16th August the British Business Bank published updated Bounce Back Loan data which states 1,174,854 companies have been approved for £35.47bn.

In regional data published on 7th August: of the total amount of £35.47bn, 22% is to companies headquartered in the South (South East and South West), 21% in the North (North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber), 10% in the East of England, 14% in the Midlands (East Midlands and West Midlands) and 12% in the Devolved Nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). London accounts for the remaining just over 20% of companies.

More information on the business interruption loan schemes can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/collections/hm-treasury-coronavirus-covid-19-business-loan-scheme-statistics.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses have taken loans through the Future Fund scheme in each (a) nation and (b) region of the UK; and what proportion of the loaned money has gone to each (i) nation and (ii) region.

On 18th August the British Business Bank published updated Future Fund data which gives a regional breakdown of 590 companies that have been approved for £588.3m.

Of the total amount of £588.3m, 17% is to companies headquartered in the South (South East and South West), 10% in the North (North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber), 8% in the East of England, 3% in the Midlands (East Midlands and West Midlands) and 3% in the Devolved Nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). London accounts for the remaining 59% of companies. Further detail from the most recent update is available here: www.british-business-bank.co.uk/future-fund-publishes-diversity-data-of-companies-receiving-convertible-loan-agreements-3/.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department is providing to research on the use of dense plasma focus technology for nuclear fusion; and if he will make a statement.

UK Research and Innovation supports research into fusion across the UK through its grants, with over £2.5 million going into dense plasma focus related research in the period 2017-21. The Government is interested in and is supporting research into all approaches to fusion.

The Government champions and supports the role of the private sector in developing innovative technologies for clean energy generation, including fusion energy. We have recently announced £184 million for development of fusion related technology facilities, managed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority. We encourage private sector companies working in fusion and related fields to explore potential opportunities for collaboration with the UK Atomic Energy Authority and how they can benefit from these national assets.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department's has made of the number of jobs displaced by automation during the covid-19 lockdown; and if he will make a statement.

We are continuing to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market. Whilst it is too early to make any firm conclusions on the number of jobs impacted by automation during the Covid-19 lockdown, technology has been vital in supporting more people to stay in employment during this period through more flexible and remote working.

The Government recognises that demand for skills will continue to change, in part in response to automation. In order to support people displaced in the labour market, the Government has announced that a total of £1.6 billion will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job. This includes a £111 million investment to triple the scale of traineeships in 2020/21 and £17 million of funding for sector-based work academy placements.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of workers in each income quintile group have been (a) furloughed, (b) laid off or (c) had their (i) hours or (ii) pay reduced during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We are actively monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on different groups in the labour market. The latest external estimates, from the Resolution Foundation think tank found that, of those surveyed in the UK between 6-11 May:

  • 33% of workers in the lowest quintile income group had either been furloughed (25%), lost their job (5%) or lost hours and pay (3%) due to coronavirus. This compares to 16% of those in the highest quintile income group, with 6% being furloughed, 3% losing their job and 7% losing hours and pay.
  • 40% of workers on zero hours contracts had either been furloughed (24%), lost their job (4%) or lost hours and pay (12%) due to coronavirus. This compares to 22% of all employees, with 15% being furloughed, 3% losing their job and 4% losing hours and pay.

Published HM Treasury analysis on the impact of Covid-19 on working household incomes found that Government interventions since March have supported the poorest working households the most (as a proportion of February income).

On 8 July, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a package of support to tackle the impact of Covid-19 crisis. This package provides £201m of new funding in 20-21 for skills provision and invests billions in a strong and coherent employment support offer. It provides the help people need now to swiftly find new work, while offering greater support for people who will find that journey harder.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of workers on zero hours contracts have been (a) furloughed, (b) laid off or (c) had their (i) hours or (ii) pay reduced during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We are actively monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on different groups in the labour market. The latest external estimates, from the Resolution Foundation think tank found that, of those surveyed in the UK between 6-11 May:

  • 33% of workers in the lowest quintile income group had either been furloughed (25%), lost their job (5%) or lost hours and pay (3%) due to coronavirus. This compares to 16% of those in the highest quintile income group, with 6% being furloughed, 3% losing their job and 7% losing hours and pay.
  • 40% of workers on zero hours contracts had either been furloughed (24%), lost their job (4%) or lost hours and pay (12%) due to coronavirus. This compares to 22% of all employees, with 15% being furloughed, 3% losing their job and 4% losing hours and pay.

Published HM Treasury analysis on the impact of Covid-19 on working household incomes found that Government interventions since March have supported the poorest working households the most (as a proportion of February income).

On 8 July, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a package of support to tackle the impact of Covid-19 crisis. This package provides £201m of new funding in 20-21 for skills provision and invests billions in a strong and coherent employment support offer. It provides the help people need now to swiftly find new work, while offering greater support for people who will find that journey harder.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the maximum fine for employers breaching national minimum wage legislation; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to cracking down on employers who fail to pay the National Minimum Wage. We are clear that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it.

In the 2019/2020 financial year, HM Revenue & Customs completed over 3,300 investigations and found arrears in just over 1,200 of them. They identified £20.8 million in arrears for over 263,000 workers and issued just under 1,000 penalties, totalling £18.5 million to non-compliant employers.

The Government increased the penalties multiplier in 2016 to 200% of the value of arrears per worker, (it was 100% from 2014-16 and 50% before March 2014). In addition, the penalty cap increased to £20,000 per worker in 2016, up from £5,000 per employer before March 2014. The penalty multiplier percentage should be considered in combination with the cap per worker and the lack of any cap per employer, which means that there is no cap on the total penalty an employer may face. More information is available here.

In its December 2018 response to the Labour Market Enforcement Strategy 2018/19, the Government rejected a recommendation from the Director of Labour Market Enforcement that the penalty multiplier be increased again on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to justify a higher penalty given the high penalty levels already in operation.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it remains his policy to maintain the Royal Mail Universal Service Obligation.

The Universal Service Obligation is set out in the Postal Services Act 2011.

There is a clear and transparent process for how changes to the universal service obligation would be considered and any change would need to be made through secondary legislation and agreed by Parliament.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps is he taking to prevent travel companies asking customers to pay the balance on holidays that have not been confirmed as going ahead.

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 full refund if a package holiday is cancelled due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances, which should be issued within 14 days.

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 to register complaints, available through: https://www.coronavirus-business-complaint.service.gov.uk/.

Where payments were made using a credit card meeting certain criteria, redress may also be sought from the credit card company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to provide support to small businesses not eligible for Small Business Grant Scheme because they are not liable for business rates as a result of not occupying a hereditament.

The Government has announced a package of support for businesses to help with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This package of support includes?the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

In addition, on?1 May,?the Government announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities?in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. The?Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF) is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund?and?may choose to make payments based on local economic need,?subject to the recipient businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria.

Guidance, intended to support Local Authorities in administering the Discretionary Grants Fund, was published 13 May and can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding.

Where businesses have been advised by the relevant local authority that they are not eligible for these schemes, they should be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Bounce Back Loan scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100% guaranteed by the Government;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills;
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.

Further information on the other support available can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure construction on the Hinkley Point C project is continued during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is in regular contact with the leadership team at Hinkley Point C, as this project is extremely important for the UK’s future low-carbon energy supply.

At this difficult time, we are doing all we can to support the project, such as through the Chancellor’s recently announced business support measures. More information on these measures can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the membership is of the Offshore Wind Programme Board.

The Offshore Wind Programme Board (OWPB) no longer exists. Following publication of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal in March 2019, the functions previously delivered by the OWPB were incorporated into Offshore Wind Industry Council’s Sector Deal delivery programme. An industry programme management office, led by Renewable UK, monitors the sector deal delivery.

Offshore Wind Industry Council membership comprises all developers active in the UK and key supply chain companies, as well as the ORE Catapult and the Devolved Administrations. All appointments are on a voluntary basis and unpaid.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 February 2020 to Question 13545, on Wind Power: Seas and Oceans, what steps his Department's representative on the Offshore Wind Programme Board has taken to verify the UK content figures reported by developers.

The UK content data supplied by each developer is compiled on an anonymised basis by RenewableUK to an agreed methodology. The Department has the ability to commission the independent auditing of the data.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 February 2020 to Question 13545, on Wind Power: Seas and Oceans, when the Offshore Wind Industrial Council plans to publish its latest assessment of UK content.

UK content figures for wind farms are compiled and published by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC). The Department has asked the Offshore Wind Industry Council for an update on the UK content figures this year.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 February 2020 to Question 13545, on Wind Power: Seas and Oceans, whether his Department collects data on progress towards the offshore wind industry's target of 60 per cent UK content by 2030.

The Department monitors the progress of each commitment within the Offshore Wind Sector Deal and regular collection of data helps keep track of progress. The Offshore Wind Industrial Council undertakes monitoring of progress against the UK content target.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 July 2013 to Question 164613 on Wind Power, for what reason the Offshore Wind Programme Board's pages on the Crown Estate website referred to in that Answer have been removed.

The Crown Estate is an independent commercial business, created by Act of Parliament and the Department does not manage the Crown Estate website. I am therefore unable to answer a question relating to that.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the offshore wind Sector Deal, published on 7 March 2019, what information her Department collects on progress towards the offshore wind industry’s target of 60 per cent UK content by 2030.

The Offshore Wind Sector has an industry agreed methodology to measuring the lifetime UK content of offshore windfarm. So far, the Offshore Wind Programme Board has published reports into UK content twice, in 2015 & 2017.

At the last Offshore Wind Industrial Council in November 2019, BEIS requested OWIC to provide an update on the UK content figures.

The latest report on the amount of UK lifetime content in offshore wind farms, which shows that the average UK content to be 48%, can be found here:

https://www.renewableuk.com/news/362764/Offshore-Wind-Industry-Investment-in-the-UK.htm

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to page 4 of the RenewableUK publication entitled, A Guide to Measuring the UK Content of Offshore Wind Farms, published in March 2015, on how many occasions her Department has requested that offshore wind developers open up their calculations of UK content for independent review and audit.

The Department has not requested any offshore wind developer to open up their calculations of UK content. The Offshore Wind Programme Board reviews the data submitted to ensure the content methodology has been calculated correctly.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make it her policy to require all Scotland association football matches to be shown for free on television.

The government believes that certain sporting events of national interest should be shown on free-to-air television rather than behind a paywall, so that they can be enjoyed by as wide an audience as possible. That is why we have the listed events regime.

In determining what events form part of this regime, a balance between accessibility and the ability of sporting organisations to generate revenues from commercial broadcast arrangements to invest in the development of their sports from the grassroots up. The Government believes that the current list strikes an appropriate balance, and has no current plans to undertake a full review of the events on the list.

In this instance, it would be for the Scottish Government to consider whether this balance is struck, and the UK Government would then take those considerations into account.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make it her policy to ban ticket touting.

HM Government is committed to supporting fair and transparent ticket pricing and tackling unacceptable behaviour in this market.

We have strengthened the law in relation to ticketing information requirements and have introduced a criminal offence of using automated software to buy more tickets online than is allowed. We also 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.

We believe there is a role for a responsible secondary ticketing market, and ultimately, ticket pricing strategies are a matter for event organisers and ticketing platforms, providing they comply with relevant legislation, particularly regarding transparency to customers on how tickets are priced, in order to help consumers make a fair and informed decision.

Policy on secondary ticketing is jointly owned within Government by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Business & Trade (DBT). DBT has lead responsibility for policy on consumer protection and its enforcement, in partnership with National Trading Standards and the Competition and Markets Authority, whilst DCMS leads on the specific area of secondary ticketing for DCMS-related events (sport, live music, theatre, etc.).

Our joint overarching policy aim has been to address abuses in the ticketing market and improve consumers’ opportunities to buy tickets for recreational, sporting, and cultural events, whilst ensuring there are no unintentional consequences for the operations of the events sector and primary and secondary ticketing market.

Our policy aims are delivered through a mixture of targeted legislation (primarily the Consumer Rights Act 2015), backed up by robust action by enforcement agencies, and encouraging industry-led approaches, largely through the exploitation of technological developments (e.g. use of blockchain and ‘ticketless tickets’ on mobiles). Our approach is underpinned by the findings of an independent review of consumer protection measures in the market, undertaken by Professor Michael Waterson, published in May 2016.

Professor Waterson specifically considered the idea of banning the secondary ticketing market entirely. His conclusions, with which we agreed in our response to the review, are that:

i) a ban would not lead to the absence of secondary ticketing, but would simply drive it underground/offshore, with implications for raised levels of fraud;

ii) several primary operators have chosen to link up with secondary agencies suggesting their implicit approval of such activities;

iii) a significant proportion of tickets on secondary sites are priced below face value, offering a useful service to consumers and allowing more people to attend the event.

20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with Ofcom on the Vodafone-Three merger.

Matters related to telecoms are the responsibility of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) following the machinery of government changes announced on 7 February 2023. I refer the honourable Member to the answer I gave on 22 June 2023, in my capacity as a DSIT Minister, to Question UIN 190472.

24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make it her policy to ban all gambling sponsorships in association football.

On 27 April we published our white paper setting out our conclusions and next steps on gambling advertising and sponsorship, as well as other issues in the broad scope of our Gambling Act Review.

The Gambling Commission requires all marketing activities by gambling operators, including sport sponsorships, to be undertaken in a socially responsible fashion. To ensure high standards for gambling sponsorship across the sport sector, the government will continue to support the sector’s efforts to implement standards for social responsibility through a cross-sport Code of Conduct.

We also welcome the Premier League’s recent announcement that it will ban gambling sponsors from the front of shirts, bringing sponsorship in line with recent rule changes from the Advertising Standards Authority preventing Premier League players from appearing in gambling adverts.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to help reduce the carbon emissions caused by large-scale sporting events in the UK.

Major sporting events bring a wide range of benefits to this country and the Government remains committed to maintaining its world-leading track record in this area. As part of the Government’s ‘net zero’ pledge, we work closely with domestic event organisers and international federations to ensure they are delivered as sustainably as possible.

We demonstrated this, for example, through our delivery of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The Games had a bold ambition to be the most sustainable Games to date and set out a clear action plan which successfully reduced the environmental impact of the Games and has helped create a lasting legacy.

For future events, the Gold Framework guidance on UK-level support available when bidding for and staging major sporting events includes guidance for organisers to focus on the sustainability of their event, and any associated legacy or social impact programme. This document is being refreshed with the intention of publishing an update in the coming months.

16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department will take to help prevent leisure centres closing due to energy price rises during winter 2022-23.

The Government recognises the impact rising energy prices will have on organisations of all sizes, including on providers of indoor leisure facilities. In September the government announced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, under which businesses and other non-domestic energy users (including leisure facilities) are being supported.

After an initial 6 months of the scheme, the government will provide focused support for vulnerable industries. A review is currently underway to determine where this should be targeted to make sure those most in need get support.

The Government invested £100 million in the National Leisure Recovery Fund, which supported the reopening of local authority leisure centres and facilities throughout the country after the pandemic.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an estimate of how many leisure centres may close (a) temporarily and (b) permanently due to rising costs in winter 2022-23.

The Government recognises the impact rising energy prices will have on organisations of all sizes, including on providers of indoor leisure facilities. In September the government announced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, under which businesses and other non-domestic energy users (including leisure facilities) will be offered support. We are working with Sport England and sector partners including ukactive to closely monitor the impact of this on public leisure centres.

The Government invested £100 million in the National Leisure Recovery Fund, which supported the reopening of local authority leisure centres and facilities throughout the country after the pandemic.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made with Cabinet colleagues of the potential impact of charging for Twitter verification on (a) child safeguarding, (b) fraud and cyber-crime and (c) other online harms; and if she will make a statement.

While the government cannot comment on the policies of individual companies, the Online Safety Bill will introduce new duties on search services and user-to-user services, including social media platforms, to protect their users. Companies will have flexibility in how they comply with their new duties, but they will need to meet standards set by Ofcom, the regulator, with regard to child safe-guarding and tackling illegal activity, including fraud.

Companies will be able to fulfil their duties by taking the recommended measures in the codes of practice that Ofcom will issue or by taking alternative action provided the outcome is as good or better.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing financial support to (a) charities and (b) other similar organisations with rising energy costs.

As households and communities face rising energy prices, charities are seeing increased demand for their services while contending with the same price increases themselves.

With government support, charities have shown significant resilience over the past two years, and will again be crucial in supporting communities and households over the winter.

That is why the government will support all charities, public sector organisations and businesses with their energy costs this winter, offering an energy price guarantee for six months, equivalent to the protection offered to British households. Further details will be announced in due course.

My department will keep engaging with their counterparts across the sector and government to continuously monitor the impact of rising energy costs on the charity and broader civil society sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if her Department will take steps to help ensure that every community has access to a (a) swimming pool and (b) safe outdoor swimming area.

We recognise the importance of ensuring public access to leisure facilities, including swimming pools, which are great spaces for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy, and which play an important role within communities.

Sport England has invested £9,564,322 in swimming and diving projects since April 2019, which includes £6,260,502 to Swim England. This is in addition to the £100 million National Leisure Recovery Fund, which supported the reopening of local authority swimming pools throughout the country after the pandemic.

Regarding outdoor swimming, bathing waters are designated through an application process and Defra welcomes applications for designation for both coastal and inland waters such as rivers.

The ongoing responsibility of providing access to safe places to swim, both in swimming pools and outdoors, lies at Local Authority level, and the government continues to encourage Local Authorities to invest in leisure facilities.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's delivery on its targets for high-speed broadband rollout.

The Government has committed to a delivery target of at least 85% gigabit availability by the end of 2025 and we are on track to achieve this. In three years, national coverage has rocketed from 6 per cent to 68 per cent.

We are investing £5 billion through Project Gigabit so hard-to-reach areas can get ultra-reliable gigabit speed and have already upgraded over 600,000 premises.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the penalties for people found guilty of deliberately creating and spreading misinformation on covid-19 vaccines.

The Government takes the issue of misinformation and disinformation very seriously.

The Online Safety Bill will force companies to take action to prevent the proliferation of illegal content online that is in scope of the Bill, including illegal misinformation and disinformation. This would include misinformation containing direct incitement to violence such as encouraging violence against public health officials on the false premise that COVID-19 is a hoax.

The Law Commission’s recommended false communications offence is also being brought into law through the Bill. This will capture any communications where the individual knows the information to be false but sends this communication intending to cause harm. This would include dangerous disinformation about the vaccine, or hoax COVID-19 treatments. The offence will be summary only and will carry a maximum penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks or a fine, or both.

The Online Safety Bill will also require the biggest companies to address content that is legal but causes significant physical or psychological harm to adults - including some types of misinformation and disinformation, such as anti-vaccination content.

Alongside this legislation, the government has also developed a Media Literacy Strategy and SHARE checklist which aims to increase audience resilience by educating and empowering those who see, inadvertently share and are affected by false and misleading information.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to remove misinformation on covid-19 vaccines online.

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. The Counter Disinformation Unit was stood up on 5 March 2020 to bring together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope, and reach of misinformation and disinformation, including that relating to COVID-19. The CDU remains stood up.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the information people access about COVID-19 and the vaccine is accurate, so that everyone is able to make informed decisions about their health. We are working with social media platforms to ensure promotion of authoritative sources of information, and to help them identify and remove incorrect claims about COVID-19 and the vaccine in line with their terms and conditions.

The Online Safety Bill will force companies to tackle illegal misinformation and disinformation in scope of the Bill, and the biggest platforms will need to address legal but harmful material, including some types of harmful misinformation such as anti-vaccination content. However, we expect companies to take steps now to improve safety, and not wait for the legislation to come into force before acting.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will provide redress to the people affected by the collapse of BetIndex Limited, the operators of Football Index.

The Government appreciates the significant impact that the collapse of the novel gambling product Football Index had on former customers. BetIndex, the company which operated Football Index, went into liquidation on 5 November. The process is continuing and it is likely that this will result in some amounts being reimbursed to creditors. There is no compensation scheme for losses caused by a gambling firm ceasing to operate and the government does not think it would be appropriate to use public funds for these purposes.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the independent review into the collapse of football gambling firm, Football Index, will be complete.

The Secretary of State has appointed Malcolm Sheehan QC to lead the independent review into the regulation of BetIndex Limited, the operators of Football Index. The independent review is expected to provide a report for publication shortly. Its findings will form part of the evidence informing the government’s ongoing Review of the Gambling Act 2005, which was announced in December 2020.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to (a) introduce a junk food advertising ban before 2023 and (b) expand that ban to cover junk food advertising on television, other broadcasting platforms and in public spaces.

The Government is legislating in the Health and Care Bill to introduce a restriction on paid-for advertising of food and drinks products high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) online and a 9pm watershed on TV. This watershed will also apply to all On-Demand Programme Services (ODPS) under the jurisdiction of the UK. ODPS that do not fall under the UK’s jurisdiction will be included in the online restriction of paid-for HFSS advertising. These measures will come into force simultaneously at the end of 2022. It is not the Government’s intention to legislate to restrict HFSS advertising in public spaces. This form of advertising is subject to advertising codes regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority which include restricting HFSS advertising in media directed at children under 16.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what evidence his Department based its decision on when deciding to allow spectators into the EURO 2020 football matches held at Wembley Stadium in June and July 2021 prior to the proposed further easing of covid-19 restrictions on the 19 July 2021.

The Events Research Programme (ERP) is running pilot events, including the EURO 2020 matches at Wembley, to inform decisions around the safe removal of social distancing at Step 4 of the roadmap. The pilots are running across a range of settings, venues, and activities, so that findings support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors.

Decisions are guided by a Science Board of relevant experts including senior PHE representation, who take into account the latest public health data. All pilots are designed in a scientifically controlled way, with special consideration to reduce risk of transmission. The Science Board provides scientific assurance across the programme, and ensures that events follow ethical and scientific principles, generating evidence of sufficient quality to inform decisions.

Our Science Board follows a scientific framework developed by SAGE’s Environmental Modelling Group. This includes understanding appropriate audience sizes for the ERP’s research purposes.

These capacities have been agreed in advance with event organisers, and the health and safety capacity caps of their respective venues.

The second phase of the ERP included the England games against Croatia (13 June), and Scotland (18 June). Public health is our main priority and entry to these EURO 2020 pilot events required proof of a negative NHS Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test taken within 48 hours of entering the event, or proof of two vaccinations with the second vaccination being given at least 14 days prior to entry of the event via the NHS COVID Pass within the NHS App. In addition to this, attendees to events in the ERP’s third phase can also show proof of natural immunity, based upon a positive PCR test within 180 days of the event.

The Government is working closely with industry partners to design these pilot events to help gather evidence on opening events safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to ensure that all sports played by UK national teams are available live for free on non-subscription services.

The Government recognises that sporting events of national significance have the ability to bring the nation together through shared moments and therefore it is important that they are made available to as wide an audience as possible.

Under the current listed events regime national sporting events including matches for the FIFA Football World Cup finals tournament, the Rugby World Cup finals and events in the Olympics are made available to free to air broadcasters. In January 2020 the Government added the Paralympic Games to the list, recognising that it is an event of national significance on par with the Olympic Games.

The listed events regime works well to strike an appropriate balance between retaining free-to-air sports events for the public while allowing rights holders to negotiate agreements in the best interests of their sport. Therefore, the Government does not have plans to review the listed events regime at this time.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who is the membership of the Events Research Programme; and if he will make a statement.

The Events Research Programme (ERP), under the guidance of Chief Advisors Nicholas Hytner and Davd Ross, is aimed at providing key scientific data on how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen in line with the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown. The Chief Advisers will oversee the programme, reporting into the Prime Minister and will co-chair a small, advisory Senior Steering Board. There will also be a Joint Programme Board working across government to inform policy development and a Science Board to provide scientific assurance across the programme. Pilots, due to start in April, will investigate how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions can be employed to allow venues to open safely. It is anticipated that findings will be reported to the Prime Minister at the end of May, to feed into wider discussions around Step 4 of the lockdown restrictions.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Events Research Programme is expected to publish its roadmap for the reopening of the events industry; and if he will make a statement.

The Events Research Programme (ERP), under the guidance of Chief Advisors Nicholas Hytner and Davd Ross, is aimed at providing key scientific data on how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen in line with the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown. The Chief Advisers will oversee the programme, reporting into the Prime Minister and will co-chair a small, advisory Senior Steering Board. There will also be a Joint Programme Board working across government to inform policy development and a Science Board to provide scientific assurance across the programme. Pilots, due to start in April, will investigate how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions can be employed to allow venues to open safely. It is anticipated that findings will be reported to the Prime Minister at the end of May, to feed into wider discussions around Step 4 of the lockdown restrictions.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what factors the Events Research Programme will consider in producing a roadmap for the reopening of the events industry; and if he will make a statement.

The Events Research Programme (ERP), under the guidance of Chief Advisors Nicholas Hytner and Davd Ross, is aimed at providing key scientific data on how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen in line with the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown. The Chief Advisers will oversee the programme, reporting into the Prime Minister and will co-chair a small, advisory Senior Steering Board. There will also be a Joint Programme Board working across government to inform policy development and a Science Board to provide scientific assurance across the programme. Pilots, due to start in April, will investigate how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions can be employed to allow venues to open safely. It is anticipated that findings will be reported to the Prime Minister at the end of May, to feed into wider discussions around Step 4 of the lockdown restrictions.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish data on the rates of covid-19 infection in (a) professional and (b) grassroots sport in the period prior to the January 2021 national covid-19 lockdown.

We do not hold data on the rates of COVID-19 infection in professional and grassroots sport.

Government has published overarching guidance for grassroots sport but does not publish guidance for individual sports. It is for the National Governing Body of the sport to consider the steps that would need to be taken, and the conditions that would need to be met, for their activity to resume. The National Governing Body should also publish relevant guidance.

Professional sports have put in place sport specific protocols in line with our guidance for covid secure return of training and competition. Where appropriate to those protocols, this includes regular testing, such as in Premier League football. Many have chosen to publish their testing info for transparency, and, where appropriate, results are reported locally.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to introduce financial penalties for companies that allow misinformation about vaccines to be spread on their platforms; and if he will set up a taskforce to tackle online vaccine misinformation.

The Government takes the issue of misinformation and disinformation very seriously and is working closely with social media platforms to help them identify and take action to remove incorrect claims about the virus, particularly around the potential Covid-19 vaccine in line with their revised terms and conditions, and to promote authoritative sources of information.

The Cross-Whitehall Counter Disinformation Unit was stood up on 5 March 2020, bringing together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. Its primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and the reach of disinformation and misinformation linked to Covid-19, and to work with partners to stamp it out.

At a joint roundtable hosted by the DCMS and DHSC Secretaries of State in November, Social media platforms agreed to continue to work with public health bodies to ensure that authoritative messages about vaccine safety reach as many people as possible; to commit to swifter responses to flagged content and to commit to the principle that no user or company should directly profit from COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation. This work is being taken forward through an ongoing counter-disinformation policy forum which brings together platforms, civil society organisations and academia.

The Online Harms White Paper highlighted disinformation as potentially being in scope of the regulatory framework, and set out a list of potential steps that platforms could take ahead of regulation. Further details about how the legislation and the regulator will tackle disinformation will be published in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper. The regulator will have strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance, including the power to issue notices, warnings and fines.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had on additional specific financial support for rugby league clubs, and if he will make a statement.

On 1 May this year the Government announced that the Rugby Football League would receive a £16 million cash injection to safeguard the immediate future of the sport for the communities it serves. This emergency loan will help the sport deal with the extreme financial impact of COVID-19. We are continuing to engage with the Rugby Football League and other sporting bodies on the consequences of the decision not to reopen stadia to spectators on 1 October.

Government is also supporting rugby league through more than £11m of Sport England investment in the Rugby Football League over 2017-21 and investment of up to £10m in rugby league facilities to help drive a legacy from the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a statutory owners and directors test in football.

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.

The Government is committed to undertaking a fan led review of football governance, which will include consideration of the Owners’ and Directors’ test.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have with the GMB trade union on financial pressures and salary caps in Rugby League Super League due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has had no such discussions with the GMB trade union, but trade union attendance across a range of DCMS working groups was agreed with the TUC, with PFA and TUC attending the sport working group

The Government announced on 30 April that the Rugby Football League (RFL) will receive an emergency loan of up to £16 million to safeguard the immediate future of the sport for the communities it serves, and is continuing to work closely with the sport to understand the issues they face and discuss how we can support them further through this difficult time. The RFL is fully engaged with the process and is ensuring that the sport as a whole is aware of the assistance available and how to access support. It is a matter for individual clubs to pursue the support appropriate for their situation.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the timeframe is for (a) brass bands and (b) choirs to restart (i) practising and (ii) performing as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Detailed guidance for the performing arts has been published on Gov.uk.

This guidance sets out the current Public Health England assessment that certain activities, including singing and playing brass instruments, carry a potentially higher risk of transmission and that participation in such activities requires particular attention to the risk involved. This position will be updated as the evidence base develops.

To help support the development of the evidence base, DCMS is working closely with SAGE and a number of specialists to examine the existing and emerging evidence to provide advice to guide the future development of policy and guidelines.

24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the average annual net effect of student loan interest payments on the public purse was in each of the last five years.

Student loan repayments are not broken down by interest versus loan portions, meaning that “student loan interest repayments” are not directly measured.

The interest rate charged on a student loan does not affect the amount a borrower repays on a student loan in a given month because the repayment is a proportion of income over a threshold. Unlike mortgages, a higher interest rate on a loan does not lead to higher repayments. As such, in terms of cashflow, total repayment levels in the last 5 years are not greatly affected by increased interest rates.

Statistics on income contingent repayments and interest added to student loans, at a national level, are published by the Student Loans Company here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/student-loans-in-england-2022-to-2023.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she is taking steps to ensure that teachers receive continuing professional development training in supporting young people with their mental health.

It is important to recognise that teachers are not mental health professionals and should not be expected to provide specialist mental health support. However, schools and colleges play a vital role in promoting mental wellbeing, by providing calm, safe and supportive learning environments and helping pupils who need it to access early, targeted support. The department offers a range of training and resources to help teachers do so effectively.

The department is offering all state schools and colleges a grant to train a senior mental health lead by 2025, enabling them to introduce effective whole school approaches to mental health and wellbeing. Over 14,400 settings have claimed a grant so far, including more than 7 in 10 state-funded secondary schools, and the department has recently made second grants available for settings who have lost their trained lead. The department’s quality assured training course provides the practical knowledge and skills to implement a whole school or college approach to promoting mental wellbeing. The course also helps senior mental health leads to facilitate the development of school staff, to ensure that all staff can recognise and understand the process to respond to mental health concerns.

The department has recently launched two new resources to help trained mental health leads and wider school and college staff to promote and support pupil mental health, both hosted on the Mentally Healthy Schools site. The resource hub signposts practical resources and tools to embed whole-school or college approaches and the targeted mental wellbeing toolkit gives practical advice and tools to help schools and colleges identify the most effective targeted support options for their setting. The resource hub is available at: https://mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/whole-school-or-college-resources/. The target mental wellbeing toolkit is available at: https://mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/targeted-support/.

To further support teachers and leaders wanting to expand their knowledge and skills, the department has accredited a range of national professional qualifications (NPQs). These qualifications are designed to provide training and support for teachers and school leaders at all levels and deliver improved outcomes for young people. Teachers and leaders who undertake an NPQ in leading teaching, leading behaviour and culture, or leadership will learn the essential knowledge and skills needed to create a calm, safe and supportive school culture, promoting wellbeing for all pupils and staff.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with refence to her Department's press release entitled Crackdown on rip-off university degrees, published on 17 July 2023, on which degree courses she plans to increase controls.

The department wants to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, benefit from high quality, world-leading higher education (HE) that leads to excellent outcomes.

The Office for Students (OfS) has responsibility for monitoring quality and standards and acting where there is a breach of its conditions of registration. The OfS registration condition B3 sets minimum requirements for student outcomes, including course continuation, completion and progression onto graduate employment or further study.

Where courses perform below these thresholds, the providers could face investigation, enabling the OfS to understand the reasons for their performance. If a HE provider is found to be in breach of regulatory requirements, the OfS has the power to intervene and impose sanctions.

To date, the OfS has undertaken 18 investigations in relation to student outcomes (B3) performance. The OfS will publish the outcomes of those investigations in due course and will make decisions about whether regulatory action is appropriate. The department expects the OfS to take decisive action where there has been a clear breach of B3, including, where appropriate, through the use of recruitment limits. Recruitment limits will prevent the growth of courses that do not meet minimum expectations for student outcomes, where there is no justifiable explanation for them failing to do so.

Other sanctions available to the OfS include issuing a specific ongoing condition of registration requiring an improvement in performance, financial penalties and ultimately the suspension or removal of the HE provider from the register (and with it, access to student finance).


Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with refence to her Department's press release entitled Crackdown on rip-off university degrees, published on 17 July 2023, on which degree courses she plans to increase controls.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate she has made of how many and what proportion of graduates in each plan will repay their (a) undergraduate and (b) post graduate loans.

Information on the proportion of graduates in each plan that will repay their (a) undergraduate and (b) post graduate loans, can be found in the ‘Student loan forecasts for England’ annual statistics publication here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/92168d82-7f22-4d01-d6a4-08dbca2fee12.

The system for setting interest rates on student loans is set out in the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009, as amended. Interest rates are applied in relation to the Retail Price Index (RPI). The RPI is determined by the RPI figure for the March prior to the applicable period for new interest rates. In addition, 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. From 1 September 2023 to 30 November 2023, the maximum interest rate has been set at 7.3% for Plan 2 and Plan 5 undergraduate student loans, and postgraduate student loans, to take into account recent increases in the prevailing market rate. From the 2023/24 academic year, student loan borrowers starting new courses will benefit from interest rates of RPI only. This change ensures that, under the new Plan 5 loan terms, new borrowers will not repay more than they originally borrowed, when adjusted for inflation.

Student loans have very different terms and conditions to commercial loans set with reference to the Bank of England base rate. Unlike commercial unsecured personal loans, student loans are available to all eligible students regardless of their background or financial history. The loans carry significant protections for borrowers. Monthly repayments are based on earnings above the relevant threshold, not on interest rate or amount borrowed. If a borrower’s income drops, so does the amount they repay. 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. The government is not aware of any commercial loans that offer such protections.

The student finance and funding system must provide value for money for all of society at a time of rising costs. It is important that we have a sustainable student finance system, that is fair to students and fair to taxpayers. The department will continue to keep the terms of the student finance system under review to ensure that they keep delivering value for money for both students and taxpayers.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to remove Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete from school buildings; whether funding has been secured from HM Treasury to pay for this work; and when he expects this work to be completed.

Nothing is more important than the safety of children and staff. It has always been the case that where we are made aware of a building that may pose an immediate risk, the Department takes immediate action.

It is the responsibility of those who run schools – academy trusts, Local Authorities, and voluntary-aided school bodies – who work with their schools on a day-to-day basis, to manage the safety and maintenance of their schools and to alert us if there is a concern with a building.

The Department has acted decisively and proactively to tackle this issue. This Government has taken more proactive action on RAAC than any other in the UK. The Department issued comprehensive guidance in 2018, and subsequent years, to all responsible bodies highlighting the potential risks associated with RAAC and supporting them to identify this within their buildings, as well as to take appropriate steps in meeting their obligations to keep buildings safe. The most recent guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reinforced-autoclaved-aerated-concrete-estates-guidance.

There are over 22,000 schools and colleges in England, and the vast majority are unaffected. A significant proportion of the estate was built outside the period where RAAC was used, with around one third of the estate built since 2001, therefore, the Department has focused efforts on buildings built in the post-war decades.

The Department issued a questionnaire in March 2022, asking responsible bodies to inform the Department of any suspected RAAC identified in their estates. Responsible bodies have submitted questionnaires for over 98% of schools with blocks built in the target era, of which there are 14,900. We are pressing all remaining schools to get checks completed, to determine which schools require surveys.

The Department is contacting responsible bodies to help them respond to this request and to advise on what needs to be done, so that they can establish whether they believe they have RAAC. This work will continue until we have a response for all target era schools.

Schools and colleges where RAAC is suspected are being fast tracked for surveying, which is used to confirm whether RAAC is actually present. All schools and colleges that have already told us they suspect they might have RAAC will be surveyed within a matter of weeks, in many cases in a matter of days.

All schools where RAAC is confirmed are provided with a dedicated caseworker to support them and help implement a mitigation plan and minimise the disruption to children’s learning.

Across Government, Departments have been asked to report on the current picture of suspected and confirmed RAAC in their estates as soon as possible. This will be updated on a regular basis as new buildings are identified and surveying and remediation are carried out. The Department for Education published lists of education settings confirmed as having RAAC on Wednesday 6 September, and committed to providing further updates.

Schools will contact parents where RAAC is identified and inform them of any impacts on their child. The vast majority of schools are unaffected. Any parents that are unsure if their child’s school is affected should contact their school directly.

While some short term disruption is inevitable, all available measures will be taken to minimise disruption to pupil learning and ensure that pupils continue to receive face-to-face teaching. Where there is any disturbance to face-to-face education, schools will prioritise attendance for vulnerable children and young people and children of key workers. The guidance published by the Department in August also includes guidance on provision for pupils with SEND and sets out expectations that schools continue to provide free school meals to eligible pupils.

The Department will fund emergency mitigation work needed to make buildings safe, including installing alternative classroom space where necessary. Where schools and colleges need additional help with revenue costs, like transport to locations or temporarily renting a local hall or office, the department will provide that support for all reasonable requests. The Department will also fund longer term refurbishment projects, or rebuilding projects where these are needed, to rectify the RAAC issue in the long term.

All previously confirmed Schol Rebuilding Programme projects announced in 2021 and 2022 will continue to go ahead. A full list of confirmed projects can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme-schools-in-the-programme.

Further information on RAAC in education settings is available on the Education Hub: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2023/09/06/new-guidance-on-raac-in-education-settings/.

19th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on capital funding to support the removal of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete from school buildings; and how much and what proportion of that capital funding (a) has been allocated under the school rebuilding programme and (b) comprises additional funding.

Nothing is more important than the safety of children and staff. It has always been the case that where we are made aware of a building that may pose an immediate risk, the Department takes immediate action.

It is the responsibility of those who run schools – academy trusts, Local Authorities, and voluntary-aided school bodies – who work with their schools on a day-to-day basis, to manage the safety and maintenance of their schools and to alert us if there is a concern with a building.

The Department has acted decisively and proactively to tackle this issue. This Government has taken more proactive action on RAAC than any other in the UK. The Department issued comprehensive guidance in 2018, and subsequent years, to all responsible bodies highlighting the potential risks associated with RAAC and supporting them to identify this within their buildings, as well as to take appropriate steps in meeting their obligations to keep buildings safe. The most recent guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reinforced-autoclaved-aerated-concrete-estates-guidance.

There are over 22,000 schools and colleges in England, and the vast majority are unaffected. A significant proportion of the estate was built outside the period where RAAC was used, with around one third of the estate built since 2001, therefore, the Department has focused efforts on buildings built in the post-war decades.

The Department issued a questionnaire in March 2022, asking responsible bodies to inform the Department of any suspected RAAC identified in their estates. Responsible bodies have submitted questionnaires for over 98% of schools with blocks built in the target era, of which there are 14,900. We are pressing all remaining schools to get checks completed, to determine which schools require surveys.

The Department is contacting responsible bodies to help them respond to this request and to advise on what needs to be done, so that they can establish whether they believe they have RAAC. This work will continue until we have a response for all target era schools.

Schools and colleges where RAAC is suspected are being fast tracked for surveying, which is used to confirm whether RAAC is actually present. All schools and colleges that have already told us they suspect they might have RAAC will be surveyed within a matter of weeks, in many cases in a matter of days.

All schools where RAAC is confirmed are provided with a dedicated caseworker to support them and help implement a mitigation plan and minimise the disruption to children’s learning.

Across Government, Departments have been asked to report on the current picture of suspected and confirmed RAAC in their estates as soon as possible. This will be updated on a regular basis as new buildings are identified and surveying and remediation are carried out. The Department for Education published lists of education settings confirmed as having RAAC on Wednesday 6 September, and committed to providing further updates.

Schools will contact parents where RAAC is identified and inform them of any impacts on their child. The vast majority of schools are unaffected. Any parents that are unsure if their child’s school is affected should contact their school directly.

While some short term disruption is inevitable, all available measures will be taken to minimise disruption to pupil learning and ensure that pupils continue to receive face-to-face teaching. Where there is any disturbance to face-to-face education, schools will prioritise attendance for vulnerable children and young people and children of key workers. The guidance published by the Department in August also includes guidance on provision for pupils with SEND and sets out expectations that schools continue to provide free school meals to eligible pupils.

The Department will fund emergency mitigation work needed to make buildings safe, including installing alternative classroom space where necessary. Where schools and colleges need additional help with revenue costs, like transport to locations or temporarily renting a local hall or office, the department will provide that support for all reasonable requests. The Department will also fund longer term refurbishment projects, or rebuilding projects where these are needed, to rectify the RAAC issue in the long term.

All previously confirmed Schol Rebuilding Programme projects announced in 2021 and 2022 will continue to go ahead. A full list of confirmed projects can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme-schools-in-the-programme.

Further information on RAAC in education settings is available on the Education Hub: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2023/09/06/new-guidance-on-raac-in-education-settings/.

19th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the National Audit Office’s report entitled Condition of school buildings, published on 28 June 2023, what plans her Department has to tackle the safety issues of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete in school buildings; and by what date.

Nothing is more important than the safety of children and staff. It has always been the case that where we are made aware of a building that may pose an immediate risk, the Department takes immediate action.

It is the responsibility of those who run schools – academy trusts, Local Authorities, and voluntary-aided school bodies – who work with their schools on a day-to-day basis, to manage the safety and maintenance of their schools and to alert us if there is a concern with a building.

The Department has acted decisively and proactively to tackle this issue. This Government has taken more proactive action on RAAC than any other in the UK. The Department issued comprehensive guidance in 2018, and subsequent years, to all responsible bodies highlighting the potential risks associated with RAAC and supporting them to identify this within their buildings, as well as to take appropriate steps in meeting their obligations to keep buildings safe. The most recent guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reinforced-autoclaved-aerated-concrete-estates-guidance.

There are over 22,000 schools and colleges in England, and the vast majority are unaffected. A significant proportion of the estate was built outside the period where RAAC was used, with around one third of the estate built since 2001, therefore, the Department has focused efforts on buildings built in the post-war decades.

The Department issued a questionnaire in March 2022, asking responsible bodies to inform the Department of any suspected RAAC identified in their estates. Responsible bodies have submitted questionnaires for over 98% of schools with blocks built in the target era, of which there are 14,900. We are pressing all remaining schools to get checks completed, to determine which schools require surveys.

The Department is contacting responsible bodies to help them respond to this request and to advise on what needs to be done, so that they can establish whether they believe they have RAAC. This work will continue until we have a response for all target era schools.

Schools and colleges where RAAC is suspected are being fast tracked for surveying, which is used to confirm whether RAAC is actually present. All schools and colleges that have already told us they suspect they might have RAAC will be surveyed within a matter of weeks, in many cases in a matter of days.

All schools where RAAC is confirmed are provided with a dedicated caseworker to support them and help implement a mitigation plan and minimise the disruption to children’s learning.

Across Government, Departments have been asked to report on the current picture of suspected and confirmed RAAC in their estates as soon as possible. This will be updated on a regular basis as new buildings are identified and surveying and remediation are carried out. The Department for Education published lists of education settings confirmed as having RAAC on Wednesday 6 September, and committed to providing further updates.

Schools will contact parents where RAAC is identified and inform them of any impacts on their child. The vast majority of schools are unaffected. Any parents that are unsure if their child’s school is affected should contact their school directly.

While some short term disruption is inevitable, all available measures will be taken to minimise disruption to pupil learning and ensure that pupils continue to receive face-to-face teaching. Where there is any disturbance to face-to-face education, schools will prioritise attendance for vulnerable children and young people and children of key workers. The guidance published by the Department in August also includes guidance on provision for pupils with SEND and sets out expectations that schools continue to provide free school meals to eligible pupils.

The Department will fund emergency mitigation work needed to make buildings safe, including installing alternative classroom space where necessary. Where schools and colleges need additional help with revenue costs, like transport to locations or temporarily renting a local hall or office, the department will provide that support for all reasonable requests. The Department will also fund longer term refurbishment projects, or rebuilding projects where these are needed, to rectify the RAAC issue in the long term.

All previously confirmed Schol Rebuilding Programme projects announced in 2021 and 2022 will continue to go ahead. A full list of confirmed projects can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme-schools-in-the-programme.

Further information on RAAC in education settings is available on the Education Hub: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2023/09/06/new-guidance-on-raac-in-education-settings/.

19th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of capital funding for the removal of asbestos from the school estate in addition to the capital funding already allocated to the school rebuilding programme.

It is the responsibility of those who run schools - academy trusts, Local Authorities and voluntary aided school bodies - to manage the safety and maintenance of their schools and to alert the Department if there is a serious concern with a building. It has always been the case that where the Department is made aware of a building that may pose an immediate risk, immediate action is taken.

The Department will spend whatever it takes to keep children safe. Ministers and officials have regular discussions with colleagues from HM Treasury on a range of issues.

The Department is investing in improving the condition of the school estate, with over £15 billion allocated since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed for 2023/24. This funding allocation is informed by consistent data on the condition of the estate. On top of this, the Department will transform 500 schools through its School Rebuilding Programme, prioritising buildings in the poorest condition and those with evidence of potential safety issues.

The Department takes the issue of asbestos in schools seriously, and is committed to supporting schools, Local Authorities and academy trusts to fulfil their duty to manage asbestos safely. The Department follows expert advice from the Health and Safety Executive; as long as asbestos containing materials are in good condition, well protected either by their position or physical protection, and are unlikely to be worked on, it is usually safer to manage them in place. Condition funding allocated to the sector can be used to remove asbestos when required. The Department provides additional support on a case by case basis, where there are serious issues with buildings that cannot be managed by responsible bodies independently.

The Department will always put the safety and wellbeing of children and staff in education settings at the heart of its policy decisions.


10th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many teachers were employed by state comprehensives (a) in the most recent period for which data is available and (b) in 2019.

Recent data shows that there are now over 468,000 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) teachers in state funded schools in England which is an increase of 27,000 (6%) since 2010. This makes the highest number of FTE teachers since the School Workforce Census began in 2010.

Of the 468,371 FTE teachers in England, 216,013 were employed by state funded secondary schools. Also, the data identifies that 10,603 (4.9%) were employed in fully selective state funded schools (grammar schools) and 204,647 (95.1%) in all other state funded schools (this includes non selective schools, some schools that are partially selective, and schools where admissions policy was unknown or reported as not applicable).

187,630 (87.2%) FTE teachers were employed in schools non selective in their admissions, 10,603 (4.9%) were selective, 5,336 (2.5%) reported not applicable and admissions policy was not identifiable for 11,681 (5.4%). Individual figures do not sum to the total figure because they are based on school level information, whereas the total is based on a grossed national figure, which includes a measure of estimation to account for nil returns to the School Workforce Census.

Information on the school workforce in England is published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication, available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

Information on school admission policy is listed in Get Information About Schools (GIAS), which is the Department’s register for several organisation types, such as Schools and Multi Academy Trusts. These organisations maintain and can retrieve their details, such as whether their admissions policy is selective, using the GIAS website, which is available at: https://get-information-schools.service.gov.uk.

26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to take steps to reform Ofsted.

Ofsted inspections provide vital assurance to parents and the wider community that pupils are receiving a high standard of education and are being kept safe.

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, is committed to continuing Ofsted’s work to refine the inspection approach, and responding where concerns arise. For example, Ofsted is currently reviewing its approach to complaints handling and the way it inspects and reports on safeguarding in schools.

The Department always keeps the overall inspection system under review, and will continue to do so, engaging with Ofsted and with the sector.

27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will increase the student loan repayment thresholds in line with inflation.

The student finance and funding system must provide value for money for all of society at a time of rising costs. It is important that a sustainable student finance system is in place, that is both fair to students and fair to taxpayers. The department is freezing maximum tuition fees for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. By 2024/25, maximum fees will have been frozen for seven years.

The repayment of student loans is governed by the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009 (as amended). These set out that borrowers starting full time undergraduate courses from 1 August 2023 on the new Plan 5 student loan will be required to make repayments from April 2026, once they have left study, and only then when they are earning over the repayment threshold of £25,000 per year, which will be adjusted annually by the Retail Price Index (RPI) thereafter.

For existing undergraduate borrowers on Plan 2 student loan, the annual repayment threshold will stay at £27,295 up to and including financial year 2024/25. Thereafter, annual adjustment of the Plan 2 repayment threshold will be based on RPI. The annual repayment threshold for Plan 3 postgraduate borrowers remains at £21,000.

We will continue to keep the terms of the student finance system under review to ensure that they keep delivering value for money for both students and taxpayers.

Student loans have significant protections for those making loan repayments, including for lower earners and borrowers who experience a reduction in their income. Borrowers are liable to repay only after leaving study when earning over the relevant repayment threshold. At any time, if a borrower’s income falls below the relevant repayment threshold, or a borrower is not earning, their repayments stop. 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.

If, at the end of the year, the borrower’s total income is below the relevant annual threshold, they may reclaim any repayments from the Student Loans Company made during that year.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of proposals to extend eligibility for free childcare per parent who is able to return to work.

At the Spring Budget 2023, my right hon Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced additional funding of £4.1 billion that the government will provide by 2027/28 to facilitate the expansion of the new early education free hours offer. All eligible working parents in England will therefore be able to access 30 hours of free childcare per week, for 38 weeks of the year, from when their child is 9 months old to when they start school by September 2025.

The hourly rates for the existing entitlements will also be substantially uplifted. This is on top of additional investments announced at the 2021 Spending Review.

The government will provide £204 million of additional funding from September 2023, increasing to £288 million by 2024/25, for local authorities to further increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers. This will include an average 30% increase in the 2-year-old rate from September 2023 and means that the average hourly rate for 2-year-olds will rise from the current £6 per hour in 2023/24 to around £8 per hour. The average 3 and 4-year-old rate will rise in line with inflation to over £5.50 per hour from September 2023, with further uplifts beyond this. We will publish more details on this in due course.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had discussions with universities on publishing the annual suicide rate of enrolled students.

Every student death is a tragedy. The department is committed to doing all we can to prevent these devastating events, which we know have a profound and lasting impact on family and friends. The department regularly engages across the higher education (HE) sector, including with universities to ensure that student mental health is well supported.

Following a suicide prevention roundtable, co-chaired by the department and Universities UK, the department wrote to the National Statistician asking the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to publish an updated linked data analysis. The ONS published the refreshed dataset and analysis on May 31 2022, which included HE student deaths by suicide from the 2016/17 to 2019/20 academic years. This can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/estimatingsuicideamonghighereducationstudentsenglandandwalesexperimentalstatistics/2017to2020. The sector-wide data publication by ONS is an important step in improving suicide prevention across HE.

The department expects all HE providers to take suicide prevention very seriously, providing information and places for students to find help, actively identifying students at risk, and intervening with swift support when needed. Where a tragedy does occur, this must be treated with the utmost sensitivity by a provider. The department supports the Suicide Safer Universities framework, led by Universities UK and Papyrus, which can be found at: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/what-we-do/policy-and-research/publications/suicide-safer-universities. As well as supporting universities to prevent student suicides and support students and families after the death of a student, this framework includes additional guidance on information sharing and postvention guidance (actions after a death by suspected suicide), which can be found here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/what-we-do/policy-and-research/publications/features/suicide-safer-universities/sharing-information, and here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/what-we-do/policy-and-research/publications/features/suicide-safer-universities/sharing-information. This provides practical advice on compassionate, confident, and timely support as well as a serious incident review template, which the department encourage providers to complete and learn from to improve their practice.

Supporting student mental health and ensuring action is taken to prevent future tragedies is a high priority for the government. That is why we continue to work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, the Office for Students (OfS), and the HE sector to support the student population. The department has asked the OfS to distribute £15 million of funding to support students transitioning from school or college into HE, and to fund partnerships between universities and local NHS services to provide pathways of care for university students.

We have called on all providers to sign up to the University Mental Health Charter, led by Student Minds and developed in collaboration with students, staff, and partner organisations. The Charter aims to drive up standards of practice across the HE sector.

The department has also appointed university Vice-Chancellor Edward Peck as HE's first ever Student Support Champion. His role is to provide sector leadership and promote effective practice in areas including mental health and information sharing. Edward Peck has been speaking directly with the families of those who have tragically taken their own life whilst at university. Conversations with him have taken place about this work, so the department can benefit from this lived experience.

We will continue to work closely with experts to ensure that we are taking all necessary steps to prevent suicides among university students.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she plans to take improve the level of foster carer retention.

The department recognises the urgent need to change the way local authorities retain foster carers. We are investing over £3 million to deliver an initial fostering recruitment and retention programme in the North East Regional Improvement and Innovation Alliance. As part of this, retention will be improved with the evidence-based model Mockingbird. Since 2014, the department has provided over £8 million to help embed the Mockingbird programme as an innovative model of peer support for foster parents and the children in their care. The department will then expand our recruitment and retention programme from 2023, by investing over £24 million.

The department will work to recruit and retain more foster carers where there are particular shortages. Depending on local need, this may include sibling groups, teenagers, unaccompanied asylum seeking children, other children who have suffered complex trauma or parent and child foster homes.

Additionally, the department continues to fund Fosterline and Fosterline Plus, a free-to-access helpline and support service for current and prospective foster carers, to provide high quality, independent information and advice on a range of issues.

In recognition of the increasing costs of living, we are also raising the National Minimum Allowance (NMA). Foster carers will benefit from a 12.43% increase to the NMA. This above inflation increase in allowance will help foster parents cover the increasing costs of caring for a child in their home.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she had recent discussions with universities on taking steps to ensure that the statistics on the employment of former students on degree courses are accurate when universities offer courses to new students.

As autonomous bodies that are independent from the government, universities are responsible for their own course advertising. The Competition and Markets Authority has produced guidance for providers on their responsibilities under consumer protection law, including what material information about courses they should provide to prospective students.

The department is working with the sector to agree ways in which providers might incorporate key pieces of data into their course advertising, so that students can better understand what course outcomes they might expect at the point at which courses are being sold to them.

The department is clear that universities should be transparent about the content of their courses and the likely outcomes that students can expect from them. Discover Uni, a tool which is owned and operated by the four UK higher education (HE) funding and regulatory bodies, is the official, authoritative source of information and guidance to HE courses in the UK. It is designed to help prospective students to make the right choices about what and where to study, by allowing users to search for and compare information and data for individual undergraduate courses across the UK. The Office for Students sets the expectation that HE providers will display a link to the Discover Uni website on their course website pages to help prospective students make informed decisions about the courses they sign up to.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to help increase the number of (a) internship and (b) graduate scheme opportunities advertised to students by universities.

All students, regardless of their background, should benefit from high quality, world-leading higher education (HE) that leads to excellent outcomes. The department is committed to tackling low-quality courses and ensuring that students and the taxpayer see returns on their investment.

The Office for Students (OfS) introduced a revised condition of registration B3 in October 2022, which sets stringent minimum thresholds for student outcomes. This includes requirements for the proportion of students that progress on to positive graduate destinations such as professional or managerial employment.

HE providers are independent and autonomous, and have freedom over the methods used to support students to progress and achieve their goals. Internships and graduate scheme opportunities play a valuable role in preparing students for their careers. Degree apprenticeships also provide a route to professional qualifications.

All registered providers are required to meet the OfS’s condition of registration. Where the OfS finds that a provider has breached a condition of registration, it will take the required action.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions she has had since her appointment with (a) the NEU and (b) other teaching unions about pay and working conditions.

Since her appointment, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has met with the National Education Union (NEU) and other unions and representative bodies to discuss a wide range of school and college policy issues, including pay and working conditions. The Department appreciates the work of the teaching profession to build a world class education system, and the Secretary of State will continue to engage in constructive dialogue on a broad range of issues.

Since 25 October, the Secretary of State for Education has met with unions and other representative bodies on 27 October, 1 November, 15 December, 13 and 18 January. Other Ministers from the Department have also met with unions on 9, 14, 15, 16 and 29 November.

12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department is taking steps to help support the training of more (a) joiners and (b) plasterers.

The department’s skills reforms provide a ladder of opportunity that enables young people and adults to get good jobs and progress in their careers. This begins with the opportunities and social justice needed to access excellent education and skills training which lead to positive work outcomes.

We will deliver economic growth through building a skills system that is employer focused, high quality and fit for the future, and is flexible enough to lead to more people completing high-quality courses that meet employers’ needs. This includes supporting more people to complete an apprenticeship or a Higher Technical Qualification, rolling out more T levels, establishing our network of 21 Institutes of Technology and expanding our popular Skills Bootcamps and Free Courses for Jobs programmes.

This ambitious skills agenda is backed by £3.8 billion of investment over this Parliament. We are using this to expand and strengthen higher and further education, ensuring skills training is aligned to the needs of employers to enable communities to thrive.

With this investment, we are putting employers at the heart of our skills system, which is why we are working with industry to shape our training offers, creating more routes into skilled employment in key economic sectors, including construction.

Our high-quality apprenticeships are supporting people of all ages with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start, or progress in, an exciting career in the construction sector. Employers in the construction sector can access a range of high-quality apprenticeship standards to meet their skills needs, including the Level 2 Plasterer apprenticeship and the Level 3 Advanced carpentry and joinery apprenticeship.

T Levels are strengthening vocational options for young people finishing their GCSEs. These are two-year, technical qualifications designed with businesses and employers and are equivalent in size to three A levels. T Levels in Onsite Construction were introduced in 2021 and include an occupational specialism in Plastering.

The Free Courses for Jobs offer, which was launched in April 2021, allows eligible adults to access over 400 Level 3 qualifications (A-level equivalent) for free. Building and construction courses are available as part of this offer, including the Level 3 Diploma in Plastering.

Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills, with an offer of a job interview with an employer on completion. Skills Bootcamps in construction provide the opportunity to develop in-demand skills, including joinery and plastering.

High quality, careers information, advice and guidance is key to helping people to make informed decisions about their future, including being able to find out about and consider the different options, including those in construction, available to them.

The Careers & Enterprise Company is supporting schools and colleges to embed best practice in the delivery of careers information, advice and guidance, so young people are aware of the full range of training and careers available to them and have access to a broad range of employers and workplaces, including those in the construction sectors. This will be delivered through the national roll-out of Career Hubs, Career Leader training, and the Enterprise Adviser Network.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions her Department has had with the (a) University and College Union and (b) Universities and Colleges Employers Association on potential industrial action by university staff.

The department has regular meetings with representatives of trade unions that have members in the higher education sector, including the University and College Union, as well as Universities UK and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association.

These discussions include matters related to industrial disputes, such as use of fixed-term and casual contracts, the health of the Universities Superannuation Scheme pension fund and data on impacts of strikes on students and their learning, but not the industrial disputes themselves.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for the pay and pension provision of their staff.  While the government plays no role in such disputes, the department hopes all parties can reach an agreement that delivers good value for students, staff and the universities, so that industrial action can be avoided.

It is disappointing that students who have already suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic face further disruption to their learning due to industrial action. The department hopes that all sides can work together so that students do not suffer with further learning loss.

If students are worried about the impact of strikes on their education, they should raise this with their university.

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education have published a guide to handling complaints arising from significant disruption: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/providers/handling-complaints-arising-from-significant-disruption/.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make it her policy to fund free British Sign Language courses for parents or guardians of children who are deaf.

Funding is already available through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) for qualifications in, or focusing on, British Sign Language (BSL) up to and including Level 2. About 60% of the AEB has been devolved to Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority who determine which provision to fund for learners in their areas. The Education and Skills Funding Agency provides the remaining funding for learners in non-devolved areas. Some providers of Community Learning offer BSL courses, and those providers determine the course fees, including levels of fee remission.

For qualifications at Level 3 and above, Advanced Learner Loans are available for certain BSL qualifications.

There is a statutory duty, under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, for local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of ‘children in need’ in their area, including disabled children, by providing appropriate services to them. Services for disabled children provided under Section 17 will typically include short breaks for parent carers, equipment or adaptations to the home, and support for parents.

Section H1 of an education, health and care plan must specify all services assessed as being needed for a disabled child or young person under 18, under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. This may include services to be provided for parent carers of disabled children, including following an assessment of their needs under the Children Act 1989. Where this assessment judges that the family needs provision to learn BSL, it could be included here.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether extra funding is available for schools with pupils who have Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder.

Local authorities allocate extra funding to mainstream schools through their local funding formula to allow them to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including those with Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder. Schools can attract further funding for those with complex needs from their local authority’s high needs budgets.

For children with Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder who are educated in special schools, funding also comes from the local authorities’ high needs budgets.

In the 2022 Autumn Statement, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor announced that the core schools budget, including funding for both mainstream and high needs schools, will increase by £2 billion in 2023/24 and £2 billion in 2024/25, over and above totals announced in the 2021 Autumn Budget and Spending Review. This will bring the core schools budget to a total of £58.8 billion in 2024/25. Within this, high needs funding will be rising to £10.1 billion in 2023/24. This represents an increase of over 50% from the 2019/20 allocations. This extra funding will help local authorities and schools with the increasing costs of supporting all children and young people with complex SEND.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she plans to take to reduce the number of children who go missing from care homes.

The government takes the matter of any child going missing very seriously. Statutory guidance is in place on the responsibilities of local authorities working with partners, to prevent children going missing, and to gather and share information and intelligence to reduce this risk. The guidance applies to all children going missing, whether this is from the family home or from care.

The guidance requires that every children's home has clear procedures to prevent children from going missing. The guidance also ensures there are detailed interviews when a child has returned from being missing.

The government is firmly committed to ensuring that when care is the best choice for a child, the care system provides stable, loving homes close to children’s communities. The government is investing £259 million in capital funding to provide high quality homes for some of our most vulnerable young people to ensure that they can be closer to families, schools, and health services.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an estimate of the affordability of childcare provision in Warrington North constituency.

The department continues to monitor the sufficiency of childcare. The key measure of sufficiency is whether the supply of available places is sufficient to meet the requirements of parents and children. Ofsted data currently shows that the number of places offered by providers on the Early Years Register has remained broadly stable at 1.3 million places since August 2015.

Under Section 6 of the Childcare Act 2006, local authorities are responsible for ensuring that the provision of childcare is sufficient to meet the requirements of parents in their area. At present, Warrington North constituency, which is covered by Warrington local authority, are reporting that they are fulfilling their duty to ensure sufficient childcare.

The department is committed to improving the cost, choice, and availability of childcare. We collect data on the main characteristics of childcare and early years provision in England and fees data can be broken down to local authority level. The latest data for Warrington local authority shows that the mean hourly fee band for 2-year-old children and for 3 and 4-year-olds in 2021 is £4.75.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the sufficiency of childcare provision in Warrington North constituency.

The department continues to monitor the sufficiency of childcare. The key measure of sufficiency is whether the supply of available places is sufficient to meet the requirements of parents and children. Ofsted data currently shows that the number of places offered by providers on the Early Years Register has remained broadly stable at 1.3 million places since August 2015.

Under Section 6 of the Childcare Act 2006, local authorities are responsible for ensuring that the provision of childcare is sufficient to meet the requirements of parents in their area. At present, Warrington North constituency, which is covered by Warrington local authority, are reporting that they are fulfilling their duty to ensure sufficient childcare.

The department is committed to improving the cost, choice, and availability of childcare. We collect data on the main characteristics of childcare and early years provision in England and fees data can be broken down to local authority level. The latest data for Warrington local authority shows that the mean hourly fee band for 2-year-old children and for 3 and 4-year-olds in 2021 is £4.75.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much has been spent under the National Tutoring Programme in Warrington North constituency in each month since the launch of that programme.

The Department does not hold information on Tuition Partners or Academic Mentors in the required format at constituency level.

School-led tutoring grant allocations by school and local authority for the 2021/22 academic year have been published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1071234/School_Led_Funding_Publication_File_flat_values_v1.ods.

Payment information relating to school-led tutoring for the 2021/22 academic year will be published by the Education and Skills Funding Agency once the reconciliation process has been completed for that period.

School-led tutoring grant allocations for the 2022/23 academic year have been published and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-tutoring-programme-ntp-allocations-for-2022-to-2023-academic-year.

Between November 2020 and June 2022, over 2 million tuition courses were started. The Government has committed more than £1 billion to support tutoring over the 2020/21 to 2023/24 academic years, during which the Department aims to offer up to six million tutoring courses.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to tackle repair backlogs in further education colleges in Warrington North constituency.

The Further Education Capital Transformation Programme is delivering the £1.5 billion manifesto commitment to upgrade further education (FE) college estates.

Through this programme, £200 million was allocated to all FE colleges and designated institutions to undertake immediate remedial work and upgrade the condition of their estates. Warrington and Vale Royal College, in the Warrington North Constituency, received an allocation of £712,228 of capital funding to improve their estate in August 2020. College groups were able to prioritise how and at which sites they could use this funding to tackle immediate condition improvement projects.

The next stage of the programme of investment to upgrade the FE estate is due to be announced later this year.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the capital cost of tackling the backlog of repairs in (a) schools and (b) further education colleges in Warrington North constituency.

Between 2017 and 2019, the department’s Condition Data Collection (CDC) programme visited every government-maintained school in England to collect data about the physical condition of the school estate. We are preparing detailed analysis of the data collected for the CDC programme and plan to publish by the end of the year.

The key, high-level findings of the CDC programme, were published in May 2021 in the report ‘Condition of School Buildings Survey – Key Findings’. The report is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/989912/Condition_of_School_Buildings_Survey_CDC1_-_key_findings_report.pdf.

In 2019, departmental officials visited every further education (FE) college in England to collect similar data to provide a comprehensive picture of the condition of the college estate. Further details on this process can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/condition-data-collection-programme-information-and-guidance. A report outlining the high-level findings of the FE CDC programme will be published in due course.

21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether young people from Hong Kong on the extended British National (Overseas) visa will be able to immediately access apprenticeship schemes in the UK without having to wait for three years of residence.

Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa holders are required to meet the same residency requirements as most other non-UK nationals. The residency requirements ensure that public funding for apprenticeships is targeted at those with established ties to the United Kingdom.

They are able to live, work and study in the UK, but will not have access to public funds.

They may start an apprenticeship, and access government funds for training and assessment, once they meet the residency requirement, and can do so before they are able to apply for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that future BTec results are not delayed.

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

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support will be made available to students to assist them with rising energy and food costs.

To support disadvantaged students and those who need additional help, the department has confirmed in guidance to the Office for Students (OfS) on funding for the 2022/23 financial year that universities will continue to be able to support students in hardship through their own hardship funds and the student premium, for which up to £261 million is available for academic year 2022/23.

We have also worked closely with the OfS to clarify that English providers can draw upon this funding now, to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by cost-of-living pressures.

Maximum grants and loans for living costs have also been increased by 2.3% this academic year. Students who have been awarded a loan for living costs for the 2022/23 academic year that is lower than the maximum, and whose household income for the 2022/23 financial year has dropped by at least 15% compared to the income provided for their original assessment, can apply for their entitlement to be reassessed.

In addition, maximum tuition fees, and the subsidised loans available from Government to pay them, remain at £9,250 for the 2022/23 academic year in respect of standard full-time courses. We are also freezing maximum tuition fees for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. By 2024/25, maximum fees will have been frozen for seven years. As well as reducing debt levels for students, the continued fee freeze will help to ensure that the HE system remains sustainable while also promoting greater efficiency at providers.

As part of a package of support for rising energy bills, the government is giving a council tax rebate payment of £150 to households that were living in a property in council tax bands A to D as their main home on 1 April 2022. This includes full-time students that do not live in student halls or in property that is not considered a House in Multiple Occupation for council tax purposes. Alongside this, the government is also making available discretionary funding of £144 million to support vulnerable people and individuals on low incomes, including students, to support those ineligible for council tax.

The government has also announced that households will get £400 of support with their energy bills through an expansion of the Energy Bills Support Scheme. Students who buy their energy from a domestic supplier are also eligible for this support. Furthermore, The Energy Price Guarantee, announced on 8 September, will save the average household at least £1,000 a year based on current energy prices from October. Students who buy their energy from a domestic supplier are eligible for the energy bills discount.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help support parents with the cost of school uniforms.

The ‘Cost of school uniform’ guidance, which was published in November 2021 and came into force at the start of September, requires schools to ensure that their uniform is affordable and secures best value for money for parents. It requires schools to:

  • keep branded items to a minimum and limited to low cost or long-lasting items
  • give the highest priority to cost and value for money in their supply arrangements
  • make second-hand uniform available for parents to acquire
  • publish their uniform policy on their website and ensure that this is easily understood
  • engage with parents and pupils on cost issues when they are developing their uniform policy

Headteachers know their school communities best and can make decisions on the branded items that are most appropriate to their school. Branded items create a sense of common identity and prevent pupils from competing against one another in the latest fashion trends. The guidance requires school leaders to carefully consider the overall cost implications of their chosen approach, including whether requiring a branded item is the most cost-effective way of achieving the desired result for their uniform. To ensure that school uniform acts as a social leveller, optional branded items should be kept to a minimum.

The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-school-uniforms/cost-of-school-uniforms.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when will schools who offer places to Ukrainian refugees receive additional per pupil funding for those children.

For children who have arrived via the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the department has advised local authorities that funding will be on a per pupil basis for the three phases of education. This bespoke scheme enables individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to volunteer accommodation and provide a route to safety for people fleeing from Ukraine.

Eligible local authorities will receive full tariff amount for each child from Ukraine who has arrived under the Homes for Ukraine scheme up to and including 31 May 2022. This payment will be made in July 2022. Further funding allocations for children that arrive in a local authority from June 2022 onwards will be made at a later date.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools have offered places to Ukrainian refugees in each local authority area.

The department does not hold information on how many schools have offered places to Ukrainian refugees in each local authority.

We can share headline data on how many Ukrainian children are coming into the country and out of those how many children are being allocated school places. This data is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-placements-for-children-from-outside-of-the-uk/2022-may.

1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what targets his Department maintains for the proportion of eligible schools in England that are covered by the Risk Protection Arrangement; and if he will make a statement.

The department does not maintain a target for the proportion of eligible schools. To date Risk Protection Arrangement membership currently stands at 43% of all eligible schools. Whilst it is not mandatory, the provision of an alternative to commercial insurance continues to provide schools with choice, enabling them to make the most suitable decisions based on their individual needs.

18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has provided to (a) schools, (b) colleges and (c) universities that want to make stocks of lateral flow covid-19 tests available to students and invigilators during the assessment and exams period; and if he will make a statement.

Public health advice continues to be that testing in education and childcare providers is no longer needed. Most infectious diseases in education and childcare settings can be managed by following the advice in UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) updated health protection in education and childcare settings guidance. Students and staff should follow UKHSA’s advice for those who have symptoms.

As individuals are now mixing in an otherwise open society, regular testing within school and colleges is no longer as effective as it once was. Instead, the most effective protection against severe disease from COVID-19 for everyone, including those at higher risk from COVID-19, is to get vaccinated.

Although education providers may still have some unused test kits in stock, they should not continue to hand these out to staff or students or dispose of them (unless they have reached their expiry date).

The department are currently working with UKHSA to explore the options for removal of testing resources no longer required and repurpose or redeploy them as much as possible based on clinical need prioritisation.

In the meantime, settings should retain any surplus stock and may wish to note this in their contingency plans. The department has published emergency planning and response guidance for education and childcare settings here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/emergency-planning-and-response-for-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings.

18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department provides to (a) schools, (b) colleges and (c) universities on defending themselves from cyber fraudsters; and if he will make a statement.

The department works closely with the National Cyber Crime Security Centre (NCSC) and Joint Information Systems Committee to ensure that up-to-date cyber security guidance is shared with schools, colleges, and universities, including free tools from the NCSC as part of their Active Cyber Defence programme. The department’s Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) has more than 9,500 member schools (43% of eligible schools in England) and is including cover for cyber incidents as standard from the 2022/23 membership years. To be eligible for RPA cyber cover, there are four key conditions that members must meet. In the event of a cyber incident, RPA members have access to a 24/7 Incident Response Service.

The department’s dedicated sector cyber security function provides advice in response to cyber security enquiries and incident reports from the sector, liaising with the affected institution following an incident to advise on steps to mitigate the threat and provide guidance on recovery.

To support schools in understanding their digital environment and what secure technology they should have in place, the department is developing a core set of digital, data and technology standards. The first set of standards has been published and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/digital-data-and-technology-functional-standard-version-1. All schools and colleges should meet these standards, levelling up access to safe, secure, and user-friendly digital technology for teaching and administration. Standards are being developed by technical and educational experts and will cover all critical technology and infrastructure to meet business and teaching needs, including cyber security.

19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department holds data on the number of teaching staff fined for breaking covid-19 related restrictions in the workplace.

The department does not hold information on the number of teaching staff fined for breaking COVID-19 related restrictions in the workplace.

14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to introduce an appeals process for businesses that have made an out of time application for funding for apprenticeship training as a result of inaccurate advice given by training providers.

The department is committed to supporting employers and apprentices to benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship offers. We introduced incentive payments as part of the Plan for Jobs to support employers to offer apprenticeships to new hires between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2022.

The incentive payment scheme was implemented across three phases, with extensions and new phases developed in response to the national impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of the Plan for Jobs package.

From the onset of the scheme, we have communicated extensively to employers and providers that, as the employer receives the incentive payment directly, it is their responsibility to apply for the payment.

Deadlines for each phase of the scheme and how to apply have been communicated in a number of ways. This includes through direct emails to all apprentice employers, notifications in employers’ apprenticeship service accounts, guidance on GOV.UK pages, posts on social media channels, and the apprenticeship funding rules.

There has been no formal obligation for training providers to inform employers of the process for applying for incentive payments, but we have communicated extensively with providers and intermediary organisations so that they have the same information as employers. Training providers may have chosen to share information or offer guidance to their employers on the incentives scheme as part of their activities to support the smooth running of an employer’s apprenticeship programme.

Due to our extensive communications to employers, we have no plans to introduce an appeals process for employers who missed the deadline. We do not hold information on the number, or details, of employers that did not submit an application for an incentive payment in time.

Over 170,000 incentive payment claims have been submitted by employers as of February 2022. Employers of all sizes can continue to access government funding for apprenticeship training and assessment and we continue to offer £1,000 payments to employers and providers when they hire apprentices aged 16 to 18.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department informed apprenticeship training providers that businesses using their services would have to make direct applications to his Department for funding; and if he will make a statement.

The department is committed to supporting employers and apprentices to benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship offers. We introduced incentive payments as part of the Plan for Jobs to support employers to offer apprenticeships to new hires between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2022.

The incentive payment scheme was implemented across three phases, with extensions and new phases developed in response to the national impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of the Plan for Jobs package.

From the onset of the scheme, we have communicated extensively to employers and providers that, as the employer receives the incentive payment directly, it is their responsibility to apply for the payment.

Deadlines for each phase of the scheme and how to apply have been communicated in a number of ways. This includes through direct emails to all apprentice employers, notifications in employers’ apprenticeship service accounts, guidance on GOV.UK pages, posts on social media channels, and the apprenticeship funding rules.

There has been no formal obligation for training providers to inform employers of the process for applying for incentive payments, but we have communicated extensively with providers and intermediary organisations so that they have the same information as employers. Training providers may have chosen to share information or offer guidance to their employers on the incentives scheme as part of their activities to support the smooth running of an employer’s apprenticeship programme.

Due to our extensive communications to employers, we have no plans to introduce an appeals process for employers who missed the deadline. We do not hold information on the number, or details, of employers that did not submit an application for an incentive payment in time.

Over 170,000 incentive payment claims have been submitted by employers as of February 2022. Employers of all sizes can continue to access government funding for apprenticeship training and assessment and we continue to offer £1,000 payments to employers and providers when they hire apprentices aged 16 to 18.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what obligations apprenticeship training providers have to inform businesses of the processes and deadlines for applying to his Department for funding.

The department is committed to supporting employers and apprentices to benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship offers. We introduced incentive payments as part of the Plan for Jobs to support employers to offer apprenticeships to new hires between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2022.

The incentive payment scheme was implemented across three phases, with extensions and new phases developed in response to the national impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of the Plan for Jobs package.

From the onset of the scheme, we have communicated extensively to employers and providers that, as the employer receives the incentive payment directly, it is their responsibility to apply for the payment.

Deadlines for each phase of the scheme and how to apply have been communicated in a number of ways. This includes through direct emails to all apprentice employers, notifications in employers’ apprenticeship service accounts, guidance on GOV.UK pages, posts on social media channels, and the apprenticeship funding rules.

There has been no formal obligation for training providers to inform employers of the process for applying for incentive payments, but we have communicated extensively with providers and intermediary organisations so that they have the same information as employers. Training providers may have chosen to share information or offer guidance to their employers on the incentives scheme as part of their activities to support the smooth running of an employer’s apprenticeship programme.

Due to our extensive communications to employers, we have no plans to introduce an appeals process for employers who missed the deadline. We do not hold information on the number, or details, of employers that did not submit an application for an incentive payment in time.

Over 170,000 incentive payment claims have been submitted by employers as of February 2022. Employers of all sizes can continue to access government funding for apprenticeship training and assessment and we continue to offer £1,000 payments to employers and providers when they hire apprentices aged 16 to 18.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on the number of businesses that are out of time in their applications for apprenticeships funding for training provided by Paragon Skills; and if he will make a statement.

The department is committed to supporting employers and apprentices to benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship offers. We introduced incentive payments as part of the Plan for Jobs to support employers to offer apprenticeships to new hires between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2022.

The incentive payment scheme was implemented across three phases, with extensions and new phases developed in response to the national impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of the Plan for Jobs package.

From the onset of the scheme, we have communicated extensively to employers and providers that, as the employer receives the incentive payment directly, it is their responsibility to apply for the payment.

Deadlines for each phase of the scheme and how to apply have been communicated in a number of ways. This includes through direct emails to all apprentice employers, notifications in employers’ apprenticeship service accounts, guidance on GOV.UK pages, posts on social media channels, and the apprenticeship funding rules.

There has been no formal obligation for training providers to inform employers of the process for applying for incentive payments, but we have communicated extensively with providers and intermediary organisations so that they have the same information as employers. Training providers may have chosen to share information or offer guidance to their employers on the incentives scheme as part of their activities to support the smooth running of an employer’s apprenticeship programme.

Due to our extensive communications to employers, we have no plans to introduce an appeals process for employers who missed the deadline. We do not hold information on the number, or details, of employers that did not submit an application for an incentive payment in time.

Over 170,000 incentive payment claims have been submitted by employers as of February 2022. Employers of all sizes can continue to access government funding for apprenticeship training and assessment and we continue to offer £1,000 payments to employers and providers when they hire apprentices aged 16 to 18.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what indicators his Department uses to measure children's wellbeing nationally.

The wellbeing of children and young people is a priority for this government and is central to achieving its aims. The department uses several different courses of information to support its understanding of children and young people’s wellbeing, including the annual State of the Nation: children and young people’s wellbeing report. The report brings together publicly available data, including data on wellbeing collected regularly by the Office of National Statistics.

The latest State of the Nation report was published on 8 February 2022. Its findings highlight early signs that suggest children’s and young people’s wellbeing is gradually improving. The report also underlines the link between regular school attendance and positive welfare, emphasising the positive impact of face-to-face learning.

The department continues to monitor the emerging evidence on the experiences of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the short-term and long-term measures established by the government are informed by the most up-to-date evidence. Such evidence includes the regular surveillance reports on the impacts of the outbreak, including children and young people, conducted by Public Health England (PHE). PHE’s report on population mental health and wellbeing in England during the COVID-19 outbreak was most recently updated on 18 November 2021, and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report.

13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of SEND children who are not in schools that adequately meet their needs; and what steps his Department is taking to improve educational provision for SEND children.

The information requested is not held. However, the department publishes data on the number of children with special education needs and education, health and care (EHC) plans awaiting provision once a year. The department’s last published figure in May 2021 for the number of children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) who have an EHC plan who are not in schools and are awaiting provision was 1,460. Further information is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

The department has recently announced an additional £2.6 billion over the next 3 years for school places for children and young people with SEND. This is more than tripling current capital funding levels to over £900 million by the 2024-25 financial year.

The department is conducting a review of the SEND system and will publish proposals for public consultation as a green paper in the first 3 months of this year.

6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to allow (a) adoption above the age of 18 and (b) people to change who their parents are in law above the age of 18.

The legal framework for adoption only applies to the adoption of children up to 18 years of age. While an adoption order can be granted up to a person’s 19th birthday, an application to court to adopt must be made before a person’s 18th birthday.

Adoption is about ensuring a child has a permanent family, with the adopter taking legal and parental responsibility for them. Once a child becomes an adult at 18, they become legally responsible for themselves. Furthermore, legal processes, such as the making of a will, already enable individuals to pass on inheritance or financial rights without adoption being necessary. Similarly, the ability to legally change names through deed poll means that adoption is not the only way to share a family name. The government has no plans to change the law in this area.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to lower the student loan repayment threshold from £27,000 to £23,000.

We are committed to a sustainable funding model for our higher education system that supports high value provision, meets the skills needs of the country and maintains the world-class reputation of UK higher education.

The government is considering its response to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding carefully, including a range of options to ensure that student finance continues to deliver value for money for both students and the taxpayer, and will set out a full conclusion in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will review the rule which requires school children in a bubble to isolate for 10 days in the event that one child in that bubble tests positive for covid-19.

From Step 4 of the roadmap, it will no longer be necessary to keep children and young people in consistent groups (‘bubbles’). This means that bubbles will not be required for any summer provision, for example summer schools, or in schools from the autumn term.

From Step 4, nurseries, schools and colleges will not routinely be required to undertake contact tracing for children and young people. Instead, pupils who test positive will be subject to the normal test and trace process, which will identify close contacts. This will be limited to very close contacts.

Unless they test positive, children and those who are double vaccinated will not be required to isolate from 16 August if they are identified as a close contact. Self-isolation continues for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Department for Education has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England to develop guidance for schools.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to partially refund the tuition fees of university students in response to covid-19 disruption to the academic year 2020-21.

I want to thank all higher education (HE) staff for their tireless work to ensure that students do not have to put their lives or their academic journeys on hold. This government recognises that this has been an enormously challenging period and I am grateful to universities and other providers for their sustained commitment to supporting students. We are working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has been clear we expect universities to continue delivering a high-quality academic experience and help students to achieve qualifications that they and employers value. Universities are expected to maintain quality and academic standards and that the quantity of tuition should not drop.

Universities and other HE providers are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees within maximum fee limits set by regulations.

Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student. Students do have rights, and it is for them to decide whether to seek to exercise these, whether it be through the provider’s internal complaints system, third party adjudication organisations or courts.

If students wish to be refunded, they should first raise this with their university through their internal complaints procedures. If they are unsatisfied with the outcome, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

The government has already announced that maximum fees in the 2021/22 academic year will remain at £9,250 for a standard full-time course. We also intend to freeze the maximum tuition fee caps for the 2022/23 academic year to deliver better value for students and to keep the cost of higher education under control, the fifth year in succession that maximum fees have been frozen.

We recognise that, in these exceptional circumstances, some students may face financial hardship. The Department for Education has worked with the Office for Students to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for the academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers this academic year (2020/21).

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will extend the 15 hours a week free early education for three and four year olds to children once they turn three years old as opposed to when they commence the term after their third birthday.

As set out in the regulations underpinning the entitlements to free early education and childcare, available here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2147/pdfs/uksi_20142147_en.pdf, children become eligible for a free early education place at different points in the year, depending on when the child turns 3. The 15 hours free childcare entitlement begins from 1 September, 1 January or 1 April following their third birthday. They then remain eligible for an early education place until either they start in reception at a state-funded school (for many children this will be the September following their fourth birthday), or the term after they turn 5 (statutory school age). This is intended to ensure that all children receive at least 2 years (or 3 years if they are eligible for an early education place at the age of 2) of early education and/or reception, before they reach statutory school age.

These termly deadlines link closely with that of the department’s other early entitlements, in order to create consistency across the offers. It also allows local authorities and childcare providers to better plan and ensure sufficient early years places are available for parents each term, as there are clear periods for when children are likely to enter into a place.

There is a wide range of support available for parents with childcare costs outside of the free early education entitlements, including Tax-Free Childcare. For every £8 parents pay their provider via an online account, the government will pay £2, up to a maximum contribution of £2,000 per child each year (up to £500 every 3 months), for children under 12. Parents can apply for this and, if found eligible, can start saving immediately following their application.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessments he has made of the potential merits of spending £50 per pupil per year to help school children catch up with the curriculum following the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is committed to supporting all children and young people to catch up after the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The £1.4 billion package announced in June 2021 to support children aged 2-19 across nurseries, schools and colleges is the next step and builds on the £1.7 billion already committed. This brings the total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion.

The £50 per pupil figure does not account for our previous recovery packages or for our broader response to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as investing over £400 million to provide access to the internet, and over 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

The next stage of the Government’s long-term education recovery plan will include a review of time spent in school and college and the impact this could have on helping children and young people to catch up. The findings of the review will be set out later in the year to inform the spending review.

In addition, as part of the three-year increase to core funding, schools have received a £2.6 billion increase in funding in the 2020/21 financial year and will receive a further £4.8 billion increase in 2021/22, compared to 2019/20.

17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the time spent in the curriculum on teaching primary and secondary school pupils about climate change.

The Department believes it important that all children and young people are taught about climate change. All schools in the country are required to follow a broad and balanced curriculum, as exemplified by the National Curriculum which is mandatory in all state-maintained schools. The National Curriculum already includes content which allows for teaching on environmental and sustainability issues such as climate change in both the science and geography curricula from Key Stage 1 onwards. Additionally, in 2017, we introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable pupils to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

The Department does not, however, set the amount of time schools spend on teaching topics within the curriculum. Teachers have the flexibility and freedom to determine how they deliver the content in the way that best meets the needs of their pupils and can choose to cover particular subjects or topics in greater depth if they wish.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will update the guidance entitled Children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings, to provide a list of specific critical worker roles.

The Department has made guidance available on Children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision. This sets out the high-level role types which can be considered critical to the COVID-19 outbreak or EU transition response. The list in the guidance is not exhaustive, but it should offer sufficient information to help parents and carers to identify if their work falls under one of the umbrella groups.

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 outbreak and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school, and parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can.

The Department knows that every school will have a different number of children of critical workers who need to attend. It is important that on-site provision is provided for these pupils. There is no limit to the numbers of these pupils who may attend, and schools should not limit attendance of these groups. We expect schools to work with critical worker parents to ensure their child is given access to a place if it is required, so that parents can continue providing vital services. This is because we are reducing overall social contact across areas and the country rather than individually by each institution.

The Department publishes weekly national-level data on pupil attendance. The latest published data (for 4 February) shows that attendance in state primary schools in England was at 23% and at 5% in state secondaries: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. In aggregate, attendance so far this term has been much lower than full attendance – on average only 5% of secondary pupils and 20% of primary schools pupils have been attending face-to-face, and so we are seeing the desired reduction in social contacts.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to implement (a) the recommendation on interest rates on student loans and (b) other recommendations of Post-18 review of education and funding: independent panel report, published on 30 May 2019.

We set out an Interim Conclusion to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding on 21 January 2021, that addressed some of the recommendations made in the independent panel’s report to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding.

We continue to consider the recommendations, including those pertaining to higher education fees and funding, very carefully and will set out a full and final conclusion at the next comprehensive spending review.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress he has made on ensuring that every school and college has a designated lead in mental health.

It is up to schools and colleges to decide whether to put in place a lead for mental health and more are doing so. Our latest figures from a survey in 2018 reported that over 80% of schools and colleges had a lead (82% of schools, 91% of further education colleges). An earlier survey in 2016 had suggested that around half had a lead (49% of schools, 69% of colleges).

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has prioritised providing bespoke training and support to as many schools and colleges as possible to meet the immediate challenges that they face in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak. We provided seminars during the summer term last year which were accessed by thousands of staff in education and have funded the £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return scheme to provide advisers and further training to schools and colleges.

All upper tier local authorities in England have identified a lead contact for Wellbeing for Education Return in September and October 2020 our national training provider, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, trained 438 local experts. 85% of local authorities report that they are already delivering additional training and support to local schools and further education providers using the funding, with feedback indicating that this training and support is reaching more than 15,000 schools.

In the longer term, to further incentivise schools and to support leads to put in place whole school approaches to promoting good mental health and wellbeing, the department has committed to provide training for senior mental health leads in all state-funded schools and colleges in England. This is part of our commitment to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, which also includes introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support. The training will equip senior mental health leads with the knowledge to introduce or develop their whole school/college approach to positive mental health and implement effective processes for ensuring pupils and students with mental health problems receive appropriate support. Since the autumn term the department has been undertaking a review of the needs of senior mental health leads in the light of COVID-19 outbreak and to incorporate learning from the Wellbeing for Education Return.

Whole school approaches will include the new requirement for schools to teach about mental wellbeing as part of Relationship, Sex and Health Education (RSHE). The department is committed to supporting all schools in their preparations to teach RSHE and has developed an online service featuring innovative training materials and an implementation guide. This support will cover all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance and will be inclusive of all pupils. We prioritised the production of the training module covering mental wellbeing, so that it was available before the end of the summer term last year: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing. The mental wellbeing module has been downloaded over 21,000 times.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to help school pupils catch up with the curriculum who did not have access to a computer device during school closures in spring 2020 due to the covid-19 outbreak.

To support pupils catch up, last year the Government announced a £650 million catch up premium which aims to support schools to make up for the impact of time outside of the classroom. The Department’s expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional activities required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education.

Schools will receive £80 per head for mainstream schools and £240 per head for special schools and alternative provision. We have applied additional weighting to specialist schools, recognising the significantly higher per pupil costs they face. Schools should use this as a single total and schools should prioritise spending based on need.

To help schools make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published a support guide for schools with evidence based approaches to catch up: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/#nav-covid-19-support-guide-for-schools1.

The EEF has also published a further school planning guide for 2021: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/guide-to-supporting-schools-planning/.

Alongside this, the £1 billion catch up package includes a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. This will increase access to high quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackle the attainment gap between them and their peers.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. As of Monday 25 January 2021, over 870,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities. We are providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Where pupils continue to experience barriers to digital remote education, we expect schools to work to overcome these barriers. This could include supplementing digital provision with different forms of remote education such as printed resources or textbooks. This should be supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils and students on track or answer questions about work.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that only the children of (a) key workers and (b) people who cannot work from home will be accepted at nurseries during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government continues to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term futures of our young children. Early years provision should remain open and continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual timetable hours. This includes early years registered nurseries and childminders, maintained nursery schools, as well as nursery classes in schools and other pre-reception provision on school sites.

Early years childcare providers were one of the first sectors to have restrictions lifted last summer, in recognition of the key role they play in society. Childminders and nursery staff across the country have worked hard to keep settings open through the COVID-19 outbreak so that young children can be educated, and families supported.

The earliest years are the most crucial point of child development and attending early education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and supports children’s social and emotional development.

We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to reduce the number of pupils in school during the covid-19 lockdown that began in January 2021.

During this period of national lockdown, schools should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend face-to-face education. The Department has resisted restrictions on attendance at schools since the first lockdown but, given the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and the intense pressure on the NHS, we have needed to do more to reduce all our social contacts wherever possible. Limiting attendance at this time is about reducing the number of contacts that people have with other households.

The Department publishes weekly national-level data on pupil attendance. The latest data, published 19 January, shows that attendance in state primary schools in England was at 21% and at 5% in state secondaries. The data is available to view here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

On 7 January the Department published further guidance, ‘Restricting attendance during the national lockdown: schools’, which sets out what all schools need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021. This includes the system of controls which schools must continue to implement, to the fullest extent possible, to reduce risks in their school and create an inherently safer environment. The guidance is available to view here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish details of the tendering process for the provision of food parcels to children eligible for free school meals who are learning at home during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

The Department for Education does not directly contract school catering firms for the provision of school meals or lunch parcels. These contracts are negotiated and held at school level.

It is integral that we quickly put support in place for pupils who are eligible for free school meals when they are at home, and that is why we are reopening the national voucher scheme. By the time the previous scheme closed in the summer, more than £380 million worth of vouchers had been successfully redeemed into supermarket gift cards.

We will be working with Crown Commercial Service to launch a cross-government and wider public sector tender for retails vouchers, including food vouchers, that can be used by schools and other local authority bodies. We expect further details to be released shortly.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, will he review the decision to end the Union Learning Fund.

The government does not plan to review this decision. COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on the economy and workforce, resulting in a rise in unemployment. We need to help these people re-skill where necessary and re-enter into employment. The Union Learning Fund operates mostly through larger employers within unionised parts of the economy and is not designed to help those out of work – only 2% of people supported via the Union Learning Fund are unemployed.

The decision to no longer support the Union Learning Fund after 31 March 2021 was taken as part of the wider Spending Review discussions and in light of our expanded commitment to skills development through the £2.5 million National Skills Fund, and Lifetime Skills Guarantee. This national fund will support individuals to get the training and qualifications they need wherever they are located and regardless of whether they are able to access the Union learn network.

As part of this expanded commitment, we can confirm all the money will be invested in skills and retraining that will be accessible to all.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to provide funding for short breaks and holidays for children who are seriously ill.

Supporting the most vulnerable