Colleen Fletcher Portrait

Colleen Fletcher

Labour - Coventry North East

Opposition Whip (Commons)

(since July 2017)

Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 6th September 2022
09:25
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
6 Sep 2022, 9:25 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 6th September 2022
14:00
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
6 Sep 2022, 2 p.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 8th September 2022
11:30
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
8 Sep 2022, 11:30 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 8th September 2022
14:00
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
8 Sep 2022, 2 p.m. View calendar
Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Tuesday 19th July 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
10. What steps his Department is taking to support innovation in the treatment and care of NHS patients.
Written Answers
Monday 25th July 2022
Dental Services: Coventry
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 13th September 2017
COVENTRY'S 2021 CITY OF CULTURE BID
That this House welcomes Coventry's shortlisting to be named UK City of Culture in 2021; recognises Coventry as a city …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Wasps Holdings Ltd
Address of donor: Ricoh Arena, Judds Lane, Longford, Coventry CV6 6AQ
Amount of donation, …
EDM signed
Tuesday 22nd June 2021
GKN Automotive alternative plan
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of …
Supported Legislation
Football Regulation Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Colleen Fletcher has voted in 478 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Colleen Fletcher Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(7 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency)
(4 debate interactions)
Mark Spencer (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(4 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(6 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(6 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(5 debate contributions)
Home Office
(5 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Colleen Fletcher has not made any spoken contributions to legislative debate
View all Colleen Fletcher's debates

Coventry North East 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).

Colleen Fletcher has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Colleen Fletcher

22nd June 2021
Colleen Fletcher signed this EDM on Tuesday 22nd June 2021

GKN Automotive alternative plan

Tabled by: Jack Dromey (Labour - Birmingham, Erdington)
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of over 500 highly skilled jobs and work transferred to continental Europe; notes that GKN’s origins trace back to the industrial revolution, with over 260 years of history that include making …
68 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Apr 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 63
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
3rd September 2020
Colleen Fletcher signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 7th September 2020

West Midlands Gigafactory

Tabled by: Liam Byrne (Labour - Birmingham, Hodge Hill)
That this House notes that the West Midlands was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution; notes that our country must now lead the Green Industrial Revolution; further notes that the West Midlands is a global centre of battery technology for Electric Vehicles, and is already home to the UK Battery …
8 signatures
(Most recent: 10 Sep 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 6
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Independent: 1
View All Colleen Fletcher's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Colleen Fletcher, 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.


Colleen Fletcher has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Colleen Fletcher

Wednesday 11th November 2020

Colleen Fletcher has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

1 Bill co-sponsored by Colleen Fletcher

Football Regulation Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Christian Matheson (LAB)


707 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
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to increase the number of prosecutions for (a) domestic violence, (b) rape and (c) sexual assault; and what plans she has to ensure that victims of those crimes (i) receive appropriate support to help them navigate the criminal justice system and (ii) have faith in that system.

Tackling sexual violence and domestic abuse is a priority for this Government and the CPS is working hard to deliver justice and protect victims of these abhorrent crimes.

In July 2020, the CPS published its own rape strategy – ‘RASSO 2025’. This five-year strategy outlines a programme of work specifically to help reduce the disparity between reports and criminal justice outcomes. In addition, the CPS and police published a Joint National Action Plan for rape in January of this year to improve joint handling of rape investigations and prosecutions.

Also in January this year, the CPS published an ambitious 12-month domestic abuse programme to help narrow the disparity between reporting and criminal justice outcomes and to proactively address domestic abuse offending.

The CPS has continued to prioritise high harms crimes including cases of sexual violence and domestic abuse throughout the pandemic and as restrictions are eased via the introduction of an Interim Charging Protocol in April 2020.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Attorney General, how many sentences imposed for causing death by dangerous driving his Department has considered under the unduly lenient sentence scheme in each of the last two years; on how many occasions in each of the last two years he has referred such sentences to the Court of Appeal; and how many of those sentences have been extended by the Court of Appeal as the original sentence imposed fell outside the range of sentences that could reasonably have been imposed in the circumstances of the case.

In 2018 – 29 sentences for causing death by dangerous driving were referred to the Attorney General’s Office. Of those 4 were referred to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme. 2 sentences were found to be unduly lenient and the sentences were increased. 2 were found NOT to be unduly lenient and the sentences remained the same.

In 2019 – 43 sentences for causing death by dangerous driving were referred to the Attorney General’s Office. Of those 2 were referred to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme. Both sentences were found to be unduly lenient and the sentences were increased.

To date, in 2020 – 18 sentences for causing death by dangerous driving have been referred to the Attorney General’s Office. Of those 3 have been referred to the Court of Appeal, 1 was found to be unduly lenient and the sentence was increased, 1 was found NOT to be unduly lenient and the sentence remained the same, and 1 sentence is yet to be considered by the Court of Appeal.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of trends in life expectancy in (a) Coventry North East, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in the last ten years.

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

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of knife crime in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last three years.

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

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what (a) funding he is making available and (b) other steps he is taking to help support the protection of businesses from future cyber threats.

The National Cyber Security Strategy (2016 to 2021) sets out the government’s plan to make Britain secure and resilient in cyberspace. We also published a progress report: “National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021 - Progress Report”, this includes details of the steps being taken to help protect business from cyber threats.

The Cabinet Office is leading work across Government to develop the UK’s strategic direction and funding for cyber security beyond 2021 and will set out the approach next year, building on the Government’s Integrated Review. This will respond to the evolving cyber threat and ensure the UK remains a leader on cyber security into the next decade.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of life expectancy in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in the last ten years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of the rise in energy prices on (a) households and (b) businesses in (i) Coventry North East constituency and (ii) Coventry.

The Government does not hold this data at constituency level. The Government understands that this is worrying time for households and businesses. Ministers and officials continue to engage constructively to further understand and to help mitigate the impacts of high global energy prices. The Government’s priority is to ensure costs are managed and energy supplies maintained.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) financial and (b) other steps his Department is taking to help support the growth of the automotive sector in the West Midlands.

The Government has a longstanding and comprehensive programme of support for the UK automotive sector.

As part of the Net Zero Strategy, in October 2021, the Government announced a further £350m to be delivered through the Automotive Transformation Fund over the next three years to support development of an internationally competitive electric vehicle supply chain here in the UK. This is additional to the £500m announced as part of my rt. hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan in November 2020.

This will help to create thousands of well-paid green jobs in our industrial heartlands, including the West Midlands.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the real terms increase in household energy bills in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each year since 2019.

Quarterly statistics on energy prices by region may be found online at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/quarterly-energy-prices . The Government does not have data at the constituency level.

The Government recognises the impact rising energy prices is having on consumers, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37 billion this year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help support small and medium sized businesses facing rises in business costs in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

The Government is providing a range of support to help SMEs. Fuel duty has been cut for 12 months, Employment Allowance raised to £5,000, and VAT has been zero-rated on energy-saving materials. This compliments existing support, including business rates relief worth £7 billion over five years, whilst the Help to Grow programmes enables SMEs across England to mitigate the effects of rising costs.

This work builds on support to businesses in Coventry North East and Coventry itself, including:

  • Enabling Growth Hubs to support a total of 3,030 businesses of varying sizes. In addition, they helped 227 individuals to start a business;
  • £6.09 million Getting Build Fund towards Completing the Cultural Capital;
  • £131.84 million Local Growth Deals;
  • £766,332 Community Renewal Fund.
Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of the increases in the cost of living on the number of households in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England that have fallen into arrears with their energy supplier.

The Department has not undertaken an assessment of figures for these specific areas.

The Government recognises the impact rising energy prices is having on consumers and has put in place a package of support worth £9.1 billion to help domestic energy customers with the cost of living and rising energy bills.

The Government also has policies in place to ensure protection for consumers who struggle to pay their energy bills. Last year, we introduced the ‘Breathing Space’ scheme, which aims to address consumers’ ability to tackle debt and offers legal protections from creditors for 60 days.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the amount of funding allocated from the public purse to businesses in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry to encourage (i) economic growth and (ii) employment in each of the last three years.

Through Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, £1.3m of Local Growth Funding supported a Business Investment Fund which provided funding to support business expansion projects, seed funding for new technologies and small scale infrastructure improvements to enhance access to business sites.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support investment in science research at universities in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

The 2021 Spending Review (SR) saw record levels of investment in the UK’s world-leading research base, with public spending on R&D increasing by £5 billion per annum to £20 billion in 2024/25. This settlement will make significant progress to increase R&D sending to £22 billion by 2026-27.

We have committed to a new mission to increase domestic public investment in R&D outside the Greater South East by at least one third over the Spending Review period and at least 40 percent by 2030, with that additional government funding seeking to leverage at least twice as much private sector investment over the long term to stimulate innovation and productivity growth.

Supporting delivery of this mission, BEIS will make levelling up one of the objectives of its R&D investment strategy and will aim for the regions outside the Greater South East to receive at least 55% of its R&D budget by 2024/25.

Alongside increasing investment in innovation across the country, we will invest £100 million to pilot new Innovation Accelerators supporting three UK city regions, including the West Midlands, to become major, globally competitive centres for research and innovation.

The Accelerators will empower local areas by bringing together national and local government, industry and R&D institutions, including universities, in a long-term partnership.

Following the SR, BEIS is working to set detailed R&D budgets through to 2024/25. Further details of how this funding will be allocated will be announced in due course.

24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support small business growth in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

We have a clear commitment to level up all areas of the country. The Levelling Up White Paper builds on the important work to level up the country set out in our 'Plan for Growth', coupled with the Innovation Strategy and the recent Net Zero Strategy. Boosting productivity, pay, jobs, and living standards by growing the private sector, especially in places where they are lagging, is one of the four key objectives for levelling up, and BEIS will have a key role in delivering on this ambition.

In 2020, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) was allocated £66m from the Getting Building Fund for a wide-ranging package of projects that will deliver a much-needed boost to the local economy. The Getting Building Fund will deliver growth for the local economy and support green recovery for a wide-ranging package of projects, fulfilling the government role in creating the conditions for businesses to develop and grow alongside the funding for the infrastructure needed to do this. This included £6.09 million towards Completing the Cultural Capital to help maximise the benefits of Coventry City of Culture. These benefits will be felt across all of Coventry and its constituencies.

In 2021 the West Midlands Combined Authority was also awarded £766,332 from the Community Renewal Fund for the Coventry Creative Growth and Cultural Tourism Recovery Programme, an integrated business, skills and employment support package targeting Coventry’s cultural sectors, including creative industries, tourism, events, and businesses/freelancers supplying these sectors, providing support throughout the area.

In addition, small business growth will be supported through investment in the Coventry Heritage Action Zone, working in partnership with Coventry City Council, Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and others to promote investment and bring business opportunities. Coventry has also benefitted from their status as City of Culture 2021, for which a significant part of the work helped to build capacity so the cultural scene in the city is financially and environmentally sustainable.

Additionally, across Coventry and Warwickshire the government has invested £131.84 million from Local Growth Deals. This included projects which directly supported local business, for example £1.3m to support a Business Investment Fund providing direct grants to businesses, and £1 million to expand Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering support to connect supply chain and wider business community, expanding capabilities, skills and innovation activities. Across the Local Enterprise Partnership, the Local Growth Fund has generated around £220 million in public and private investment.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) financial and (b) other steps his Department has taken to support small businesses in (i) Coventry North East constituency and (ii) Coventry to meet rising energy costs.

The Government’s priority is to ensure costs are managed and supplies of energy are maintained. The Secretary of State is in regular contact with the energy industry and Ofgem to manage the impact of high global gas prices and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) financial and (b) other steps his Department has taken to support hospitality businesses in (i) Coventry North East and (ii) Coventry to meet rising energy costs.

We recognise the impact rising energy prices will have on businesses of all sizes and Ofgem and the Government are in regular contact with business groups and suppliers to understand the challenges they face and explore ways to protect businesses.

The Department and I continue to speak regularly with representatives from across the hospitality sector so that we can understand the challenges they face and represent their interests across Government.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help support the growth of the automotive sector in the West Midlands.

Latest available data from the Business Registers and Employment Survey, which is part of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that in 2020 there were 53,000 people employed in the automotive manufacturing sector in the West Midlands region.

Of those 1,750 were in the North East Coventry constituency and 5,000 in the South Coventry constituency. Similarly, the wholesale, retail trade, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles industry employed 1,500 people in each of the constituencies in 2020.

The Government remains fully committed to working in partnership with industry to support the automotive sector’s transition to zero emission vehicles. As part of the Net Zero Strategy, in October 2021, Government announced a further £350m to be delivered through the Automotive Transformation Fund over the next three years to support development of an internationally competitive electric vehicle supply chain here in the UK. This will create thousands of well-paid green jobs in our industrial heartlands, including the West Midlands.

22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people in (a) the West Midlands, (b) Coventry and (c) Coventry North East constituency that are employed in the automotive industry.

Latest available data from the Business Registers and Employment Survey, which is part of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that in 2020 there were 53,000 people employed in the automotive manufacturing sector in the West Midlands region.

Of those 1,750 were in the North East Coventry constituency and 5,000 in the South Coventry constituency. Similarly, the wholesale, retail trade, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles industry employed 1,500 people in each of the constituencies in 2020.

The Government remains fully committed to working in partnership with industry to support the automotive sector’s transition to zero emission vehicles. As part of the Net Zero Strategy, in October 2021, Government announced a further £350m to be delivered through the Automotive Transformation Fund over the next three years to support development of an internationally competitive electric vehicle supply chain here in the UK. This will create thousands of well-paid green jobs in our industrial heartlands, including the West Midlands.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much Government research funding was provided to each higher education institution in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last three years.

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) research income data shows research income earned by individual Higher Education providers, including grant and contract income from different government sources including Higher Education Funding bodies (including Research England), UK Research and Innovation Research Councils and Government departments. The relevant information is available on HESA at https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/finances/income.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support job creation schemes in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry and (c) the West Midlands.

The focus of Government intervention is to create the conditions for businesses to thrive, grow and create jobs. Local Enterprise Partnerships lead from the Government perspective on supporting businesses to innovate, improve, make progress and create jobs.

For the financial year 2021/22 BEIS has provided £542,000 in core funding to the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP to support its Growth Hub. Between 1 April 2020 and 30 September 2021, the Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub self-reported that it reached over 52,000 business individuals (including via digital channels). This included supporting 3,303 businesses, including face-to-face support, of which 402 received high intensity support of 12 hours or more and helped 227 individuals start a business.

In addition, Coventry and Warwickshire LEP has been provided with capital funding for a suite of infrastructure projects aimed at providing the right conditions for businesses to grow.

£131.84 million of Growth Deal funding has been spent on projects that have improved transport infrastructure, improved broadband infrastructure, and provided new R&D business support facilities, and are on track to enable businesses to create up to 4,000 jobs alongside other benefits to the local economy. This has also included building new apprenticeship training facilities at Warwick Manufacturing Group, a new skills hub at Coventry City College, and delivering employment support programmes to ensure local people are able to take advantage of the jobs created by these interventions.

A further £123.8m has been awarded to the regions LEPs and the West Midlands Combined Authority as part of the Getting Building Fund. This funding is now delivering a set of projects predicted to enable businesses to create over 7,910 new jobs and over 2000 construction jobs in the region. In Coventry, this has seen direct investment in the Very Light Rail project.

19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the effect of rising energy prices on the number of households in fuel poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

BEIS publish Fuel poverty statistics by Region (Table 1), Local Authority (Table 2) and parliamentary constituency (Table 4) in England, the latest data covers 2019. These are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fuel-poverty-sub-regional-statistics#2019-statistics.

The Government’s projection for the number of households in England that are in fuel poverty for the year 2022 will be published on 24 February.

The energy price cap from 1 April 2022 will be announced by Ofgem later this year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the effect of rising energy prices on the household finances of pensioners in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

The Government is monitoring the significant increases in wholesale energy prices closely, and meeting regularly with Ofgem, suppliers and consumer groups to understand the future impact on consumers as well as to discuss potential mitigations.

Eligible pensioners receiving a state pension will automatically receive the Winter Fuel Payment. Recipients will receive between £100 and £300 towards heating bills. Cold Weather Payments are paid to vulnerable claimants on qualifying benefits, including older people on Pension Credit, for every week of severe cold weather over the winter period. Between 1 November 2020 and 31 March 2021 the Government made £98.8 million in payments to those in need.

In addition to this, the Warm Home Discount scheme provides over £350m of energy bills support to low income and vulnerable households, largely through the provision of £140 rebates on energy bills.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support businesses in the night-time economy in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

The Government’s response to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 enabled businesses across the night-time economy, including nightclubs, to remain open over the holiday period as Plan B measures were introduced in England.

Recognising the impact of Omicron, the Chancellor announced a further £1 billion of support including one-off grants for hospitality, accommodation and leisure businesses and over £100 million discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support other businesses. Eligible businesses can also access an additional £30 million available through the Culture Recovery Fund Over the course of the pandemic, the Government has provided £400 billion of businesses support

The success of our vaccine and booster programme is now allowing us to revert to Plan A. As a result, the Government is no longer asking people to work from home and, as of 27 January, nightclubs and events venues are no longer required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass. They can still choose to use the NHS COVID Pass on a voluntary basis.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support the recovery of the retail sector from the impact of the covid-19 outbreak in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

To support retailers and provide flexibility as they reopen, we have extended opening hours for retail, Monday through Saturday from 7am to 10pm until the 21st of June.

We are providing Restart Grants of up to £6,000 for non-essential retailers, and it is expected that over 450,000 non-essential retail businesses across the UK will benefit. Overall, Coventry has been awarded £13,572,540 in Restart Grants.

Government will continue to provide eligible retail properties in England with 100% business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.

We have extended the moratorium on commercial landlords’ right to forfeiture for the non-payment of rent to the end of June 2021.

Local authorities have been allocated a further £425m in discretionary funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant to support businesses that are significantly impacted by the restrictions even though not required to close. For example, this could include businesses which supply the retail sector. This means more than £2bn has been made available to local authorities since November 2020.

We are also providing a £56m Welcome Back Fund to help councils prepare for the safe and successful reopening of our high streets and seaside resorts. Councils can use the fund to not only improve the look and feel of their high streets, but to run publicity campaigns and hold events that will boost footfall and encourage people back into high streets, thereby supporting local businesses. Coventry has been awarded £334,308 from the Fund.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support the recovery of the hospitality sector in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England from the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has brought forward a substantial package of financial support for the hospitality sector 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 the hospitality sector), with extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, self-employed support, business grants, loans and VAT cuts – bringing total fiscal support to over £352 billion.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support the recovery of the automotive sector from the impact of the covid-19 outbreak in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

The automotive sector is an important part of the Government’s plans for green growth, levelling up across our country and driving emissions to net zero by 2050.

We are delivering a sustained and strategic programme of support for the automotive sector across the country, including Coventry and the West Midlands region to enable the research and development, manufacture and adoption of low and zero-emission technologies. In addition, we have extended the furlough scheme and introduced other measures including £300 billion in loans and guarantees, job support schemes, cuts to VAT and business rates relief to support the industry throughout this pandemic. During the height of the pandemic, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme had a high uptake of 60% within the sector, which remains available until September.

In late 2020, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced in his 10 Point Plan nearly £500 million of funding for the Automotive Transformation Fund over the next four years to support the development of UK supply chains for the large-scale production of electric vehicles, and for further EV research and development. This is part of a £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. The transition to zero emission vehicles will help the UK meet its climate change obligations. It will improve air quality in our towns and cities, support economic growth, and create new jobs in our industrial heartlands.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support charity funded medical research programmes that have been affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognise that this is a particularly difficult time for medical research charities, given the impact of COVID-19 on their fundraising activities. We appreciate the globally recognised expertise of these charities, and the substantial contributions they make to our world-leading life sciences sector.

The Government already provides significant funding to charities’ research, for example through Research England’s Quality Related (QR) charity support funding. This year charity QR will amount to £204 million, to support charity funded research in universities in England and equivalent support is provided in Scotland through devolved funding arrangements.

The Government has demonstrated its ambitions for research by committing £14.9 billion to R&D in 2021/22. This funding will support the life sciences sector within which medical research charities operate alongside other research areas.

BEIS and DHSC regularly discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on charity-funded research with the Association of Medical Research Charities in order to review how we might provide support for medical research charities this financial year.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support women in business in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry and (c) England.

The Government has put in place a range of business measures that support all businesses, including those run by women. The Government loan schemes have provided a lifeline to thousands of businesses across the UK during the pandemic – helping them to survive and protecting millions of jobs.

Businesses have been supported in all regions through the Covid-19 pandemic via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS). As of January 2021, the value of support given to businesses in the Coventry North East constituency regarding CBILS and BBLS is more than £65 million. Many of the businesses receiving this support will be led by women or employ women.

The Start Up Loans Programme, part of the Government-backed British Business Bank, offers loans up to £25,000, repayable at 6% per annum across 1-5 years. Across the UK, 81,608 loans have been made, worth over £707.6m between the programme’s launch in 2012 and the end of February 2021. Over the same period, in the Coventry North East constituency, 136 loans have been made worth £1,120,370. In the Coventry City Council area, 377 loans have been made to a value of £3,436,907. And in England 71,207 loans have been made worth 83,038. Of all Start Up Loans issued across the United Kingdom to January 2021, 40% of all loans went to women who make up 17% of the overall SME population. In 2021/22 Start Up Loans is expanding to 11,000 loans per year, which will further support women entrepreneurs.

This Government is also committed to supporting our entrepreneurs and this is why all the Government’s business finance schemes and COVID support schemes, are open to eligible businesses from all regions and backgrounds, including female entrepreneurs.

In addition, the Government’s business advice pages on GOV.UK also provide information and guidance relevant to starting, growing and maintaining a business which women can benefit from. All details can be found online: www.gov.uk/browse/business. The ‘Business Finance Finder’ also on GOV.UK is an online tool which firms can tailor by region and to suit the size and stage of their business and the type of finance needed: www.gov.uk/business-finance-support.

The Alison Rose review was an independent review of women entrepreneurs commissioned by government which shed renewed light on the barriers faced by women starting and growing businesses and identified ways of unlocking this untapped talent. In response, the government announced an ambition to increase the number of female entrepreneurs by half by 2030, equivalent to nearly 600,000 additional female entrepreneurs. The Rose Review report and government response set out the steps being taken by government and industry to help achieve this ambition. Over the past year, great progress has been made in delivering on the 8 initiatives of the Rose Review. HM Treasury has launched the Investing in Women Code. To date, the code has 22 signatories. NatWest launched a £1bn fund on 24th January 2020 to support female entrepreneurs. There is more to do and we look forward to continuing the work to deliver the 8 initiatives.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to help improve energy efficiency in homes in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The Government recently announced an extra £300 million of funding to be invested to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s homes through energy efficiency and low carbon heating schemes, delivered through the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Scheme and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF). This brings the total government funding for energy efficiency and low carbon heating in 2021/22 to over £1.3 billion.

Through the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme, £500m has now been granted to Local Authorities in Phase 1 and Local Energy Hubs for Phase 2. Delivery has begun and will upgrade the energy efficiency of around 50,000 homes of low-income households across England. The full list of projects awarded funding under the Local Authority Delivery scheme so far can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/green-homes-grant-local-authority-delivery-successful-local-authorities.

In addition to the Local Authority Delivery scheme, the SHDF (Demonstrator) project launched in 2020 and has subsequently awarded £62m of funding to social landlords across England and Scotland. The full list of projects awarded funding under the SHDF (Demonstrator) scheme can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/social-housing-decarbonisation-fund-demonstrator-successful-bids.

Building on the SHDF (Demonstrator), there will be around £160m of further funding for the first wave of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund in 2021/22. This will be launched in the autumn, and represents an increase from the £60m funding announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer at the Autumn 2020 Spending Review.

In addition, the Home Upgrade Grant has been allocated an initial £150m to specifically support low-income households with upgrades to the worst-performing off-gas-grid homes in England. The Home Upgrade Grant is due to commence delivery in early 2022.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the amount of funding allocated from the public purse to businesses in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry to encourage (i) economic growth and (ii) employment.

We aim to make the UK the best place in the world to start, run and grow a business. The Government provides a wide range of support and information for small businesses including on the GOV.UK website. Free and impartial advice is also available via the Business Support Helpline on FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098 and via the network of 38 local Growth Hubs in England.

The Start Up Loans Programme, part of the Government-backed British Business Bank, offers loans up to £25,000, repayable at 6% per annum across 1-5 years. Across the UK, 81,608 loans have been made, worth over £707.6m from the programme’s launch in 2012 to the end of February 2021.

Over the same period, in the Coventry North East constituency, 136 loans have been made worth £1,120,379. In the Coventry City Council area, 377 loans have been made to a value of £3,436,907. And in England 71,207 loans have been made worth £617,745,993.[1]

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) self-reported that in 2019-20, its Growth Hub engaged with 66,452 businesses/individuals (including via digital channels); directly supported 1,798 businesses, of which 77 received over 12 hours of high-level support; and helped 648 individuals start a business.

Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have benefitted from £131.84m in Local Growth Fund, over 3 Growth Deals, and the investments have secured over £28m in private sector investment. The LEP are also working with local partners to develop and implement a newly focused, partnership-led Strategic Framework to reset the local economy for a successful, inclusive, and resilient future. The LEP are committed to driving activities to minimise the negative economic impacts of Covid-19 in Coventry and Warwickshire. This includes the Growth Hub, which offers one-to-one advice and ongoing support to local businesses.

Coventry has also received over £8m funding to support it as the City of Culture 2021. The City of Culture events in Coventry are due to start in May of this year, which will benefit the city in many ways. In previous years this has included increases in investors opening new businesses and more opportunities to support the local community.

The Government’s new ‘Help to Grow’ scheme will help small businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers, and boost profits. Help to Grow: Management will provide intensive management skills support to 30,000 small businesses whilst Help to Grow: Digital could support 100,000 small businesses with online advice and a voucher for software costs. BEIS will be engaging with stakeholders shortly but businesses can register their interest now at https://helptogrow.campaign.gov.uk/.

[1] Figures do not include regions not able to be specified. For these regions,113 loans were made worth 1,205,641 since 2012 to end February 2021.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of business debt in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

Across all areas of the country, businesses have taken advantage of the Government’s covid loan schemes to keep them going through the covid-19 outbreak. This has naturally led to an increase in business debt whilst safeguarding livelihoods.

The figures below are according to UK finance data by postcode[1] which often do not align perfectly with administrative boundaries. These figures are the latest data for outstanding loans to small and medium enterprises only, up to Q3 2020:

  • In Coventry North East, lending to SMEs was 54% higher in Q2 2020 (£395.1m), and 67% higher in Q3 2020 (£429.6m), when compared to the average since 2016 (£256.8m).
  • In Coventry, lending to SMEs was 50% higher in Q2 2020 (£527.9m), and 64% higher in Q3 2020 (£575.4m), when compared to the average since 2016 (£351.5m).

The figures below are according to UK finance data for outstanding loans for small and medium enterprises by region, up to Q4 2020:

  • in the West Midlands, lending to SMEs was 37% higher in Q2 2020 (£10.7bn), 48% higher in Q3 2020 (£11.5bn), and 39% higher in Q4 2020 (£10.9bn), when compared to the average since 2016 (£7.8bn).
  • in England, lending to SMEs was 34% higher in Q2 2020 (£103.9bn), 43% higher in Q3 2020 (£111.4bn), and 46% higher in Q4 2020 (£113.5bn), when compared to the average since 2016 (£77.7bn).

[1] www.ukfinance.org.uk/data-and-research/data/business-finance/sme-lending-within-uk-postcodes

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of trends in the regional spread of business debt in (a) each of the last five years and (b) during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Covid-19 outbreak did not substantially alter the trends in the regional spread of business debt.

The following figures are taken from UK Finance data and are taken as a share of the value of loan facilities of small and medium enterprises in England.

Between Q1 2017 and Q1 2020:

  • London (18% to 23%), Yorkshire and the Humber (7% to 8%), and the East of England (7% to 8%) all increased their share of SME lending.
  • Regional shares of SME lending fell in the South East (18% to 15%), South West (15% to 13%), North West (15% to 12%) and East Midlands (7% to 6%).
  • Regional shares stayed the same in the North East (3%) and West Midlands (10%).

During the covid-19 outbreak, between Q1 2020 and Q4 2020:

  • London (23% to 25%) and the South East (14% to 16%) increased their shares of SME lending.
  • The East of England reduced its share of SME lending from 8% to 7%.
  • The regional shares of SME lending in South West, East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, North East and North West were unchanged.

These shares compare to the following table for Regional GDP:

Table: Regional GDP (2018 data) and SME lending (Q4 2020) shares in England.

Area

GDP share for each region (source: ONS)

SME lending share for each region (source: UK Finance)

England

100%

100%

North East

3.4%

3%

North West

11.3%

12%

Yorkshire and The Humber

7.7%

8%

East Midlands

6.8%

6%

West Midlands

8.7%

10%

East of England

10.1%

7%

London

26.5%

25%

South East

16.9%

16%

South West

8.6%

13%

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to provide (a) advice, (b) support and (c) services for small business owners in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England planning on developing their businesses during the covid-19 outbreak.

An unprecedented package of support for businesses has been in place since March 2020, including measures such as loans, grants, and tax deferrals to support businesses required to close or severely affected by restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19.

The Spring Budget 2021 set out the next phase of the Government’s response, providing additional support worth £65 billion to help businesses get going again. This includes Restart grants and Recovery Loans to help businesses plan ahead and safely relaunch trading as restrictions are relaxed, extension of the furlough scheme and support for the self-employed. Extension of VAT reductions and business rates relief are also part of this package, whilst the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) continues to enable local authorities to put in place discretionary business support that suits their local area.

The Start Up Loan Scheme, part of the government-backed British Business Bank, was launched in 2012 and offers free mentoring and low-interest personal loans to help start or grow new business. Entrepreneurs in the UK can borrow up to £25,000 in their first 24 months of business, repaying over 5 years. In the financial year 2020/21 to the end of February, the programme has made 19 Start Up loans worth £264,500 in the Coventry North East constituency, and in the West Midlands has made 110 loans worth £964,353. In the UK, a total of 10,251 loans have been made worth £123,598,056 over the same period.

The Government’s new ‘Help to Grow’ scheme will help small businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits. Starting in June, small businesses will be able to access Help to Grow: Management, a 12 week-programme delivered by leading business schools across the UK. The programme will combine a practical curriculum, with 1:1 support from a business mentor, peer-learning sessions and an alumni network. In the Autumn, government will launch Help to Grow: Digital, a new online platform where businesses can access advice on software that could help them save time and money while running their businesses, and a voucher to discount software.

Businesses that have been unable to access support, or who are unsure about the support available, can contact their nearest Business Growth Hub for advice. The Government has established a network of 38 of these hubs, led by each Local Enterprise Partnership in England, where expert advisers can offer impartial tailored advice to firms of any size. Contact details are available at: www.lepnetwork.net/local-growth-hub-contacts/.

The Business Support Helpline offers free impartial advice to businesses across England (FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098).

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of working from home during the covid-19 outbreak on the average cost of household energy bills in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; what assessment he has made of the number of households in those areas that have fallen into arrears with their energy supplier during the outbreak; and what steps his Department is taking to protect vulnerable households in energy arrears.

Provisional data for 20201 shows an increase in average UK gas and electricity consumption of 5% and 4% respectively, relative to 2019, once temperature effects have been removed. The price falls in both fuels, however, mean that the average dual fuel bill decreased in real terms by 5%.

Data is not available by city or constituency, but provisional 20202 data shows that the West Midlands was in the lower half of UK regions for both gas and electricity bills.

The Department does not hold figures on the number of customers newly in arrears due to COVID. This data will be reported in Ofgem’s Supplier Obligations Reporting later this year.

In order to support vulnerable customer in arrears, the Government secured an industry-wide agreement to a set of principles to support consumers impacted by Covid-19 including to identify and prioritise customers at risk, support customers who are impacted financially, and support prepayment meter customers to stay on supply.

Additionally, the Government is extending the Warm Home Discount Scheme with over 2 million households provided with a £140 rebate off their energy bill each winter. The Energy Company Obligation has supported low income and vulnerable households with upgrading 2.2 million homes and delivering over 2.7 million energy efficiency measures.

1https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/annual-domestic-energy-price-statistics

2https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/annual-domestic-energy-price-statistics

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the automotive sector; and what steps his Department is taking to (a) aid recovery, (b) protect and create jobs in and (c) boost the competitiveness of the UK’s car manufacturers.

We have provided comprehensive support during the pandemic, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the trade credit insurance guarantee, and tax deferrals. In total, we have provided £2.4 billion in COVID Corporate Financing Facility support to the automotive sector.

The Government has invested around £1.5 billon to support the research, development, and manufacture of zero and low-emission vehicles to date. This investment has created thousands of jobs in the sector and its supply chain, saved millions of tonnes of CO2, and has helped the UK to lead the charge towards a low carbon automotive future.

In late 2020, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced in his 10 Point Plan nearly £500 million of funding for the Automotive Transformation Fund over the next four years to develop and embed the next generation of cutting-edge automotive technologies in the UK. This is part of a £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. In addition, we are investing in schemes to support the delivery of chargepoint infrastructure to homes, workplaces, on residential streets, and across the wider roads network.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to boost business investment in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

We aim to make the UK the best place in the world to start, run and grow a business. The Government provides a wide range of support and information for small businesses including on the GOV.UK website. Free and impartial advice is also available via the Business Support Helpline on FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098 and via the network of 38 local Growth Hubs in England.

The Start Up Loans Programme, part of the Government-backed British Business Bank, offers loans up to £25,000, repayable at 6% per annum across 1-5 years. Across the UK, 81,608 loans have been made, worth over £707.6m from the programme’s launch in 2012 to the end of February 2021.

Over the same period, in the Coventry North East constituency, 136 loans have been made worth £1,120,379. In the Coventry City Council area, 377 loans have been made to a value of £3,436,907. In England, 71,207 loans have been made worth £617,745,993.[1]

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that a further £5bn is being made available through Restart Grants to help businesses as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. This means a total of £25bn has been allocated to direct business grants during the course of the pandemic.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) self-reported that in 2019-20, its Growth Hub engaged with 66,452 businesses/individuals (including via digital channels); directly supported 1,798 businesses, of which 77 received over 12 hours of high-level support; and helped 648 individuals start a business.

Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have benefitted from £131.84m in Local Growth Fund, over 3 Growth Deals, and the investments have secured over £28m in private sector investment. The LEP are also working with local partners to develop and implement a newly focused, partnership-led Strategic Framework to reset the local economy for a successful, inclusive, and resilient future. The LEP are committed to driving activities to minimise the negative economic impacts of Covid-19 in Coventry and Warwickshire. This includes the Growth Hub, which offers one-to-one advice and ongoing support to local businesses.

Coventry has also received over £8m funding to support it as the City of Culture 2021. The City of Culture events in Coventry are due to start in May of this year, which will benefit the city in many ways. In previous years this has included increases in investors opening new businesses and more opportunities to support the local community.

The Government’s new ‘Help to Grow’ scheme will help small businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers, and boost profits. Help to Grow: Management will provide intensive management skills support to 30,000 small businesses whilst Help to Grow: Digital could support 100,000 small businesses with online advice and a voucher for software costs. BEIS will be engaging with stakeholders shortly but businesses can register their interest now at https://helptogrow.campaign.gov.uk/.

[1] Figures do not include regions not able to be specified. For these regions,113 loans were made worth 1,205,641 since 2012 to end February 2021.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the number of people moving from full-time to part-time working.

ONS data shows fewer people working part time (7.9 million, 24% of all in employment) in the three months to January 2021, than in the three months to February 2020 (8.6 million, 26% of all in employment), prior to the covid-19 outbreak. Further information on full-time and part-time working can be found on the ONS website:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/march2021.

ONS note: Rates published from the LFS remain robust; however, levels and changes in levels should be used with caution. This will particularly affect estimates for country of birth, nationality, ethnicity and disability.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support micro-enterprises in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England during the covid-19 outbreak.

Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub offers one-to-one advice and ongoing support to businesses with ambitions to grow, and is open to businesses of any size or sector. Since its launch in 2014, the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub has successfully helped thousands of businesses across the region to access funding, tap into supply chains, increase production, and reach their full potential, and has supported the creation of over 5,000 jobs. Through the Local Growth Fund and European funds, LEPs in the West Midlands have supported projects aimed at supporting SME incubation and growth.

In order to protect the livelihoods of those hardest hit, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended to September and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue with a fourth and a fifth grant. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that a further 600,000 people, many of whom became self-employed in 2019-20, may now be able to claim direct cash grants under SEISS.

Additional support is also available through Covid-19 Business Grants. Businesses that are required by law to close can access grants of up to the equivalent of £4,500 per 6-week period via the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed). This support is available until 31st March 2021.

Businesses that were required to close at the beginning of national restrictions on 5th Jan will also be eligible for a one-off payment of up to £9,000 to help them through the difficult Spring period, via the Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment.

The Chancellor announced in the Budget that from 1st April, one-off Restart Grants of up to £6,000 for non-essential retail, and up £18,000 for hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation businesses, will be available to support them to reopen as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) continues to enable Local Authorities to put in place discretionary business support. Local Authorities are free to provide support that suits their local area best, including to support those businesses not required to close but which have had their trade severely affected by the restrictions. The Chancellor has announced an additional £425m will be made available to the ARG that more than £2bn has been made available to Local Authorities since November 2020.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the factors that have contributed to young workers being disproportionately affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout this crisis, the Government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods whilst supporting businesses and public services across the UK. We recognise that unfortunately it has not been possible to protect every business and every job, and our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by this virus.

While the pandemic has had a significant impact across the whole labour market, certain groups have been more affected than others. Young people have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic and unemployment can have longstanding implications for their future jobs and wages. The plans announced at Budget 2021 seek to address this and will help promote opportunity for the young.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is specifically designed to protect jobs, and it has been used by 1.3m employers to support 11.2m jobs. This includes supporting young people, with preliminary data showing 855,200 16-24-year-olds were furloughed at the end of January.

VAT reductions and extending business rates relief for businesses in the hospitality sector will continue to protect both the UK economy and the livelihoods of people across the country. In particular, this will benefit, BAME employees, under-25s and women, who make up a higher percentage of employees in hospitality relative to other sectors.

The Budget 2021 also announced an extension of the traineeships programme until the end of the next academic year, benefiting 16–24-year-olds. We are also extending incentives for apprentices, and our £2 billion Kickstart scheme is already creating thousands of new jobs for 16-24-year-olds on Universal Credit at risk of long-term unemployment.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to support the development of the renewable energy sector.

Achieving our 2050 net zero target will require significant increases in renewable electricity generation, and we will continue to encourage deployment and support the UK sector.

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme has been very successful in delivering large-scale renewable generation whilst reducing costs through competitive allocation rounds. The next round will open in late 2021 and aims to deliver up to double the renewable capacity of last year’s successful round, potentially providing enough clean energy for up to 10 million homes. The Smart Export Guarantee, which was introduced in January 2020, gives small-scale generators, such as homes with solar panels, the right to be paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid.

The UK is a major global market for renewables, and we want to harness the wider benefits of this market-leading position in terms of jobs and investment. As well as supporting the creation of new offshore wind port hub infrastructure, the Government is also eager to strengthen how supply chain plans operate, as signalled in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement on 6 October. The Government is consulting on new proposals for a revised Supply Chain Plan questionnaire for CfD Applicants to complete. This will form the basis for assessment before an allocation round and ongoing monitoring, review and assessment after CfD signature.  This consultation closes on 11 March 2021. The public consultation on proposals to strengthen Supply Chain Plan policy and on changes to the CfD contract has now closed. A government response will be published shortly.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on increasing support to businesses in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

There are regular Ministerial discussions within government regarding the unprecedented business support offer that has been put in place to help tackle Covid-19 and save lives. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer will set out any further support measures in his Budget statement.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to increase the financial support available for small businesses in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented package of support for businesses that are required to close or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

The measures introduced – including four Government-backed loan schemes, local authority grant funding, tax deferrals and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

For business who have been mandated to close during the current national restrictions grants of up to the equivalent of £4,500 per 6 weeks of closure have been made available through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed). Further one-off grants of up to £9,000 can also be accessed via the Closed Business lockdown Payment.

Local Authorities have been allocated a further £500m in discretionary funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant to support businesses that are significantly impacted by the restrictions even though not required to close, this is in addition to £1.1bn already allocated in November 2020.

The CJRS will remain open until the end of April 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

We have also extended the application deadline for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) until the end of March 2021, ensuring there is further support in place for firms who need it during this ongoing period of difficulty.

Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership are utilising their close working relationships with the public, private and education sectors in the area to develop and implement a newly-focused Strategic Framework, to address local economic needs and ensure economic resilience during and after the pandemic.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of small businesses that have closed in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry and (c) England in each of the last five years.

The latest business closure figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for Coventry, and England, are available for 2014-2018 . To note, the business closure figures were published as a special ONS request for Coventry and England but not the Coventry North East Constituency. 2019 estimates may be available from the ONS upon request.

Business closures

Coventry

England

2018

1,450

297,895

2017

1,510

325,660

2016

1,185

248,655

2015

1,200

249,955

2014

1,045

217,640

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/changestobusiness/businessbirthsdeathsandsurvivalrates/adhocs/11790enterprisedeathsindistrictsbyindustry.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of employment in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on employment in those areas.

From March to September 2020, the ONS employment rate in Coventry North East constituency fell by 1.7 percentage points (ppts) (71.7 to 70.0%). In the Coventry local authority, it fell by 0.6 ppts (72.0 to 71.4%).

Both areas had similar decreases in employment rate over six-month periods in 2019. Due to this, and the sampling variation in small geographies, whether the recent decreases in employment rate can be predominantly attributed to Covid-19 is inconclusive.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of fuel poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

The Fuel Poverty Strategy published on 11 February 2021 confirmed a new metric for fuel poverty of Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE). The first statistics on this basis will be published on 4 March for 2019.

We have gathered new evidence through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Household Resilience survey about the impact of Covid-19 on incomes, housing costs and households occupancy patterns and will use this to publish a projection of fuel poverty in England for 2020 in April. We will also then provide the first statistics for LILEE on a sub-national basis for 2019.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the (a) economic and (b) other effects of the covid-19 outbreak on businesses in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry and (iii) the West Midlands, by sector.

The Government continues to engage closely with partners on the ground across the country to understand the economic impact of Covid-19 and to support businesses.

Through the Growth Hubs programme, we are reaching thousands of businesses to provide free and impartial advice and support regardless of size and sector. The Coventry and Warwickshire LEP self-reported that between 1st April and 31st October 2020 their Growth Hub engaged with more than 50,000 businesses with advice and support.

Where businesses are required to close due to Covid-19 restrictions they can receive grants of up to £4,500 per 6 week period of closure as well as a one off payment of up to £9,000. Local Authorities have been allocated an additional £1.6bn in Additional Restrictions Grant to provide other businesses with support in their area.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to protect small and micro businesses from closure as a result of the covid-19 outbreak in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The Government introduced an unprecedented and comprehensive package of business support measures to help as many individuals and businesses as possible during this difficult period.

This support package included measures such as the small business grants, the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more. These measures were designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

Further measures were also announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer that build on the significant support already available, as well as set out how current support will evolve and adapt. This includes the extension of the CJRS until the end of April 2021, the extension of the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes until 31 March 2021, and the introduction of Pay As You Grow measures, meaning businesses now have the option to repay their Bounce Back Loans over a period of up to ten years. Businesses who also deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to opt-in to a scheme to allow them to pay in smaller instalments up to the end of March 2022, interest free. Businesses and individuals can use our checker tool on GOV.UK at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support to quickly and easily determine whether they are eligible for any further financial support at this time.

Additionally, businesses and individuals are able to access tailored advice through our Freephone Business Support Helpline, online via the Business Support website, or through their local Growth Hubs in England. The Government will also continue to work closely with Local Authorities, businesses, Business Representative Organisations, and the financial services sector to monitor the implementation of current support.

During this period of national restrictions business mandated to close have been able to access grants of up to £4,500 per six-week closure period. The Government has also announced an additional payment for closed businesses of £9,000 to help businesses through to the Spring.

For those businesses not mandated to close but who have had their trade adversely affected by restrictions local authorities have been allocated a further £500m in discretionary funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant, in addition to £1.1bn already allocated in November 2020.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with key stakeholders in the automotive industry on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on that sector.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has regularly engaged with manufacturers and automotive trade associations on opportunities to support the growth and competitiveness of the sector in the UK. All Ministerial meetings with external stakeholders are published in Quarterly Transparency returns published by relevant Departments.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support small business growth in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

We aim to make the UK the best place in the world to start, grow and run a business. The Government provides a wide range of support and information for small businesses. The main source of information is the GOV.UK website, with support also available via the Business Support Helpline on FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098 and via the network of 38 local Growth Hubs in England. The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) self-reported that in 2019-20, its Growth Hub engaged with 66,452 businesses/individuals (including via digital channels); directly supported 1,798 businesses, of which 77 received over 12 hours of high-level support; and helped 648 individuals start a business.

Further initiatives include the BEIS-led Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer-to-Peer networks, to help businesses build resilience and grow. The Young Innovators Programme was also launched by Innovate UK and the Prince’s Trust, to support young entrepreneurs with tailored mentoring and access to £5,000 funding.

For those starting a new business or for businesses which have been trading for up to 24 months, the Start Up Loans Company provides loans of between £500 to £25,000 at a competitive rate of 6%. In addition to finance, every loan recipient is offered a dedicated mentoring service and access to a free expert business mentor for 12 months to help them with every aspect of setting up a business.

The Government has also set out a plan for recovery that focuses on backing business, improving skills, and creating jobs. For example, the Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people will get tailored support to help them find work. This includes launching the £2 billion Kickstart Scheme fund and investing £2.9 billion, over 3 years, in the Restart programme to support the UK’s labour market.

Further measures include committing £8 million for digital skills boot camps, increasing apprenticeship opportunities, expanding sector-based work academies programmes (SWAPs), launching the Job Finding Support Service, and increasing the funding for the Flexible Support Fund by £150 million in Great Britain.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the levels of sales of (a) new cars and (b) electric vehicles.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) provide monthly statistics on the registration of new vehicles in the UK. The latest statistics were issued on 6 January 2021 and are summarised as follows:

The SMMT’s statistics for new car registrations for 2020 show the UK new car market fell by -29.4% to 1.63m cars compared with 2.31m cars in 2019. This is consistent with the impact of COVID restrictions on sales in other major car markets in Europe. Within the UK market, Electric Vehicle (EV) car sales continue to grow and accounted for 17.5% of the 2020 new car market: Battery Electric Vehicle sales were up 186% to 108,205; Plug in Hybrid Vehicle sales were up 91% to 66,877; and full hybrids were up 12% to 110,117. Mild hybrid sales are also growing, accounting for 13% of petrol and diesel registrations.

The Department understands that these are challenging times for the automotive sector and manufacturers in general. The Government has been working closely with key industry stakeholders throughout the pandemic to understand how we can support the resilience and continued competitiveness of UK automotive manufacturing at this time.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the automotive industry.

The Government has taken unprecedented steps to protect businesses and workers in the UK automotive sector. To date, our package of support available to businesses includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which has now been extended until the end of March, the trade credit insurance guarantee and tax deferrals. In total, we have provided £2.4 billion in Covid Corporate Financing Facility support to the automotive sector.

The Government has been working closely with key automotive companies and industry stakeholders to understand how we can support the resilience and continued competitiveness of UK automotive manufacturing at this time. Our priority has always been to support people and to protect jobs and businesses through this crisis.

We are determined to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the most competitive locations in the world for the automotive sector and will continue to work closely with the automotive industry to ensure success.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the automotive industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have provided comprehensive support during the pandemic, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the trade credit insurance guarantee, and tax deferrals. In total, we have provided £2.4 billion in COVID Corporate Financing Facility support to the automotive sector.

The Government has invested around £1.5 billon to support the research, development, and manufacture of zero and low-emission vehicles to date. This investment has created thousands of jobs in the sector and its supply chain, saved millions of tonnes of CO2, and has helped the UK to lead the charge towards a low carbon automotive future.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister recently announced in his 10 Point Plan nearly £500 million of funding for the Automotive Transformation Fund over the next four years to develop and embed the next generation of cutting-edge automotive technologies in the UK. This is part of a £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. In addition, we are investing in schemes to support the delivery of chargepoint infrastructure to homes, workplaces, on residential streets, and across the wider roads network.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support investment in science research at universities in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

The Government announced we will publish a new ambitious Places Strategy for R&D in the R&D Roadmap. The Places Strategy will ensure that our research and development system delivers real economic and societal benefits in cities, towns, regions, and devolved nations right across the UK.

We are making a long-term investment in core research. By 2023-24, the government will be investing £1.4 billion more per annum in core funding for its world-leading research base compared to 2020/21.

As an example, we recently announced a £65 million boost to the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), part of which will be used to complete a first-of-its-kind UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry, creating 100 high-skilled jobs. Organisations across the automotive, rail and aerospace sectors will have access to a unique battery production facility combining manufacturing, experimentation and innovation.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the real terms increase in household energy bills since 2010.

The Energy White Paper, which has affordability at its heart and includes measures we are bringing forward to keep bills affordable, was published earlier this month, and sets out the historic context for consumer energy bills. The average household dual fuel bill in 2019 was similar to 2010. However, the underlying costs have changed. Over the past decade, electricity prices have risen because of policy and network costs, while gas prices have fluctuated, reflecting movements in the wholesale gas price. However, consumers have used less energy, which has balanced out the cost increase.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of working from home during the covid-19 outbreak on the average cost of household energy bills.

We will publish estimates for household bills in 2020 shortly.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of households in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England that have fallen into arrears with their energy supplier; and what steps his Department is taking to protect vulnerable households in energy arrears during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has introduced a number of financial support mechanisms to support households who may be under greater financial pressure due to Covid-19.

On top of the support to household incomes, including uplift to Universal Credit and the wage support schemes, the £2 billion Green Homes Grant will support domestic energy efficiency measures, and the Energy Company Obligation scheme provides around £640 million per year to help fuel poor and low income households stay warm while reducing their energy bills.

We also successfully negotiated an agreement with energy suppliers to support customers impacted by COVID-19. Based on the circumstances, this could include reassessing, reducing, or pausing debt repayments for households in financial distress and support for prepayment meter customers to stay on supply.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the ability of small businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period; and what additional (a) financial and (b) other support his Department is providing to help small business preparedness for the end of the transition period.

The Government recognises the challenges small businesses are facing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak when they also need to prepare for the end of the transition period. The Government has provided a wide range of help for small businesses affected by COVID-19, including the Coronavirus Job Retention and Support Schemes; the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme; the Bounce Back Loan scheme; Local Authority grants for businesses; business rates relief; support for trade credit insurance; the Eat Out to Help Out scheme; VAT deferral; the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and sectoral guidance on safer working.

As well as the extensive financial support available to small businesses to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, HMRC has provided £84 million to support small businesses adapt to new customs rules and DIT has established a £38m Internationalisation Fund for small businesses. We have also provided tailored guidance – on gov.uk/transition - for businesses on what they need to do to prepare for the end of the transition period, as well as undertaking a comprehensive programme of engagement with businesses throughout the country.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses, by sector, that have gone into administration in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Insolvency Service publishes National Statistics on insolvency cases for England and Wales combined. It is not possible to identify accurately companies in England specifically, or companies that operated within specific regional or local areas before entering insolvency. The data used for insolvency statistics is compiled from information at Companies House. The registered office address for a company may not be representative of its trading location, and often it is changed upon insolvency to the address of the appointed Insolvency Practitioner dealing with the case. Subject to these caveats, the full quarterly statistics on company insolvency in England and Wales can be found online, with an update to include Q4 2020 due to be published on 29 January 2021:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/company-insolvency-statistics-releases.

Insolvency data are now additionally published on a monthly basis to provide faster indicators of the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on insolvency. However, proxy company location is not compiled for this monthly series. Top-level monthly summary statistics for England and Wales can be found online: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/monthly-insolvency-statistics.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the effect of the outbreak on the mental health of business owners.

Throughout this crisis, our priority has been clear: to protect lives and livelihoods. We know how worried people are and we are taking many steps to protect both jobs and the long-term financial future of businesses during the current economic emergency.

We have introduced an unprecedented and comprehensive package of business support measures to help as many individuals and businesses as possible, which has mitigated some of the worst immediate impacts of Covid-19 on risk factors for poor mental health. This includes measures such as the small business grants, the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more. Businesses can also access tailored advice through our Freephone Business Support Helpline, online via the Business Support website or through their local Growth Hubs in England.

Further measures have been announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer that build on the significant support already available as well as set out how current support will evolve and adapt. This includes the extension of the CJRS until the end of March 2021, the increase of the third Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant from 55% to 80% of trading profits, and the extension of the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes until 31 January 2021.

In order to highlight available support around mental health, the Government is signposting resources for businesses and employers, including Mind’s website and the Mental Health at Work toolkit, through GOV.UK here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-support-for-business-from-outside-government. We also continue to work with the Thriving at Work Leadership Council to encourage employers to sign up to the Mental Health at Work (MHAW) commitments and to engage leading Mental Health charities and organisations to better understand issues around SME mental health, financial insecurity for small business owners and the self-employed, and continue to explore what further support may be offered.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people in (a) the West Midlands, (b) Coventry and (c) Coventry North East constituency are employed in the automotive industry.

According to the latest available data from Business Registers and Employment Survey, which is part of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2018 there were 54,000 people employed in the automotive sector in the West Midlands region.

Employment data by sector is not available at constituency level. However, according to the latest available data from Nomis, a service provided by the ONS, in 2018 the number of manufacturing jobs, including automotive, was 10,000 in the North East Coventry constituency and 11,000 in the South Coventry constituency. Similarly, the wholesale, retail trade, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles industry employed 5,000 people in each of the constituencies in 2018.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the car industry in (a) the West Midlands and (b) Coventry.

The Government recognises the challenges facing the automotive industry in the West Midlands and the whole of the UK as a result of coronavirus and has taken unprecedented steps to protect businesses and workers in the automotive sector. The comprehensive Government support to date includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which has now been extended until the end of March, the trade credit insurance guarantee and tax deferrals. In total, we have provided almost £2.5 billion in Covid Corporate Financing Facility support to the automotive sector.

The Government has been working closely with key automotive companies and industry stakeholders to understand how we can support the resilience and continued competitiveness of UK automotive manufacturing at this time. Our priority has always been to support people and to protect jobs and businesses through this crisis. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ latest figures show the UK automotive sector is beginning to recover, with UK car production increasing from 200 vehicles in April to 115,000 in September.

We are determined to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the most competitive locations in the world for the automotive sector and will continue to work closely with the automotive industry to ensure success.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of fuel poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of fuel poverty in those areas.

The table below illustrates a timeseries in the level of fuel poverty for the requested areas:

Proportion of households that are fuel poor (%)

2016

2017

2018

Coventry North East constituency

16.1

15.6

12.4

Coventry

15.3

14.7

12.1

West Midlands

13.7

12.6

11.4

England

11.1

10.9

10.3

Modelled estimates of fuel poverty at the sub-national level (Coventry North East constituency, Coventry and the West Midlands) should only be used to look at general trends and identify areas of particularly high or low fuel poverty. They should not be used to identify trends over time as they are based on very small numbers.

Latest data for Coventry North East constituency, Coventry and the West Midlands can be found in tables 5, 2 and 1 respectively, of the Fuel Poverty Sub-regional tables at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fuel-poverty-sub-regional-statistics

Data for England can be found in table 1 of the Fuel Poverty detailed tables at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fuel-poverty-statistics

We have gathered new evidence through MHCLG’s Household Resilience survey about the impact of Covid-19 on incomes, housing costs and households occupancy patterns and will use this to make a projection of fuel poverty in England in our 2021 Annual Report.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the average spend on energy bills by households in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each year since 2010.

Statistics, showing average bills by payment method and meter type, are published at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/annual-domestic-energy-price-statistics.

Table 2.2.2 provides electricity data for the UK countries and Table 2.2.3 for UK regions.

Tabl3 2.3.2 provides gas data for the UK countries and table 2.3.3 for GB regions.

Data is not collected at city, town or constituency level.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support job creation schemes in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

Across Coventry and Warwickshire, government is investing?a total of £131.84?million across three Local Growth Deals. This investment is set to create up to?4000?new jobs, alongside wider benefits in housing, skills, business growth and infrastructure development. Projects supported include activity at Coventry City College which will provide apprenticeship opportunities and a package of investments to help maximise the economic benefits of the upcoming City of Culture and Commonwealth Games.

Earlier this year, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) was awarded £66m from the Getting Building Fund for a wide range of projects that will deliver a much-needed boost to the local economy, with the potential to create over 2,800 new jobs. Investments included £3.8m for the Commonwealth Economic Legacy project at Ricoh Arena in Coventry North East, and £1.77m for Coventry’s Very Light Rail project.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the use of smart meters on (a) domestic household energy bills and (b) the level of domestic energy switching in (i) Coventry, (ii) the West Midlands and (iii) England.

Smart meters provide households accurate, near real-time information about energy consumption in pounds and pence via an In-Home Display, so consumers can easily understand how to use less and save money on their bills.

Consumers with smart meters are making energy and bill savings. Smart Energy GB has found that almost 7 in 10 customers with smart meters are more conscious of their energy use, while British Gas has reported that its dual-fuel customers with smart meters are making sustained annual energy savings of more than 3%. A dual-fuel household that has smart meters installed in 2020 is expected to realise average bill savings of £290 over the remainder of the rollout.

Research from Ofgem shows that households with smart meters are no less likely to switch energy supplier to receive a better deal than those with traditional meters.

The Department holds data on the impact of smart meters on household energy bills and switching for Great Britain; we do not collect it at a local level or for England.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much Government research funding has been allocated to each higher education institution in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last five years.

Research income from UK public sources reported by Higher Education Providers in the most recent 5 years, as set out in Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), indicates the following. This includes Research Council grants, Quality related Research Funding/Research England funding, and funding from UK Central Government/Public Bodies.

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

£/million

£/million

£/million

£/million

£/million

England

4172

3967

3964

4126

4335

Coventry

105

123

125

127

140

Coventry University

6

8

14

8

9

The University of Warwick

99

115

112

119

131

West Midlands

256

284

273

280

307

Aston University

11

13

11

11

12

Birmingham City University

3

3

3

4

4

Coventry University

6

8

14

8

9

Harper Adams University

2

2

2

2

2

Keele University

0

18

19

19

18

Newman University

0

0

0

0

0

Staffordshire University

1

1

1

1

2

The University of Birmingham

112

120

107

111

125

The University of Keele

19

0

0

0

0

The University of Warwick

99

115

112

119

131

The University of Wolverhampton

2

2

2

2

3

University College Birmingham

0

0

0

0

0

University of Worcester

1

2

2

1

1

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support local businesses in (a) Coventry and (b) the West Midlands during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of grant support totalling £2.2 billion made available via local authorities in England, the Government is providing Coventry City Council with £4.38 m to support business that have to close between 5 November and 2 December as well as £7.43 m to support those businesses impacted by lockdown even though they are not required to stay shut.

This is on top of the unprecedented package of support for business in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. Between March and September, over £1.15 billion has been paid out in grants to 104,145 business premises across the West Midlands.

In addition, as at 18 October, 84,773 Bounce Back Loans have been made in the West Midlands to the value of over £2.6 billion, as well as 3,770 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans to the value of over £871 million, to help SMEs affected by Covid-19. Employees and self-employed people in Coventry and across the West Midlands are being supported via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) respectively.

In November, Government announced plans to extend the CJRS until the end of March, confirmed an extension to the existing loan schemes to the end of January and an ability to top up Bounce Back Loans, as well as an increase to self-employed support and over £200 billion in VAT relief, business rate relief, tax deferrals, loans and support for individuals: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-extends-furlough-to-march-and-increases-self-employed-support.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the hospitality sector in Coventry during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are providing an unprecedented package of support for hospitality businesses including an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until 31 March 2021, extension to the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, loans, VAT cuts and additional financial support through local authorities. In order to support SMEs in some of our most affected sectors of hospitality, retail and leisure, 961,959 Local Authority Grants totalling £11.01 billion have been paid out (as of 30 August). Also, no pub, hotel, or high street shop will pay business rates for financial year 2020/21 – totalling almost £10 billion in rates relief. Grants of up to £3,000 are available for all businesses required to close. We have also enabled restaurants and pubs to keep serving their customers through takeaway and alcohol deliveries through click and collect.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses, by sector, that have reduced the number of people they employ since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publish data in their Business Impacts of Coronavirus Survey (BICS) on the percentage of businesses, who have not permanently stopped trading, that have made redundancies in the last two weeks. Between 21st September to 4th October, surveyed business reported that 1% of their workforce were made redundant. This data, including industry breakdowns, can be found at:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/output/datasets/businessimpactofcovid19surveybicsresults.

The Government is committed to supporting businesses and workers during this pandemic. Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, we have supported 9.6 million jobs, across 1.2 million employers, with claims worth £41.4 billion. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that this scheme will be extended until the 31st March 2021, providing both support and certainty to businesses.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the retail sector in Coventry during the covid-19 outbreak.

Retailers in Coventry have been able to benefit from 100% Business Rates Relief for financial year 2020/21, cash grants of up to £25,000, tax deferrals, and protection from eviction for non-payment of rent.

Retailers are also able to benefit from additional financial measures recently announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, including the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, extension to the existing Loan Schemes to January 2021 with the ability to top-up Bounce Back Loans, and cash grants of up to £3,000 per month for businesses which are closed.

All shops can continue to offer home delivery and click and collect services to customers during the national restrictions in place from 5 November.

Four thousand and fourteen Coventry businesses from across all sectors have benefited from Local Authority Grants totalling £47,820,000.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the effect of job loss on mental health and wellbeing; and what steps he is taking to help prevent job losses during the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout this crisis, our priority has been clear: to protect lives and livelihoods. We know how worried people are and we are taking many steps to protect both jobs and the long-term financial future of businesses during the current economic emergency.

We have introduced an unprecedented and comprehensive package of business support measures to help as many individuals and businesses as possible, which has mitigated some of the worst immediate impacts of Covid-19 on risk factors for poor mental health. This includes measures such as the small business grants, the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more. Businesses can also access tailored advice through our Freephone Business Support Helpline, online via the Business Support website or through their local Growth Hubs in England.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has made several announcements setting out how current support will evolve and adapt, including the extension of the CJRS until the end of March 2021, the increase of the third Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant from 55% to 80% of trading profits, and the extension of the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes until 31 January 2021.

In order to highlight available support around mental health, the Government is signposting to resources for businesses and employers, including Mind’s website and the Mental Health at Work toolkit, through GOV.UK here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-support-for-business-from-outside-government. We also continue to work with the Thriving at Work Leadership Council to encourage employers to sign up to the Mental Health at Work (MHAW) commitments and to engage leading Mental Health charities and organisations to better understand issues around SME mental health, financial insecurity for small business owners and the self-employed, and continue to explore what further support may be offered.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to improve the regulation of online marketplaces to better prevent the sale of counterfeit or sub-standard electrical products.

Officials in the Intellectual Property Office have been holding roundtable meetings with representatives of the online marketplaces to improve the way these platforms respond to the threat posed by the sale of counterfeit goods.

These meetings have been productive and we expect to be in a position to announce a positive outcome in due course.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people who are unable to receive letters by post; and whether he has made an assessment of the harms associated with not being able to receive letters by post.

The Postal Services Act 2011 requires a six days a week, one price goes anywhere, service for the delivery and collection of letters (and five days a week for parcels) to every address throughout the United Kingdom.

Ofcom, as the UK’s designated independent regulator of postal services, monitors the delivery of the universal postal service standards.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses in each sector that have created new jobs during the covid-19 outbreak.

In response to the covid-19 outbreak, the Office for National Statistics has implemented more rapid fortnightly business impacts surveys to monitor many things, including job-supporting measures including furlough. These can be found published on the ONS website here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/output/datasets/businessimpactofcovid19surveybicsresults

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of applications to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme have been declined.

As of 18 October, 1,336,320 loans have been approved under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, with a total value of £40.20 billion.

The Scheme has received 1,660,845 applications. The applications figure includes: approved applications; applications that are still to be processed; applications that have been declined; and applications that may turn out not to be eligible or cases where customers will decide not to proceed.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to make the UK a world leader in electric car manufacturing.

The Government has a long-standing programme of support to maintain the competitiveness of the UK automotive sector. The Government and industry have committed around £1 billion over 10 years to 2023 through the Advanced Propulsion Centre. We have also committed £318 million to the Faraday Battery Challenge and £80 million towards the ‘Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge’.

In addition, we have announced up to £1 billion through the Automotive Transformation Fund to develop UK supply chains for the large-scale production of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and for further research and development (R&D). An initial £10 million of funding will enable the first wave of innovative R&D projects to scale-up manufacturing of the latest technology in batteries, motors, electronics, and fuel cells. The Government is also encouraging industry to put forward investment proposals for gigafactories and to support supply chains to mass manufacture cutting-edge batteries for the next generation of EVs, as well as for other strategic EV technologies.

The UK is a global leader in the development and manufacture of EVs with various manufacturers already producing EVs in the UK. In 2019, the UK was the third largest market for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles in Europe and there are currently over 300,000 ultra-low emission vehicles registered in the UK. We are determined to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the most competitive locations in the world for the automotive sector and will continue to work closely with the automotive industry to ensure success.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage more new parents to take up shared parental leave.

Shared Parental Leave and Pay came into effect in December 2014 for the parents of children due or adopted from 5 April 2015. A marketing campaign comprising of PR, digital and advertising activity was conducted leading up to the scheme coming into effect, as well as significant stakeholder engagement and promotion through gov.uk.

In 2018, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Government Equalities Office ran a joint £1.5m campaign to promote the scheme and encourage take-up. Again, this was a multi-channel campaign which made use of digital website advertising, targeted social media advertising, posters in train stations and on commuter routes, and digital content shared through both Government and external partners' channels. To help parents to understand and make use of the scheme, a suite of new tools and guidance was published at the same time.

In order to maintain momentum, we ran a further marketing campaign in 2019, focussing on social media channels and promoting the scheme through trusted partners.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is currently developing an online tool to help parents plan Shared Parental Leave and Pay. This will help parents to understand their entitlements and facilitate discussions with employers, thereby encouraging more new parents to use the scheme. The tool will be available on GOV.UK early in 2021.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage people to achieve a better work-life balance.

Since June 2014, all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer have the Right to Request Flexible Working, where employees can request a change to their hours, working patterns or to work from home. We want to make it easier for people to work flexibly and in our manifesto, we committed to further encouraging flexible working by consulting on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to.

We realise that managing a work-life balance is particularly important for certain individuals. One such group is those with caring responsibilities. That is why the Government has consulted on proposals to introduce a new employment right to one week of additional leave for unpaid carers – to support working carers with balancing their employment and caring responsibilities. The consultation closed on 3rd August and received over 800 responses. We are now analysing the responses and the Government will issue its response in due course, setting out the way forward.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of breweries that have closed in England in each of the last 10 years.

The latest ONS data (as of 5th October 2020) shows the overall number beer manufacturing enterprises in England from 2011 to 2020. Business openings and closures (VAT registrations or de-registrations) are not published at this level of industry detail.

Number of Beer Manufacturing Enterprises in England

Date

England

2011

490

2012

555

2013

645

2014

765

2015

855

2016

965

2017

1,060

2018

1,125

2019

1,150

2020

1,135

Source: ONS Business Counts

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy and (b) ease of use of the search facilities HM Land Registry uses to allow individuals to establish land ownership.

HM Land Registry has provided individuals with online search services since 2008, enabling anyone to view and download information about land ownership.

As part of its business strategy and transformation plans, HM Land Registry analyses customer satisfaction and experience to underpin service improvements including to examine accessibility, ease of use and plain English. Improved services are in development with the first iteration of a new search service launched on GOV.uk during February 2020.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of people employed in the (a) events, (b) hospitality and (c) exhibition sectors.

The Government has sought to minimise job losses with its economic support package with measures such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), grants, the Jobs Support Scheme and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

The Office for National Statistics has been collecting up to date figures on the business impacts of the covid-19 outbreak:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/output/datasets/businessimpactofcovid19surveybicsresults.

Data collection has necessarily been at a broad industrial level, to optimise accuracy and speed of reporting, so figures on the specific detailed sectors requested are not available.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of pubs that have closed in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last 10 years.

The latest ONS data (as of 28 September 2020) shows the overall number of public houses and bars in Coventry North East, Coventry, the West Midlands and in England from 2010 to 2019. Business closures (VAT de-registrations) are not available at this level of industrial and geographical detail.

Number of Public House and Bar Local Units

Date

Coventry North East

Coventry

West Midlands

England

2010

45

145

3,990

37,775

2011

45

135

3,840

36,455

2012

40

125

3,780

35,900

2013

40

120

3,645

34,670

2014

35

115

3,595

34,255

2015

35

120

3,580

34,215

2016

35

115

3,515

33,585

2017

30

110

3,480

33,045

2018

35

110

3,435

32,960

2019

35

110

3,515

33,305

Source: ONS Business Counts

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to reduce levels of fuel poverty in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

Energy efficiency is the most sustainable way to reduce fuel bills and tackle fuel poverty. Half of the England-wide £2 billion Green Homes Grant has been earmarked to provide low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households with energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures. Low income households can receive a voucher of up to £10,000 towards eligible measures. We are working with local authorities and local energy hubs to tackle fuel poverty across England through the £500 million Local Authority Delivery portion of the Green Homes Grant.

In addition, the Energy Company Obligation drives £640 million of investment in energy efficiency measures for low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households each year. Up to 25% of this funding is delivered through the Local Authority Flexible Eligibility portion of the scheme each year. More than 15,000 households in Coventry and nearly 150,000 households in the West Midlands have received energy efficiency measures through the Energy Company Obligation since 2013.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase consumer confidence in high street retail shopping.

We have provided retailers with comprehensive COVID-Secure guidance to assist them in the safe operation of their business. Businesses must carry out a risk assessment and should display a poster confirming they have complied with guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. This helps increase consumer confidence that the business they are visiting have taken all reasonable steps to make their premises safe.

Over the summer we ran an Enjoy Summer Safely campaign, including a Shop Local Week, encouraging the public to take advantage of the reopening of the hospitality sector while taking care to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Additionally from 24 September, we have extended the requirement to wear face coverings to include staff in retail.

We have allocated £50million to support the safe reopening of high streets which allows local authorities in England to put in place additional measures to establish a safe trading environment.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate she has made of the average cost to households in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England for broadband connectivity in each of the last three years.

We do not hold broadband data on pricing at a regional or local-level. The prices consumers pay depends on a number of factors, including availability and choice of different providers, and how they take-up their services, for instance, whether they take-up additional services in bundled telecoms packages. Broadly, UK data shows that the telecoms market is competitive, with a range of services and deals being delivered to consumers at good value for money. Ofcom’s Pricing Trends Report based on 2020 data, which is its latest research on pricing, shows that average monthly spend on fixed services (broadband and landline combined) was £40.87 in 2020, £38.37 in 2019, and £39.92 in 2018.

The Government has worked with providers to deliver low-cost, social tariffs for those in receipt of Universal Credit and other means-tested benefits. BT, Virgin Media O2, Sky, and a number of others, now offer broadband social tariff to the average cost of broadband. Between them, these products are available in 99% of the UK. Ofcom has a statutory duty to report on the affordability of telecommunication services, and we are working closely with them to monitor the market.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of trends in the levels of loneliness and social isolation in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last three years; and what (i) financial and (ii) other steps her Department is taking to tackle loneliness and social isolation in those areas.

DCMS collects data on levels of loneliness in England through its annual Community Life Survey, which suggests that prevalence of loneliness has remained similar to pre-COVID levels, with 6% of adults reporting that they are always or often lonely. Secondary analysis of this data suggests that young adults (aged 16-34) are five times as likely to be lonely compared to people aged 65+ whilst people that experienced mental distress were four times as likely to be lonely than those who did not.

The Department does not routinely collect data on loneliness in local areas. However, DCMS works closely with experts such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to monitor other data sources and build our understanding. In 2021, ONS published the first estimates of loneliness at a local authority level, which suggests 11% of adults over 16 in Coventry feel lonely often or always. However, as the ONS report states, because of small sample sizes and large confidence intervals, local authorities should not be ranked against each other. Unfortunately we don’t have the data available to estimate loneliness levels at a regional or constituency level.

The Government continues to take action to tackle loneliness through public communications to reduce the stigma about loneliness, building the evidence base on loneliness and supporting other government departments and external organisations to consider loneliness in their work.

Copies of the first, second and third annual reports on the government's work on tackling loneliness are available in the Libraries of the House and online.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to ensure social media platforms take a proactive approach to tackling online harm.

The Online Safety Bill will usher in a new age of accountability for tech companies and for the first time they will be accountable to an independent regulator to keep their users, particularly children, safe from online harms.

The new regulatory regime will give them clear legal responsibilities to understand the risk of harm to users and put in place proactive systems and processes to improve user safety. In scope companies must take action to prevent the proliferation of illegal content and activity online and ensure that children who use their services are not exposed to harmful or inappropriate content. The biggest tech companies must also take action on legal content that may harm adults. We expect companies to take steps now to improve safety, and not wait for the legislation.

We are also taking action to protect users now. For example, DCMS has published safety by design guidance and a ‘one-stop shop’ for companies on protecting children online.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what (a) financial and (b) other steps her Department is taking to help support grassroots sports initiatives in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

All generations and communities should be able to enjoy the physical and mental health, wellbeing, social and other benefits of being active.

Since 2018, the department has invested £308,544 into a wide range of grassroots sport projects within the Coventry North East constituency through Sport England. This is part of the £2,468,509 invested in Coventry, and over £87 million invested in the West Midlands during the same period. In addition, the Football Foundation, a charity jointly-funded by Sport England, has granted over £2.3m to the West Midlands to develop football and multi-use grassroots sports facilities in 2021/22.

In 2020 alone, Sport England distributed over £340 million of Exchequer and Lottery funding to support the development of grassroots sport in England, in addition to £100 million through the National Leisure Recovery Fund.

As well as the above funding, the government is also making significant investments in the region as part of preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham; and will be investing £205m across the UK over the next three years to further develop quality local sports facilities for community use.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of trends in the level of public funding for tourism in (a) Coventry and (b) the West Midlands in each of the last three years.

VisitBritain and VisitEngland are responsible for promoting the UK as a tourist destination, through a range of different initiatives and campaigns. In each of the last three years, VisitBritain has been receiving grant-in-aid totalling ca £19.9 million and VisitEngland ca £7.1 million from DCMS, as well as additional funds. For example, almost £2 million across 20/22 and 2022/23 to promote the Birmingham Commonwealth Games taking place in Summer 2022.

While the department does not hold information on individual local authorities' public funding for tourism, the government has continued to support the tourism sector in Coventry and the West Midlands throughout the past three years. In addition to the £45 million Discover England Fund England's Waterways project, Coventry City of Culture, and the Commonwealth Games, the government has provided over £37 billion of grants, loans and tax relief to the UK’s leisure, hospitality and tourism sectors since March 2020

Last September we published Nick de Bois' review of Destination Management Organisations in England, which looked specifically at how tourism is structured, organised and funded at a local level in England. We are now carefully considering the recommendations made by Nick de Bois and hope to publish a response in the coming weeks.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of trends in the levels of loneliness and social isolation in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; and what (i) financial and (ii) other steps her Department is taking to tackle loneliness and social isolation in those areas.

DCMS collects data on levels of loneliness in England through its annual Community Life Survey. In addition, the Department commissioned a Community Life Survey Re-Contact Survey last year, to provide data on the period April 2020 to March 2021. These sources suggest that prevalence of loneliness has remained similar to pre-COVID levels, with 6% of adults reporting that they are always or often lonely.

The Department does not collect robust data on loneliness in local areas. However, DCMS works closely with experts such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to monitor other data sources and build our understanding. ONS recently published the first estimates of loneliness at a local authority level. As the ONS report states, because of small sample sizes and large confidence intervals, local authorities should not be ranked against each other.

The Department continues to take action to tackle loneliness through public communications to get people talking about loneliness, and supporting organisations across different sectors. This includes:

  • Awarding £260,000 to 9 organisations through the Loneliness Engagement Fund, to deliver communications and engagement activity that reaches groups at a higher risk of loneliness, including young people and people with disabilities.

  • Continuing to deliver and expand our Tackling Loneliness Hub, which provides a space for over 70 organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors to share expertise and develop innovative ways to tackle loneliness on an online platform.

  • Sharing practical tips and signposting to support through our public communications activity. During Loneliness Awareness Week in June, we partnered with organisations including TikTok, BT and the Royal Mail to reach more people than ever.

Copies of the first and second reports on the government's work on tackling loneliness are available in the Libraries of the House and online. A third annual progress report will be published in February 2022.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate his Department has made of the total net economic effect of overseas tourists visiting (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last five years; and what assessment he has made of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on the contribution of overseas tourism to the economy in those areas.

VisitBritain is responsible for collecting data regarding the volume and value of inbound visits to the regions and nations of Great Britain, including the West Midlands. In 2019, inbound visitors made 2.43m visits to the West Midlands, with a total expenditure of £1.05bn. In 2018, they made 2.2m visits to the region, spending £957.36m; in 2017, 2.33m, spending £896.78m; in 2016, 2.22m, spending £915.72m; and in 2015, 2.11m visits, spending £873.68m.

England as a whole received 36.11m inbound visits in 2019, with visitors spending £24.78bn. In 2018, it received 35.04m visits, with visitors spending £23.12bn. In 2017, 36.17m visits were made to England, spending £24.94bn. In 2016, 34.52m visits were made, spending £22.54bn, and in 2015, inbound visitors made 32.57m visits, spending £21.15bn.

Due to low sample sizes, it is not possible to provide an estimate of the economic impact of overseas visitors to Coventry.

VisitBritain data on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the contribution of overseas tourism to the economy in the areas mentioned is not yet available, though VisitBritain will continue to collect and publish these data sets.

More widely, the government recognises the significant impact of COVID-19 on inbound tourism with, for example, inbound flight arrivals to the UK down around 90% on 2019 levels for much of 2020 and into 2021. The government has published a Tourism Recovery Plan which sets a framework to recover inbound visitor numbers and spend to 2019 levels by the end of 2023 – two years faster than independent forecasts predict. The Plan sets out government support for the tourism sector, including the allocation of at least £19 million to domestic and international marketing activity.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the role of the digital divide in loneliness and social isolation amongst people with learning disabilities in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; and what steps his Department is taking to tackle the digital divide for people with a learning disability.

During the pandemic, the ability to connect online has supported many people to maintain social connections. However some people, including some people with learning disabilities, have faced barriers such as access to mobile technology and the internet, or a lack of skills and confidence.

Data from the 2019/20 Community Life Survey shows that people with a limiting long-term illness or disability were more likely to feel lonely often or always than those without (14% compared with 4%). The survey does not ask whether people have a learning disability, so we do not hold data on levels of loneliness for this specific group.

The Office for National Statistics recently published a report on levels of loneliness during Covid-19 at local authority level, which is available here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/mappinglonelinessduringthecoronaviruspandemic/2021-04-07

Currently, we do not have data at local authority level which relates specifically to people with learning disabilities.

The Government is tackling the digital divide for adults with learning disabilities through our £2.5m Digital Lifeline fund. This fund is providing tablets, data and free digital support to over 5,000 people with learning disabilities who would otherwise find it difficult to get online. The fund is enabling people to connect with friends, family, services and support groups, as well as pursue hobbies and interests.

So far 394 devices have been distributed to local delivery partners and centres in the West Midlands and 31 in the Coventry District.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to support the recovery of the events and exhibition sector in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England from the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.

Business events and exhibitions make a valuable contribution to the UK economy and the Government is committed to supporting the sector’s recovery.

Since 17 May, business events and exhibitions have been able to reopen subject to capacity caps which vary depending on whether the event is indoors or outdoors. The Government has also launched the Events Research Programme which is looking at how best to mitigate transmission risks across cultural, business and sporting event settings.

The Government has continued to support businesses and individuals working in the sector - including through the extension of various government-backed loans, grants and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of loneliness and social isolation in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; and what steps his Department is taking to tackle loneliness and social isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

DCMS collects data on levels of loneliness in England through its annual Community Life Survey. In addition, the Department commissioned a Community Life Survey Re-Contact Survey last year, to provide data on the period March-July 2020. These sources suggest that prevalence of loneliness has remained similar to pre-COVID levels, with 6% of adults reporting that they are always or often lonely. Community Life Survey data and reports are available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/community-life-survey--2

The Department does not collect robust data on loneliness in local areas. However, DCMS works closely with experts such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to monitor other data sources and build our understanding. ONS recently published the first estimates of loneliness at a local authority level. As the ONS report states, because of small sample sizes and large confidence intervals, local authorities should not be ranked against each other. The ONS report is available online at https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/mappinglonelinessduringthecoronaviruspandemic/2021-04-07

The Department is tackling loneliness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic through: providing funding for charities that bring people together; convening organisations across society to act together on loneliness; and public communications to get people talking about loneliness:

  • In total since the start of the pandemic, over £34 million of the £750 million VCSE funding package has gone specifically towards reducing loneliness, with an additional £50 million going to organisations supporting people with their mental health.

  • We have established a Tackling Loneliness Network, bringing together over 70 organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors to share expertise and develop innovative ways to tackle loneliness.

  • The ‘Let’s Talk Loneliness’ campaign continues to share practical tips and signpost support. Our winter calendar, which ran throughout December, had over 12 million impressions on social media, with a range of corporate and third sector partners promoting our messages on their channels.

Copies of the two annual progress reports on government’s work on tackling loneliness are available in the Libraries of the House and online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/loneliness-annual-report-the-first-year

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/loneliness-annual-report-the-second-year

Matt Warman
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to support the recovery of the tourism sector in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England from the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.

My Department is taking a number of steps to encourage tourism across the country once restrictions are eased, including in Coventry and the West Midlands.

We are currently working with VisitBritain, VisitEngland and local partners to champion the UK’s diverse tourism offer through the Escape the Everyday campaign.

We are also working with regional partners to maximise the tourism benefits of hosting the UK City of Culture in Coventry and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The March Budget included £700m of extra funding to support our world-leading arts, culture and sporting institutions - protecting the venues which make the UK an attractive destination to visit.

In total, over £25bn has been provided to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks. The Tourism Recovery plan will shortly set out how we will continue to support the sector’s reopening and recovery from the pandemic.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to tackle the digital divide in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

In order to address regional digital skills gaps, my department is supporting a Local Digital Skills Partnerships in the West Midlands Combined Authority areas, which brings together cross-sector regional and national partners to work collaboratively to upskill the current workforce, advance digital inclusion, and build thriving regional economies.

Public libraries are also a vital component in tackling digital exclusion. A priority of Coventry Libraries is to create improved access to digital services and increase the digital literacy skills of local residents. During 2019 to 2020 Coventry Libraries in the North East of the City have provided over 70,000 hours and over 100,000 sessions of access to public computers and Wi-Fi services. While reduced service has been provided during 2020, due to COVID 19, they are continuing with plans to increase access to public PCs, install new computers at both Bell Green and Foleshill Libraries and reintroduce computer help sessions, job clubs and benefits, debt and housing advice sessions.

The Government has also introduced new essential digital skills qualifications (EDSQs) based on new national standards for essential digital skills.(opens in a new tab) Adults with no or low digital skills can study essential digital skills qualifications for free.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress his Department has made on delivering support through the Culture Recovery Fund to the culture and heritage sector in Coventry .

Last year the government announced the unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the culture sector, of which over £1 billion has now been allocated to over 3,800 arts and culture organisations across the country. We are proud to say that HMT have now announced in this week’s budget a further £300 million for the Culture Recovery Fund to continue to support key local and natural cultural organisations as audiences begin to return. This will continue to ensure a vibrant future for the culture sector as the nation recovers from the pandemic.

The Culture Recovery Fund is already supporting the arts and culture sector to survive the pandemic and continue operating. The further support announced at this week’s budget will allow museums, theatres and galleries to move towards reopening with optimism and support jobs up and down the country. Details on this additional funding will be published by DCMS in due course.

The culture and heritage sector in Coventry has so far been awarded over £6m across 17 organisations, including organisations such as the Belgrade Theatre Trust and the Kasbah Nightclub. They join a total of 289 organisations receiving funds in the wider West Midlands region.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department has taken to support leisure centres in Coventry during the covid-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus.

The National Leisure Recovery Fund seeks to support eligible public sector leisure centres to reopen to the public, giving the sport and physical activity sector the best chance of recovery to a position of sustainable operation over the medium term. A total of £100 million was available as a biddable fund to eligible local authorities in England. Coventry City Council will be notified shortly of the outcome of their application to the scheme.

Government has worked closely with the Local Government Association (LGA), ukactive, the District Councils' Network, Community Leisure UK, Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association and others to make sure the application and funding process is as fast and simple as possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much grant funding has been allocated to Championship Rugby Clubs through the Sports Winter Survival Package to date; how many Championship Rugby Clubs (a) applied for grant funding through that scheme and (b) were awarded (i) all, (ii) part and (iii) none of the grant funding they applied for; and what criteria was applied to such applications to determine whether a club was eligible for grant funding through that scheme.

On 19 November 2020, the government announced a £300 million Sport Winter Survival Package (SWSP) to provide a lifeline to organisations that would otherwise not survive the winter as a result of the restriction on spectators announced from 1 October. This included a provisional allocation of £9 million to support Championship Rugby clubs.

SWSP funding is primarily made up of loans and provided on the basis of what a sport needs to survive, with decisions made by an independent Board. We will announce details of those decisions in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of problem gamblers aged 18 and under; and what steps he is taking to provide support for those people.

The Gambling Commission conducts an annual survey of gambling activity by 11-16 year olds, which uses screening questions adapted for use with adolescents to measure rates of problem gambling. In 2019 that survey found a problem gambling rate of 1.7%, which equates to around 55,000 individuals. Findings from the 2020 survey estimate a rate of 1.9%. However, the outbreak of Covid 19 halted fieldwork for the 2020 survey before it was finished, which meant that sample sizes were significantly smaller and no fieldwork was conducted in Wales. Results of the 2020 survey are therefore not representative of Great Britain, should not be compared to those of previous years and cannot be used to calculate numbers of individuals who are problem gamblers.

The most robust data on problem gambling rates amongst people aged over 16 is collected by the Health Surveys. In 2016, the combined Health Surveys found a problem gambling rate of 0.7% amongst adults in Britain, which equates to around 340,000 individuals. Amongst people aged 16-24, that rate was 0.6%. In 2018, the Health Survey for England found a problem gambling rate of 0.5% amongst adults in England, which equates to around 246,000 individuals. Amongst people aged 16-24, the problem gambling rate was 1%.

The first NHS specialist young person’s gaming and gambling clinic opened in 2019. In addition to treatment services, prevention work is underway to teach children about the risks of gambling and to educate those who work with children in identifying potential gambling related harm in young people. Since September 2020 teaching about the risks related to online gambling has been included in the Health Education curriculum, which is compulsory for pupils in state-funded schools. This is in addition to initiatives by third-sector bodies, including the PSHE Association’s resources to help teachers educate their pupils about the risks of gambling and how to avoid them, and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust’s (YGAM) training and tools for teachers, youth workers, mental health specialists and others who work with children and young people.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the level of participation in online gambling; and what recent steps his Department has taken to help reduce gambling related harm.

Since March, the Gambling Commission has collected and published monthly data from operators alongside regular consumer survey data to understand the impact of covid restrictions on gambling behaviours. Data from online operators representing about 80% of the market showed a significant fall in overall online gambling participation during the early months of the pandemic, with 25% fewer active players across all types of online gambling combined in May 2020 than there had been in March 2020. Participation increased again as restrictions were eased. In October 2020 there were 3% fewer active players across all types of online gambling combined than March 2020 (note that players may be active in more than one type of gambling).

Consumer survey data has also shown that the majority of people spent less or the same on gambling during Covid-19 as they did previously, and people were more likely to report that they had stopped gambling than started for the first time. The latest figures from the Gambling Commission are available at: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/News/data-shows-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-gambling-behaviour-in-october-2020

The government has worked closely with the Gambling Commision to take steps to reduce gambling related harm. In April, we banned gambling on credit cards and mandated integration with GAMSTOP (the national online self exclusion scheme). The Commission also directed £8.8 million to GambleAware to ensure its treatment services could continue uninterrupted. In May, tough new rules were introduced for online operators, in response to the potential for pandemic restrictions to increase the risk of gambling harm. New rules on VIP schemes came into force in October, and the Commission will respond to a consultation on new rules for online slots game design early next year.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the average amount paid annually by households in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England for broadband connectivity for each year since 2010.

Ofcom’s 2020 Communications Market Report sets out UK average monthly spend on fixed voice and data services. These costs include VAT and are adjusted for inflation at 2019 prices.

Year

Average fixed voice and data cost (£)

2010

38.38

2011

37.19

2012

37.36

2013

37.38

2014

38.23

2015

39.84

2016

42.01

2017

42.59

2018

39.59

2019

37.25

Ofcom data does not provide regional breakdowns.

Matt Warman
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle digital exclusion in Coventry North East constituency.

In order to address regional digital skills gaps, my department is supporting a Local Digital Skills Partnerships in the West Midlands Combined Authority areas, which brings together cross-sector regional and national partners to work collaboratively to upskill the current workforce, advance digital inclusion, and build thriving regional economies.

Public libraries are also a vital component in tackling digital exclusion. A priority of Coventry Libraries is to create improved access to digital services and increase the digital literacy skills of local residents. During 2019 to 2020 Coventry Libraries in the North East of the City have provided over 70,000 hours and over 100,000 sessions of access to public computers and Wi-Fi services. While reduced service has been provided during 2020, due to COVID 19, they are continuing with plans to increase access to public PCs, install new computers at both Bell Green and Foleshill Libraries and reintroduce computer help sessions, job clubs and benefits, debt and housing advice sessions.


The Government has also introduced new essential digital skills qualifications (EDSQs) based on new national standards for essential digital skills. Adults with no or low digital skills can study essential digital skills qualifications for free.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on future funding to support the arts in (a) Coventry and (b) the UK.

The Government recognises the huge contribution the arts and culture sector makes, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people. It is for this reason that we have invested an unprecedented £1.57 billion, the biggest ever one-off cash injection, into UK culture to tackle the crisis facing our most loved arts organisations and heritage sites across the country including Coventry, which is to be our next City of Culture.

The Arts Council has allocated over £500k from its Emergency Response Fund to Coventry including £68k to individuals. The Culture Recovery Fund has awarded over £6 million in funding (as of 17 December) to arts and heritage organisations in Coventry to help support them through the current Covid-19 outbreak.

In addition ACE allocated £3.4m, to Coventry City of Culture Trust (delivery body) to ensure Coventry’s success as City of Culture. The arts and cultural sector is instrumental to Coventry’s success and the Trust have; employed local art/cultural freelancers, invested in cultural infrastructure and during the first lockdown initiated a resilience fund for the local arts community. Coventry will be one of the first to host major events post Covid and, whilst challenges have been posed by the pandemic, their activity and programming has provided a much needed injection of cash into the sector and supported artists in the region, nationally and internationally.

Throughout this crisis, the government’s priority has been to protect people's jobs and livelihoods. At this year's Spending Review, we confirmed that the government has now spent over £280 billion this year.

4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how the Sports Winter Survival Package allocated to Championship Rugby clubs will operate; and what (a) process clubs will need to follow to apply for funding, (b) criteria such applications will be judged against and (c) funding will be allocated in the form of (i) grants or (ii) loans.

Sport England will publish details of the process for applications to the Sports Winter Survival Package in the coming days, along with further information about the criteria and how funding will be allocated.


Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of accessible sports facilities in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

The Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many sports clubs have benefited from. Sport England has also made available over £220 million to support the sport and physical activity sector. This includes £35m for a Community Emergency Fund (CEF) directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres through this pandemic.

Sport England is investing £16.5 million of National Lottery funding to support community sports organisations return to play using small grants, facilities funding and crowdfund matching that will help to support groups and organisations who help people needing the most help to stay active.

In the last 5 years, Sport England has invested over £111m in National Lottery and Exchequer funding to improve or build sports facilities through its Community Asset and Strategic Facilities Funds in England including £17.58 million in the West Midlands.

£6 million of funding from Sport England has been invested to support community sports clubs and programmes in Coventry since 2015.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of public funding for museums in (a) the West Midlands and (b) Coventry during the covid-19 outbreak.

Culture and heritage are at the heart of communities across the country, enriching the lives of millions. The government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) was designed to support cultural assets of international, national and regional importance through the pandemic, including supporting the levelling up agenda by preventing the loss of valuable cultural fabric from our towns and regions. The CRF builds on a wide variety of funding already available, including the Job Retention Scheme; business rates holiday for leisure businesses; a reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% for tourism and hospitality firms and the Bounce Back Loans scheme, and follows £200 million of emergency funding from DCMS arms’ length bodies for culture and heritage earlier in the year.


Through the CRF the West Midlands has so far been awarded £11,985,651 in revenue grants for museums, 24% of the total allocated to museums in England. 91% of applications in the West Midlands were awarded funding (20 out of 22). One museum in Coventry applied and is included in this total: this museum was awarded £15,800. The initial rounds of the CRF were designed to support organisations at risk of failure by March 2021, and we are working closely with the Arm's Length Bodies delivering the CRF to ensure we understand the sector's ongoing needs beyond this date. We will continue to make decisions about how best to deploy the remaining CRF in any future rounds.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of tourism in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of (i) national and (ii) regional tourism.

My Department regularly assesses economic trends in the tourism sector, including those relating to Government support for tourism in regions across England.

We are working with regional partners to maximise the tourism benefits of hosting the UK City of Culture in Coventry and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The Government has invested over £15 million to support Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, and my Department is working closely with Coventry City of Culture Trust and partners to continue to ensure Coventry’s success as host city.

Between April and July, VisitEngland’s £1.3 million Destination Management Organisation Resilience Fund supported local tourism organisations in the West Midlands. The West Midlands Growth Company received £29,866 from the DMO Resilience Fund.

Launched in 2016, the £45m Discover England Fund has supported the development of internationally focused tourism products across England, including the ‘England’s Waterways’ project in the West Midlands.

We are regularly assessing the impact of Government measures to control the spread of Covid-19’s on the tourism sector at both a national and regional level. VisitEngland and my officials remain in close contact with regional tourism stakeholders to monitor the situation.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the broadband speeds in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

According to Thinkbroadand (http://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/E14000649), currently 99.3% of premises in North East Coventry has access to Superfast broadband. More impressively, 94.9% have access to gigabit capable speeds, up from 2.8% in 2018. This is partially due to the large presence of Virgin Media in the constituency who have 88% coverage with their gigabit capable cable network infrastructure. For context, 34% of the UK has access to Gigabit speeds so this is well above the National average.

In regards to Coventry (https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/E08000026), 98.1% of premises have access to superfast speeds and 90.6% of premises also have access to Gigabit capable broadband.

Around 0.31% of premises are getting less than 10Mbps and so may qualify for the Government's Universal Service Obligation as administered by Ofcom (https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-1/uso).

Note that as well as VirginMedia, both BT Openreach and CityFibre have announced significant gigabit capable fibre rollout plans for Coventry. Here is a recent announcement from CityFibre about their ongoing £60m investment in Coventry https://www.cityfibre.com/news/coventrys-full-fibre-roll-expands-west-city/ and here is a recent update from Openreach https://www.openreach.com/news/coventry-broadband-locations-announced-as-openreach-fibre-build-gathers-pace/

Matt Warman
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of Government funding for tourism in Coventry in each of the last five years.

My Department regularly assesses economic trends in the tourism sector, including those relating to Government support for tourism in regions across England.

Launched in 2016, the £45m Discover England Fund has supported the development of internationally focused tourism products in the West Midlands, including the ‘England’s Waterways’ project.

We are also working with regional partners to maximise the tourism benefits of hosting the UK City of Culture in Coventry and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Government has invested over £15 million to support Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, and my Department is working closely with Coventry City of Culture Trust and partners to continue to ensure Coventry’s success as host city.

Between April and July, VisitEngland’s £1.3 million Destination Management Organisation Resilience Fund supported local tourism organisations in the West Midlands. The West Midlands Growth Company received £29,866 from the DMO Resilience Fund.

We will continue to engage with regional stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery from COVID-19.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the arts and cultural sector in Coventry during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the huge contribution the arts and culture sector makes, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people. It is for this reason that we have invested an unprecedented £1.57 billion, the biggest ever one-off cash injection, into UK culture to tackle the crisis facing our most loved arts organisations and heritage sites across the country including Coventry, which is to be our next City of Culture.

The Arts Council has allocated over £500k from its Emergency Response Fund to the city including £68k to individuals. The Culture Recovery Fund has awarded over £2.7 million in recovery grant funding (as of 11 Nov) to arts and heritage organisations in Coventry to help support them through the current Covid-19 outbreak.

In addition ACE allocated £3.4m, to Coventry City of Culture Trust (delivery body) to ensure Coventry’s success as City of Culture. The arts and cultural sector is instrumental to Coventry’s success and the Trust have; employed local art/cultural freelancers, invested in cultural infrastructure and during the first lockdown initiated a resilience fund for the local arts community. Coventry will be one of the first to host major events post Covid and, whilst challenges have been posed by the pandemic, their activity and programming has provided a much needed injection of cash into the sector and supported artists in the region, nationally and internationally.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support sports facilities in Coventry during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many sports clubs have benefited from. Sport England has also provided over £220 million to support the sport and physical activity sector. This includes £35m for a Community Emergency Fund (CEF) directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres through this pandemic.

Sport England has made awards totalling £10,348,040 since 2009 in Coventry consisting of both lottery and exchequer funding to support the provision of sport and physical activity. A further £130,831 has been awarded across Coventry local authority, via Sport England’s CEF, since April this year. This has mainly been for local sports clubs and community sport activity organisations.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the events and exhibition sector in Coventry during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that the events and exhibition sector, as well as other sectors, has been severely impacted by Government measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

Events businesses have been able to access a number of the Government’s support measures throughout this period. In the context of new national restrictions, events businesses and individuals can seek support in the form of various government-backed loans, new business grants and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. The recently announced discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant guidance for Local Authorities specifically refers to businesses in the events sector.

We are engaging with stakeholders, including through the Tourism Industry Council and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to assess how we can best support the sector’s safe reopening. The business events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to increase funding for arts and culture in England over the next five years.

DCMS is committed to supporting work in arts and culture across the country. Culture and heritage are at the heart of communities, enriching the lives of millions, and the recent £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund is a testament to the role this sector plays in our lives. We are saving nearly 1400 cultural organisations with £257 million from our unprecedented support package.

Future funding decisions will be set out as part of the CSR. This government is aware of the significant contribution arts and culture makes to the country, both financially and socially and we continue to work with the sector to put forward a robust case for its support.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to provide financial support to professional (a) football, (b) rugby and (c) cricket clubs during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the impact that Covid-19 is having on the sporting sector, and has supported elite sports to return to "behind closed doors" competition, which enabled vital broadcast revenue, retained competitive integrity and brought joy to millions of sports fans. The government also ensured Project Restart was shared with everyone by getting Premier League football on the BBC for the first time ever.

The safety and security of players and spectators remains of paramount importance.

The government recognises that fans will be disappointed that sports pilot events were paused and that spectators were not able to be admitted to stadia from 1 October. The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what can be done to provide further support. The Department will also continue to work with colleagues across Whitehall to support the sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support (a) amateur and (b) semi-professional sports clubs during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many sport clubs have benefited from. Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund has also provided £210 million directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres through this pandemic

We have also supported elite sports to return to "behind closed doors" competition, which enabled vital broadcast revenue, retained competitive integrity and brought joy to millions of sports fans. The government also ensured Project Restart was shared with everyone by getting Premier League football on the BBC for the first time ever.

The government recognises the implications for sports clubs of not being able to admit spectators to stadia from 1 October, and are working urgently on what we can do now to support them. The Department will continue to work with colleagues across Whitehall to support the sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support volunteers in the third sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

Volunteers have been an incredible force for good during the COVID-19 crisis. The Government is taking steps to ensure that volunteers are supported during these unprecedented times by providing up-to-date public guidance to enable volunteers to safely and effectively respond to the crisis, and working closely with voluntary and community organisations to ensure volunteers are deployed where they are most needed.

DCMS has provided a £4.8million grant to the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership, to support its work to improve coordination in the voluntary sector, and match the country’s strong base of volunteers with demands. It has enabled initiatives such as Journey Makers: so far, over 600 Journey Maker volunteers have been deployed at 64 bus and rail stations nationwide to support people to safely use the public transport network.

The Government has also extended its support for the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, and is recruiting additional volunteers in areas where demand for services is high.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of workers who have left the theatre, arts and creative sectors as a result of the effects of the covid-19 outbreak on those sectors; and what steps his Department is taking to help mitigate future skills and labour shortages in those sectors.

The Government recognises the massive impact that the current pandemic is having on those working in the arts and cultural sectors. As a result of the grants and loans being made available through the £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund, organisations will be more able to resume cultural activity, albeit in a socially distanced way, which will increase employment opportunities. Each organisation that receives money will know how best to support their workforce.

To complement the Cultural Recovery Fund funding for organisations made available by Government, Arts Council England have announced £95m of additional support for individuals, including freelancers. This includes an additional £75m in project grants which will be focused on applications that maximise employment opportunities including those from under-represented groups.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what funding his Department allocated to projects to support grassroots sports facilities in Coventry in each of the last two years.

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

The Government, through Sport England, has invested £932,069 Lottery and Exchequer funding in Coventry for community sports programmes and sport facilities since January 2018.

Sport England has announced an additional £210 million package of financial support to help community sports clubs across the country through the current pandemic. Of this, £126,707 has been invested in Coventry via the Community Emergency Fund.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has assessed the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of loneliness and social isolation.

The Government has been closely monitoring loneliness and social isolation during the Covid-19 outbreak, working with a range of sectors to hear their experiences and learn from their evidence through the government’s new Tackling Loneliness Network.

The impacts of Covid-19 on loneliness are still to be fully seen and the evidence base is still developing. Emerging indications suggest that prevalence of chronic loneliness across the UK population as a whole appears to have remained stable throughout the lockdown period and may have decreased since social distancing measures eased in early June. However, initial analysis of the UCL Covid-19 Social Study has shown that some vulnerable groups (e.g. young people, adults living alone) appeared to be at a heightened risk of chronic loneliness during lockdown.

The Government will continue to monitor the effects of Covid-19 on loneliness and social isolation.


28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle loneliness and social isolation resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government launched a major effort to tackle loneliness and social isolation in April 2020. The plan aimed to ensure that staying at home does not need to lead to loneliness.

As part of the plan, the latest #Let’sTalkLoneliness public campaign was rolled out to get people talking openly about loneliness, including new public guidance offering useful tips and advice on how people can look after themselves and others safely.

In addition, Government launched a £5 million fund to support national loneliness organisations supporting those at risk of loneliness. We also announced a £4m microgrants fund which will support small, grassroots organisations addressing loneliness, due to open in the early new year.

The Office for Civil Society has also established the Tackling Loneliness Network, a group of over 60 high-profile charities, businesses and public sector organisations, which is now working to find and implement innovative solutions to loneliness, drawing on their diverse expertise.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what funding his Department has made available to (a) arts companies and (b) arts venues to ensure the sustainability of those organisations during the covid-19 outbreak.

In order to support the sustainability of the Arts sector, including arts companies and arts venues, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

£90 million is being made available to National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) and Creative People and Places (CPPs) lead organisations. £50 million will be made available to organisations that are not in receipt of regular funding from the Arts Council in order to maintain their survival through this crisis. Finally £20 million of financial support is being made available to individuals, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures that are needed to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the Art sector extensively to ensure we fully understand the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector.

DCMS is engaging with other departments to support the economic response, by ensuring that the needs of its sectors, and those who work in them, are understood.

DCMS will continue to work with this valuable sector to understand the difficulties it faces and help it access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the financial implications of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) arts companies and (b) arts venues.

In order to support the sustainability of the Arts sector, including arts companies and arts venues, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

£90 million is being made available to National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) and Creative People and Places (CPPs) lead organisations. £50 million will be made available to organisations that are not in receipt of regular funding from the Arts Council in order to maintain their survival through this crisis. Finally £20 million of financial support is being made available to individuals, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures that are needed to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the Art sector extensively to ensure we fully understand the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector.

DCMS is engaging with other departments to support the economic response, by ensuring that the needs of its sectors, and those who work in them, are understood.

DCMS will continue to work with this valuable sector to understand the difficulties it faces and help it access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an estimate of the average number of hours per week of (a) sport and (b) other physical activity that was undertaken by pupils in (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools in (A) Coventry North East constituency, (B) Coventry, (C) the West Midlands and (D) England in each of the last five years.

The government is committed to supporting children and young people to be active and achieve the 60 active minutes of activity recommended by the Chief Medical Officer. Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey provides a comprehensive overview of activity levels in children across England aged 5 to 16, and years 1 to 11. This data can be accessed via the latest report, which focused on the 2020/21 academic year, and is available at: https://www.sportengland.org/know-your-audience/data/active-lives. The data can be broken down by local authority and region, but not by constituency, and includes data from the 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an estimate of the average class size in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England in each of the last five years.

The department publishes annual figures on average class sizes in state-funded schools in England. The data is from the January school census and is published in ‘schools, pupils and their characteristics’ here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics.

The attachment gives averages for primary and secondary class sizes for schools in Coventry North East from the 2017/18 academic year to the 2021/22 academic year. The department has calculated the figures from the published school level underlying data. The following link is for a table showing comparable figures for Coventry, the West Midlands and England over the same period: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/e65ecbc6-9bbd-419e-8641-0abc370c7508.

25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding the Government has allocated to businesses in Coventry to support the recruitment of apprentices in each of the last three years.

In the last three financial years, available funding for apprenticeships in England has remained at around £2.5 billion. This is twice more than was spent in the 2010/11 financial year. By the 2024/25 financial year, government funding for apprenticeships will rise to £2.7 billion.

Funding is not allocated to individual areas for apprenticeships. Rather, all employers across England can access funding to offer high-quality apprenticeships to help meet their skills needs.

There were 2,010 new apprenticeship starts in the Coventry constituency in the financial year 2020/21, with 2,250 and 2,610 starts in the 2019/20 and 2018/19 respectively. The government is unable to provide a breakdown of apprenticeship spending by region as it does not publish this data.

The department is supporting employers to make greater use of their levy funds by improving the transfer system and developing more flexible models of apprenticeship delivery. This will enable more individuals and employers in all sectors to benefit from the high-quality, long-term training that an apprenticeship provides.

25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the adequacy of the funding available for adult education courses within (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last three years.

We are continuing to invest in adult education for adults aged 19 and over through the adult education budget (AEB) (£1.34 billion in each of the 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 academic years). The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to support adults to gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning.

Since the start of the 2019/20 academic year a proportion of the AEB has been devolved to a number of Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCA) including the West Midlands combined authority of which Coventry is a part, and the Greater London Authority (GLA) (approximately 50% of the budget was devolved in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years and 60% in the 2021/22 academic year). The MCAs/GLA are responsible for the provision of AEB-funded adult education for their residents and allocation of the AEB to providers.

The AEB academic year allocations for the West Midlands are as follows:

2019/20 academic year£125.6 million
2020/21 academic year£135.9 million
2021/22 academic year£131.7 million
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve social mobility in post-16 education for people in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

People in Coventry, the West Midlands, and throughout England can benefit from Further Education provision and specific skills polices, which can improve the social mobility of learners.

The department wishes to ensure that more people from disadvantaged backgrounds can undertake apprenticeships. We continue to pay additional funding to employers and training providers to support them to take on young apprentices, apprentices with learning difficulties and disabilities, and care leavers. We are supporting the largest ever expansion of traineeships which are tailored to the needs of 16-24-year-olds, providing an opportunity to further develop skills.

Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with an employer. There are several Skills Bootcamps available across Coventry and the West Midlands to support adult learners to gain in-demand skills in key sectors such as digital and HGV driving. The department will continue to expand the programme further following the announcement of £550 million additional funding at the Autumn Budget 2021.

The department is committed to ensuring that T Levels are accessible to as many students as possible. We are rolling out the T Level Transition Programme, a one-year preparatory programme that supports young people to access T Levels.

The department has implemented support in Further Education to facilitate participation by the most disadvantaged students including:

  • Extra funding in the national funding formula for 16–19-year-olds - provided to institutions for students with low prior attainment, or who live in the most disadvantaged areas.
  • Allocating over £530 million in the 2021/22 academic year to enable colleges, schools, and other providers to recruit, support, and retain disadvantaged 16- to 19-year-olds and to support students with special education needs and disabilities (SEND).
  • Providing a range of financial support for students who need it to enable them to participate in post-16 education, including free meals, bursaries to help with the cost of education plus support for childcare and residential costs where required.
  • Applying disadvantage uplift through the Adult Education Budget distributed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), comprising increased funding for learners living in deprived areas.
  • Providing funds to providers through the ESFA AEB to help adults overcome barriers to learning.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK for places and people most in need. The first priority for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be a locally delivered new adult numeracy programme, Multiply, to help hundreds of thousands of adults improve their maths.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve the provision of mental health training for (a) schoolteachers and (b) lecturers in (i) universities and (ii) colleges.

The government is progressing well on its commitment to offer quality assured training to help develop all state-funded schools and colleges’ approaches to mental health and wellbeing in England by 2025. The department has invested over £9.5 million during the financial year 2021-22.

As of 14 January 2022, over 8,000 eligible schools and colleges have applied for a senior mental health lead training grant. On 8 February 2022, the government announced that an additional £3 million has been provided to extend access to training, enabling eligible parties to access training before the end of May. Information on this can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/improvements-seen-in-children-and-young-peoples-wellbeing.

The government provides practical ways to support schools in teaching about mental health and wellbeing through training modules. Details on the training modules can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing. Additionally, the department’s Leading Behaviour and Culture national professional qualification supports teachers to improve the wellbeing, motivation, and behaviour of pupils in the classroom.

Higher education providers are autonomous bodies, independent from the government. The government supports various organisations calling for universities and colleges to adopt mental health as a priority, such as Universities UK’s Stepchange and the University Mental Health Charter.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) availability and (b) affordability of early years education and childcare in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England.

The department monitors the sufficiency of childcare places in England through regular telephone calls and email contact with local authority early years teams. We have not seen councils reporting any substantial place supply issues, and we have not seen a substantial number of parents unable to secure a childcare place this term or since early years providers re-opened fully on 1 June 2020. Coventry City Council, which holds the statutory duty to secure sufficient childcare places in Coventry North East, is not reporting any issues with childcare places at present, as is true for the West Midlands and across England.

According to Ofsted data published on 30 November, the number of places offered by non-domestic providers on the early years register in the Coventry City Council area has remained broadly stable between August 2015 and August 2021. In addition, according to findings from the 2021 childcare and early years providers survey, across England, 7 in 10 group-based providers reported having spare places in their full day provision and almost half of childminders (49%) reported having spare capacity on average across the week. We recognise that the cost of childcare is a key concern for parents which is why the government has made an unprecedented investment in childcare over the past decade.

We have spent over £3.5 billion in each of the past three years on our early education entitlements and the government will continue to support families with their childcare costs. At the Spending Review 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced additional funding of £160 million in financial year 2022-23, £180 million in financial year 2023-24 and £170 million in financial year 2024-25, compared to the current financial year. For financial year 2022-23 we will increase hourly funding rates for all local authorities by 21p an hour for the 2 year old entitlement, and, for the vast majority of areas, by 17p an hour for the 3 and 4 year old entitlement. This is for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers and reflects cost pressures as well as anticipated changes in the number of eligible children.

There is a substantial offer in place to support parents with childcare costs. In 2021, 328,700 children had a government-funded early education entitlement place for 30 hours, worth up to £6,000. Our 2019 Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents found that more than three quarters of parents (78%) reported having more money to spend since they started using 30 hours, and a third (33%) thought that without 30 hours they would be working fewer hours.

The department continues to explore what more can be done to help parents access childcare which suits their lives, including that which is out of hours or before or after school. We are committed to working together across government to make our current suite of offers work as effectively as possible and ensure it delivers for those parents who need it.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of people who have begun an apprenticeship in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last five years.

Over five years of substantial reforms, we have made apprenticeships longer and better, with more off the job training and assessment at the end. We have introduced high quality employer designed standards, put funding on a sustainable footing through the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, and introduced the register for apprenticeship training providers to ensure apprentices receive high quality training.

Care should be taken when comparing apprenticeship start figures across years, due to the impact of these reforms, and the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on employer recruitment.

Apprenticeship starts for Coventry North East parliamentary constituency, Coventry Unitary Authority, West Midlands Region and England in the last 5 full academic years and the first quarter of the current academic year are shown in the table below:

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

2021/22 [1]

Coventry North East constituency

1,340

980

1,010

830

760

280

Coventry Unitary Authority

3,400

2,400

2,610

2,250

2,010

790

West Midlands

60,330

42,650

45,670

36,920

36,130

14,150

England

494,900

375,800

393,400

322,500

321,400

130,200

[1] August to October, reported to date

Note:

  1. Geographical breakdowns are rounded to the nearest 10, the England totals are rounded to the nearest 100.
  2. Total values for England include a small number of learners living outside England where a home address is not known.
  3. Source: Individualised Learner Record
  4. Geography is based upon the home postcode of the learner.

Further information on apprenticeship starts can be found in the apprenticeships and traineeships statistics publication: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) financial and (b) other steps he is taking to help support nurseries and early years settings in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England facing disruption related to covid-19.

The government is providing unprecedented support to the sector across England. On 21 December 2021 an additional £102 million of financial support was announced as part of a discretionary grant to local authorities, alongside the hospitality, leisure and culture grants. It is up to individual local authorities to decide how best to use this funding, in order to support businesses which are impacted financially by COVID-19, but this can include early years (EY) providers.

In addition, the statutory sick pay rebate scheme (SSPRS) returned mid-January 2022 for COVID-related absences. This covers for up to two weeks per employee occurring from 21 December 2021 onwards. Employers will be able to claim regardless of whether they claimed under the previous scheme for the same employee. And, as well as access to the recovery loan scheme running until 30 June 2022, providers also have access to 66% relief on their business rates (nurseries discount) up until 31 March 2022. The government has announced a freeze to the business rates multiplier in financial year 2022-23, which will support all ratepayers, including EY businesses, ahead of the revaluation in 2023, and is a tax cut worth £4.6 billion to business over the next 5 years. Support is available to all providers within Coventry North East, Coventry more widely and the West Midlands, as well as across England.

In terms of additional support to nurseries across England, including Coventry North East, Coventry and the West Midlands, we have also designed a recovery programme focused on supporting practitioners and leaders backed by £180 million of funding. Within this, £17 million is to deliver the Nuffield early language intervention to improve language skills in young children around the time that they start school, £10 million is funding a second phase of the EY professional development programme to provide further coverage of early language, maths and personal, social and emotional development training to EY educators. This recovery package also includes the £153 million of funding to build a stronger, more expert workforce, enabling settings to deliver high quality teaching and address the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the youngest children with a focus on the most disadvantaged areas.

Within the £153 million, we will deliver a universal training offer, together with targeted support to leaders and practitioners, to create a more sustainable and self-supporting system, strengthen specialist expertise and leadership in the sector by boosting skills to develop children’s early language and maths as well as their personal and social development, improve the capacity of the EY workforce to support children with special educational needs, and train practitioners to support parents with home learning, which is one of the biggest drivers of early outcomes and future attainment.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children are home-schooled in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The department does not collect data on the number of electively home-educated children as there is no statutory requirement for local authorities to maintain such a register. Such data as is currently collected is held by local authorities.

However, the government is committed to a form of a register for children not in school, which would include home educated children. This would improve data collection and sharing, as well as help local authorities undertake their existing duties and help safeguard all children who are in scope. We will set out further details on this in the government response to the children not in school consultation, which we will publish in the coming weeks.

16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department has allocated to schools in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry for building improvement programmes in each of the last five years.

The department allocates condition funding each year to those responsible for school buildings to improve and maintain the condition of the school estate. Most condition funding allocations are calculated at a responsible body level and cannot be broken down to constituency level, as decisions on investment are often taken at a local level.

Schools and those responsible for school buildings receive condition funding through different routes depending on their size and type. The majority of condition funding is paid to responsible bodies through annual School Condition Allocations (SCA). Devolved Formula Capital (DFC) is also allocated for schools to spend on their own capital priorities.

The department has allocated over £20 million in condition funding to Coventry local authority since 2017 for maintained schools (see attached table). This includes SCA (and up to the 2019-20 financial year, funding paid via the local authority Voluntary Aided Programme for voluntary aided schools), and DFC. As part of this, in the 2018-19 financial year, additional funding was made available through the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund, as well as £400 million additional DFC. In the 2020-21 financial year, the government made an additional £560 million available for essential maintenance and upgrade projects. Coventry local authority’s share of additional funding has been included in figures in the table.

Large multi-academy trusts and large voluntary aided school bodies, also receive SCA funding to invest in schools for which they are responsible. These are not included in the figures as large academy trusts and voluntary aided school bodies will typically span local authority boundaries. A full breakdown of allocations can be found on GOV.UK.

Smaller trusts, voluntary aided schools and sixth form colleges that are not eligible for SCA can bid into the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) each year. Over the last 5 years, there have been 3 successful CIF applications for eligible schools in the Coventry North East Constituency with a total funding award of £1.2 million. Over the same period, for Coventry overall there have been 38 successful CIF applications with a total funding award of £12.4 million.

For the Priority School Building Programme there have been two schools in the Coventry North-East constituency, and six schools in the Coventry Local Authority over the last five years. So far, there have not been any schools from the Coventry North East constituency within the new School Rebuilding Programme. However, four schools in the Coventry local authority area are included in the first 100 projects of the programme that have been announced to date.

16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of school leavers have participated in higher education in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England in each of the last five years.

The department publishes the number and proportion of 15 year old students from state funded and special schools who entered Higher Education by age 19 over the past five years. This is shown in the table below.

Figures are not available at parliamentary constituency level.

Table 1: Number and proportion of 15 year old students from state funded and special schools who entered higher education by age 19

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

Coventry

HE Progression Rate

39.6%

40.5%

40.7%

41.4%

41.7%

Number of HE Students

1,433

1,474

1,417

1,433

1,475

West Midlands

HE Progression Rate

40.3%

40.5%

41.5%

41.9%

42.1%

Number of HE Students

25,630

26,237

26,006

25,897

25,560

England

HE Progression Rate

40.7%

41.2%

42.2%

42.5%

43.1%

Number of HE Students

229,082

236,233

236,154

235,871

233,407

Source: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/widening-participation-in-higher-education/2019-20.

12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that schools in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England do not have to reduce funding to learning to manage ongoing costs relating to the outbreak of covid-19.

Teachers, school leaders, and pupils have made a huge contribution to the nation’s efforts to respond to the challenges arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, and the department is very grateful for their continued hard work. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have ensured that all schools continued to receive their core funding as normal, regardless of any periods of reduced attendance.

The department recognises that some schools may be facing pressures this winter. In Spending Review 2021, we announced we are continuing to deliver year on year, real terms per pupil increases to school funding, investing a further £4.7 billion by the 2024-25 financial year for the core schools budget in England, over and above the Spending Review 2019 settlement for schools in 2022-23. This builds on the largest cash boost for schools in a decade provided at the Spending Review in 2019. This £4.7 billion includes a further £1.6 billion in the 2022-23 financial year, on top of the £2.4 billion increase over 2021-22 levels already announced as part of the 2019 spending round, meaning a year-on-year 5% real terms per pupil boost in 2022-23 financial year compared to 2021-22. This will rapidly give schools the resources they need to raise attainment, meet the cost of the Health and Social Care Levy, increase teacher pay and continue to rise to the challenges of COVID-19 response and recovery.

Schools in Coventry North East are attracting £98.4 million in total this year, a 2.5% cash increase, through the schools national funding formula. This reflects an increase of 2.4% in pupil-led funding compared to the 2020-21 financial year. School leaders have the flexibility to make their own decisions on how to prioritise their spending to invest in a range of resources and activities that will best support their staff and pupils.

In addition to the increase in core funding for schools, schools will receive a £1 billion recovery premium over the next two years to help those pupils most in need of support to catch up. This will help to deliver evidence-based approaches to support the most disadvantaged pupils, and means every school in England will have more money to support young people’s recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This £1 billion comes on top of recovery interventions announced previously, including £1.5 billion investment in tutoring in schools and colleges, £400 million investment in expanding training opportunities in early years and schools settings, £950 million in flexible funding for schools, £200 million for summer schools, £17 million for early language support, and the opportunity for year 13 students to repeat their final year in the 2021-2022 academic year.

2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the funding schools require in addition to their learning budgets to manage ongoing costs relating to covid-19 in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

Teachers, school leaders, and pupils have made a huge contribution to the nation’s efforts to respond to the challenges arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, and the department is very grateful for their continued hard work. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has ensured that all schools continued to receive their core funding as normal, regardless of any periods of reduced attendance.

The department recognises that some schools may be facing pressures this winter. However, this should be seen in the wider context of funding for schools. At the recent spending review, we announced we are continuing to deliver year on year, real terms per pupil increases to school funding, investing a further £4.7 billion in the core school budget by the 2024-25 financial year compared to previous plans.

This settlement includes a further £1.6 billion in the 2022-23 financial year, on top of the £2.4 billion increase over 2021-22 levels, already announced as part of the 2019 spending round, which will help the school sector respond to the pressures we know they are facing.

School leaders have the flexibility to make their own decisions on how to prioritise their spending to invest in a range of resources and activities that will best support their staff and pupils.

In addition to the increase in core funding for schools, schools will receive a £1 billion recovery premium over the next two years to help those pupils most in need of support to catch up. This will help to deliver evidence-based approaches to support the most disadvantaged pupils and means every school in England will have more money to support young people’s recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This £1 billion comes on top of recovery interventions announced previously, including £1.5 billion investment in tutoring in schools and colleges, £400 million investment in expanding training opportunities in early years and schools settings, £950 million in flexible funding for schools, £200 million for summer schools, £17 million for early language support, and the opportunity for year 13 students to repeat their final year in the 2021-22 academic year.

15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the trends in the number of apprenticeship starts in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

Apprenticeships are more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need as we build back better from the COVID-19 outbreak.

As part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, the department has created a strong incentive for employers across England to take on new apprentices. We have introduced a higher incentive payment of £3,000 for each new apprentice they recruit as a new employee between 1 April and 30 September 2021. We are also making a range of improvements to help more employers benefit from apprenticeships, including developing flexi-job apprenticeships, a £7 million flexi-job apprenticeships fund and making it easier for levy payers to transfer their levy funds to other businesses.

The number of apprenticeships starts for the Coventry North East constituency, Coventry, the West Midlands and England since May 2010, can be found in the table below.

Geographical area

Starts since May 2010

Coventry North East

12,570

Coventry

32,830

West Midlands

572,920

England

4,841,900

A more detailed breakdown by academic year can be found in the 'Supporting tables - Apprenticeship starts since May 2010 and 2015 by region, local authority and pcon' file that accompanies the apprenticeships and traineeships statistics August publication, found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships/2020-21#dataDownloads-1.

8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of Sure Start centres that have (a) closed and (b) reduced the services they provide in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England since 2010.

Based on the information supplied by local authorities as of 31 August 2021, the attached table sets out the number of Sure Start children’s centres sites that have closed in Coventry North East constituency, Coventry, the West Midlands and England since 2010[1]. The Department does not routinely collect data on the services provided by children’s centres. This data is held at a local level.

[1] Source: This is based on information supplied by local authorities on the number of children’s centres in their area to Get Information about Schools (GIAS) database about the location of https://www.get-information-schools.service.gov.uk and internal management information held by the department as of 31 August 2021. These figures may be different to previous answers and could change again in future since local authorities may update their data at any time. The GIAS collects data on children’s centres that local authorities have closed on a permanent basis. It does not collect data on children’s centres that local authorities may have closed temporarily in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of trends in the gap in attainment between students on free school meals and their peers in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last five years.

At a national level, the Department monitors trends in the gap in attainment between disadvantaged pupils, defined as those eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years, looked after children and those adopted from care, and others using the disadvantage gap index. The gap between disadvantaged pupils and others, measured using the disadvantage gap index, has narrowed by 13% at Key Stage 2 and 9% at Key Stage 4 between 2011 and 2019.

The disadvantage gap index is only calculated for England as a whole. The Department also publishes breakdowns by disadvantage status and free school meal status of several attainment measures at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 at national, regional and local authority level. The data for Key Stage 2 is available through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-key-stage-2. The data for Key Stage 4 is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-gcses-key-stage-4. The Department has not made any recent assessment of the trends in this data for Coventry or the West Midlands.

The Department is committed to supporting all disadvantaged pupils in England and has put in place several policy measures to help schools address any barriers to success that these pupils face. Since 2011, we have been providing extra funding, including £2.5 billion this financial year, through the pupil premium to boost the progress and attainment of their disadvantaged pupils.

To ensure schools have the tools to make effective use of this funding, the Department established the Education Endowment Foundation, which carries out research to produce guidance reports for schools, setting out how they can use the additional funding to best improve their disadvantaged pupils’ outcomes.

In addition to the pupil premium, we have announced over £3 billion of funding since June 2020 to support education recovery for children and young people in schools, colleges and nurseries. This will have a significant impact in closing gaps in attainment that have emerged. Recovery programmes have been designed to allow nurseries, schools and colleges the flexibility to support those pupils most in need, including the most disadvantaged. The Department has also expanded its reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear that investment will have a significant impact for disadvantaged children - high quality tutoring and teaching. This includes the Recovery Premium for the next academic year worth over £300 million, which is weighted so that schools with more disadvantaged pupils receive more funding. The £1.5 billion for tutoring will allow the Department to provide up to 100 million tutoring hours for children and young people in England by 2024, expanding high-quality tutoring nationally so that small group tuition is available to every child who needs help catching up.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the early years sector in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; and what steps his Department is taking to support that sector in those areas.

We have spent over £3.5 billion in each of the past three years on early education entitlements, and the government continues to support families with their childcare costs. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 25 November 2020 a £44 million investment for 2021-22, for local authorities (including Coventry and all other local authorities in the West Midlands) to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers.

For 2021-22, we have increased the hourly funding rates for all local authorities by 8p an hour for the two-year-old entitlement and, for the vast majority of areas, by 6p an hour for the three- and four-year-old entitlement. This will pay for a rate increase that is higher than the costs nurseries may face from the uplift to the national living wage in April.

We have also increased the minimum funding floor, meaning no council can receive less than £4.44 per hour for the three- and four-year-old entitlements.

Further, we are varying our approach to funding the early years sector over this financial year, to give local authorities and providers better certainty over their funding income during a period of continued uncertainty due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For the Spring term 2021, we provided top-up funding for authorities which could show rising demand for our free early education entitlements during that term after a period of national lockdown. For the next three terms, we will fund each authority based on attendance data they provide to us for each term. This will ensure that our funding aligns with attendance, which should provide the very welcome reassurance for providers that funding for the entitlements will be commensurate with up-to-date data.

We have liaised closely with all local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak to monitor attendance and sufficiency of supply of childcare. We have not seen a significant number of parents unable to secure a childcare place, in this term or since early year settings re-opened fully on 1 June 2020. Across England as a whole, including for Coventry North East, Coventry and throughout the West Midlands, in situations where parents have been unable to temporarily secure a childcare place, for example due to their usual setting being temporarily closed due to COVID-19, this has been able to be quickly resolved locally and local authorities (including Coventry) are not reporting significant concerns about sufficiency of supply issues, and have not reported any significant concerns at any point during the COVID-19 outbreak.

All early years settings continue to benefit from a range of business support packages to help support them during these unprecedented times. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has been supporting the early years sector by continuing to have access to a range of business support packages, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (where settings have experienced a drop in either their income from parents or government), Business Rates Relief Nurseries Discount and support from the Recovery Loan Scheme. Further information regarding these business support packages is available at: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

We know that findings from the Childcare and Early Years Provider and COVID-19 survey have shown that in November and December 2020, 74% of group-based providers have made use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme at any point.

We engage with local authorities on the accessibility of childcare on a regular basis and we continue to work with the early years sector to understand how they can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate, and affordable childcare is available for those returning to work now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on education outcomes in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the attainment and progress of all students is a key research priority for the Government. We have commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to provide a baseline assessment of catch-up needs for pupils in schools in England and to monitor progress over the course of the year. This research is based on assessments that schools are already using over this academic year. Initial findings from the research were recently published on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupils-progress-in-the-2020-to-2021-academic-year-interim-report.

In reading, pupils in Years 3 to 9 in England were on average 1.6-2 months behind where we would expect them to be in Autumn 2020 in a 'normal' year. In Mathematics, pupils in Years 3 to 7 in England were on average around 3.2 months behind in Autumn 2020.

Once adjusted for historic differences in pupil progress, pupils in the West Midlands were on average around 1.6 months behind where we would expect them to be in Autumn 2020 in a ‘normal year’ in primary reading and on average around 2.1 months behind in secondary reading.

Due to small sample sizes, we are unable to produce robust regional estimates in Mathematics nor produce robust estimates at the local authority and constituency geographical levels.

The Government recognises school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education and is committed to helping pupils make up education lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

To address this challenge, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister committed to working with parents, teachers, and education providers to develop a long-term plan to help schools, colleges, and nurseries support pupils to make up their education over the course of this Parliament.

Sir Kevan Collins was appointed as Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on the development of the long-term recovery plan. Sir Kevan will engage with parents, pupils, and teachers in the development of this broader approach and review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on education. Further details will be shared in due course.

£1.7 billion has been made available in funding to support education recovery. In June 2020, we announced a £1 billion catch-up package including a National Tutoring Programme and a Catch-up Premium for this academic year. In February 2021, we committed to further funding of £700 million to fund summer schools, expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years settings, schools, and providers of 16-19 education.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of (a) graduate job vacancies and (b) apprenticeship starts in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England.

We recognise that a number of education leavers will face challenges gaining employment due to the ongoing adverse impact on the UK labour market and economy of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows that unemployment amongst graduates in the UK has been consistently lower than the total unemployed. The unemployment rate for recent graduates remains below the youth (16-24 years of age) unemployment rate. This data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/graduateslabourmarketoutcomesduringthecoronaviruscovid19pandemicoccupationalswitchesandskillmismatch/2021-03-08. We do not hold data about graduate-specific job vacancies and how these vary by region.

The government is doing all it can to help people who are at the start of their career journey. The Department for Work and Pensions is aiming to have a nationwide network of 27,000 Work Coaches in place by the end of March 2021 to support jobseekers and match them with employers who are recruiting.

As part of the government’s skills recovery package Plan for Jobs announced on 8 July 2020, we are investing an additional £32 million in the National Careers Service up to March 2022. This investment will provide individual careers advice for 269,000 more people whose jobs or learning have been affected by COVID-19. On 29 September 2020 we added additional courses to The Skills Toolkit covering digital, numeracy and employability skills. The new content includes a range of courses to develop ‘work readiness’ skills that employers report they value in their new recruits.

The Department for Education is working with Universities UK, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, the Institute of Student Employers, the Office for Students, and the sector to understand what more we can do to support graduates who are looking to enter the labour market or continue their studies at this challenging time.

Apprenticeships are more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need. In recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak we introduced a number of flexibilities to ensure that apprenticeships can continue where possible. This includes flexibilities to off-the-job training to support remote learning and making it possible for furloughed apprentices to continue their apprenticeships and undertake end-point assessments.

To help employers across the country offer new apprenticeships we have increased the duration and level of incentive payments. Employers will be able to claim £3,000 for each apprentice they take on as a new employee between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 under the government’s Plan for Jobs. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/incentive-payments-for-hiring-a-new-apprentice.

Apprenticeships starts in the first quarter of 2020/21 academic year (reported to date) in the requested geographies, and the equivalent 2019/20 academic year figures are shown in the attached table.

The latest data on apprenticeships and traineeships is published here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of young people remaining in (a) further and (b) higher education.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have been supporting all colleges and post-16 learning providers to deliver high-quality education and training to their students, including apprentices. Providers have worked flexibly and innovatively to adapt to the situation to engage students, delivering both remote and face-to-face learning.

Latest figures show that the number of young people who were Not in Education or Training fell from 2019 to 2020.

Age 16: 4.7% (5.0% in 2019) -0.3pp

Age 17: 3.6% (8.1% in 2019) -4.6pp

Age 18: 27.3% (31.9% in 2019) -4.6pp

These figures relate directly to participation and this annual change provides the best way to evaluate those remaining in or starting further education.

It is hard to predict the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the higher education (HE) sector. We are working extremely closely with providers, the Office for Students and across government to ensure that the interests of current and future students are protected. We will ensure that students, the wider public, and an international audience understand that the HE sector remains “open for business” and that it is committed to maintaining its world class status.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to reduce barriers to university for people from disadvantaged backgrounds in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

It is more crucial than ever before that we tap into the brilliant talent that our country has to offer, and make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.

All higher education (HE) providers wanting to charge higher level fees must have an Access and Participation Plan agreed by the Office for Students (OfS), in which they set out the measures they intend to take to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups to access and succeed in higher education.

In our latest strategic guidance to the OfS we asked them to urge providers to do more to ensure that all students, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, are recruited on to courses that will deliver good outcomes. Too many students are being let down by courses with low completion rates and courses which have no real labour market demand and therefore do not lead them into skilled employment.

We want to help disadvantaged students by driving up standards, not by levelling down. True social mobility is when we put students and their needs and career ambitions first, be that HE, further education or apprenticeships.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) financial and (b) other support his Department has provided to students affected by the covid-19 lockdown.

The government is aware of the disproportionate impact this crisis will have on some students. Officials are working with the sector to continue to monitor the situation.

We have worked closely with the Office for Students (OfS) to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. Providers are able to use the funding, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment, and mental health support. We are also making available an additional £50 million of hardship funding this financial year. In total we have made £70 million of funding available for student hardship given the £20 million made available to higher education (HE) providers in December 2020.

Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

We have worked with the OfS to provide Student Space, which has been funded with up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform that aims to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services. I have been clear that ensuring students have access to quality mental health support is my top priority, which is why I asked the OfS to look at extending the platform. I am delighted they have been able to extend the platform to support students for the whole 2020/21 academic year, because no student should be left behind at this challenging time. This resource provides dedicated one-to-one phone, text and web chat facilities, as well as a collaborative online platform providing vital mental health and wellbeing resources.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/22 through proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities Grant funding.

On 13 January, I wrote to the OfS, the regulator for HE providers in England. I outlined government expectations of the HE sector. Universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have the resources to study remotely.

The government will continue to work closely with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, professional bodies and the Office for Students to ensure students continue to leave university with qualifications that have real value, reflect their hard work and allow people to progress.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle educational disadvantage in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

Disadvantaged pupils have always been at the heart of our education policy. Since 2011 we have been providing extra funding - £2.4 billion this year alone - through the pupil premium for school leaders to boost the progress and attainment of their disadvantaged pupils. This year, schools in Coventry North East are sharing additional funding of £6.7 million from the pupil premium; the figure for Coventry city is £18.1 million.

To ensure schools have the tools to make effective use of the funding we established the £137 million Education Endowment Foundation. It carries out extensive research to produce guidance reports for schools setting out how they can use the additional funding to best improve their disadvantaged pupils’ outcomes. This guidance is available here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/evidence-summaries/pupil-premium-guide/.

Alongside this, our £1 billion catch-up package for the current academic year includes a £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. This is increasing access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackling the attainment gap between them and their peers.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak we have distributed over one million laptops to disadvantaged pupils so they can continue their studies remotely. On 24 February 2021, the government announced a £700 million Education Recovery package, focusing on an expansion of one-to-one and small group tutoring programmes, as well as supporting the development of disadvantaged children in early years settings, and summer provision for those pupils who need it the most. This includes a one-off Recovery Premium for the next academic year that will be allocated to schools based on the same methodology as the pupil premium. In this way, schools with more disadvantaged pupils will receive larger allocations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the financial stability of early years and childcare providers in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

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

As long as the staff meet the other criteria for the scheme, schools and early years providers are able to furlough their staff if they have experienced a drop in either their income from parents or government. Eligible nurseries can also benefit from a business rates holiday and can access the business loans as set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This is inclusive of Coventry North East constituency, Coventry, the West Midlands, and England. We have not taken different approaches in different areas.

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

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

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the spend on literacy programmes for children under seven in England in each of the last 10 years.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards, ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding, and literacy is a key aspect of overall school funding. In cash terms, the total funding allocated to schools was £47.6 billion in the 2020-21 financial year, an increase of 36.1% compared to the £35 billion allocated in the 2010-11 financial year. The total school funding per year, across the past 10 years, is set out in the annual school funding statistics publication which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-funding-statistics. School budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020-21 financial year, £4.8 billion in the 2021-22 financial year and £7.1 billion in the 2022-23 financial year, compared to the 2019-20 financial year.

The Department for Education also currently funds, and has funded, a range of programmes to support literacy development for children under 7. In 2018, we launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading in Reception and Year 1, particularly for disadvantaged children. Since its launch, we have invested a further £17 million in this school-to-school improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. The programme has provided targeted support to several thousands of schools across England and, in this academic year (2020-21), it is providing intensive support to over 850 partner schools.

Through the Early Years Professional Development Programme, we are investing £20 million to provide practitioners in nurseries with access to high-quality training to raise practitioners’ skills in supporting young children’s development in early language, literacy, and Mathematics. We have also invested £9 million of National Tutoring Programme funding in improving the language skills of reception age children who need it most this academic year, through the Nuffield Early Language Intervention.

Additionally, the £90 million Opportunity Areas programme is targeting support to 12 of the most disadvantaged areas in England. 11 of the 12 areas have made improving phonics and literacy a priority, and 8 of those have particularly focussed on improving speech and language in early years. The exact amounts spent on these issues vary across the areas.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to (a) schools and (b) colleges on the use of clear face coverings to aid the learning of deaf students during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s guidance on face coverings can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

As the guidance outlines, during national lockdown, in schools and colleges where Year 7 and above are taught, face coverings should be worn by adults (staff and visitors), pupils and students when moving around indoors, outside of classrooms and other teaching situations, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Based on current evidence and the measures that schools and colleges are already putting in place, such as the system of controls and consistent bubbles, face coverings will not generally be necessary in the classroom.

Children in primary schools do not need to wear a face covering.

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

Face coverings can make it more difficult to communicate with pupils and students with additional needs or those who many rely on lip reading or facial expressions for understanding. We expect staff to be sensitive to these needs when teaching and interacting with pupils and students.

We continue to provide information to the sector on our guidance, and any changes to it, through regular departmental communications. We also continue to work with the sector to understand the impact of the system of controls on staff, pupils and parents.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions (a) his Department and (b) agencies of his Department have had with the Coventry College Board on the availability of capital funding to refurbish or rebuild its Henley Campus; and what the outcome was of those discussions.

Coventry College has two campuses, City and Henley, located less than two miles apart. The further education commissioner and the team have undertaken two visits to Coventry College in 2020, on the 9 and 10 March and 22 September. Space utilisation at both sites is below 30%, with Henley requiring significant capital investment to bring it up to a good standard. Travel to learn patterns indicate that learners travel from across the city to access provision at Henley and as such will not be adversely affected by the move to City.

Local authorities have a critical role to play in ensuring adequacy of provision and support for young people to access and participate in education and training. Their responsibilities and duties relating to participation are set out in the published statutory guidance for local authorities. This includes securing sufficient suitable education and training provision for all young people in their area who are over compulsory school age, but under 19 or aged 19 to 25 and for whom an education, health and care plan is maintained. This is a duty under the Education Act 1996. To fulfil this, local authorities need to have a strategic overview of the provision available in their area and to identify and resolve gaps in provision. More information on provision and support for young people in education and training can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561546/Participation-of-young-people-in-education-employment-or-training.pdf.

Where local authorities feel that there is a specific gap in provision that cannot be addressed by existing providers, there is a process by which this can be brought to the attention of the Education and Skills Funding Agency for consideration and action as appropriate.

No colleges have closed in Coventry in the past ten years. In 2017 City College Coventry merged with Henley College to form Coventry College. No campuses have closed in Coventry in the past ten years. Three college sites have closed across the West Midlands in the past ten years.

In recent years capital funding has been managed by the local enterprise partnerships via the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. However, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced in June 2020 that an initial £200 million of the £1.5 billion capital funding to upgrade the further education estate was to be brought forward to this financial year (2020-21). This was paid to all eligible further education colleges and designated institutions in September 2020. Coventry College received £1.044 million. The Further Education Capital Transformation Fund, which will invest the remaining £1.3 billion over the coming 5 years, to upgrade the further education estate, opened for bids from colleges on 21 January 2021.

As part of the review, undertaken by the further education commissioner, and during recent engagement with Coventry College the availability of this capital funding has been discussed. Given the poor space utilisation at both Henley and City sites (less than 30% at each), the board agreed to close the Henley site and focus capital investment on creating enhanced facilities on the City site.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much capital funding his Department has provided to further education colleges in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry in each of the last ten years.

The department has provided the following capital funding to further education colleges that fall under (a) and (b) in the 2020-21 financial year. This was provided under the Further Education Capital Allocation.

2020-21 financial year

(a) Coventry College is the only college in the North East constituency. Prior to 2017 it was Henley College

£1,044,481

(b) Coventry as a whole: Coventry College (prior to 2017- City College Coventry & Henley College and Hereward College)

£1,131,010

Between financial year 2015-16 and the present, Local Economic Partnerships have had devolved responsibility for allocating skills capital funding via the Local Growth Fund.

Between financial year 2010-11 and financial year 2014-15, capital funding for colleges was the responsibility of the Skills Funding Agency. It awarded the following funding to Coventry College’s predecessor colleges:

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

(c) Coventry College is the only college in the North East constituency. Prior to 2017 it was Henley College

£2,000,000

£120,000

£310,000

£82,945

(d) Coventry as a whole: Coventry College (prior to 2017- City College Coventry & Henley College and Hereward College)

£2,100,000

£120,000

£310,000

£82,945

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the closure of Coventry College’s Henley Campus on (a) further education provision and (b) social mobility in Coventry North East constituency.

Coventry College has two campuses, City and Henley, located less than two miles apart. The further education commissioner and the team have undertaken two visits to Coventry College in 2020, on the 9 and 10 March and 22 September. Space utilisation at both sites is below 30%, with Henley requiring significant capital investment to bring it up to a good standard. Travel to learn patterns indicate that learners travel from across the city to access provision at Henley and as such will not be adversely affected by the move to City.

Local authorities have a critical role to play in ensuring adequacy of provision and support for young people to access and participate in education and training. Their responsibilities and duties relating to participation are set out in the published statutory guidance for local authorities. This includes securing sufficient suitable education and training provision for all young people in their area who are over compulsory school age, but under 19 or aged 19 to 25 and for whom an education, health and care plan is maintained. This is a duty under the Education Act 1996. To fulfil this, local authorities need to have a strategic overview of the provision available in their area and to identify and resolve gaps in provision. More information on provision and support for young people in education and training can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561546/Participation-of-young-people-in-education-employment-or-training.pdf.

Where local authorities feel that there is a specific gap in provision that cannot be addressed by existing providers, there is a process by which this can be brought to the attention of the Education and Skills Funding Agency for consideration and action as appropriate.

No colleges have closed in Coventry in the past ten years. In 2017 City College Coventry merged with Henley College to form Coventry College. No campuses have closed in Coventry in the past ten years. Three college sites have closed across the West Midlands in the past ten years.

In recent years capital funding has been managed by the local enterprise partnerships via the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. However, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced in June 2020 that an initial £200 million of the £1.5 billion capital funding to upgrade the further education estate was to be brought forward to this financial year (2020-21). This was paid to all eligible further education colleges and designated institutions in September 2020. Coventry College received £1.044 million. The Further Education Capital Transformation Fund, which will invest the remaining £1.3 billion over the coming 5 years, to upgrade the further education estate, opened for bids from colleges on 21 January 2021.

As part of the review, undertaken by the further education commissioner, and during recent engagement with Coventry College the availability of this capital funding has been discussed. Given the poor space utilisation at both Henley and City sites (less than 30% at each), the board agreed to close the Henley site and focus capital investment on creating enhanced facilities on the City site.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is his Department's policy to take steps to fill gaps in further education provision as a result of the closure of a further education (a) college and (b) campus.

Coventry College has two campuses, City and Henley, located less than two miles apart. The further education commissioner and the team have undertaken two visits to Coventry College in 2020, on the 9 and 10 March and 22 September. Space utilisation at both sites is below 30%, with Henley requiring significant capital investment to bring it up to a good standard. Travel to learn patterns indicate that learners travel from across the city to access provision at Henley and as such will not be adversely affected by the move to City.

Local authorities have a critical role to play in ensuring adequacy of provision and support for young people to access and participate in education and training. Their responsibilities and duties relating to participation are set out in the published statutory guidance for local authorities. This includes securing sufficient suitable education and training provision for all young people in their area who are over compulsory school age, but under 19 or aged 19 to 25 and for whom an education, health and care plan is maintained. This is a duty under the Education Act 1996. To fulfil this, local authorities need to have a strategic overview of the provision available in their area and to identify and resolve gaps in provision. More information on provision and support for young people in education and training can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561546/Participation-of-young-people-in-education-employment-or-training.pdf.

Where local authorities feel that there is a specific gap in provision that cannot be addressed by existing providers, there is a process by which this can be brought to the attention of the Education and Skills Funding Agency for consideration and action as appropriate.

No colleges have closed in Coventry in the past ten years. In 2017 City College Coventry merged with Henley College to form Coventry College. No campuses have closed in Coventry in the past ten years. Three college sites have closed across the West Midlands in the past ten years.

In recent years capital funding has been managed by the local enterprise partnerships via the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. However, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced in June 2020 that an initial £200 million of the £1.5 billion capital funding to upgrade the further education estate was to be brought forward to this financial year (2020-21). This was paid to all eligible further education colleges and designated institutions in September 2020. Coventry College received £1.044 million. The Further Education Capital Transformation Fund, which will invest the remaining £1.3 billion over the coming 5 years, to upgrade the further education estate, opened for bids from colleges on 21 January 2021.

As part of the review, undertaken by the further education commissioner, and during recent engagement with Coventry College the availability of this capital funding has been discussed. Given the poor space utilisation at both Henley and City sites (less than 30% at each), the board agreed to close the Henley site and focus capital investment on creating enhanced facilities on the City site.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of further education (a) colleges and (b) campuses that (i) have closed in the last ten years and (ii) are currently proposed to close in (A) Coventry, (B) the West Midlands and (C) England.

Coventry College has two campuses, City and Henley, located less than two miles apart. The further education commissioner and the team have undertaken two visits to Coventry College in 2020, on the 9 and 10 March and 22 September. Space utilisation at both sites is below 30%, with Henley requiring significant capital investment to bring it up to a good standard. Travel to learn patterns indicate that learners travel from across the city to access provision at Henley and as such will not be adversely affected by the move to City.

Local authorities have a critical role to play in ensuring adequacy of provision and support for young people to access and participate in education and training. Their responsibilities and duties relating to participation are set out in the published statutory guidance for local authorities. This includes securing sufficient suitable education and training provision for all young people in their area who are over compulsory school age, but under 19 or aged 19 to 25 and for whom an education, health and care plan is maintained. This is a duty under the Education Act 1996. To fulfil this, local authorities need to have a strategic overview of the provision available in their area and to identify and resolve gaps in provision. More information on provision and support for young people in education and training can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561546/Participation-of-young-people-in-education-employment-or-training.pdf.

Where local authorities feel that there is a specific gap in provision that cannot be addressed by existing providers, there is a process by which this can be brought to the attention of the Education and Skills Funding Agency for consideration and action as appropriate.

No colleges have closed in Coventry in the past ten years. In 2017 City College Coventry merged with Henley College to form Coventry College. No campuses have closed in Coventry in the past ten years. Three college sites have closed across the West Midlands in the past ten years.

In recent years capital funding has been managed by the local enterprise partnerships via the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. However, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced in June 2020 that an initial £200 million of the £1.5 billion capital funding to upgrade the further education estate was to be brought forward to this financial year (2020-21). This was paid to all eligible further education colleges and designated institutions in September 2020. Coventry College received £1.044 million. The Further Education Capital Transformation Fund, which will invest the remaining £1.3 billion over the coming 5 years, to upgrade the further education estate, opened for bids from colleges on 21 January 2021.

As part of the review, undertaken by the further education commissioner, and during recent engagement with Coventry College the availability of this capital funding has been discussed. Given the poor space utilisation at both Henley and City sites (less than 30% at each), the board agreed to close the Henley site and focus capital investment on creating enhanced facilities on the City site.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support schools to educate their students about the dangers of carrying a knife.

The new subjects of Relationships Education (for primary aged pupils), Relationships and Sex Education (for secondary aged pupils), and Health Education (for all pupils in state funded schools) are being taught from this academic year. The content of the statutory guidance for the new subjects can help address the underlying causes of knife crime.

Pupils should be taught how to build positive and respectful relationships and appropriate ways of resolving conflict. The guidance includes a clear statement that pupils will be taught that resorting to violence is never acceptable. Pupils need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal, and social lives in a positive way.

Health Education should also support a school’s whole-school approach to fostering pupil wellbeing and developing pupils’ resilience and ability to self-regulate. This integrated, whole-school approach to the teaching and promotion of health and wellbeing has the potential to positively impact on behaviour and attainment. Pupils should be taught about the benefits of hobbies, interests and participation in their own communities as well as the importance of physical activity. This can help focus on alternative activities pupils can engage in.

Issues around knife crime can also still be taught as part of a school’s wider curriculum. For example, schools can choose to include lessons on weapons awareness and gangs as part of their Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education or Citizenship curriculum, with high quality materials available to schools to support teaching in these areas.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the average monthly cost was of a childcare place in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each year since 2010.

For a child taking up the universal 15 hours entitlement, the costs to the government are as follows:

  • in Coventry local authority for 2020-21: £2,565 a year (or £4.50 an hour);
  • in the West Midlands for 2020-21: average £2,582 a year (or £4.53 an hour); and
  • in England for 2020-21: average £2,764 a year (or £4.85 an hour).

Early years funding rates from the introduction of the early years national funding formula in 2017-18 can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-national-funding-formula-allocations-and-guidance.

Early years funding allocations are published as part of the dedicated schools grant here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dedicated-schools-grant-dsg-2020-to-2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department issues on nutrition in packed lunches.

We encourage schools to have a whole school approach to healthy eating. Schools may use the School Food Standards as a guide, when writing their packed lunch policies. For example, confectionery is banned throughout the school day and foods high in salt, sugar and fat are restricted.

We want to make it easier for parents to feel confident that they are preparing healthy balanced, lunches for their children. Further information such as recipes, tips and swap suggestions that are practical and affordable for parents are available on the Change4Life website at: https://www.nhs.uk/change4life-beta/healthier-lunchboxes.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the Government's (a) planned and (b) actual expenditure on 16 to 19 education provision was in each of the last five years in (i) Coventry, (ii) the West Midlands and (iii) England.

16 to 19 funding is not allocated to specific geographic locations. The department allocates the funding through a national funding formula to individual institutions, who are able to use their funds as appropriate to support students in line with the funding rules we set each year.

We publish our allocations by institution and these can be found at the link below. This covers the last 5 academic years: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-education-funding-allocations#published-allocations.

It should be noted that this data relates to institutions and is therefore not a measure of allocations to residents within Coventry or the West Midlands.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the average number of hours per week of sport and physical activity undertaken by pupils in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in each of the last five years; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of sport and physical activity participation in schools.

The Department does not collect information from schools on the time pupils spend each week on sport and physical activity.

Sport England’s annual Active Lives Children’s Survey collects information on the proportion of pupils who do 30 minutes or more of physical activity in school each day. It was first carried out in the 2017/18 academic year. The most recent survey is available here: https://www.sportengland.org/news/active-lives-children-and-young-people-survey-academic-year-201819-report-published.

The results of the 2019/20 Active Lives Children’s Survey will be published in the new year and will include information on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport, and physical activity will be provided during the COVID-19 outbreak, whilst following the measures in their system of controls. The Department recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak has had an impact on schools’ ability to teach PE and to provide opportunities to take part in sport. This is especially the case for swimming, where access to venues has been restricted due to water safety measures. To help schools provide the best possible range of activities, the Department’s guidance for the full opening of schools refers to more detailed advice and support from organisations such as the Association for PE, Youth Sport Trust, Sport England, and Swim England: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the average class size in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in (i) Coventry North East Constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England.

Average class size statistics are contained in the National Statistics release ‘Schools pupils and their characteristics’ and available at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics.

In the 'Download associated files' section, the file ‘Class sizes – state-funded primary and secondary schools’ has this information at national, regional and local authority level. The file ‘school level underlying data – class sizes’ has school level information that can be filtered at parliamentary constituency level. The release also has a function to create bespoke tables. For convenience, this link provides a table for Coventry, the West Midlands and England: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/3576031b-f586-4e21-8f12-f4650fe80205.

2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary age children in (i) the West Midlands and (ii) Coventry who attend a school rated (A) outstanding and (B) good by Ofsted.

The data published by Ofsted shows the number of schools rated as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, and Inadequate which is available from the published data.

Please see the attached table.

24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of school leavers have participated in higher education in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each year since 2010.

The attached table shows the number and proportion of students leaving state-funded schools and colleges in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England that went on to sustained higher education in the year after 16 to 18 study (taking A level or other level 3 qualifications) in academic years 2010/11 to 2018/19.

It should be noted that from 2017/18, the 16-18 group of leavers contains additional students who took level 3 qualifications, not included in the 16-18 attainment tables. Information on student destinations is published annually at https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/16-18-destination-measures.

An activity is considered as being sustained if a student had 6 months of recorded continuous activity in higher education between October and March following the latest 16-18 provider attendance.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provides to help children with disabilities travel to and from school.

Local authorities have a statutory duty under section 508B of the Education Act 1996 to make travel arrangements to enable all eligible children of compulsory school age to attend their nearest suitable school. This includes those who live beyond the statutory walking distance (2 miles for children under the age of 8 and 3 miles for children aged 8 and over) and those whose special educational needs, disability or mobility problem mean they could not reasonably be expected to walk to the school. Local authorities spend more than £600 million every year on transport for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Department has allocated more than £70 million to local transport authorities (LTA), enabling them to increase dedicated home to school and college transport capacity over the autumn term. LTAs have flexibility in how they use this funding to meet the needs of local families.

The Government has provided £4.6 billion of funding to support councils through the COVID-19 outbreak.?This funding is un-ringfenced, recognising that local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major COVID-19 service pressures in their local area.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of first-aid trained teachers in schools in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The information requested is not held centrally.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding from the public purse has been made available for adult education courses in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last ten years.

The adult education budget (AEB) is not allocated to specific geographies. The department allocates the AEB to individual providers who, under the current freedoms and flexibility policy, are able to use their funds to support any English learners in line with the funding rules set each year.

We publish our allocations by training provider. These can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/19-funding-allocations#supporting-documents. This data relates to training providers and is therefore not a measure of allocation to residents within Coventry or the West Midlands.

From 1 August 2019, part of the AEB was devolved to 6 mayoral combined authorities and the Greater London Authority. These authorities are now responsible for funding and allocating adult education provision for learners who are resident in their areas.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department provides to (a) primary and (b) secondary schools on the amount of financial education that should be provided to students.

Education on financial matters ensures that young people are prepared to manage their money, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information, if required. In 2014, for the first time, financial literacy was made statutory within the National Curriculum as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year olds.

The Department also introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides pupils with the knowledge and skills to make important financial decisions. The Government has published statutory programmes of study for mathematics and citizenship that outline what pupils should learn about financial education from Key Stages one to four.

In the primary mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the arithmetic that pupils should have. This knowledge is vital, as a strong understanding of numeracy and numbers will underpin the pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money. There is also some specific content about financial education such as calculations with money.

The Department trusts schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular school, drawing on the expertise of subject associations and organisations such as Young Money.

Schools should have resumed teaching an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the autumn term. This means that all pupils will be taught a wide range of subjects so they can maintain their choices for further study and employment. The Department’s latest guidance on teaching to support children is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The Department’s £1 billion COVID-19 “catch-up” package with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020/21 academic year will support education settings to put the right catch-up support in place. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/billion-pound-covid-catch-up-plan-to-tackle-impact-of-lost-teaching-time. The Education Endowment Foundation have published a COVID-19 support guide to support schools to direct this funding. This guide can be viewed at: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/#closeSignup.

For the longer term, the Department will continue to work closely with The Money and Pension Service and HM Treasury, to consider how to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much (a) revenue and (b) capital funding in cash terms was provided per pupil in state (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools in (A) Coventry North East constituency and (B) Coventry in each of the last ten years.

The revenue funding allocated for schools for the financial years 2010/11 to 2019/20 for Coventry local authority is shown in the table below. Aggregated schools funding is not allocated to primary and secondary schools separately, nor to parliamentary constituencies. Primary and secondary pupil numbers for each local authority in England can be found in the local authority tables for each year through following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-school-and-pupil-numbers.

Financial Year

Coventry local authority (£millions)

2010-11

241.9

2011-12

249.8

2012-13

257.6

2013-14

279.6

2014-15

292.0

2015-16

298.0

2016-17

302.2

2017-18

314.2

2018-19

324.5

2019-20

337.2

Data for allocations prior to 2011/12 are not readily available. Most funding allocations are calculated at a responsible body level, and cannot be broken down to per pupil, primary or secondary, and constituency levels. This is because many responsible bodies, such as academy trusts, span local authority boundaries and decisions on investment in individual schools are often taken at a local level.

Basic need funding is allocated to local authorities to provide new school places in their area. The Department provides basic need funding for every place that is needed, based on local authorities’ own data on pupil forecasts. These allocations are calculated in line with demographic growth in the local area rather than existing population, so allocations may fluctuate across years. There are now 8,594 more school places in Coventry than there were in 2010.

In addition to this, Coventry has been allocated nearly £4 million through the Special Provision Capital Fund across 2018-21. This funding is intended to help local authorities create new places and improve facilities for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

(All Values £millions)

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14 and 2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

Basic Need allocations

9.9

9.7

12.5

0

0

3.2

6

8.2

1.9

23.7

Special Provision Capital Fund

-

-

-

-

-

-

0.8

2.4

0.8

-

[1], [2]

In addition to basic need funding, the Department allocates condition funding each year to those responsible for school buildings to improve and maintain the condition of the school estate.

For an explanation of condition funding and a breakdown of condition allocations paid to Coventry local authority to invest in maintained schools over the last ten years, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 17 November 2020 to Question 114205.

[1] For financial years 2015/16 to 2020/21, the figures above may differ from the original allocations. This is because allocations have been subsequently adjusted to reflect a revised schedule of payments, for example where payments have been modified in order to support local authority cashflow.

[2] This table does not include historic Targeted Basic Need funding – Coventry received £9.2 million through this in 2013-15.

13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on the number of people undertaking paid apprenticeships in Coventry North East constituency as at 13 November 2020.

The department holds and publishes a range of data relating to apprenticeships, using the information collected through the Individualised Learner Record. For example, information on the number of learners starting apprenticeships by geographical area, including by parliamentary constituency, is published on GOV.UK. The table below provides apprenticeship starts for the Coventry North East Consistency in the 2018/19 academic year and in the first three quarters of the 2019/20 academic year, reported to date:

2018/19

2019/20 (August to April, reported to date)

Apprenticeship Starts

1,010

680


Figures for the full, final 2019/20 academic year are due to be published in our next ‘Apprenticeships and traineeships’ statistics publication, on 26 November 2020 at 09:30.

Notes:

1) Volumes are rounded to the nearest ten.

2) The data source is the Individualised Learner Record and includes full, final year data for 2018/19 and reported to date figures for the first three quarters of the 2019/20 academic year.

3) In this table, numbers are a count of the number of starts. Learners starting more than one apprenticeship will appear more than once.

4) Figures for 2018/19 and 2019/20 are based on the geographic boundaries as of April 2019.

5) Geographical breakdowns are based upon the home postcode of the learner.

This data is published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/899753/201920-July_totals-since-may-2010-and-2015.xlsx.

Which can be accessed in the FE data library on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fe-data-library-apprenticeships.

All learners starting apprenticeships are paid at least the minimum wage. Additional information on the rules and regulations of employing apprentices is available on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/employing-an-apprentice.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of children starting primary school in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England had literacy skills below the expected school-ready level in each of the last five years.

The table attached shows the number and percentage of children not achieving the expected level in literacy (the reading and/or writing early learning goals) at the end of their reception year. Figures are provided for each of the four requested regions, for the previous five academic years recorded. No data was recorded for 2019/20 due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to close the attainment gap in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The Department is aware that all pupils, regardless of their background, have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We are providing schools with the resources and tools to address lost education so that all pupils may make up lost ground. Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package is providing additional funding so that schools can support pupils who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/billion-pound-covid-catch-up-plan-to-tackle-impact-of-lost-teaching-time.

As part of this, the £650 million universal Catch-Up Premium is enabling all schools to identify and prioritise support for pupils to address their needs: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium. This complements the National Tutoring Programme, which is targeting £350 million to accelerate the academic progress of disadvantaged pupils by making high-quality tutors available to schools in all regions at a greatly reduced rate.

English schools continue to receive the Pupil Premium, worth £2.4 billion again this year, to enable them to arrange extra personalised support for disadvantaged pupils. This year, schools in the Coventry North East constituency are sharing £6.8 million provided through this grant, with schools in Coventry local authority sharing more than £18.2 million. The figure for the fourteen local authorities in the West Midlands region is £316.39 million. More information about Pupil Premium allocations and conditions of grant in the 2020/21 financial year is available through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

The Department founded the Education Endowment Foundation in 2011 to research and disseminate the most effective ways to improve the progress of disadvantaged pupils. So far, it has conducted 190 trials in 13,000 English schools, leading to the publication of a comprehensive range of internationally recognised effective practices. This research shows that schools effectively implementing the best evidence-based approaches can make a difference to the future of every pupil.

We developed a Disadvantage Gap Index that is unaffected by our widespread educational reforms. The index shows that, between 2011 and 2019, the attainment gaps between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils narrowed by 13% at age 11 and 9% at age 16: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/evidence-summaries/attainment-gap/. Most disadvantaged pupils now attend good or outstanding schools. In March 2020, 86% of schools were Good or Outstanding compared to just 68% in 2010. Our reforms have supported this improvement.

We know there is more to do for disadvantaged pupils, hence our £90m Opportunity Areas programme: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/opportunity-areas-programme-to-support-young-people-hit-hardest-by-pandemic. The long-term objective of the programme is to transform the life chances of children and young people in 12 areas of the country with low social mobility, whilst learning more about what works to improve education outcomes in coastal, rural and urban areas. The programme seeks to tackle regional inequality, convening resources, testing new approaches and unlocking barriers in those geographic areas, such as Stoke-on-Trent in the West Midlands, where the educational challenges are greatest.


12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve social mobility in post-16 education for people in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

True social mobility is when we put students, their needs and career ambitions first, be that through Higher Education (HE), Further Education (FE) or Apprenticeships. Our policies supporting mobility in post-16 education will benefit people across the country, including Coventry and the West Midlands.

All young people in England are required to continue in education or training until the age of 18. This was implemented because the small group of young people that were not participating included some of the most vulnerable and we want to give all young people the opportunity to develop the skills they need for adult life and to achieve their full potential.

To support students with a disadvantage to participate in post-16 education, we provide funding for disadvantaged students, aged between 16-19, via allocations to institutions. These allocations include funding to account for students’ economic deprivation (Disadvantage Block 1), and low prior attainment and/or special educational needs, using English and maths attainment as a proxy (Disadvantage Block 2).

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund targets support at young people who most need help with the costs of staying on in post-16 education and training. It provides funding to young people, aged between 16 and 19, who need financial support with costs to stay in FE.

We also apply a disadvantage uplift through our adult funding system. This results in a funding increase for learners living in the most deprived areas of the country, as we base the uplift on the learner’s postcode. We apply this consistently across the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s ‘formula-funded’ Adult Education Budget (AEB) provision.

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

Apprenticeships offer high quality training opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds and can be a true driver of social mobility combining a job with high quality training. To help employers offer new apprenticeships, they are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25 before 31 January 2021. This is in recognition of the particular impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the employment prospects of this group. In addition, our Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge programme supports schools across England to provide disadvantaged students with information on apprenticeships.

It is more crucial than ever before that we tap into the brilliant talent that our country has to offer, and make sure that HE is available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue it, and who wish to do so, no matter where they grow up.

Latest UCAS data from 2020 admissions shows that record rates of 18 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds are going to university. However, there is clearly more to do to make sure everyone who has the talent and potential can thrive in HE. It is not enough to just get them through the door; attention needs to be paid to retention rates and graduate outcomes. Our reforms are continuing to open routes of progression, including HE, to enable students to make informed choices.

Through Access and Participation Plans, agreed with the Office for Students (OfS), HE providers are expected to reduce the gaps in access, success and progression for under-represented groups amongst their students.

The OfS-funded Uni Connect programme delivers collaborative outreach activity to schools and colleges in areas where participation in HE is lower than expected, based on attainment levels. Uni Connect partnerships work with schools to deliver bespoke programmes to reach out to underrepresented groups in HE, and have been successful in addressing cold spots so that no young person is left behind.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of primary school pupils were in receipt of free school meals in (a) Coventry and (b) Coventry North East constituency in each year since 2010.

The number of primary school pupils that were in receipt of free school meals (FSM), in (a) Coventry and (b) Coventry North East constituency, each year since 2010 are given in the table attached. The figures are published in the ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ publication available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department has allocated to businesses in Coventry to support the recruitment of apprentices in each of the last 10 years.

The government does not allocate apprenticeships funding directly to employers. Employers in England who pay the apprenticeship levy can access funds for apprenticeship training via their apprenticeship service accounts. Employers that do not pay the levy can also now access apprenticeships through the service or through a training provider contracted by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to deliver apprenticeships until 31 March 2021, after which all employers will access funding via the service.

Many levy-paying employers operate in more than one location, and they can spend the funds in their accounts on apprenticeship training across England. We cannot, therefore, disaggregate levy drawdown to individual regions as to the proportion that has been spent on apprenticeship recruitment. Providers’ allocated funding to deliver apprenticeships may operate in multiple locations.

Employer demand for apprenticeships has meant that there have been 30,850 apprenticeship starts in the Coventry local authority since May 2010. The table attached provides annual apprenticeship starts in Coventry since the 2010/11 academic year.

Data as reported on the Individualised Learner Record, as published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/899753/201920-July_totals-since-may-2010-and-2015.xlsx

In the financial year 2020/21, funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England is almost £2.5 billion, double what was spent in financial year 2010/11. This funds the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment, any recruitment costs are incurred by the employer.

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow. To help support employers to offer new apprenticeships, employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those aged 25 and over until 31 January 2021. The new payment means it’s a great time for employers in Coventry to offer new apprenticeship opportunities.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department has allocated to schools for building improvement programmes in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry in each year since 2010.

The Department allocates condition funding each year to those responsible for school buildings to improve and maintain the condition of the school estate. Most condition funding allocations are calculated at a responsible body level and cannot be broken down to constituency level, as decisions on investment are often taken at a local level.

Schools and those responsible for school buildings receive condition funding through different routes depending on their size and type. The majority of condition funding is paid to responsible bodies through annual School Condition Allocations (SCA). Devolved Formula Capital (DFC) is also allocated to schools to spend on their own capital priorities.


The Department has allocated over £48 million in condition funding to Coventry local authority since 2011. This includes SCA (and up to the 2019-20 financial year, funding paid via the local authority Voluntary Aided Programme for voluntary aided schools), and DFC. In the 2018-19 financial year, additional funding was also made available through the Healthy Pupils Condition Fund (HPCF), as well as £400 million additional DFC. In the 2020-21 financial year, the Government made an additional £560 million available for essential maintenance and upgrade projects, with Coventry local authority’s share included below. Data for allocations prior to the 2011-12 financial year is not readily available.

For each financial year since 2011, the Department has allocated Coventry local authority the following:

Financial year condition funding (SCA, LCVAP, DFC, HPCF and additional funding for 2020-21)

2011-12

£6,959,545

2012-13

£5,914,506

2013-14

£5,383,002

2014-15

£5,136,341

2015-16

£5,202,103

2016-17

£4,351,401

2017-18

£3,913,977

2018-19

£4,984,484 (including Coventry local authority's allocation from an additional £400m DFC funding and HPCF)

2019-20

£3,526,009

2020-21

£3,560,085 (including £975,268 in additional funding from the additional £560m announced this year)

Large multi-academy trusts and from the 2020-21 financial year, large voluntary aided school bodies, also receive SCA funding to invest in schools for which they are responsible. A full breakdown can be found on GOV.UK. Smaller trusts, voluntary aided schools and sixth form colleges that are not eligible for SCA can bid into the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) each year. Since 2015, the Department has allocated over £19 million to local authorities in Coventry for CIF projects. Data prior to the 2015-16 financial year is not readily available.

In addition, the Department delivers major building programmes centrally, including the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), which is rebuilding or refurbishing school buildings in the poorest condition at over 500 schools. There are 6 PSBP projects in Coventry including two in your constituency. In June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced plans for a new, ten year school rebuilding programme. Further details will be set out in due course.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of school exclusions.

It is critical for schools to be calm and disciplined environments, for pupils and teaching staff. The Department backs head teachers in using exclusion where warranted. We are clear that there is no right number of exclusions, and permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort. Exclusion from school should not mean exclusion from high-quality education.

The Department is pursuing an ambitious programme of work to improve school behaviour. We are working to improve the availability of good alternative provision, so that permanently excluded children, and children at risk of exclusion, receive high-quality education and support suited to their needs. This includes a £10 million investment in behaviour hubs, which will enable schools and multi-academy trusts with exemplary behaviour cultures and practices to work in partnership with those that want to improve pupil behaviour. We are also working with Ofsted to eliminate on off-rolling.

The Department will also revise guidance on exclusions to make it clearer and more consistent, so that head teachers have the information they need to use exclusion properly and proportionately.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to university for children who have been in care.

I am committed to doing all I can to ensure that we bring down the barriers that prevent care leavers from entering higher education (HE).

It is not good enough that, in 2017-18, only 12% of pupils who were looked after continuously for 12 months or more entered HE compared with 42% of all other pupils.

At the start of this academic year, I wrote to all university Vice-Chancellors to formally invite those who are not yet signatories of the Care Leaver Covenant to make contact about signing up. To help with this, I pointed them to the department’s HE principles, setting out key areas where care leavers need additional support to access and succeed in HE, with examples of best practice drawn from across the sector. The departments HE principles are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/principles-to-guide-he-providers-on-improving-care-leavers-access-and-participation-in-he/principles-to-guide-higher-education-providers-on-improving-care-leavers-access-and-participation-in-he.

I also wrote to local authority Virtual School Heads in September recommending they arranged workshops for care leavers using free resources designed to help young adults prepare for independent student living.

During National Care Leavers’ Week, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families and I contributed to sector-led events, including the ‘Empathy Summit’ staged by Spectra and the Care Leaver Covenant.

Prior to that, I hosted a roundtable for care leavers and estranged students, to discuss the issues they face in both entering and succeeding in HE and I held a summit this month. I brought together universities, HE sector bodies, local authorities, care leaver organisations and other influencers to discuss good practice in support for care leavers and estranged students, and what part we can all play in bringing support practice up to the levels of the best.

I shall be continuing this discussion at a second summit next month.

6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much his Department has spent on advertising for new recruits for teacher training courses in each of the last five years.

The estimated amount spent on advertising for new recruits for teacher training courses in each of the last five years is:

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Total spend (Financial Year)

£5,540,000

£11,370,000

£10,800,000

£12,770,000

£12,780,000

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children are home-schooled in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

Parents are not under a duty to register if they are home educating their children and therefore there is not a robust basis on which the Department can reliably collect statistics on home education.

In relation to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department is working closely with local authorities to encourage a return to full attendance in school and is monitoring the situation. Initial conversations with local authorities indicate that the majority have noticed an increase in enquiries from parents about home education. Where parents are anxious about the safety of their children returning to school, local authorities and school leaders are reinforcing that it is in the best interests of pupils to return to school.

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help improve morale of (a) teachers and (b) other education professionals.

The morale and wellbeing of staff in schools is of vital importance to the Department. Last year, the Department set up an Expert Advisory Group to advise on the wellbeing of staff in schools and colleges. Their recommendations were accepted by ministers and published in June 2020 and can be viewed at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/890547/Nick_Gibb_letter_to_EAG.pdf.

The Department has made a range of commitments to support the wellbeing of teachers and other education professionals in schools and colleges, including the creation of a wellbeing charter for the teaching sector. The charter will help to create an open culture around wellbeing and mental health, and to break down stigma. It will include a range of commitments by the Government, and for employers in schools and colleges, to promote and protect staff wellbeing.

The Department recognises the excellent job that all of those working in education are doing during these challenging circumstances. The Department sponsors the ‘Thank a Teacher’ campaign, run by the Teaching Awards Trust, so that any pupil, parent or member of the public can show their appreciation for education staff working in schools and colleges. Thousands of thank you cards have been sent to education staff since the outbreak of COVID-19, and this year’s Thank a Teacher Day in May was the biggest ever.

The Department also sponsors the National Teaching Awards, which recognise excellence in teachers, schools and education professionals across the UK. We look forward to celebrating the gold winners when they are announced later this year.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of trends in the attainment of pupils at GCSE in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last five years.

The information requested is in the attached table. Statistics for 2019/20 will be published on 26 November 2020.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of attainment of students at A Level in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last five years.

The Department publishes pupil attainment data through several headline measures for each local authority and region of England. These figures can be compared to the national (England) average for all pupils.

The headline measures for 16 to 18 study for each local authority and region in England for the academic years 2009/10 to 2018/19 are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-attainment-at-19-years.

Due to A Level and AS Level reforms and changes to headline measures (including methodological changes), the available figures are only directly comparable between 2009/10 – 2014/15 and 2015/16 – 2018/19.

The last five years’ figures for A Level results for England, the West Midlands region, and Coventry Local Authority are summarised in the tables attached. Constituency level information is not published for 16 to 18 performance measures.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of school attendance in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools.

?It is a priority for the Department to keep a close track of the situation in schools regarding suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Department collects data from schools on a daily basis, gathers information from local areas and follows up with individual settings. This is also to confirm that procedures for requiring pupils to isolate are well understood and that necessary decisions are made on the basis of public health advice.

?Information for school attendance during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. On 22 October 2020, approximately 90% of pupils on roll in state-funded primary schools were in attendance, and approximately 82% of pupils on roll in state-funded secondary schools were in attendance. These estimates exclude schools on half term or inset days.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made a recent assessment of the adequacy of the services available in schools for children who experience a bereavement.

It is for schools to decide what support to offer to their pupils, including for bereavement, and we do not collect detailed information on what schools provide. However, the government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children and young people. Access to mental health support, including bereavement support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak and the department has taken action to ensure schools and colleges are equipped to support children and young people.

As children and young people return to school, staff need to be equipped to understand that some of them may have experienced bereavement. Our guidance signposts further support and resources, including MindEd, which has specific material on bereavement and dealing with death and loss. Further information can be found here: https://www.minded.org.uk/. Our remote learning guidance also signposted online support from the Childhood Bereavement Network and their website, which can be found here: http://www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk/. This was supported by webinars over the summer, which reached thousands of school and college staff.

Additionally, we are investing £8 million in the Wellbeing for Education Return programme, which will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and practical skills they need to support teachers, students and parents, to help improve how they respond to the emotional impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The programme is funding expert advisers in every area of England to train and support schools and colleges during the autumn and spring terms. The training includes specific examples of supporting bereaved children.

Of course, schools and colleges are not mental health professionals, and it is important that more specialist support is available for children and their families. All NHS mental health trusts have ensured that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. This includes a specific section on dealing with bereavement and grief. Advice and guidance for this is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

We have also provided £9.2 million of additional funding for mental health charities, including charities like Young Minds, to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time.

In the long term, we remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage boys of all ages to read more books.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards, ensuring all children can read fluently and with understanding.

In 2014, the Department introduced a new, more rigorous national curriculum. The programme of study for English states that teachers are expected to encourage pupils to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information. There is a focus on reading and a requirement that pupils study a range of books, poems and plays to encourage the development of a life-long love of literature. The programme of study also puts significant emphasis on the importance of early reading and teaching systematic synthetic phonics in Key Stages 1 and 2.

In 2016, England ranked joint 8th of 50 in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). Our average score was the highest of the four PIRLS studies to date and statistically higher than our average performance in 2011 and 2006. The 2016 study also indicates that, while girls in England scored significantly higher than boys, the overall improvement in England's average score is largely attributable to increases in the average performance of boys and lower-performing pupils. Further to this, while girls continue to outperform boys in England, there were no countries participating in PIRLS in which boys outperformed girls.

Building on this success, in 2018, the Department launched the English Hubs Programme, establishing 34 hubs in primary schools across England, initially with a £26.3 million funding and with a further £17.1 million awarded in 2020. The programme supports nearly 3,000 schools to improve their teaching of reading through systematic synthetic phonics, early language development, and reading for pleasure. While early stages focused on systematic synthetic phonics, hubs have now started introducing medium-level support in priority areas, including developing a love of reading. Recognising the importance of reading during the disruption to education caused by COVID-19 this year, the Department also published a Reading Together Day to celebrate the benefits of reading.

Laying the groundwork for reading standards starts in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) with children aged 0-5. Over 3,000 early adopter schools are implementing the reforms to the EYFS statutory framework this September, a year in advance of statutory roll out of the reforms in September 2021. One of the key aims of these reforms is to improve outcomes for all children at age 5, particularly in the areas of early language and literacy which are key predictors of later success.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the mental health and wellbeing of postgraduate students in universities.

Protecting the mental health of students continues to be a priority for this government. These are difficult times and it is important students can still access the mental health support that they need. We recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We expect providers to continue to support their students, which has included moving services online or making services accessible from a distance. We encourage students to stay in touch with their provider’s student support and welfare teams, as these services are likely to continue to be an important source of support. Many providers have bolstered their existing mental health services and adapted delivery to means other than face-to-face. Staff at universities and colleges responded quickly to the need to transform mental health and wellbeing services, showing resourcefulness, and there are many examples of good practice.

I wrote to Vice Chancellors in October, outlining that student welfare should remain a priority. I have also convened a working group of representatives from the higher education and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Student Space platform is funded by the Office for Students (OfS), the higher education regulator in England. It bridges gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services. It can be accessed at this link: https://studentspace.org.uk/. Students struggling with their mental health at this time can also access support via the NHS, to which a link can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/. Support is also available from Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing. The mental health charity Mind also have support available at this link: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/student-life/about-student-mental-health/.

We have worked with the OfS to clarify that universities and other higher education providers can draw upon existing funding from the student premium to increase their hardship funds for students. Students can access this support if they are experiencing particular financial difficulties.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the level of attainment inequality in primary education across different local education authority areas in England.

The Department publishes attainment in headline measures for state-funded schools in England at the end of Key Stage 2 by local authority and region. The latest figures for the 2018/19 academic year are attached. There is no more recent data to release as primary assessment data was not collected, and tests were not administered in 2020. Further local authority data, including for previous years, is available at this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-key-stage-2[1].

Due to changes in methodology and headline measures, figures are only comparable between the 2009/10 – 2014/15, 2015/16 – 2016/17 and 2017/18 – 2018/19 academic years. Changes made to the tests in 2015/16 and the writing Teacher Assessment Frameworks in 2017/18 mean that measures of local education attainment rates should not be compared directly across these assessment year groups.

[1] For each year, select the ‘revised’ publication and then open the ‘Local authority and regional tables’. For 2015/16 – 2017/18 the headline measures are the percentage of pupils reaching the expected standard and can be found in tables L1, L2 and L3. For 2009/10 – 2014/15 the headline measures are the percentage achieving level 4 or above and can be found in tables 12-16 (2013/14 – 2014/15); tables 12-15 (2012/13); tables 13-15 (2011/12); table 11 (2010/11); table 18 (2009/10 – in the ‘national and local authority tables’).

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of students studying STEM-related courses in further education colleges in each of the last five years.

Table 1 in the attached file provides the number of learning aims (i.e. courses, programmes, qualifications and units) taken in STEM-related sector subject areas in education and training provision for each academic year between 2014/15 and 2018/19 and covers all further education (FE) providers. In addition, Table 2 provides apprenticeship participation on STEM-related apprenticeships delivered at FE and tertiary colleges. Both tables include students of all ages for learning in England.

Figures for the full, final 2019/20 academic year are due to be published in our next ‘Further Education and Skills’ statistical release later this month. The exact publication date will be announced on gov.uk soon.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people that have completed an adult education course in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last five years.

The number of adult achievements in Further Education courses in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands, and (c) England from the academic years 2014/15 to 2018/19 are shown in the table below, and published at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/848365/FE_and_Skills_Part_and_Achieve_Final_201819.xlsx.

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Coventry Local Authority District

14,390

11,800

10,790

11,070

10,080

West Midlands

212,160

176,260

168,310

167,960

58,230

England6

1,983,190

1,694,520

1,578,910

1,574,420

1,467,580


Figures for the full, final 2019/20 academic year are due to be published in our next ‘Further Education and Skills’ statistical release, later this month. The exact publication date will be announced on gov.uk soon.

To note:

1) Volumes are rounded to the nearest ten.

2) The data source is the Individualised Learner Record and include full, final year data for each year.

3) In this table, full-year numbers are a count of the number of achievements at any point during the year.

4) Figures for 2018/19 are based on the geographic boundaries as of April 2019. Figures for 2014/15 to 2017/18 based on geographic boundaries as of May 2010.

5) Region and local authority district are based upon the home postcode of the learner.

6) The England row here includes learners achieving in England but where the learner’s home postcode is outside of England, and also a small number of learners where their postcode is not known.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to make an assessment of the effect of academic publishing industry (a) pricing and (b) licensing practices for ebooks on (i) students and (ii) universities.

The government brought forward the zero rate of VAT on e-publications from December. The extension of the zero rate of VAT has been introduced to provide consistency in approach between certain physical and digital publications. This will make e-publications more affordable for students and universities. The government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT. No assessment of the effect of the academic publishing industry’s pricing and licensing practices for ebooks is planned.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of his Department's guidance to schools on supporting students affected by self-harm; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the incidence of self-harm among students.

The Department for Education keeps its guidance to schools under review, including the statutory Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) guidance that all schools must have regard to. Amongst other things, it sets out the role all staff have to play to protect children. This includes being aware of the indicators, which may signal that children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime. These may include signs of self-harm or a significant change in wellbeing. Staff should be aware of the associated risks and understand the measures in place to manage these. This also includes identifying where mental health concerns are also safeguarding concerns, and making appropriate referrals into early help support services and statutory support services as appropriate.

KCSIE was strengthened on 1 September 2020 and includes additional information for school staff to help them support children with their mental health.

The Department for Education works closely with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) on children’s mental health and safeguarding issues, and to understand the impact of COVID-19. Emerging evidence on self-harm is included in the children and young people section of the COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing surveillance report, which was published on 8 September 2020. The report is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report/7-children-and-young-people.

DHSC expanded the scope of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy in 2017 to include addressing self-harm as an issue in its own right. They fund the Multicentre Study of Self-harm, which is the most in-depth analysis and monitoring of self-harming trends in England.

Children’s wellbeing and mental health is a central part of the Department for Education’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and we have taken action to ensure schools and colleges are equipped to support children and young people.

We have worked hard to ensure that all pupils and learners were able to return to a full high-quality education programme in September. Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package, with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020-21 academic year, is supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place. We are also investing £8 million in the new Wellbeing for Education Return programme which is funding expert advisers who will be able to train and support schools and colleges in every area of England and can make links to available local authority provision.

To increase support further in the long term, we remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the DHSC and NHS England. This includes introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

The NHS Long Term Plan also commits to developing integrated models of primary and community care to support people with complex needs, including self-harming.

From the 2019-20 financial year, we are investing £57 million in suicide prevention through the NHS Long Term Plan. This will see investment in all areas of the country by the 2023-24 financial year to support local suicide prevention plans and establish suicide bereavement support services. We have ensured that the suicide prevention funding for local areas includes addressing self-harm as a priority focus.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the achievement gap in qualifications between male and female pupils in schools.

This government is committed to raising school standards across the country to make sure that all young people leave school with the knowledge, qualifications and skills that they need to succeed in life.

The proportion of children in good or outstanding schools has risen from 66% in 2010 to 86%, meaning that 1.9 million more children are now in good or outstanding schools. Reforms to the curriculum, primary assessment and school accountability arrangements have been designed to ensure that schools are delivering the very best education to all children and young people. In particular, our GCSE reforms mean that we have a rigorous suite of qualifications for all pupils, in line with the standards expected in countries with high-performing education systems.

We know that teacher quality is vital in improving outcomes for all children and young people. That is why we are relentlessly focussed on reforms that will make the biggest difference to the recruitment and retention of excellent teachers. Since 2019, we have built on our Recruitment and Retention strategy, reforming Initial Teacher Training (ITT) content and developing the Early Career Framework (ECF).These reforms set out, for the first time, an evidence-based body of knowledge and skills that all teachers need in order to be effective in the classroom.

We know that the COVID-19 outbreak has affected every child and young person. That is why we have announced a £1 billion catch-up package to provide additional funding to support children and young people whose education has been disrupted by COVID-19. The package includes a National Tutoring Programme, which will provide up to £350 million of targeted support for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils, as well as a £650 million universal catch-up premium, to support schools to target support for specific groups of pupils. This is in addition to our continued protection of pupil premium, worth more than £2.4 billion a year, which ensures that school leaders are equipped with the resources that they need in order to support pupils facing educational disadvantage.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of children in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England (i) eligible and (ii) not eligible for free school meals who achieved five or more GCSEs at grades 4 to 9 in each of the last three years.

The table attached shows the number and percentage of pupils, by free school meals status, at the end of Key Stage 4 achieving 5 or more GCSEs (including English and mathematics) at grades 4 to 9 (or equivalent). The figures are for Coventry, West Midlands and England and cover the latest three academic years (2016/17 – 2018/19).

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of apprenticeship starts, by sector; and what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of apprenticeships starts.

There have been 58,160 apprenticeship starts reported to date between 23 March to 31 July 2020. A breakdown of apprenticeship starts by sector subject area in this period can be found in the Apprenticeships and traineeships: October 2020 statistics publication, which is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/924957/october_2020_release_main_text.pdf. We advise against making comparisons with previous years due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak from March onward. The outbreak has affected provider behaviour in terms of the reporting of further education and apprenticeship learning during the affected period.

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow. To help support employers to offer new apprenticeships, employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those aged 25 and over until 31 January 2021. The new payment means it’s a great time for employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities and take advantage of existing flexibilities to train their apprentices in a way that suits their needs.

We also want to ensure we grow the number of small and medium-sized enterprises offering apprenticeships, supported by funding, given that they are vital to the UK economy. We will continue to work with smaller employers to give them the confidence and support to take on new apprentices.

To expand apprenticeship opportunities further we are working with employers to make apprenticeships work better for different sectors, including those with more flexible and short-term models of employment. We will also work with employers to improve the transfer process, making it easier for them to find smaller employers to transfer levy funds to, and to enable successful Kickstart placements to turn into apprenticeships where that is the right thing for the employer and the young person.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) paid and (b) unpaid overtime hours worked by (i) primary and (ii) secondary school teachers in each year since 2010.

The information requested is not held centrally. Teachers are not paid overtime as part of the national framework of terms and conditions.

The School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) sets out the terms and conditions, including working hours, of teachers employed in maintained schools in England. The STPCD requires teachers to be available for work on 195 days each year, of which 190 are teaching days (the other 5 being inset days). Teachers are also required to be available for 1265 hours each year to be allocated reasonably across these days. The 1265 hours make up the directed hours, which are available for headteachers to direct the work of teachers. In addition to the directed time, teachers must also work "such reasonable additional hours as may be necessary to enable the effective discharge of the teacher’s professional duties."

Non-maintained schools, including academies and free schools, are responsible for determining the pay and conditions of their staff themselves. Such schools are not obliged to follow the statutory arrangements set out in the STPCD, although they may still choose to do so if they wish.

The Department collects robust information about teachers’ working hours through regular surveys, including time spent on teaching and non-teaching activities.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of gender-based pay inequality in the education sector.

The Office for National Statistics’ latest Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2019 provisional data shows that the median pay gap in the UK between male and female teaching and education professionals is 7.5%.

‘Teaching and education professionals’ includes teaching staff across early years, schools, further education and higher education.

The Department is committed to tackling inequalities across the education sector. In October 2018 we published our statement of intent which sets out the Department’s commitment to promoting a diverse teaching workforce, the importance of addressing the gender pay gap and supporting women to progress in the workplace.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve the provision of mental health training for (a) schoolteachers and (b) university lecturers.

The government is committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children, young people and the school, college and university staff who support them.

School, college and university staff cannot act as mental health experts, and they should not try to diagnose conditions. However, it is important that they are able to identify possible mental health problems, so they are able to put appropriate support in place. It is up to schools and colleges to decide what training to offer their staff, but we have put in place a range of training for them to draw on.

Training has been particularly important to give schools confidence to deal with issues that will have arisen during the COVID-19 outbreak. To ensure that staff are equipped to support wellbeing as children and young people returned to schools and colleges, we made it a central part of our guidance both on remote education and on the return to school. We supported this with a range of training and materials, including webinars which have been accessed by thousands of education staff. We have also accelerated training on how to teach about mental health as part of the new relationships, sex and health curriculum, so that all pupils can benefit from this long-term requirement.

To provide further support during the autumn and spring terms the department has worked with our partners, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Health Education England, Public Health England and key voluntary sector organisations, to launch Wellbeing for Education Return. This project, backed by £8 million, will train local experts to provide additional training, advice and resources to schools and colleges, to help support pupil and student wellbeing, resilience and recovery. It will give staff the confidence to support pupils and students, their parents, carers and their own colleagues, and know how and where to access appropriate specialist support where needed.

This specific support is building on our longer-term activity to help support teacher knowledge. As part of this, the government has successfully delivered on the 2017 commitment of my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, to make mental health awareness training available to all eligible secondary schools by March 2020. To help embed knowledge and practice in schools, we are now in the process of developing a bespoke senior mental health lead training programme. The training will equip senior mental health leads with the knowledge to introduce or develop their whole school and college approach to mental health, implement effective processes for ensuring pupils and students with mental health problems receive appropriate support and to promote positive mental health within the school or college so that it becomes a key part of how schools and colleges operate. The knowledge requirements and expected outcomes for the training closely align to Public Health England’s ‘Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing. A whole school and college approach’, which is available here:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/414908/Final_EHWB_draft_20_03_15.pdf.

We also remain committed to our major joint green paper delivery programme with DHSC and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

We also recognise the importance of supporting staff with their own mental health and wellbeing. This is why we are funding a £95,000 pilot project with the Education Support Partnership, to focus on leaders’ mental health, providing online peer-support and telephone supervision from experts to around 250 school leaders. This is in addition to funding of £45,000 we provided to Timewise, to provide practical support and resources on flexible working, in light of new arrangements for schools responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is up to higher education institutions to decide how to support their students and what training to offer to staff. The government strongly supports the University Mental Health Charter, which aims to drive up standards in promoting student and staff mental health and wellbeing. We are also working closely with Universities UK on embedding the Step Change: Mentally Healthy Universities framework, calling on higher education leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority and take a whole-institution approach, embedding it across all policies, cultures, curricula and practice.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the (a) affordability and (b) availability of academic ebooks on the teaching content of university courses.

This is a difficult and uncertain time for students, but we are working with the higher education sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies, and ensure that students receive a high-quality academic experience and help students to achieve qualifications that they and employers value.

The Office for Students has made it clear that providers must continue to provide sufficient and appropriate facilities, learning resources and student support services to deliver a high-quality academic experience.

The government has worked closely with the Office for Students to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19 outbreak. Providers were able to use the funding, worth around £23 million per month for April to July this year and £256 million for this academic year, towards student hardship funds. Course costs, including academic books, will be considered as part of the assessment of the level of hardship support provided to a student.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the counsellor to student ratio in (a) secondary and (b) primary schools in each local authority area in England.

Schools and colleges have the freedom to decide what support to offer pupils based on their particular needs, drawing on evidence available on effective practice. This support can come from a number of sources, including counselling. The department has published guidance on how to put in place effective school-based counselling, which schools can use to identify where further counselling support is appropriate for their pupils. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/counselling-in-schools.

The department does not ask schools to provide details of support and we do not make estimates of the level of support. Our survey of mental health provision in schools and colleges in 2016 and 2017 found that 61% of schools and colleges (56% of primary schools, 84% of secondary schools and 93% of colleges) reported offering access to a counselling service for their pupils.

The government is investing £8 million in the new Wellbeing for Education Return Programme which is funding expert advisers, who will be able to train and support schools and colleges in every area of England, and can make links to available local authority provision, including counselling.

To increase support in the long-term, we remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England. This includes introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to assess the longer-term effect of the covid-19 lockdown on the mental health and wellbeing of (a) school and (b) university students.

We know that across society, the COVID-19 outbreak has had an impact on wellbeing and mental health, but it has had a particular impact on children and young people. In September, Public Health England, who is closely monitoring the situation, published a report on the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on mental health and wellbeing. This report is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report.

The department is continuing to work with other government bodies, academics, the voluntary sector and private organisations to understand how children and young people’s wellbeing develops as they return to schools, colleges, universities, apprenticeships or to jobs with training. This will inform the department’s focus in providing further support. In particular, we will continue to publish our annual ‘State of the Nation’ report, summarising the evidence on children and young people’s wellbeing. The next report will include a consideration of the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak. Last year’s report is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/state-of-the-nation-2019-children-and-young-peoples-wellbeing.

The evidence emerging over the spring and summer pointed to the importance of getting young people back into education for their longer-term mental health and wellbeing. To support the return to a full high-quality education programme we have put in place a range of measures, including our new £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return Programme. This will train local experts to provide additional advice and resources for schools and colleges to help support pupil and student wellbeing, resilience and recovery in light of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. It will give staff the confidence to support pupils and students, parents, carers and colleagues, and the knowledge of how and where to access appropriate specialist support where needed.

In higher education, the Office for Students has funded the Student Space platform which provides a range of dedicated resources to support students’ mental health. We have asked higher education providers to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of students during this period and have enabled them to use funding, worth up to £23 million per month from April to July this year and £256 million for 2020-21 academic year starting from August, to go towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve student wellbeing during the covid-19 outbreak.

Protecting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people continues to be a priority for this government. Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. This government is working to promote good mental health in schools and further and higher education settings.

In July, the government announced a £1 billion COVID catch-up package, with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020/21 academic year, to support education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place.

In addition, £8 million has been invested in the ‘Wellbeing for Education Return’ project, providing schools and colleges with the knowledge and practical skills to help improve how to respond to the emotional impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. A link to this programme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wellbeing-for-education-return-grant-s31-grant-determination-letter.

I have asked providers to boost their existing welfare and counselling services to ensure support services can be accessed. This is particularly important for those students having to self-isolate or who are affected by local restrictions.

Student Space, funded with £3 million from the Office for Students, provides dedicated support services through a collaborative online platform to help students access vital mental health and wellbeing resources. The platform bridges gaps in support arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and is designed to work alongside existing services. A link to Student Space’s website can be found here: https://studentspace.org.uk/.

We have also asked higher education providers to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of students, enabling them to use funding, worth up to £23 million per month from April to July this year and £256 million for the academic year 2020/21 starting from August, to go towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

In August, we established a cross-sector COVID Higher Education Taskforce. On 5 October, we agreed to convene a new working group, as a sub-group of the taskforce, with a specific focus on student mental health issues. The group will seek to gather direct feedback from the sector to better understand and address any systemic barriers getting in the way of good support.

The government has provided over £9 million to leading mental health charities to help them expand and reach those most in need and NHS mental health trusts are ensuring 24/7 access to crisis telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, available here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the trends in the level of school exclusions in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last five years.

Statistics on exclusions are available in the National Statistics release on permanent and fixed period exclusions in England, which can be found here:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england.

Data at national, regional and local authority level by year are available in the ‘Download associated files’ section, in the file ‘Permanent and fixed period exclusions - by geography’. The same data can also be obtained with the ‘create your own tables’ function. This data is available at:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/4ee34700-daa5-4fb6-acc9-7d99f1d9ff0e.

The Department does not hold data on the number of children found in possession of a knife at school. When a pupil is excluded, the category of the reason for exclusion is recorded, but possession of a knife is not a specific category. The categories used are available in Annex B of the exclusion statistics methodology document which can be viewed at:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/methodology/pupil-exclusion-statistics-methodology.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of children found in possession of a knife at school in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last five years.

Statistics on exclusions are available in the National Statistics release on permanent and fixed period exclusions in England, which can be found here:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england.

Data at national, regional and local authority level by year are available in the ‘Download associated files’ section, in the file ‘Permanent and fixed period exclusions - by geography’. The same data can also be obtained with the ‘create your own tables’ function. This data is available at:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/4ee34700-daa5-4fb6-acc9-7d99f1d9ff0e.

The Department does not hold data on the number of children found in possession of a knife at school. When a pupil is excluded, the category of the reason for exclusion is recorded, but possession of a knife is not a specific category. The categories used are available in Annex B of the exclusion statistics methodology document which can be viewed at:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/methodology/pupil-exclusion-statistics-methodology.

16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help local authorities improve their support for vulnerable children.

The department aims to provide world-class education, training and care for everyone, whatever their background. We work closely with local authorities to make sure that everyone has the chance to reach their potential and to live a more fulfilled life.

We currently have an improvement system which seeks to identify local authorities with children’s services at risk of failing and to work collaboratively with them to put in place targeted support to help them improve the services they provide to vulnerable children and families.

Working closely with the sector, we have identified areas where help is needed to avoid failure, funding good local authorities to provide peer support on children’s services through the Partners in Practice programme to more than 80 authorities, with work underway to broker support for many more. We are investing £3 million over the 3 years to March 2021 to support leadership across children’s services, working with the Local Government Association. 146 local authorities out of a total of 151 have benefited from the programme.

Since the programme rolled out in November 2017, we have identified many local authorities who would benefit from additional help to avoid the risk of potential failure and have provided immediate support. As a result, we have seen an overall improvement in the quality of children’s services as judged by Ofsted. At the end of August 2020, 50% of local authorities were judged Good or Outstanding at their most recent inspection. This is 14 percentage points higher than the proportion judged Good or Outstanding following each authority’s first inspection under the previous Ofsted framework.

The department also acts quickly and decisively to intervene in local authorities found to be failing in their delivery of children’s services and judged Inadequate by Ofsted. Our intervention brings results: the first children’s services trust in Doncaster moved from Inadequate to Good in just 2 years, and after almost a decade of deeply entrenched failure, children’s services in Birmingham are no longer Inadequate. Where we have intervened and provided support, other local authorities have moved from Inadequate to Good, such as Rotherham and Barnet. All the local authorities judged Inadequate that were inspected in 2019 subsequently improved to be Good or Requiring Improvement.

Our aim is to continue the improvements we are making at pace so that, by 2022, less than 10% of local authorities are rated Inadequate by Ofsted, halving failure rates within 5 years and providing consistently better services for thousands of children and families across the country.

Similarly, our vision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is the same as for all children – that they achieve well in their early years, at school and in college, that they find employment, lead happy and fulfilled lives, and experience choice and control. We are driving high performance across local area SEND services, aiming for 75% of areas delivering good quality SEND services. We are working closely with Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission to identify areas of weakness through the Interim Visits programme and the current inspection cycle. To reflect our ambitious programme of improvement in this area, we have commissioned a new, rolling cycle of Area SEND inspections to commence in 2022.

In relation to helping local authorities improve support for vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, the safety and wellbeing of the most vulnerable children has always been our priority. This is why nurseries and colleges have remained open to them because it the safest place for them to be.

Over recent months, we have worked across the government to improve what we know about the children and young people who are most at risk. We have worked closely with local authorities to improve our understanding of how COVID-19 is impacting children’s social care services across the country and how we can best support or challenge individual councils to protect the most vulnerable children in their care.

Regional Education and Children’s Teams (REACT) have been established to better co-ordinate how the department captures information and intelligence about local needs and circumstances in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including in relation to vulnerable children, whilst offering support where it is needed.

More widely, during March and April 2020, the government provided £3.2 billion of emergency grant funding and over £5 billion of cashflow support to support local authorities with the COVID-19 outbreak.

On 2 July, the government announced a new comprehensive package of support to address spending pressures and in recognition of lost income. A further £500 million brought funding, given to support local councils with pressures, to £4.3 billion. This funding is un-ringfenced, recognising local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major service pressures in their local area, including support for children’s services, that have been caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the implications for its policies of the proposal by Universities UK to Government, entitled Achieving stability in the higher education sector following covid-19, on support needed in that sector; and if he will make a statement.

Today my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has announced a package of measures, drawing on proposals from the universities sector, to stabilise university admissions this autumn and ensure sustainability in higher education (HE) at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

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

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

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

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

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

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) the number of (i) international student numbers and (ii) domestic student numbers intending to take up a university place in the 2020 academic year and (b) research and innovation funding.

We are very grateful for the work that universities are doing in supporting students, undertaking ground-breaking research and providing specialist equipment. We are working closely with them to understand the financial risks and implications that they might face at this uncertain time.

The COVID-19 outbreak will have an impact on international students. The government is working to ensure that existing rules and regulations relating to international students, including visa regulations, are as flexible as possible under these unprecedented circumstances.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has also announced an unprecedented package of support, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and a range of business loan schemes, to help pay wages, keep staff employed and support businesses whose viability is threatened by the outbreak.

We recently confirmed universities’ eligibility for these schemes, and we are working closely with the sector, the Office for Students (OfS) and across the government to understand the financial risks that providers are facing, stabilise the admissions system and help providers to access the support on offer.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and UK Research and Innovation analysts are working closely with the Department for Education, OfS and wider non-government stakeholders to undertake a rapid programme of analysis to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on a range of research institutions including universities and analyse suitable policy responses.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an estimate of the amount of water lost through leakage in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last three years.

The most recent leakage data water companies reported to the Environment Agency is for the financial year ending March 2021. The reported data is at water company level. Coventry is served by Severn Trent Water, which also provides water services to wider parts of the West Midlands. South Staffordshire water also supplies water to customers in parts of the West Midlands.

Reported leakage for Severn Trent Water for the last three years in millions of litres per day (Ml/d) is as follows:

  • 2018-19, 417.8 ml/d;
  • 2019-20, 398.8 ml/d;
  • 2020-21, 410.2 ml/d.

Reported leakage for South Staffordshire Water for the last three years in millions of litres per day (Ml/d) is as follows:

  • 2018-19, 70.5 Ml/d;
  • 2019-20, 68.9 Ml/d;
  • 2020-21, 65.5 Ml/d.

Reported leakage for England for the last three years in millions of litres per day (ml/d) is as follows:

  • 2018-19, 2969.8 ml/d;
  • 2019-20, 2772.6 ml/d;
  • 2020-21, 2829.1 ml/d.

The Government had set clear expectations that water companies should cut their leakage by 50% by 2050, based on 2018 levels.

18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of the increases in the cost of living on the number of households in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England that have fallen into arrears with their water supplier.

All water companies offer WaterSure and social tariffs to help reduce bills for households who struggle to pay their bills in full. Water companies also offer a range of financial support measures to assist households to better manage their budgets and provide flexible payments including payment holidays, payment matching, benefit entitlement checks and money/debt advice referral arrangements. The Government expects water companies to continue to actively engage with households and inform them of support measures they offer. The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) works with water companies and Defra to monitor the uptake of affordability measures.

My officials are working with CCW, Ofwat, charities and water companies to explore the recommendations from CCW's Affordability Review, to further support households who are struggling to pay their water bills.

10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to mitigate the impact of rising food prices on consumers in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The Government is providing support worth around £22 billion in 2022/23 to help families with the rising cost of living. This includes an additional £421 million for the Household Support Fund in England to support households with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials over the coming months. Details of allocations to County Councils can be found at Household Support Fund Grant Determination 2022 No 31/3096 (publishing.service.gov.uk).

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of food price rises on household budgets in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The Government monitors consumer food prices using the Consumer Prices Index including Housing costs (CPIH). Food prices are traditionally impacted by a wide range of domestic and international factors – from local manufacturing costs to global commodity prices. Given strong competition in the UK food retail sector, retailers normally try to absorb short term cost pressures for a period of time. In any given year, food prices tend to go up and down. Food prices are set individually by businesses and it is not for the UK Government to set retail food prices nor to comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by companies.

Defra analysis suggests that a 1% increase in food prices costs the average household an additional £33 per year. The Government has put in place measures to support vulnerable and low-income households, including the £500 million Household Support Fund. Coventry City Council has been allocated £3,224,222.30 from this fund to support residents with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials over the coming months.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to help increase access to veterinary care for animal owners on low incomes in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The price charged for veterinary care is a commercial arrangement between veterinary practices and their customers. There are, however, charitable organisations across the country that support pet owners on low incomes, including the PDSA (Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals) in the Coventry area. My officials are considering proposals for legislative reform from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons that would permit certain activities to be delegated to highly trained allied professionals. This may alter the costs of a range of services for all pet owners.

12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the cost of fly-tipping to local authorities in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last five years.

Defra publishes fly-tipping statistics for England annually at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england Data for the 2020/21 period will be published in early December. We last published an estimated total cost of clearing fly-tipping to local authorities in England in 2016/17 at £57.7 million.

Defra is working to develop a fly-tipping toolkit to support local councils following extra research we have commissioned. We expect to publish the first element on ‘Presenting robust cases to court’ early next year. Fly-tipping is a menace we are determined to clamp down on, not only with the new toolkit, but with measures such as electronic waste tracking and strengthening to our waste brokers, carriers and dealers licensing, as well as strengthened powers in the Environment Act to detect and prosecute waste criminals.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle fly-tipping in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry and (c) England; what (i) economic and (ii) other support he is providing to (A) local police forces and (B) local authorities to help tackle fly-tipping; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the level of fly-tipping in (1) Coventry North East constituency, (2) Coventry and (3) England.

Fly-tipping is a crime which blights local communities and the environment, and we are committed to tackling this unacceptable behaviour.

The role of central Government is to enable and support local action by providing a clear legal framework of rights, responsibilities and powers and setting national standards. Local authorities are responsible for keeping relevant public land (as defined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990) clear of litter and refuse. We expect local authorities to investigate all incidents of fly-tipping, prosecute fly-tippers when there is sufficient evidence and recover clearance costs where possible.

Whilst the police may support multi-agency investigations into serious and organised incidents of waste crime, including fly-tipping, fly-tipping investigation and enforcement is the responsibility of local authorities, and the Environment Agency in certain circumstances.

Local authorities have flexibility in deciding how to allocate funding based on their local priorities. This year, Core Spending Power in England will rise by up to 4.6% in cash terms, from £49.0 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22.

For Coventry, this corresponds to an increase of up to £13.88 million, or 5.09%. This real-terms increase recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain critical services.

The Settlement is unringfenced to ensure local areas can prioritise based on their own understanding of the needs of their local communities.

In recent years we have bolstered local authorities’ powers to tackle fly-tipping, such as by introducing the power to issue fixed penalty notices and to stop and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers. Our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy set out our strategic approach to prevent, detect and deter waste crime. We committed to strengthen sentences for fly-tipping and to develop a fly-tipping toolkit to help local authorities and others work in partnership to tackle this crime. We also committed to increasing penalties for fly-tipping in our manifesto.

Budget 2020 allocated up to £2 million to support innovative solutions to tackle fly-tipping. We launched an invitation to tender on 9 March 2021 for a research project considering the drivers, deterrents and impacts of fly-tipping. We are exploring additional funding opportunities and priorities, including considering the role of digital solutions.

We are also preparing a number of legislative reforms to tackle waste crime, which will help to tackle fly-tipping. We are taking forward the commitment in the Resources and Waste Strategy to develop proposals for the reform of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime. We are working with industry and the regulator and we intend to consult later this year. We also intend to consult on the introduction of mandatory electronic waste tracking. This will help to ensure that waste is dealt with appropriately and to reduce the incidence of waste crime and fly-tipping.

The Environment Bill also includes several measures to help tackle waste crime. The Bill will ensure agencies and authorities can work more effectively to combat waste crime through better access to evidence and improved powers of entry. These new powers will help ensure waste criminals, such as illegitimate waste operators reliant on fly-tipping for income, are held accountable for their actions.

The Government has not made any assessment of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on trends of fly-tipping. However, Defra publishes annual fly-tipping statistics for England, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england. Data for the period April 2020 to March 2021 will be published in due course.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of flood defences in (a) the West Midlands and (b) England.

The Environment Agency (EA) visually inspect all flood risk assets using trained and accredited inspectors. The frequency of visual inspection is risk based, taking account of factors such as the status, nature and significance of the flood defence. They also carry out additional inspections following flooding.

Based on the inspection, they assign a condition grade to each asset:

a) In the West Midlands: As of 11 December 2020, 94.12% of all flood risk assets on Main River are at their required condition.

b) In England: as of 1 December 2020, 94% of flood risk assets on Main Rivers and the coast are at their required condition.

If an asset is below its required condition it is identified as requiring work. This does not necessarily mean the asset has structurally failed, or that its performance in a flood will be compromised. If the performance of an EA flood risk asset is reduced, action will be taken to ensure that flood risk continues to be effectively managed until the asset is fully repaired or replaced and has met the required condition.

4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of households in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England that have fallen into arrears with their water supplier; and what steps his Department is taking to protect vulnerable households in water arrears during the covid-19 outbreak.

Regional water companies are regularly assessing the needs of their customers. Across England, all companies have measures in place for households who may struggle to pay their water bills, including the WaterSure, social tariffs and payment breaks. Water consumers are also protected from being disconnected from their water supply if they are unable to pay their bill.

Feedback from companies to date has shown no significant impacts on the number of non-payments by households. This could be attributed to an initial increase in the take up of water support schemes, which may have reduced the risk of customers falling into long term arrears.

It is too early to fully assess the impacts of COVID-19 on water bills as the impacts of general support is still being understood. However, we continue to work with the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), Ofwat and Water UK to monitor the industry’s regional and national response to Covid-19.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the amount of water lost through leakage in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last five years.

The Discover Water website publishes up to date records on leakage. Details can be found here: discoverwater.co.uk/leaking-pipes.

Severn Trent and South Staffordshire cover Coventry and the West Midlands. A map of the area that each water company in England covers can be found here: www.ofwat.gov.uk/contact-companies.

Below is the data as reported by the water companies in their annual returns on water resources management plans. We have included the total leakage for Severn Trent Water and South Staffordshire Water which are the water companies in the area. The total leakage is in megalitres per day. One megalitre is 1,000,000 litres.

Water Company

Total leakage Ml/d

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Severn Trent Water

Total leakage Ml/d

440

429

424

446

418

399

South Staffordshire Water

Total leakage Ml/d

69

70

70

72

71

69

England total

Total leakage Ml/d

2921

2876

2899

2967

2951

2771

Water Company

Leakage l/property/d

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Severn Trent Water

Leakage l/property/d

125.68

121.58

118.84

123.27

114.88

108.51

South Staffordshire Water

Leakage l/property/d

119.30

119.46

118.91

122.59

123.63

115.16

England average

Leakage l/property/d

124.24

121.47

120.78

124.14

120.83

111.57

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to increase access to veterinary care for animal owners on low incomes in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

While recognising the challenges that animal owners on low incomes may be facing, particularly at this unprecedented time, the Department has no plans to increase access to veterinary care for owners. However, depending on where an owner lives, charities such as the RSPCA, People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), Blue Cross as well as other local charities, may provide support for owners who may be struggling to pay their vets bills, subject to certain criteria being met.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of air quality around schools in Coventry.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Local authorities have discretionary powers to restrict car access to schools and enforce anti-idling laws outside schools.

The Government’s Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions which may include action targeting schools. The Government has awarded over £64 million in funding since the air quality grant started in 1997.

The Government has put in place a £3.8 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide roadside emissions. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out measures we are taking to improve air quality and reduce emissions of pollution, improving public health.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the cost to public purse of sending waste to landfill in each of the last three years.

My department does not estimate the costs to the public purse of sending waste to landfill.

Information for England on the amount of Local Authority collected and managed waste sent to landfill is as follows:

Year

000s tonnes

2016/17

4,136

2017/18

3,213

2018/19

2,756

Data on local authority costs of waste disposal, which would include waste to landfill, is published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in ‘Revenue Outturn Cultural, Environmental, Regulatory and Planning Services (RO5).

Costs for 2016/17 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2016-to-2017-individual-local-authority-data-outturn

Costs for 2017/18 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2017-to-2018-individual-local-authority-data-outturn

Costs for 2018/19 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2018-to-2019-individual-local-authority-data-outturn

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy and (b) effectiveness of systems for recycling plastics.

The UK continues to be a global leader in tackling plastic waste, and our ambition is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. Our landmark Resources and Waste Strategy sets out how we want to achieve this and move towards a more circular economy.

Following support in our 2019 consultation on ‘Consistency in household and business recycling collections in England,’ we will introduce legislation through the Environment Bill that will require a core set of recyclable materials, including plastics, to be collected from households and businesses by all waste collectors in England.

We will also introduce measures to encourage producers to use plastic packaging that can be recycled through reforms of Extended Producer Responsibility and the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks containers, including plastic bottles.

We encourage the development of infrastructure for plastic reprocessing to ensure the UK meets its recycling targets as well as supporting the major waste reforms. The plastic packaging tax is expected to increase demand for secondary material plastic and increasing reprocessing infrastructure will help meet this demand. Reprocessing infrastructure enables the value of resource use to be maximised as well as waste arisings and its impact on the environment to be minimised.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the effect of poor air quality on the level of demand on the NHS.

Air pollution poses the biggest environmental threat to public health. Improving air quality remains a top priority for the government, with Defra and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) working closely together on this issue. The scientific evidence base continues to evolve, and our understanding of the range and scale of health effects associated with air pollution is constantly improving. Public Health England has assessed in a 2018 report[1] that the cumulative costs to the health and social care service from air pollution will be £5.3 billion by 2035, and their evidence shows that a reduction of 1 µg/m3 of PM­2.5 in England in a single year would prevent 9,000 cases of asthma, 50,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 4000 lung cancers and 15,000 strokes till 2035.

The two departments regularly engage at all levels. Earlier in the year the Chief Medical Officer and Government Chief Scientist held a roundtable on indoor air quality with various government departments, including DHSC and Defra. During this productive meeting there was acknowledgment of the evidence gaps and recognition of the need for a cross-government approach to address the issue. More recently Minister Pow attended a Health Summit organised as part of Clean Air Day, which brought together air quality experts, NHS and WHO representatives. Defra will continue to have regular and extensive discussions with DHSC, the research community and the NHS, on the relationship between air quality and health.

We are committed to tackling air pollution in order to improve public health and the environment. This is stated in Clean Air Strategy of 2019, which the WHO lauded as world leading. We are also introducing the first Environment Bill in 20 years, and in it we are committing to ambitious new air quality targets on PM­2.5, the pollutant of greatest harm to human health.

[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836720/Estimation_of_costs_to_the_NHS_and_social_care_due_to_the_health_impacts_of_air_pollution.pdf

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of increasing green public spaces in urban areas on (a)(i) physical and (ii) mental health and (b) the environment.

There is good and growing evidence that connecting people with green space can deliver positive health outcomes through the prevention of mental ill-health, as an alternative option for managing mild to moderate mental health conditions and in some cases supporting the management of more severe conditions. It can also deliver important benefits for recreation, physical health, social well-being and employment.

Green social prescribing links people to nature-based interventions and activities. We have recently been awarded £4.27 million from HM Treasury’s Shared Outcomes Fund to deliver a joint project with the Department of Health and Social Care, Natural England, NHS England, Public Health England and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to test green social prescribing in four pilot locations, run national experimental work to understand its scalability and deliver a robust project evaluation. The project will test how to increase use and connectivity to green social prescribing services in order to improve mental health outcomes, reduce health inequalities, reduce demand on the health and social care system, and develop best practice in making local systems more resilient and accessible.

Natural England and Public Health England have published a Rapid Scoping Review of Health and Wellbeing Evidence for the National Framework of Green Infrastructure Standards, which was undertaken by the University of Exeter.

Green Infrastructure includes greenspace such as parks and woodlands but also other environmental features such as street trees, hedgerows and green walls and roofs. It also includes blue infrastructure, such as canals, rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and their borders. Natural England is working with Defra and other partners and stakeholders to develop a National Framework of Green Infrastructure Standards. This will show what good green infrastructure looks like and help all local authorities, developers and communities to improve provision in their area.

Well-designed and managed green public spaces and other green infrastructure provide multiple benefits at a range of scales. They can contribute to biodiversity recovery, sequester carbon, absorb surface water, cleanse pollutants, absorb noise and reduce high temperatures.

Defra and Natural England have made use of a wide body of evidence to understand the potential environmental effects of increasing green infrastructure in urban areas.

The Office for National Statistics has produced the UK Natural Capital: Urban Accounts in partnership with Defra, which quantify the value of cooling, removal of air pollution, carbon removal, noise mitigation and recreation from urban green space.

1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of the UK's waste that has gone to landfill in each of the last five years.

Statistics for the amount of UK waste sent to landfill are calculated by Defra at two-yearly intervals. The latest figures that are available are for 2018 and published by Eurostat – see below.

UK Waste sent to Landfill - Thousand tonnes unless otherwise indicated

Calendar Year

Landfill (Waste deposited into or onto Land)

Total waste sent to final treatment

Landfill as a Percentage of Total waste treated

2014

48,178

205,436

23.5%

2016

52,271

214,287

24.4%

2018

50,789

214,653

23.7%

Source; Eurostat:

https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/env_wastrt/default/table?lang=en

By implementing measures in our Resources and Waste Strategy the Government will continue to reduce waste to landfill.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the amount of food wasted by (a) consumers, (b) supermarkets and (c) restaurants.

In December 2018, the Government launched its Resources and Waste Strategy which sets out our approach to address food waste from farm to fork.

Through Government grant funding of over £3 million this year, the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) aims to reduce food waste across the supply chain and in the home.

We are also fully committed to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 target, which seeks to halve global food waste at consumer and retail levels by 2030.

Consumer campaign initiatives including the lovefoodhatewaste programme and campaign moments such as Crushing it aim to help consumers tackle waste in the home. This is supported by the Courtauld 2025 Commitment, a collaboration across the supply chain which aims to reduce UK food waste by 20% per capita by 2025 through for example supply chain efficiency initiatives and consumer behaviour change prompts such as storage advice. We also work closely with WRAP on its work with the hospitality industry and the provision of resources such as ‘Guardians of Grub: Becoming a Champion’ (http://www.guardiansofgrub.com/becoming-a-champion) and ‘Target Measure Act’ (https://www.wrap.org.uk/content/target-measure-act-case-studies-hospitality-and-food-service), embedding food waste management at the center of business operations.

Through the £15 million Food Waste Fund we are also making grants available to prevent food waste, including helping food surplus redistributors to get more surplus from the supply chain to those who have a need.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the stockpiling of food and other essentials in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK has a highly-resilient food supply chain and a food industry which is experienced in dealing with disruptions to food supply. The expertise, capability and levers to plan for, and respond to, food supply disruption lie predominantly with the industry, but the Government has a supportive role.

This includes extensive and ongoing engagement to support industry in preparedness for, and response to, potential food supply chain disruptions, as well coordinating a joined-up approach to communications and messaging with industry leads based on learnings from the response earlier in the year. The Government response can include relaxation of key regulations to support food supply on driver hours, delivery times, advice on food labelling and on competition law for key sectors.

Whilst we saw an increase in consumer demand at the outset of the pandemic, things have largely stabilised. We remain in regular contact with the supermarkets and industry representatives, who report no overall supply issues.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect wildlife from death or injury caused by discarded face masks.

The Government has published guidance on the proper disposal of face coverings and other PPE during the coronavirus pandemic. This is available at:

www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste.

Littering of PPE is a criminal offence, and councils have legal powers to take enforcement action against offenders. Anyone caught littering may be prosecuted in a magistrates’ court, which can lead to a criminal record and a fine of up to £2,500 on conviction. Instead of prosecuting, councils may decide to issue a fixed penalty (on-the-spot fine) of between £65 and £150. If a council has not set a local fixed penalty level, it must charge the default penalty, which is £100.

Defra is raising awareness via social media of what individuals can do to protect others and the environment, including in relation to litter. We have recently published a video highlighting the issue of improperly discarded face coverings at: twitter.com/DefraGovUK/status/1309045391724351489.

Defra has launched a 'Respect the Outdoors' campaign this summer. This has been promoted both online and in locations near to urban parks, beaches and national parks to highlight the impacts of littering, as well as unauthorised barbeques and campfires, and breaches of the countryside code.

Defra has also supported, and provided funding for, Keep Britain Tidy's Love Parks campaign, which encourages people to treat our parks with respect this summer. Further information about the campaign is available at:

www.keepbritaintidy.org/news/new-campaign-launched-face-littering-epidemic-parks.

17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect endangered UK wildlife from extinction.

In England, the 25 Year Environment Plan (YEP) marked a step-change in ambition for wildlife and the natural environment. We are already taking action to fulfil this ambition. We have brought forward the first Environment Bill in over 20 years with ambitious measures to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age, including restoring and enhancing nature. The Bill will set the framework for at least one legally binding target for biodiversity. We have announced new funding for nature through our Nature Recovery, Nature for Climate and Green Recovery Challenge Funds; and we will be launching a new Environmental Land Management scheme that will reward farmers and land managers for delivering environmental public goods, including thriving plants and wildlife.

Natural England’s Species Recovery Programme supports the recovery of threatened and declining species in partnership with a number of stakeholder organisations. Natural England is also working with conservation organisations on the Back from the Brink programme. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and partners, it aims to save 20 of England’s most threatened animals and plants from extinction, and benefit over 200 other species.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of trends in the levels of sales of (a) new cars and (b) electric vehicles in each of the last five years.

The Data for vehicle sales is not available, however the number of cars registered for the first time in the United Kingdom for the last five years is shown in the table.

Year

All Fuel Types

Battery Electric Cars

2017

2,564,330

13,913

2018

2,394,042

15,756

2019

2,346,576

38,007

2020

1,656,403

107,913

2021

1,677,245

190,420

Source: Department for Transport (DfT) and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of anti-social behaviour incidents on public transport in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in (i) each of the last three years and (ii) during the Covid-19 outbreak; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce levels of anti-social behaviour on public transport in those areas.

From British Transport Police (BTP) data, from November 2018 to October 2021, a total of 100,488 incidents of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) on public transport occurred across England. 4% of which occurred in the West Midlands (4,152), while 0.4% occurred in Coventry (422). A breakdown of this data by year is shown in the attached table.

Further, from March 2020 to October 2021, 51,929 incidents of ASB on public transport occurred across England. 4% of which were in the West Midlands (2,155) and 0.4% were in Coventry (217).

The data provided covers National Rail, London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, Midland Metro Tram, Croydon Tramlink and Glasgow Subway as these are the only transport modes BTP have jurisdiction over. More specific data in regard to Taxis (including Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles) and Trams is not held because this data is not collected. Similarly, no relevant data is held in regard to Buses because this data is collected and held by the Home Office.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) financial and (b) other steps his Department is taking to encourage the uptake of cycling and walking in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England.

The Department is investing an unprecedented £2 billion in active travel schemes in England over the course of this Parliament. This is the biggest ever boost for cycling and walking. The funding will be spent on a wide range of measures, as set out in the Prime Minister’s July 2020 Gear Change plan.

A total of around £143 million has been invested in cycling and walking schemes in the West Midlands and £4 million in Coventry since the introduction of the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) in 2016/17. This includes £22 million active travel funding in the last financial year.

In the coming weeks the Department will invite all Combined and Local Transport Authorities to bid for Active Travel Capital Funding and announce allocations of revenue funding allocations from the Active Travel Capability Fund for the current financial year.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce levels of anti-social behaviour on public transport in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The Government is committed to reducing crime, anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime wherever it occurs in the transport system. The transport industry, local authorities, the police and others are already investing in, and undertaking wide-ranging initiatives to improve the personal security of public transport passengers and staff and to keep our public transport systems as low crime environments.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to ensure future public transport systems in England are (a) efficient, (b) affordable and (c) environmentally friendly.

The Government is committed to ensuring an efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly public transport system. This is why on 15 March we published a National Bus Strategy which will improve bus services for passengers across England, making them more reliable, environmentally friendly and better co-ordinated with simpler fares. We are also currently preparing the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail to deliver a more efficient, affordable and greener rail network, and a bold and ambitious Transport Decarbonisation Plan to achieve net zero emissions across all public transport services.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the number of people who travel to work by (a) car, (b) bus and (c) rail in (i) the West Midlands and (ii) Coventry; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the (A) patterns and (B) modes of travel to work in those areas.

The National Travel Survey (NTS) publishes statistics on travel patterns, data for 2020 will be released in Summer 2021, but data for 2019 showed that, in (i) the West Midlands:

(a) 74% travelled to work by car

(b) 5% travelled to work by bus

(c) 4% travelled to work by rail

Data for (ii) Coventry are unavailable from the NTS due to insufficient sample size. For that area, alternative sources of similar information have been made available by the Office for National Statistics on their website: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/coronavirusandtraveltowork/june2020

Regional data on (A) patterns and (B) modes of travel to work for the COVID-19 outbreak period are not yet available. However, the Department currently publishes weekly indicators on use of transport by mode nationally on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce transport emissions in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

The Government is committed to going further, faster to tackle climate change, which is why we are developing a bold and ambitious Transport Decarbonisation Plan to achieve net zero emissions across all modes of transport. This will set out our plans for reducing emissions at local and national level. Tackling emissions at a local level will make an important contribution to the decarbonisation of transport.

In addition to national policies to reduce emissions, government has already provided funding support for measures to reduce emissions across transport locally, including for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, increasing active travel, and supporting low emission buses. Building on previous funding, the Department recently announced that Coventry is – alongside Oxford – one of two areas progressed to Phase 2 of the All Electric Bus Town or City Competition. Subject to a successful business case, Coventry could be awarded up to £50 million to replace its entire bus fleet with electric buses and the infrastructure needed to support them.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of anti-social behaviour incidents on public transport during the covid-19 outbreak in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England; and what steps his Department is taking to tackle anti-social behaviour on (i) buses and (ii) trains.

The Government is committed to reducing crime, anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime wherever it occurs in the transport system. The transport industry, local authorities, the police and others are already investing in, and undertaking wide-ranging initiatives to improve the personal security of public transport passengers and staff and to keep our public transport systems as low crime environments.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much central Government funding has been spent on upgrading the cycling network in (a) Coventry and (b) the West Midlands in each of the last five years.

A total of around £143 million has been invested in cycling and walking schemes in the West Midlands and £4 million in Coventry since the introduction of the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) in 2016/17. This includes £22 million emergency active travel funding this year. Details of this investment, including a year by year breakdown to 2018/19, were published on 7th February alongside the first report to Parliament on progress made towards delivering the CWIS. Most of the investment benefits both cycling and walking, although some initiatives are focused more on one than on the other: further details are provided in the report.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of buses in regular operation are powered solely by renewable fuels.

The table below shows the percentage of buses used as Public Service Vehicles by fuel consumption type, by metropolitan area status and country in 2019/20.

Fuel Consumption Type

London

English metropolitan areas

English non-metropolitan areas

England

Scotland

Wales

Great Britain

England outside London

Hydrogen

0%

1%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

Electric (not hybrid)

4%

1%

1%

2%

1%

0%

1%

1%

Diesel-Hybrid

40%

5%

1%

14%

6%

0%

12%

3%

Methane/Biomethane

0%

0%

2%

1%

0%

0%

1%

2%

Diesel

56%

94%

96%

84%

94%

100%

85%

95%

Other (including Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO))

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

Source: DfT Annual Bus Statistics (BUS0609b)

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase access to public transport for people with sight loss.

Through the Inclusive Transport Strategy, launched July 2018, we aim to give disabled people equal access to the transport network by 2030, with assistance where physical infrastructure remains a barrier.

The Government remains as committed to delivering inclusive transport for all passengers as we were before the COVID-19 pandemic. In November last year we published a report outlining the progress we have made in the two years since the Inclusive Transport Strategy was published. Further to this, we have recently launched a disability equality awareness training package. This is freely available for transport operators, and our expectation is that this will improve service for all disabled passengers, including people with sight loss.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve provision for (a) cycling and (b) walking as alternative transport options in (i) Coventry North East constituency and (ii) Coventry.

Under the Active Travel Fund, the Department has made available around £17 million to Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM) this financial year for schemes to boost cycling and walking.

It is up to TfWM to determine in discussion with its seven constituent authorities where this funding is spent. The Spending Review last month confirmed that a further £257 million would be made available for cycling and walking schemes in England next financial year. The Department will make a further announcement in due course about how that funding will be split between different schemes and different regions of the country.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding has been allocated from the public purse to roads and highways in Coventry in each of the last 10 years.

Coventry City Council is a constituent member of the West Midlands Combined Authority. Since 2010 most of their transport funding, including highways maintenance and integrated transport block funding, has been paid directly to the Combined Authority. The funding provided by the Department for Transport for local roads and highways in Coventry since 2010 is shown in the table below.

Coventry

£m

HMB

CF

Pot- hole

ITB

Major Project

LPPF

Winter

Budget 2018

LSTF

Total

10/11

0.217

0.217

11/12

0.488

0.488

12/13

0.470

0.470

13/14

1.863

0.362

1.699

3.924

14/15

0.436

3.782

1.328

5.546

15/16

2.750

2.750

16/17*

0.154

1.100

1.254

17/18*

2.750

1.200

3.950

18/19

0.400

1.226

1.626

19/20

20/21*

5.000

18.100

23.100

Total

n/a**

10.500

0.590

n/a**

20.800

5.645

1.067

1.226

3.497

43.325

Headings

HMB is Highways Maintenance Block (needs and incentive elements)

CF is Challenge Fund (a bid based fund for larger maintenance projects from 2015/16)

ITB is Integrated Transport Block

LPPF is Local Pinch Point Fund

NPIF is National Productivity Investment Fund

LSTF is Local Sustainable Transport Fund

* This includes £19.6 million funding to Coventry City Council for the A46 South Coventry Link Road Phase 1 (Stoneleigh Junction) which is physically in Warwickshire but Coventry get most of the benefits. The funding is allocated to Coventry and this scheme is being managed jointly with Warwickshire County Council.

** Funding paid directly to West Midlands Combined Authority.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve road safety in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.

In the United Kingdom, road safety at City and County level is the responsibility of the Local Authority.

At a national level, we are well underway with progressing the actions from the 2019 Road Safety Statement, undergoing a review of the Highway Code and in conjunction with the Home Office conducting a review of Roads Policing. These measures will help improve road safety across England, as well as Great Britain.

In June 2018 the Department announced £100 million of funding for the Top 50 most dangerous ‘A’ roads in England, to date £65 million of that fund has been allocated.

This project works closely with the Local Authorities and the Road Safety Foundation, providing tailored safety interventions specific to each road’s risk. This could be clearer signage, new cycle lanes and pathways, or even full-scale junction redesign.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of passenger rail journeys.

Government guidelines are currently that non-essential travel by public transport should be avoided. However, we are preparing for recovery by working closely with industry to consider products to accommodate more flexible commuting and on the production of business plans for the new financial year which will contain initiatives to stimulate recovery and growth in passenger numbers.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many bus routes have been discontinued in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last five years.

Changes to bus services are notified to the Traffic Commissioners.

The Traffic Commissioners Annual Report for 2020-21 is due to be published in Autumn 2021. The latest published data for 2019-20 from the Traffic Commissioners regarding the number of cancelled registrations can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-commissioners-annual-report-2019-to-2020

Reports for previous years can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/traffic-commissioners-annual-reports

The numbers of cancelled registrations will not be the same as the number of cessations of bus services: a registration that is cancelled may be complemented by a new service introduction that is an exact match or a slight variation to the one that has been cancelled.

13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what funding his Department has provided for transport projects in Coventry since 2010.

As Coventry City Council is a constituent member of the West Midlands Combined Authority; some funding for transport projects in Coventry will have been paid directly to the Combined Authority.

The funding provided directly by the Department for Transport to Coventry City Council for transport since 2010 is shown in the table below.

Year

£m

2010/11

6.040

2011/12

0.165

2012/13

0.226

2013/14

4.515

2014/15

8.121

2015/16

5.480

2016/17

1.963

2017/18

8.067

2018/19

8.588

2019/20

3.003

2020/21

39.748

Total

85.916

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on hit-and-run collisions involving (a) pedestrians, (b) cyclists and (c) motorcyclists in (i) Coventry, (ii) the West Midlands and (iii) England.

The Secretary of State for Transport has had no recent discussions with the Home Secretary on hit-and-run collisions in these areas.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of trends in rail passenger usage of (a) Coventry station and (b) all stations in the West Midlands in the last five years; and what effect the covid-19 outbreak has had on rail passenger numbers at those stations.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) estimates the number of passengers travelling to and from railway stations by rail within Great Britain. The estimates for Coventry station and the total for all stations in the West Midlands are presented in the table below:

Coventry

West Midlands stations

2018/19

8,207,914

167,321,566

2017/18

7,682,920

156,714,634

2016/17

7,377,584

150,596,866

2015/16

6,921,432

143,158,798

2014/15

6,252,888

132,420,618

Please note there have been methodological changes over the recording of these statistics so yearly figures may not be directly comparable.

Source: ORR Estimates of Station Usage (https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/statistics/usage/estimates-of-station-usage/)

As the latest data is 2018/19, the published estimates of station usage data does not cover the period affected by COVID-19. Currently, all official statistics provide only insight into the national affect that COVID-19 has had on passenger journeys. The Department for Transport publishes the ‘Travel use during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’ statistics which shows the use of all modes of transport nationally and is updated weekly. These statistics can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

[Due to the number of rows in the ‘Travel use during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’ dataset, it is not possible to insert the entire data table here].

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the number of cyclists who have died due to potholes on roads in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last five years.

The Department does not collect data on the cause of road accidents, or on potholes in road accidents specifically.

Contributory factors assigned by police officers do not assign blame for the accident to any specific road user, however they do provide some insight into why and how road accidents occur. They give an indication of which factors the attending officer thought contributed to the accident. Officers do not need to carry out a full investigation of the incident before allocating contributory factors; they usually use professional judgement about what they can see at the scene.

The number of reported pedal cyclist fatalities in England where a contributory factor of ‘poor or defective road surface’ was reported in the personal injury road accident, for the last five years, is provided in the table.

Reported pedal cyclist fatalities in road accidents where 'Poor or defective road surface' was reported as a contributory factor, selected areas, 2015 to 2019

Year

England

West Midlands

Coventry

2015

1

0

0

2016

4

1

0

2017

0

0

0

2018

3

0

0

2019

2

0

0

Source: DfT STATS19

Road safety statistics are reported on a calendar year basis. The latest annual published statistics are for 2019. Data on reported personal injury road accidents in Great Britain for 2020 will be published in September 2021.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of railway stations have step-free access.

Around a fifth of our stations have step free access to all platforms; accounting for around 75% of journeys. We are determined to improve this and our Access for All programme is providing accessible routes at over 100 more stations in the next three years. This is in addition to accessibility improvements provided by the industry whenever they install, replace or renew station infrastructure. Information on the facilities available at railway stations is collected and held by the Rail Delivery Group and published on their website.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the affordability of electric cars.

The Government is investing £2.5bn?, with grants available to reduce the upfront cost of plug in vehicles, as well?as funding?to support chargepoint infrastructure. The March Budget included £532m extra funding to keep plug in vehicle grants until 2022/3, and an additional £500m to support the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next five years. Additionally, all fully electric cars are exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty, and will pay no Company Car Tax in 2020/21, just 1% in 2021/22 and 2% in 2022/23 through 2024/25. The Government is continuing to provide grants to encourage people to charge at home overnight with a grant of up to £350?towards the installation of domestic chargers. Research by Go Ultra Low indicates that charging at home can cost from as little as 1p per mile driven, compared to 8-12p per mile in a petrol or diesel car. As part of our consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, we are considering what further measures are required to support the uptake of zero emission vehicles.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce levels of anti-social behaviour on public transport.

The Government is committed to reducing crime, anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime wherever it occurs in the transport system. The transport industry, local authorities, the police and others are already investing in and undertaking wide-ranging initiatives to improve the personal security of public transport passengers and staff and to keep our public transport systems as low crime environments.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the proportion of journeys made by (a) walking and (b) cycling.

On 28 July the Prime Minister launched ambitious plans to boost cycling and walking, with the aim that half of all journeys in towns and cities are cycled or walked by 2030. This includes a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over the next 5 years, which is the largest ever boost for cycling and walking, and will deliver transformational change. The plan contains 33 commitments including a major roll-out of new cycling and walking infrastructure; a new body (“Active Travel England”) to audit and enforce design standards and manage investment; and the creation of a national e-bike support programme.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all modes of public transport are fully accessible for wheelchair users.

Through the Inclusive Transport Strategy, launched July 2018 we aim to give disabled people equal access to the transport network by 2030, with assistance where physical infrastructure remains a barrier. This includes improving wheelchair access across all modes of transport. We understand that the needs of disabled people change over time and we will be reviewing our use of the reference wheelchair standard. We will make recommendations in future on its continued use or the use of an alternative specification.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of cycling on (a) physical health, (b) mental health and (c) the environment.

Cycling and walking deliver a range of health, economic and environmental benefits. These are detailed in the Prime Minister’s Plan for cycling and walking (www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycling-and-walking-plan-for-england) published on 28 July which sets an ambition for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2030. The plan includes a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over the next 5 years, which is the largest ever boost for cycling and walking, and which will deliver transformational change.

A more detailed consideration of the effects of cycling and walking informed the development of the Department’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy Model, the technical reports and annexes of which were published on gov.uk on 7 February (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycling-and-walking-investment-strategy-active-travel-investment-models)

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve road safety for cyclists.

On 28 July the Prime Minister launched ambitious plans to boost cycling and walking, with the aim that half of all journeys in towns and cities are cycled or walked by 2030. This includes a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over the next 5 years, which is the largest ever boost for cycling and walking, and will deliver transformational change. The plan includes a number of commitments which will deliver increased safety for cyclists, including the roll-out of segregated cycle lanes in towns and cities, a big increase in cycle training, higher safety standards for lorries and improved Cycle Infrastructure Design Guidance.

The Department continues to deliver the commitments contained in the Government’s response to the 2018 Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy Safety Review including a consultation on the review of the guidance in the Highway Code to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians which closes on the 27th October.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of electric vehicle charging points in towns and cities in England.

The Government is providing £500 million over the next five years to support the rollout of infrastructure for electric vehicles through a range of grant schemes which are available for both urban and rural areas. Part of this is our On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS), which assists local authorities with the cost of installing chargepoints on residential streets. Government funding has been doubled to £20 million for the ORCS in 2020/21. This could help fund up to 7,200 chargepoints and make charging at home and overnight easier for those without an off-street parking space. The Government has also provided £40m of funding, via our Go Ultra Low city scheme, to 8 cities across the UK to support the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles in those cities. To date, over 300 chargepoints have been installed as part of this scheme. Additional charging hubs will be installed across the country later this year such as a new hub in York. We have also consulted on proposals for chargepoint infrastructure to be installed in all newly built homes and non-residential buildings in England, where appropriate.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the rules on refunding rail season tickets as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Following the introduction of COVID-19 travel restrictions in March, the Department introduced a number of temporary process changes to make it easier for passengers to claim refunds, including allowing season ticket holders to backdate their refund claim by up to 56 days, or the date their ticket was last used, whichever was later. In addition, new arrangements were put in place to enable season ticket holders to claim refunds remotely, and a season ticket refund calculator was added to National Rail and all train operator websites. The Department agreed with train operators that they would revert to the standard refund terms and conditions from 7 September 2020, but passengers can continue to claim refunds on unused portions of season tickets.

Train operators allocated additional resources to process the unprecedented number of refund requests as quickly as possible. Since 17 March over 220,000 season ticket holders have claimed season ticket refunds totalling over £340 million in response to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve the resilience of rail infrastructure to bad weather conditions to prevent delays and cancellations to rail services.

Network Rail is undertaking a range of measures to improve the resilience to extremes of weather from active monitoring of rails at potential risk of buckling during hot weather to enable contingency plans to be enacted; to Emergency Weather Action Teams being stood up proactively in readiness to respond in advance of any extreme weather. Furthermore, in light of the tragic events at Stonehaven, NR were commissioned to produce a report in to improving the resilience of the network in response to extreme weather events. The interim report was published on 10 September and contained a range of short term and longer term actions which are being taken forward, including the creation of two task forces to look specifically the management of earthworks and the other to make best use of weather data. A full report will be published in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average timescale is for his Department to respond to their consultations; and whether his Department has a target timescale for responding.

All consultations are conducted in line with the Cabinet Office Consultation Principles. We aim to publish responses within 12 weeks of the consultation, however this is not always possible, especially for complex policies requiring significant additional analysis and stakeholder engagement.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 6 June 2022 to Question 9898 on Pension Credit: Coventry, how many pensioners in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry are eligible for pension credit but do not claim it.

Estimates for the number of people eligible for Pension Credit are only available at the Great Britain level and are available in the “Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up” publication which can be found on the statistics section of gov.uk. The latest publication relates to the financial year 2019 to 2020.

Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2019 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of child poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

Latest statistics for the levels of children who are in low income in Coventry North East constituency and Coventry are published in “Children in Low Income Families”, and can be found at: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab).

National statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication, and can be found at: Households below average income: for financial years ending 1995 to 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Due to methodological differences, the figures in these two publications are not comparable.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an estimate of the number of pensioners in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry are eligible for pension credit but do not claim it; and what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that all pensioners in those areas receive their full entitlement to pension credit.

There are currently some 2,980 recipients of Pension Credit in Coventry North East and 7,390 Pension Credit recipients in Coventry.

We have already undertaken a range of actions to raise awareness of Pension Credit and increase take-up. Initial internal management information suggests that new claims for Pension Credit in the 12 months to December 2021 were around 30% higher compared to the 12 months to December 2019.

Earlier this year, we directly targeted over 11 million pensioners with information about Pension Credit and the additional support it can provide in the leaflet accompanying their annual up-rating notification.

However, it is more important now than ever before that we ensure all eligible pensioners claim the vital financial help which Pension Credit provides. That’s why on 3 April we launched a new Pension Credit awareness campaign. We are promoting Pension Credit in a variety of ways, including on social media – with advertising targeted both at potential recipients as well as their friends and family and also in key locations for the elderly, such as post offices and GP waiting rooms.

I have written to the editors of regional newspapers across England, Scotland and Wales calling on readers to check if they could be eligible and make a claim. This was done on repeat occasions in 2021. I have also written to all MPs, urging them to lend the campaign their support. MPs are well placed to promote Pension Credit to their older constituents and many already do so.

On 6 June there will be a further roundtable meeting with some stakeholders, who have reach and expertise, to identify other practical initiatives to encourage eligible pensioners to claim.

On 15 June, there will be another Pension Credit awareness media day of action with broadcasters, newspapers and other partners encouraged to reach out to pensioners to promote Pension Credit through their channels. We will also extend the campaign to include advertising in regional and national newspapers.  This event was a success in 2021.

We know that one of the best ways to reach eligible customers is through trusted stakeholders working in the community. We will be producing and distributing leaflets and posters which can be used across local communities, and we will also be updating our digital toolkit with information and resources that any stakeholder can use to help promote Pension Credit.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact of the increases in the cost of living on levels of foodbank use in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

No assessment has been made.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level.

We understand the data limitations in this area, and therefore from April 2021 we introduced a set of questions into the Family Resources Survey (FRS) to measure and track food bank usage. The first results of these questions are due to be published in March 2023 subject to usual quality assurance.

We recognise the pressures on the cost of living and we are doing what we can to help, including spending £22 billion across the next financial year to support people. This includes the recently announced package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion.

Also included in this is an additional £500 million to help households (01 April – 30 September 2022) with the cost of essentials, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing the total funding for this support to £1 billion.

In England, £421 million will be provided to extend the existing Household Support Fund, at least a third of the extension funding (£140m) will be spent on pensioners and at least another third (£140m) will be spent on families with children.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of Carers Allowance payments to support unpaid carers meet the increased costs of living.

The Government recognises people are facing pressures with the cost of living which is why we are providing support worth over £22 billion across this financial year and next.

On carers specifically, the Government continues to provide financial support to unpaid carers through Carer’s Allowance, the Carer Element in Universal Credit and through other benefits.

Real terms expenditure on Carer’s Allowance is forecast to be £3.1bn in 2021/22 and between 2021/22 and 2026/27 is forecast to increase by two-fifths (around £1.3 billion). By 2026/27, the Government is forecast to spend just under £4.4 billion a year on Carer’s Allowance.

The weekly rate of Carer’s Allowance will increase to £69.70 in April 2022. This means that since 2010 it will have increased from £53.90 to £69.70 a week, providing an additional £800 a year for carers through Carer’s Allowance.

The Government has chosen to focus extra support on those carers who need it most. Around 360,000 carer households on Universal Credit can receive an additional £1,965 a year through the Carer Element. This amount will increase from April 2022.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of long-term youth unemployment in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry; and what (i) financial and (ii) other steps she is taking to tackle long-term youth unemployment in those areas.

The sample size of the Annual Population Survey is too small to provide robust estimates of the trends in long-term youth unemployed in the areas identified.

DWP offers significant support to unemployed people across Coventry to access employment opportunities through our network of Jobcentres. Our Work Coaches provide support on finding a job, help with retraining or skills advice, CV, job applications and access to the new vacancies, as well as signposting to our Jobhelp website.

The Youth Hub in Coventry continues to provide outreach support, which can be accessed by young people in Coventry at Coventry Jobshop in the City Centre. We have also partnered with employers in the Coventry area to deliver Sector Based Work Academy Programmes open to all age groups and length of unemployment. For longer term support we work with many local training providers and the Coventry City Council Jobshop to fill ‘Building Better Opportunities’ programmes for the longer term unemployed and those further from the labour market.

DWP is also currently working with West Midland Combined Authority to promote and fill Commonwealth Games 2022 opportunities, matching young people to employers linked to hospitality, security, customer service and the sports industry across the local area.

The Kickstart Scheme provided grant funded, six-month jobs with participating employers for 16-24 year olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. As of the 31st January 2022, in Great Britain over 130,000 Kickstart jobs have been started by young people and over 235,000 jobs have been made available for young people to apply to through the scheme. More recent statistics will be published in due course.

8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that women going through the menopause in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England are supported in their workplaces.

Too many women feel forced either to leave work, reduce their hours, or take a step back in their careers, because of the menopause. That is why I asked the 50+ roundtable of employer organisations to look at menopause and employment, emphasising the importance of the provision of support by employers. An independent report is now published which Government will respond to.

The Women’s Health Strategy will have menopause as a priority, and the UK wide Menopause task force will take a holistic approach to menopause care from healthcare to workplace support and education, enabling national coverage which will provide benefits at a local level.

Our 37 district 50PLUS Champions provide a local response, reinforcing Jobcentre Plus’s commitment to supporting over 50s claimants find and stay in work by sharing the benefits of employing over 50s to employers. Our champions utilise their knowledge and local links to support Work Coaches and employers to understand the characteristics of our customers and the issues that may affect them such as the impact of the menopause, helping them retain women’s skills and expertise.

8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to increase pension credit take-up in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The latest Pension Credit take-up statistics are due for publication on 24 February. These will cover the financial year 2019/20. Due to the sample size used to estimate Pension Credit take-up statistics, figures cannot be broken down to a constituency level.

The Department has undertaken a range of actions to raise awareness of Pension Credit, encourage pensioners to check their eligibility, and to make a claim. This has included a Pension Credit media day of action in June, working with stakeholders such as the BBC and Age UK.

Our initial internal management information suggests new claims for Pension Credit in the past twelve months to December 2021 were around 136,000, representing an increase of around 30% compared to the 12 months to December 2019 when they were around 105,000. It also suggests that we have been receiving consistently high volumes of claims over recent months, at around 3,300 per week.

This management information has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics but are provided here in the interests of transparency.

The impact of these claim volumes on numbers of successful awards and on Pension Credit take-up will take longer to establish given the usual cycle involved in producing those statistics

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people affected by administrative errors made by her Department which led to the overpayment of benefits in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department does not hold Official Error data, or details of subsequent hardships requests for a reduction in the rate of repayment, by geographical area.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people affected by administrative errors made by her Department which led to financial hardship for claimants in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department does not hold Official Error data, or details of subsequent hardships requests for a reduction in the rate of repayment, by geographical area.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the number of disabled people living in food poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

In 2021/22, we are spending £59 billion supporting disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, the highest ever level. The latest statistics for 2019/20 show rates of absolute poverty, both before and after housing costs, for individuals living in disabled families are down since 2009/10.

We are working to make sure that money spent on supporting disabled people and people with health conditions has a positive impact on their lives and we want to go further to support and empower disabled people and people with health conditions. Following the publication of Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper, published last year, we are actively considering changes that we could introduce to improve support for disabled people and people with health conditions. We will bring forward our proposals in a White Paper later this year

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to tackle child poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting low-income families, including through spending over £110 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22 and by increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 from April 2022.

With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, our focus now is on continuing to support parents across the UK into and to progress in work. This is because we know that work, particularly where it is full-time substantially reduces the risks of child poverty and improves long-term outcomes for families and children. Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, will help people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects.

In addition, Universal Credit recipients in work are now benefitting from a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, while eligible in-work claimants can also benefit from changes to the Work Allowance. These measures represent, for the lowest paid in society, an effective tax cut of around £2.2b in 2022-23 and are now benefitting almost two million of the lowest paid workers by £1,000 a year on average.

We recognise that some people require extra support over the winter, which is why vulnerable households across the country can access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund provides £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. The Barnett Formula applies in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million. Coventry City Council are receiving £3,224,222.30 of this funding.

To support low income families further we have increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins, and we are also investing over £200m a year from 2022 to continue our Holiday Activities and Food programme which is already providing enriching activities and healthy meals to children in all English Local Authorities.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on how many occasions people have been declared fit for work and have then been successful in an appeal of that decision against her Department in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last three years.

National Statistics for Employment Support Allowance Work Capability Assessments (WCA) are published every three months here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/employment-and-support-allowance-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessment

Detailed monthly statistics showing the outcomes of completed initial and repeat WCAs and the outcomes of Mandatory Reconsiderations and Appeals, by various geographical areas, are available on Stat-Xplore at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

The information requested for Universal Credit WCAs is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to tackle levels of food poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting low-income families by spending over £110 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22 and by increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 from April 2022.

With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, our focus now is on continuing to support people into and to progress in work. Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, will help people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects.

In addition, Universal Credit recipients in work will soon benefit from a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, while eligible in-work claimants will also benefit from changes to the Work Allowance. These measures represent, for the lowest paid in society, an effective tax cut of around £2.2 Billion in 2022-23, and will benefit almost two million of the lowest paid workers by £1000 a year on average.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery from the impacts of the Covid pandemic, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. This includes £421 million for the Household Support Fund, which will help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. Coventry City Council are receiving £3,224,222.30 of this funding.

To support low income families further we have also increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins, and we are investing over £200m a year from 2022 to continue our Holiday Activities and Food programme, which is already providing enriching activities and healthy meals to children in all Local Authorities in England.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the (a) unemployment and (b) youth unemployment rates in Coventry North East constituency; what assessment her Department has made of the factors that have contributed to those unemployment rates being disproportionately higher in Coventry North East than the equivalent UK rates; and what targeted action her Department is taking to reduce unemployment in Coventry North East constituency.

Estimates of (a) unemployment and (b) youth unemployment in the year to Jun 2021 based on the Annual Population Survey are published and available here. Guidance for users can be found here. No specific assessment has been made of the factors underlying unemployment in Coventry North East and the sample sizes for Coventry North East may make drawing conclusions from this data difficult.

However, 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.

Throughout the pandemic the UK Government has provided historic levels of support to the economy – a total of over £400 billion. This includes key DWP programmes such as Restart and Kickstart alongside other measures to boost work searches, skills and apprenticeships. Our support was in addition to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

We recognise that young people’s needs will vary depending on where they live and their own individual circumstances.

The Coventry Youth Hub, just 1 of 150 currently open, works with a range of local partners and can help people address and overcome barriers to employment. Our experienced and well-trained Work Coaches have access to tools that help them understand vacancies and skills needs. Work Coaches are prioritising face-to-face activity so we can support them into work, and a year after the first young people started, over 100,000 have now taken-up a Kickstart job. This is an incredible achievement and we have announced a run-on of Kickstart to March 2022, to further support people into jobs.

12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people affected by administrative errors made by her Department which led to the overpayment of benefits in each of the last five years.

Ensuring benefit correctness is a DWP priority and we are focused on paying people their correct entitlement from the outset of a claim. Indeed, despite a period when we have faced the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, fraud and error in the benefits system remains low, with 95% of benefits, worth more than £200 billion, paid correctly in 2020/21.

In line with this commitment to correctness, we operate a Quality Assurance Framework, which sets out the Department’s quality controls in relation to official error. This includes an assurance regime where levels are measured and reported monthly, with lessons learnt helping deliver continuous improvement.

The following table, taken from our National Statistics on Fraud and Error in the Benefit System, shows the percentage of cases overpaid Universal Credit (UC) as a result of Official Error for the Financial Year Ending (FYE) 2017 to FYE 2021.

Financial Year

% of cases overpaid UC as a result of Official Error

2016/2017

4.9%

2017/2018

5.3%

2018/2019

5.7%

2019/2020

4.1%

2020/2021

2.2%

The National Statistics on Fraud and Error also show that Universal Credit Official Error as a percentage of benefit expenditure fell in 2020/21, from 1.3% to 0.9%.

Further information on fraud and error in the benefits system can be found in the Department’s annual statistical publication at:

Fraud and error in the benefit system: financial year 2020 to 2021 estimates - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Where Official Error overpayments do occur, the introduction of the 2012 Welfare Reform Act means that all overpayments of Universal Credit, including cases where the overpayment is a result of Official Error, are recoverable.

Where recovery is made by deduction from Universal Credit, there is a limit placed on the overall amount that can be deducted. Formerly 40% of the Universal Credit Standard Allowance, this was reduced from 30% to 25% in April 2021. Moreover, a priority order is applied, which determines the order in which deductions can be made. ‘Last resort’ deductions, such as rent or fuel costs, are at the top of the priority.

Anyone with overpayment deductions who does experience financial hardship is encouraged to contact the Department’s Debt Management unit. Where a person cannot afford the

proposed rate, a lower amount can be negotiated.

*Note that the data supplied in this response is derived from unpublished management

information which was collected for internal Departmental use only and has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. The data should therefore be treated with caution.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on foodbank use in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

No assessment has been made. Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level. We understand the data limitations in this area, and thus from April 2021 we introduced a set of questions into the Family Resources Survey (FRS) to measure and track food bank usage. The first results of these questions are due to be published in March 2023 subject to usual quality assurance. These questions will allow us to gauge where people in food security are seeking help and over time will allow is to build a time series on the scale of food bank usage.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of food insecurity amongst (a) primary and (b) secondary school children in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England (A) in each of the last five years and (B) during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have not made an assessment of this kind. Issues of food insecurity amongst school children fall within the remit of the Department for Education so assessments such as this would be their responsibility.

We take the issue of food security seriously, which is why we added internationally used food security questions to the Family Resources Survey in 19/20 and published the data in March this year. These questions remain in the survey and will allow us to track food security over time. Statistics on Household Food Security from the Family Resources Survey for financial year 20/21 have a provisional release date of March 2022, subject to the usual quality assurance.

National and regional statistics on the number of food insecure households are published annually in the “Family Resources Survey” publication. Statistics on levels of food insecure households in the UK , covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/family-resources-survey-financial-year-2019-to-2020

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the numbers of pensioners living in poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the levels of pensioner poverty in those areas; and what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the welfare system in helping to alleviate levels of pensioner poverty in those areas.

Since 2010, the Government has increased the full yearly value of the basic State Pension by over £2,050 in cash terms. The full basic State Pension in 2010 was £97.65 per week and is now £137.60 per week.

There are now 200,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty (both before and after housing costs) than in 2009/10.

The Government is committed to action that helps to alleviate levels of pensioner poverty. For current pensioners, this includes the new State Pension and Pension Credit. For future pensioners, it also includes auto-enrolment into workplace pensions, which has transformed pension saving for millions of workers; and our 50 plus: choices agenda which aims to maximise the labour market opportunities for people to earn and save for longer.

Information is not available at constituency or local authority level and It is not yet possible to produce a robust estimate of the impact of Covid-19 as is sought.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the numbers of people in employment that are living in poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry; and what recent estimate her Department has made of the effect of ending the £20 uplift to universal credit on the levels of in-work poverty in those areas.

National statistics on the number of people living in in-work absolute low income are set out in the annual "Households Below Average Income" publication. The numbers of people living in in-work absolute low income is not available at constituency or local authority level in this publication because the survey sample sizes are too small to support the production of robust estimates at this geography.

The latest poverty figures (2019/20) demonstrate that absolute poverty rates (both before and after housing costs) for working-age adults in working families have fallen since 2009/10. In 2019/20, 8% of working age adults in working families were in absolute poverty (before housing costs), compared to 9% in 2009/10.

No such assessment has been made of the effect of ending the £20 uplift to universal credit on the levels of in-work poverty in Coventry North East constituency and Coventry.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced with the success of the vaccine rollout. With record vacancies, our focus is on helping people back into work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty.

We have also announced a reduction in the taper rate in Universal Credit from 63% to 55% in the coming weeks, meaning Universal Credit claimants will be able to keep more of their earnings and announced that all work allowances will be increased by £500 per year, meaning many claimants will be able to earn over £550 each month before their benefits begin to be scaled down. These two measures mean 1.9m households will keep, on average, around an extra £1,000 a year.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department provides to older jobseekers in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England who are looking to (i) reskill or (ii) change careers.

The Department’s plan for jobs provides funding to ensure that more jobseekers of all ages get tailored support, including to reskill or pivot sectors. That includes programmes such as the Job Finding Support service, Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) and the Restart scheme, to help them find work. The JETS scheme in particular helps jobseekers update their digital skills, job searching tools and to identify transferrable skills.

The UK government are also investing £2.5 billion in the National Skills Fund in England to aid The Lifetime Skills Guarantee. From April 2021, adults of any age over 24 who are looking to achieve their first full Level 3 will be able to access fully funded courses which will give them new skills and greater prospects in the labour market. The free online Skills Toolkit also provides online learning focused on digital, numeracy and employability skills.

For older jobseekers, a network of 50 Plus Champions provides dedicated support to Work Coaches across all 37 Jobcentre Plus districts to enable and encourage them to direct suitable Plan for Jobs and local support to claimants aged 50 and over. The Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers also spearheads the Government’s work to support employers to hire and re-train older workers, promoting the benefits of older workers to employers across England.

In addition, older jobseekers will also benefit from JCP support locally through the Flexible Support Fund (FSF) which allows jobcentres to put in place the right support for their community.

16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the welfare system in helping to alleviate levels of (a) pensioner, (b) in-work, (c) food and (d) child poverty in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England.

The government tracks rates of pensioner, in-work, and child poverty for the West Midlands and England as part of its Households Below Average Income (HBAI) publication. The latest estimates are for the three year average between 2017/18 – 2019/20. Breakdowns by receipt of benefits can be found on Stat-Xplore. Data for Coventry and the Coventry North East constituency is unavailable due to insufficient sample size.

Rates of household food security in West Midlands and England can be found in the Family Resources Survey, including by benefit receipt. The latest figures are from 2019/20. As above, data for Coventry and the Coventry North East constituency is unavailable due to insufficient sample size.

Rates and numbers of children in absolute and relative low income, before housing costs, are available for Coventry North East and Coventry as part of the government’s Children in Low Income Families (CILIF) publication. The latest figures are from 2019/20 and can be viewed on Stat-Xplore. This is not available by receipt of benefits.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate her Department has made of the proportion of children in relative poverty where at least one adult in that household is in employment in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry in each of the last five years.

We do not hold information on the composition of children who are in relative poverty by work status at the household level.

However, the proportion of children in relative low income, before housing costs, where at least one adult in that family is in employment for Coventry North East constituency and Coventry for the five years to 2019/20 can be extracted using the Children in Low Income Families dataset on https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the effect of ending the £20 uplift to the standard allowance of universal credit on recipients of that benefit in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

No such assessment has been made. The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced with the success of the vaccine rollout. Now the economy is reopening and as we continue to progress with our recovery our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the levels of youth (a) redundancy and (b) unemployment in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England.

(a) Redundancy estimates are only published for 16-24 year olds at the UK level and are available at: RED02: Redundancies by age, industry and region - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

(b) Estimates of youth unemployment in the year to Dec 2020 for the requested geographies based on the Annual Population Survey are published and available at: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/default.asp. Guidance for users can be found at: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/home/newuser.asp. The sample sizes for the smaller geographies may make drawing conclusion difficult. The administrative data for the Alternative Claimant Count is published and available at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance for users is available at: https://sw.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of women and girls living below the poverty line in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; and what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the levels of female poverty in those areas.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of individuals in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Data for Coventry North East constituency and Coventry is unavailable due to insufficient sample size.

HBAI does not publish estimates of low income by an individual’s gender but estimates of low income for women and girls are available on Stat-Xplore (https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/). Guidance in the use of Stat-Xplore is available here: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

In the three years to 2019/20, the number of women and girls in absolute poverty, before housing costs, in the West Midlands was 500,000, down 100,000 from the three years to 2009/10.

In the three years to 2019/20, the number of women and girls in absolute poverty, before housing costs, in England was 4,100,000, down 400,000 from the three years to 2009/10.

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level and at local authority level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually. The published table does not include an estimate based on the child’s gender, but it is available on Stat-Xplore.

Due to methodological differences, the figures in these two publications are not comparable.

No assessment has been made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on female poverty in those areas, nor the adequacy of the welfare system in helping alleviate female poverty in those areas.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the numbers of people living in food poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the levels of food poverty in those areas; and what steps her Department is taking to alleviate food poverty levels in those areas of England during the covid-19 outbreak.

National and regional statistics on the number of food insecure households are published annually in the “Family Resources Survey” publication.

Statistics on levels of food insecure households in England and the West Midlands, covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/family-resources-survey-financial-year-2019-to-2020

Data for Coventry and the Coventry North East constituency is unavailable due to insufficient sample size.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

In addition to these measures, our Covid Local Support Grant is ensuring that families across England get help with food and essential utility bills. We have now extended this temporary scheme for a final time with an additional £160 million in funding between 21 June and 30 September, taking total funding under the scheme to £429 million. This funding recognises that while restrictions are planned to end in July, families might need additional help to get back on their feet as the vaccine rollout continues and our economy recovers. This year, we are also investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme which has been expanded to every local authority across England and we have increased the value of Healthy Start Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of people in employment that are living in poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the levels of in-work poverty in those areas; and what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the welfare system in helping to alleviate levels of in-work poverty in those areas.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of individuals in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Data for Coventry North East constituency and Coventry is unavailable due to insufficient sample size.

HBAI does not publish estimates of low income by an individual’s work status but estimates of low income for working age adults by the employment status of all working age adults in the household are available on Stat-Xplore (https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/). Guidance in the use of Stat-Xplore is available here: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

In the three years to 2019/20, the number of working age adults in a working household in absolute poverty, before housing costs, in the West Midlands was 400,000.

In the three years to 2019/20, the number of working age adults in a working household in absolute poverty, before housing costs, in England was 2,800,000.

No assessment has been made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on in-work poverty in those areas, nor the adequacy of the welfare system in helping alleviate in-work poverty in those areas.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of children living in poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the levels of child poverty in those areas; and what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the welfare system in helping to alleviate levels of child poverty in those areas.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Data for Coventry North East constituency and Coventry is unavailable due to insufficient sample size.

Latest statistics for the number of children who are in low income in the West Midlands and England, covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020 in children-hbai-timeseries-1994-95-2019-20-tables data table 4.17ts (relative low income, before and after housing costs) and in data table 4.23ts (absolute low income, before and after housing costs).

In the three years to 2019/20, the number of children in absolute child poverty, before housing costs, in the West Midlands was 300,000.

In the three years to 2019/20, the number of children in absolute child poverty, before housing costs, in England was 2,100,000, down by 200,000 since the three years to 2009/10.

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level and at local authority level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually. The latest figures on the number of children who are in low income in Coventry North East constituency and Coventry, covering 2019/20, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-2014-to-2020/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-fye-2015-to-fye-2020 .

Due to methodological differences, the figures in these two publications are not comparable.

No assessment has been made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on child poverty in those areas, nor the adequacy of the welfare system in helping alleviate child poverty in those areas.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the disability employment gap in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The information requested can be derived from the Annual Population Survey and is publically available through Nomis. This can be accessed with the following link:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/datasets/apsnew

Data on the disability employment rate at the constituency, local authority, regional and country level can be found here, along with the non-disabled employment rate. The disability employment gap can be calculated from the difference in the employment rate between the disabled and non-disabled employment rates.

However, it should be noted that:

  • The Annual Population Survey dataset covers a one-year period. The latest available data is from January- December 2020 so does not cover the full pandemic period.
  • Sample sizes at the constituency and local authority level may be small. Estimates for the disability employment gap at this level are therefore likely to be subject to a large degree of sampling variation and should be used with caution.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many pensioners in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England (i) receive the basic state pension, (ii) receive pension credit and (iii) are eligible for pension credit but do not claim it; and what steps her Department is taking to ensure that all pensioners receive their full entitlement to pension credit.

The Government wants to make sure that all eligible pensioners claim the Pension Credit to which they are rightly entitled. DWP continues to use multiple ways to reach those who can claim. Amongst other things, on 16 June, DWP joined forces with Age UK, Len Goodman, Rustie Lee and the BBC to help reach those who may be reticent about claiming Pension Credit. The aim was to renew our efforts to raise awareness of Pension Credit, encouraging people to check their eligibility and make a claim.

On 17 May, DWP Ministers hosted a roundtable event attended by a range of stakeholders who have an interest in pensioners’ financial wellbeing, to explore opportunities on getting information about Pension Credit to pensioners and their family members.

We have recently updated our online toolkit which provides a range of ideas and support which stakeholders can use with their customers to encourage take-up of Pension Credit. Two new videos specifically target key messages aimed at pensioners as well as their family members and friends.

Our Pension Credit pages on gov.uk have recently been updated, drawing attention to how Pension Credit can provide extra money as well as a range of other help for pensioners who get it. The online claim facility we introduced last year, further enables family, friends and organisations to help pensioners make a claim.

This year, over 11 million pensioners in Great Britain received messaging about Pension Credit with their annual State Pension up-rating letter which also highlighted that an award of Pension Credit can mean being eligible for other benefits such as Housing Benefit or a free over-75 TV licence.

The number of pensioners in receipt of the basic State Pension, as well as the number of pensioners in receipt of Pension Credit, by Parliamentary Constituency, is published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of trends in the levels of pensioner poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England in each of the last 10 years; and what steps her Department is taking to eradicate pensioner poverty in those areas.

Since 2010, the Government has increased the full yearly value of the basic State Pension by over £2,050 in cash terms. The full basic State Pension in 2010 was £97.65 per week and is now £137.60 per week.

There are now 200,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty (both before and after housing costs) than in 2009/10.

The Government is committed to action that helps to alleviate levels of pensioner poverty. For current pensioners, this includes the Triple Lock, the new State Pension and Pension Credit. For future pensioners, it also includes auto-enrolment into workplace pensions, which has transformed pension saving for millions of workers; and our 50 plus: choices agenda which aims to maximise the labour market opportunities for people to earn and save for longer.

Estimates for pensioner poverty for towns and constituencies are not possible.

The most recent estimates for England are here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to support people who have been made redundant as a result of the covid-19 outbreak to (a) access training and skills support and (b) secure suitable alternative employment in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England.

The Department for Work and Pensions through the Rapid Response Service (RRS) gives support and advice to employers and their employees when faced with redundancy. On receipt of the advance notification of redundancies form (HR1) from the Insolvency Service’s Redundancy Payments Service, DWP’s National Rapid Response Team or the local Rapid Response Team will make contact with the Employer to offer tailored support.

The range of support available from Jobcentre Plus and partners may include:

· Connecting people to jobs in the labour market.

· Help with job search including CV writing, interview skills, where to find jobs and how to

apply for them.

· Help to identify transferable skills and skills gaps (linked to the local labour market)

· What benefits they may get and how to claim

This service is co-ordinated nationally by the National Employer and Partnership Team (NEPT) and is managed by Jobcentre Plus. Delivery partners include The National Careers Service, local training providers, Money Advice Service and the skills bodies in England.

In Coventry, the local Jobcentre Redundancy Support Team works closely with Coventry City Council, Coventry Jobshop, National Careers Service, Money Advice Service and SERCO to deliver tailor made local redundancy support. The Coventry Jobshop is an organisation within the Coventry City Council, who support Coventry residents looking for support on a range of things, from budgeting advice, welfare rights and job matching for employers and candidates.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the reasons for the change in the level of youth unemployment in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry and (c) the West Midlands in the last 12 months.

The information that is available is in the table below. No assessment has been made of changes in levels in youth unemployment. Links to the data can be found below the table:

Alternative Claimant Count

Feb 18

Feb 19

Feb 20

Feb 21

a (i) Coventry North East

3,161

3,255

3,654

7,361

b (ii) Coventry

7,332

7,546

8,364

17,235

c (iii) West Midlands

137,592

141,923

149,959

273,241

Source: DWP Stat-Xplore

Here are the links to the Nomis data available for Coventry and for West Midlands.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England who have become victims of social security benefit scams in each of the last five years; and what steps her Department is taking to (i) support victims of and (ii) prevent such scams.

We do not hold the requested information.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to improve access to social security benefits for all people in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England who have been diagnosed as terminally ill.

The Department has published updated guidance for clinicians to support them with completing DS1500s for Special Rules for Terminal Illness claims. We also introduced a dedicated GOV.UK page with information on claiming benefits for those nearing the end of their lives. The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and in July 2019, announced an in-depth evaluation into how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life. The Department is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation to implement the key areas identified in the evaluation; raising awareness of the support that is available; improving ​consistency with other services used by people nearing the end of their lives; and a consensus to change the six-month rule.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the level of poverty among single parent families in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

It is not possible to estimate the impacts of COVID-19 on relative and absolute poverty as this requires estimates of income for all people in the UK and this data is not yet available.

A range of measures are designed to support claimants, including one parent families such as easements from work-related requirements, same day advances and signposting to expert third-party services. There is also help available for childcare costs for children of any age. Claimants can recover up to 85% of their eligible childcare costs through UC (or 70% of those costs through working tax credits). Further assistance may be available through the Flexible Support Fund.

Since Covid-19, we have also strengthened the welfare system, spending £7.4 billion on measures such as the Universal Credit uplift, on top of additional support such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

We have built on this extra support through the introduction of our Covid Winter Grant Scheme, now running until 20th June as the Covid Local Support Grant, with a total investment of £269m.

he Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, backed by £220 million, has already provided support during the Easter holidays this year, and will continue to do so during the summer and Christmas holidays.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of trends in the level of in-work poverty in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The national and regional statistics on the number of people living in working households in low income as set out in the annual ‘Households Below Average Income’ publication are not available at constituency or city level as the sample size would not be sufficient to produce robust estimates.

Statistics showing the levels of in-work poverty in both the West Midlands and England can be found on stat-xplore. The latest figures are for 2019/20:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect of the Kickstart scheme on levels of youth unemployment in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart scheme throughout and after its implementation.

Delivering the Kickstart Scheme at pace has led to a limited data set which makes it harder to accurately present a snapshot of a smaller geographical area. We are continuing to develop our data, which may help in sharing constituency level information in due course.

However, as of the 3rd June 2021 we are able to provide that in the ONS defined region of the West Midlands (which includes the Coventry North East constituency and Coventry), around 12,840 Kickstart jobs had been made available for young people to apply for and around 2,800 jobs have been started by young people on the Kickstart Scheme.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the economic cost of youth unemployment in terms of (a) lost national output, (b) lost tax revenue and (c) higher welfare spending in each of the last three years; and what fiscal steps her Department is taking to reduce youth unemployment in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) the West Midlands and (iii) England.

No estimate has been made.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is committed to supporting everyone who has been affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the labour market. 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.

Through Plan for Jobs, the government invested £30bn in measures to create, support and protect jobs. This included over £3bn investment in the Kickstart programme for young people and an additional 13,500 Work Coaches in our Jobcentres, as well as other measures focussed on boosting work search, skills and apprenticeships.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the effect of long-term unemployment on mental health; and what steps she is taking to support the mental health of people facing (a) redundancy and (b) long-term unemployment in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The Secretary of State regularly meets with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to discuss health and employment support.

In recognition of the important link between work and health, including mental health, in 2015 we created the joint Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Health and Social Care Work and Health Unit (WHU). This brings the two departments together to pilot new ways of joining up the health and employment systems. The WHU delivers a programme of trials, initiatives and policy development to support disabled people and people with health conditions to remain in and return to work, and to support health and wellbeing in the workplace.

One of the largest initiatives of the joint WHU is providing additional Employment Advisors (EAs) in NHS Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Services. This provides combined psychological treatment and employment support to help clients receiving IAPT treatment for depression and anxiety to remain in, get back to, or find work, including those impacted by changes to the labour market resulting from COVID-19. This initiative is currently running in 40% of Clinical Commissioning Groups in England, including the Coventry and Warwickshire CCG.

Large scale trials in the West Midlands and Sheffield City Region have been testing the internationally-recognised Individual Placement and Support approach to employment support in a health setting for people with common mental health and/or physical health conditions.

Nationally, DWP has developed and implemented mental health guidance and training for its frontline staff across the nation. To support vulnerable customers, DWP has created a national network of senior leaders who will liaise locally with authorities who have safeguarding responsibilities to identify individuals who may need extra support. National employment programmes, including the Work and Health Programme and the Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme, provide specialist employment support to individuals. The Access to Work Mental Health Service also provides a package of tailored support and advice for up to nine months and can provide coping strategies, a step-by-step support plan, advice on adjustments and support for employers to enable them to fully understand the person’s condition.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent comparative assessment her Department has made of the (a) unemployment and (b) youth unemployment rates in (i) Coventry North East constituency and (ii) the UK; and what steps her Department is taking to reduce unemployment in that constituency.

The information requested is published and available at:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/default.asp

Guidance for users can be found at:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/home/newuser.asp

At the 2020 Spending Review, the Chancellor confirmed A Plan for Jobs, which placed DWP at the heart of providing significantly expanded employment support to people becoming newly unemployed and those falling in to long-term unemployment, investing over £30bn in measures to create, support and protect jobs.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on employment levels amongst 25-35 year olds in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; and what steps her Department has taken to support 25-35 year olds who have been made redundant as a result of the covid-19 outbreak to (i) access training and skills support and (ii) secure suitable alternative employment.

(a)-(d)

The information on employment levels for 25-34 year olds is published and available at:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/default.asp

Guidance for users can be found at: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/home/newuser.asp

The most up to date information on NOMIS comes from the Annual Population Survey for Jan-Dec 2020 and is therefore not entirely subject to the effects of COVID-19. As a sample survey it is subject to sampling error, which may limit the conclusions that can be drawn.

(i)-(ii)

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is committed to supporting everyone who has been affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the labour market.

Through our Plan for Jobs, 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.

We are working with Department for Education and HMT on how Universal Credit claimants can best be supported to gain skills for priority sectors and meet skills shortages, in addition to better facilitating progression opportunities.

To meet demand for Jobcentre services and to ensure that people looking for work receive the right support, DWP has successfully recruited 13,500 new Work Coaches.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the gender pension gap in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry and (c) England; and what steps she is taking to tackle the gender pension gap in each of those areas.

The Department does not hold data in the form requested.

Through automatic enrolment, we are enabling more women to build up a workplace pension; participation among eligible women working in the private sector has risen from 40% in 2012 to 86% in 2019, which is equal to men. The Government remains committed to addressing this issue and we are making progress, including through promoting women’s progression in workplaces; the introduction of shared parental leave and mandatory gender pay gap reporting.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cold weather payments have been issued to people in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry and (c) the West Midlands in each of the last five years.

The Cold Weather Payment scheme is administered at weather station level rather than at a constituency or regional level. The coverage area for each weather station is determined by the Met Office, which assesses the most appropriate weather station for each postcode area. Cold weather payments are triggered when the average temperature recorded at the weather station has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, 0oC or below over seven consecutive days, during the Cold Weather season (November to March).

There are three constituencies in Coventry: Coventry North-East, Coventry South and Coventry North-West. Postcodes within these constituencies are linked to the weather station Coleshill. Table 1 shows the weather station linked to Coventry postcodes, and also includes postcodes in constituencies other than those in Coventry.

Table 1 Postcode sectors mapped to Weather Stations

Weather station

Postcode Sectors Covered

Coleshill

B1-21, B23-38, B40, B42-50, B60-80, B90-98, CV1-12, CV21-23, CV31-35, CV37, CV47, DY1-14, LE10, WS1-15, WV1-16.

Table 2 Estimated number of Cold Weather recipients linked to the Colsehill weather station

Year

Estimated number of recipients

Number of triggers

2020/21

262,000

1

2019/20

264,000

0

2018/19

279,000

0

2017/18

289,000

1

2016/17

299,595

0

Qualifying individuals living in this area will have received a £25 payment in respect of a seven-day period of Cold Weather. Expenditure can be estimated by multiplying the number of payments by £25.

Table 2 shows the estimated number of cold weather payment recipients, and the number of cold weather triggers in the period of 1 November to 31 March, for each of the last five years.

c) There are 59 constituencies in the West Midlands area. Summarising cold weather payment estimates per constituency is completed manually, and we are unable to provide a breakdown for this area as this is a labour intensive process.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of benefit claimants in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England are in rent arrears; and what steps her Department is taking to support benefit claimants in those areas in rent arrears.

We do not hold this information.

For 2020/21 we are projected to have spent almost £30 billion to support renters with their housing costs. This includes a boost of almost £1 billion to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in response to Covid-19, which provided 1.5 million households in the private rented sector with around £600 more in housing support over the year. In 2021/22 all LHA rates will be maintained at their increased level, meaning claimants will continue to benefit from the significant increase in rates

For those claimants struggling with their single monthly rent payment and as a result are at risk of financial harm there are alternative payment arrangements.

For those who require additional support with housing costs Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available. For 2021/22 £140m is being made available for DHPs. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in DHP funding.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support universal credit claimants in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry during the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Government’s priority has been to protect lives and people’s livelihoods, including by:

  • Extending the temporary £20 a week increase in Universal Credit originally introduced for 12 months, for a further six months, taking it well beyond the end of national lockdown.
  • Spending almost £30 billion to support renters with their housing costs in 2020/21. This includes a boost of almost £1 billion to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in response to Covid-19, which provided 1.5 million households in the private rented sector with around £600 more in housing support over the year. In 2021/22 all LHA rates will be maintained at their increased level, meaning claimants will continue to benefit from the significant increase in rates.
  • Suspending the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit until 31st July, meaning self-employed Universal Credit claimants can access support on more generous terms.

The Jobcentre team in Coventry have delivered Mentoring Circles and Sector- based Work Academy Programmes in partnership with local employers, as well as a Youth Hub based at the Coventry Jobshop and additional support for young people with complex needs through our Youth Employability Coaches.

The £229.1m Covid Winter Grant Scheme was part of Government’s Covid response to provide Local Authorities in England, including Coventry Local Authority, with funding to support vulnerable households with the costs of food and other essentials. Recognising that some restrictions on the economy continue, we are extending the scheme – renamed the COVID Local Support Grant - until the 20th June 2021.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on pensioners in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

Government Ministers have continuously worked together to co-ordinate the economic response to the pandemic all across the UK.

The Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Act 2020 ensured that pensioner incomes will increase in 2021/22. In 2021/22 the full yearly basic State Pension will be over £2,050 a year higher, in cash terms, than in 2010.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department offers to people aged (a) 16-24 and (b) over 25 in (i) Coventry North East constituency and (ii) Coventry who have been out of work for (A) more than 6 months and (B) more than 12 months.

Through our Plan for Jobs, the Department is providing broad ranging support for all jobseekers. Currently, support includes the Kickstart scheme, Job Finding Support, Sector Based Work Academy Programmes and Job Entry Targeted Support. In addition, the Work and Heath Programme, and Intensive Personalised Employment Support, is available to support disabled people and people with long term health conditions, to enter and stay in work.

To support the long term unemployed, £2.9 billion is being invested in the Restart Programme, which is due to go live from summer 2021. The Restart Programme will support individuals who have been unemployed for 12 months and over and through regular, personalised support providers will work with participants to identify the best way to support them into sustained employment.

The Jobcentre team in Coventry work with many local training providers and the Coventry City Council Jobshop to support the ‘Building Better Opportunities’ programmes for the longer term unemployed and those further from the labour market. They have worked with Coventry City Council to develop a Youth Hub which provides outreach support for young people in Coventry, and are working with them to fund ‘Ambition’ work coaches from community hubs across Coventry to support young people with significant complex needs and barriers.

In addition, the Jobcentre team have partnered with local employers and organisations to deliver a number of successful Sector Based Work Academy Programmes, across multiple sectors, which are available to all claimants irrespective of age or length of unemployment

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the factors that contribute to long-term unemployment; what assessment she has made of the effect of long-term unemployment on (a) families, (b) communities and (c) the economy; and what steps her Department is taking to tackle long-term unemployment and its effects.

DWP is committed to supporting everyone who has been affected by the unprecedented impact of Covid 19 on the economy and the labour market. Unemployment is at 5% (3 months to January 2021) and the Universal Credit Intensive Work Search Regime (IWSR) caseload has risen to almost 2.4 million (February 2021). We have seen historically that where unemployment rises, we can also expect long-term unemployment to increase.

DWP recognises the negative impacts of long-term unemployment for individuals, families, communities and the economy. At the 2020 Spending Review, the Chancellor confirmed A Plan for Jobs, which placed DWP at the heart of providing significantly expanded employment support to people becoming newly unemployed and those falling in to long-term unemployment, investing £33bn in measures to create, support and protect jobs.

This included £2bn for the Kickstart scheme, £2.9bn for the Restart scheme, funding to increase the number of Jobcentre Work Coaches by 13,500 and a range of other measures focussed on boosting work search and skills (Job Entry Targeted Support; Job Finding Support; Sector Based Work Academy Programme).

The Restart Scheme will give Universal Credit claimants who have been out of work for at least 12 months enhanced support to find jobs in their local area. Restart will offer intensive and tailored guidance to this group of claimants, working with local employers and partners, to help support claimants in removing any barriers that prevent them from re-entering work.

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the level of universal credit uptake amongst 16-24 year olds in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The available information on the number of people on Universal Credit, by Parliamentary Constituency and other geographical breakdown and by age, is published monthly and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of unemployment amongst 16-24-year olds; and what assessment her Department has made of the factors that have contributed to young workers being disproportionately affected by rising unemployment during the covid-19 outbreak.

From September 2020 we started the implementation of the DWP Youth Offer for all 18 to 24 year olds making a claim for Universal Credit and who are in the Intensive Work Search group. The Youth Offer is the wrap-around support programme, helping young people access so much of the positive provision stood up as part of the Plan for Jobs. This includes the Sector-based Work Academy Programmes and the Kickstart Scheme which has over 150,000 approved job placements - over 50,000 of these made available directly to young people so far via Work Coaches; and over 6,000 of these job placements have already started.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces labour market statistics from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which is a survey of people resident in households in the UK.

These estimates are available on the ONS website at:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/latest/relateddata

This analysis is based on estimates available on the ONS website at:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/adhocs/12467employmentbyageindustryandoccupationuk20102015and2019

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to