Daisy Cooper Portrait

Daisy Cooper

Liberal Democrat - St Albans

First elected: 12th December 2019

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)

(since October 2021)

Building Safety Bill
9th Sep 2021 - 26th Oct 2021
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)
7th Sep 2020 - 21st Oct 2021
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020


Department Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
5 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 23rd April 2024
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
23 Apr 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
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View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Scheduled Event
Friday 26th April 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
General Medical Council (Fitness to Practise) Rules (Amendment) Bill: Second Reading
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Scheduled Event
Friday 21st June 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Cancer Research Funding (Report to Parliament) Bill: Second Reading
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Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 11 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 286 Noes - 221
Speeches
Wednesday 7th February 2024
Points of Order
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am grateful for the opportunity to respond to the hon. …
Written Answers
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Dental Services: Children
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information her Department holds on the number of …
Early Day Motions
Monday 11th December 2023
Raising awareness of Rett syndrome
That this House recognises Rett Syndrome Awareness Month from 1 to 30 October; notes its importance for raising awareness of …
Bills
Monday 18th December 2023
General Medical Council (Fitness to Practise) Rules (Amendment) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to provide that an allegation concerning a medical practitioner’s fitness to practise may be considered by the General …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: Thomas Gosling
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: …
EDM signed
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Jagtar Singh Johal
That this House notes that Jagtar Singh Johal, a Sikh activist and resident of Dumbarton, will be marking his 37th …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 9th January 2024
Schools (Mental Health Professionals) (No. 2) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to make provision to require every school to have access to a qualified mental health professional; and for …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Daisy Cooper has voted in 691 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Daisy Cooper 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
Steve Barclay (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(25 debate interactions)
Christopher Pincher (Independent)
(21 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Independent)
(20 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(100 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(29 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(29 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Fire Safety Bill 2019-21
(5,053 words contributed)
Health and Care Act 2022
(2,168 words contributed)
Building Safety Act 2022
(1,768 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Daisy Cooper's debates

St Albans 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

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

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Daisy Cooper

7th February 2024
Daisy Cooper signed this EDM on Tuesday 20th February 2024

Jagtar Singh Johal

Tabled by: Martin Docherty-Hughes (Scottish National Party - West Dunbartonshire)
That this House notes that Jagtar Singh Johal, a Sikh activist and resident of Dumbarton, will be marking his 37th birthday on 9 February, his sixth in arbitrary detention in India since being abducted from the street during his honeymoon by unidentified assailants who turned out to be undercover police …
36 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 13
Labour: 9
Liberal Democrat: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Alba Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
30th January 2024
Daisy Cooper signed this EDM on Tuesday 20th February 2024

Childhood cancer

Tabled by: Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour - South Shields)
That this House notes that over 4,000 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year; further notes that cancer is still the biggest killer by disease of children and young people in the UK; recognises the unique medical and psychosocial impacts of cancer on children …
29 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 16
Independent: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Scottish National Party: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Liberal Democrat: 2
Green Party: 1
View All Daisy Cooper's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Daisy Cooper, 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.


3 Urgent Questions tabled by Daisy Cooper

1 Adjournment Debate led by Daisy Cooper

Tuesday 1st September 2020

10 Bills introduced by Daisy Cooper


A Bill to establish an independent public inquiry into the Government’s response to concerns about fire and building safety.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to place a duty on the Lord Chancellor to ensure the provision of safe and secure accommodation for all women leaving prison; to require the Lord Chancellor to review support provided to women leaving prison with the objective of preventing such women becoming homeless; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to place a duty on the Secretary of State to ensure equal access to maternity services for people living in rural and coastal areas to those living in other areas, including access to the same range of birthing methods and locations; to require consultant-led maternity services to be available within 45 minutes of an expectant mother’s home; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to require ambulance services to provide more accessible and localised reports of ambulance response times; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament an annual report on the allocation of research funding into cancers with the lowest survival rates in the UK, including lung, liver, brain, pancreatic cancer, and certain childhood cancers, including an assessment of the options for increasing funding for research with the aim of increasing survival rates for those cancers; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 21st June 2024
Order Paper number: 11
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

A Bill to provide that an allegation concerning a medical practitioner’s fitness to practise may be considered by the General Medical Council irrespective of when the most recent events giving rise to the allegation occurred; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 18th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 26th April 2024
Order Paper number: 4
(Possibly be Debated)

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to appoint an independent reviewer to prepare a quarterly report containing an assessment of primary care services; to require the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament each report prepared by the independent reviewer; to require such reports to include the independent reviewer’s assessment of any measures taken to improve general practice services, dental services, community pharmacy services, optometry services, and mental health services; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 12th July 2023
(Read Debate)

A Bill to amend the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to enable local authorities in England to determine the fees to be paid in respect of applications and deemed applications for planning permission; to require local authorities to set the scale of fees with a view to ensuring that the costs of determining applications can be wholly funded by application fees; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 16th November 2022

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on the merits of reinstating the Access to Elected Office Fund.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 20th June 2022

A Bill to require courts to impose community sentences on women offenders unless they have committed a serious or violent offence and pose a threat to the public; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 3rd March 2020

1933 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
16 Other Department Questions
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 5 June to Question 186960 on Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund, whether she has received representations from disability advocacy groups on re-establishing the (a) Access to Elected Office Fund and (b) the EnAble Fund.

This Government has received representations from a number of individuals and groups regarding the need for greater support for disabled people wishing to stand for elected office. This includes representations related to the provision of funding to support with reasonable adjustments.

This Government is committed to increasing representation of disabled people in elected office. Earlier this year, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work wrote to political parties represented in the House of Commons to seek support in ensuring that disabled candidates and people in elected office have the support they require.

The Government has been clear that the responsibility for supporting disabled candidates sits with political parties and that the EnAble Fund was an interim measure to give parties time to put their own support in place.

Building on the experience of the Access to Elected Office fund and the EnAble fund, DLUHC with the Local Government Association launched a new scheme in April 2022, to support those seeking to become candidates in local elections.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
25th May 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether it is her Department's policy to provide additional funding to support disabled candidates standing at the next General Election.

The Equality Act 2010 stipulates that parties must make reasonable adjustments to support disabled candidates and ensure, as far as possible, that they have the same access as non-disabled candidates. Ministers have made clear in letters to parties and Statements to the House that ultimately the responsibility sits with political parties.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to prevent access to unregulated online gambling services.

The Gambling Commission can deploy a range of business disruption techniques to prevent consumers accessing the unregulated online gambling market. It works with web hosting companies and search engines to remove sites or prevent them appearing on searches, and with payment providers to prevent payments to unlicensed operators. It also has powers to prosecute or to refer issues to partner agencies such as HMRC where necessary.

The Gambling Act Review is looking at the Gambling Commission's powers and resources as part of its broad scope, including issues around unlicensed gambling. We will publish a white paper setting out our conclusions and next steps in the coming weeks.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, if he will make an estimate of the number of carbon miles that will be incurred by staff employed by the Government to host COP26; and what plans he has to offset those carbon miles.

COP26 will be carbon neutral, which is a requirement from the UNFCCC on the UK as Host Country. However, our main priority is to reduce the emissions from the Conference in the first instance. We are asking all of our staff and volunteers to use low-carbon travel options and will be offsetting the emissions associated with travel, including those in the run up to COP26, from the travel data collated once the event has been delivered.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what his policy is on recruiting staff to host at the COP26 venue who are local to that venue to reduce carbon miles.

Our Blue Zone ‘local staff’ and General Liaison Officers have all been recruited from Glasgow and the surrounding area, and more than 40% of the Host City volunteers live in the City.

Furthermore, our production company's local crew supplier is engaging with local organisations to recruit a local workforce. Other subcontractors are committed to 70-85% local staff.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, if he will make it his policy to commit to specific targets for climate finance that support gender equality.

As the incoming COP Presidency, we understand that climate change is not gender neutral and women and girls are disproportionately negatively impacted. Earlier this year, we published our priorities for public finance for COP26 which include improving the gender-responsiveness of climate finance which is key to achieving long term climate goals. The UK Presidency is committed to working to address gaps in the provision of climate finance to ensure it delivers on gender equality in line with the UNFCCC Lima Work Programme’s Gender Action Plan.

The UK has also signed up to other international commitments to delivering gender-responsive climate finance, including the the Feminist Action for Climate Justice in July. These initiatives are at the core of what we want to deliver on gender at COP26. As part of this we have committed to stepping up commitments on gender-responsive climate finance.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had on self-identification legislation for trans people with her counterparts in (a) Argentina as co-Chair of the Equal Rights Coalition, (b) Ireland, (c) Malta, (d) Belgium, (e) Portugal, (f) Denmark, and (g) Norway.

The UK is committed to working with our international partners to promote and protect the rights of LGBT people.

We work closely with Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) member states, including Argentina as co-chairs, to share best practice on LGBT rights and plan to launch the Five Year Strategy and Implementation Plan to advance LGBT equality at an ERC conference on 6 and 7 July 2021. The Implementation Plan is based on international best practice and urges ERC member states to “provide legal gender recognition through an accessible, quick, and transparent administrative process and without abusive requirements (including sterilization, divorce, treatment or diagnostic) as a minimum standard.”

We also regularly share best practice on a range of issues with the Council of Europe’s LGBTI Focal Points Network (EFPN) member states.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
21st May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what weighting her Department plans to give to responses from (a) survivors of conversion therapy and (b) organisations that support those survivors to the consultation on draft legislation to ban conversion therapy.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, we will bring forward legislation to ban conversion therapy. We will also launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalised to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy while protecting the medical profession, defending freedom of speech and upholding religious freedom. We are considering all options for the scope of a ban and will be engaging the appropriate stakeholders to gather views. We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective, with no unintended consequences. We have also undertaken research to understand practices, experiences and impacts associated with conversion therapy and will publish this in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
21st May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make it her policy that there should be no exemption for religious practices when the draft Bill to ban conversion therapy is introduced.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, we will bring forward legislation to ban conversion therapy. We will also launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalised to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy while protecting the medical profession, defending freedom of speech and upholding religious freedom. We are considering all options for the scope of a ban and will be engaging the appropriate stakeholders to gather views. We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective, with no unintended consequences. We have also undertaken research to understand practices, experiences and impacts associated with conversion therapy and will publish this in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
21st May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she plans to publish the findings of her Department's research into conversion therapy practices in the UK.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, we will bring forward legislation to ban conversion therapy. We will also launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalised to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy while protecting the medical profession, defending freedom of speech and upholding religious freedom. We are considering all options for the scope of a ban and will be engaging the appropriate stakeholders to gather views. We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective, with no unintended consequences. We have also undertaken research to understand practices, experiences and impacts associated with conversion therapy and will publish this in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
21st May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the announcement in the Queen's Speech that the Government plans to introduce a Bill to ban conversion therapy, when that draft Bill will be published; and when the consultation on that draft Bill will open.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, we will bring forward legislation to ban conversion therapy. We will also launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalised to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy while protecting the medical profession, defending freedom of speech and upholding religious freedom. We are considering all options for the scope of a ban and will be engaging the appropriate stakeholders to gather views. We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective, with no unintended consequences. We have also undertaken research to understand practices, experiences and impacts associated with conversion therapy and will publish this in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward amendments to the Equality Act 2010 to include caste as a protected characteristic.

This Government completely opposes any discrimination because of a person’s origins, including any perceptions of their caste.

The Tirkey v Chandhok case in 2014 established that it is likely that anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against because of caste could bring a race discrimination claim under the existing ethnic origins limb of the race provisions in the Equality Act because of their descent.

The Government considers, having also taken into account over 16,000 responses to a 2017 consultation on this issue, that the Tirkey judgment serves as a welcome clarification of the existing protection under the Equality Act – helping to deter those inclined to treat others unfairly or unequally because of conceptions of caste.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 24 November 2020 to Questions 118113 and 118112, when the evaluation of the programme to support schools in preventing and addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, reaching 2,250 schools in England will be completed and published.

Since 2016, we have invested £4m to support schools in preventing and addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. This programme concluded in March 2020 and continues to be evaluated, in order to increase our evidence base on what works in schools. We plan to publish the evaluation in due course.

The Government remains committed to helping teachers tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying, and are continuing to fund anti-bullying projects. The Department for Education announced £750k of funding in June 2020 for three charitable organisations, including a project for victims of hate-related bullying.

The Department for Education is also rolling out new inclusive statutory Relationships Education in all primary schools and Relationships and Sex Education in all secondary schools, so that children leave school prepared for life in modern, diverse, Britain.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether her Department has carried out an equality impact assessment on the potential effect on young people of the proposed removal of Government-funded projects that tackle LGBT+ bullying in schools.

We want to ensure that all children, whoever they are, are kept safe in schools. Since 2016, we have invested £4m to support schools in preventing and addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, reaching 2,250 schools in England. This programme concluded in March 2020 and we are currently evaluating it.

In our 2019 Manifesto, we made clear our commitment to continuing to help teachers tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying, and the Government is continuing to fund anti-bullying projects. The Department for Education announced £750k of funding in June for three charitable organisations, including a project for victims of hate-related bullying.

We consider the Public Sector Equality Duty in everything we do, including the continuing delivery of our anti-bullying work.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what equality impact assessment his Department has undertaken of defunding the Government-backed projects tackling bullying of LGBT+ students in England's schools on young people.

We want to ensure that all children, whoever they are, are kept safe in schools. Since 2016, we have invested £4m to support schools in preventing and addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, reaching 2,250 schools in England. This programme concluded in March 2020 and we are currently evaluating it.

In our 2019 Manifesto, we made clear our commitment to continuing to help teachers tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying, and the Government is continuing to fund anti-bullying projects. The Department for Education announced £750k of funding in June for three charitable organisations, including a project for victims of hate-related bullying.

We consider the Public Sector Equality Duty in everything we do, including the continuing delivery of our anti-bullying work.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether their Department has purchased mobile UV virus irradiation units.

The Government Property Agency, which manages the Cabinet Office property portfolio, has not purchased any mobile UV virus irradiation units.

10th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse was for the Prime Ministerial visit by private aircraft to Chapel Allerton on 9 January 2023; and for what reason an alternative sustainable form of transport was not used.

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

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

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

28th Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy report, Readiness for storms ahead? Critical national infrastructure in an age of climate change, published on 27 October, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of appointing a Minister of State for critical national infrastructure.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster confirmed during Cabinet Office Orals and Topicals on 27 October that both the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and myself are Ministers for resilience. The resilience portfolio includes working with the lead government departments for the Critical National Infrastructure sectors.

We will respond to the JCNSS report in full in due course.

23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to publish an updated List of Parliamentary Private Secretaries to replace the most recent version dated June 2022.

An updated List of Parliamentary Private Secretaries was published on 29 November, and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-parliamentary-private-secretaries-pps-november-2022.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to tackle (a) bullying and (b) discrimination within his Department.

The Cabinet Office does not tolerate bullying, harassment or discrimination in any form. There are robust policies and processes in place to create a safe working environment and the Department actively encourages staff to report any inappropriate behaviour including bullying, harassment and discrimination.

In October 2021, the Cabinet Office launched an independent Review into Respect & Inclusion to consider policies, practices and workplace culture in regard to fairness and inclusion in the Cabinet Office. The Department has accepted the independent report's recommendations and are implementing them in full, prioritising actions that will have the greatest immediate impact. This includes ensuring senior leaders are accountable for leadership of respect and inclusion issues.

Additionally, Cabinet Office have our Fair Treatment Confidants Network where staff are trained to support and signpost their colleagues if they have experienced, witnessed or been accused of bullying, harassment or discrimination.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants retired from central Government departments between 1 March 2020 and 1 March 2022; and of those how many had worked in the civil service for 20 consecutive years or more, broken down by Government department.

National Statistics on the size, shape and structure of the Civil Service, including the number of civil servants leaving, by leaving cause, between 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, was published as part of the release of Civil Service Statistics 2021 and is available at the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/civil-service-statistics-2021 at table 42.

The attached data table shows that 7,580 civil servants retired in the year ending 31 March 2021. Of these, 4,900 were recorded as having entered the Civil Service 20 years or more prior to their retirement with numbers broken down by main government department in the table attached separately.

Statistics on those who retired in 2021/22 are not yet available.

25th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many official grievances have been lodged by Cabinet Office staff each year over the last ten years; and how many of those complaints were (a) entirely or (b) partially upheld.

Employment tribunal decisions are published on GOV.UK. To ascertain which protected characteristic an employment tribunal was related to would lead to disproportionate costs.

The number of official grievances lodged by Cabinet Office staff and how many of those complaints were entirely or partially upheld is not centrally held. The Cabinet Office is therefore not able to respond due to the disproportionate cost of gathering this data.

25th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many employment tribunals have been brought against the Cabinet Office in the last decade; and how many of the tribunal cases considered discrimination or harassment related to a protected characteristic.

Employment tribunal decisions are published on GOV.UK. To ascertain which protected characteristic an employment tribunal was related to would lead to disproportionate costs.

The number of official grievances lodged by Cabinet Office staff and how many of those complaints were entirely or partially upheld is not centrally held. The Cabinet Office is therefore not able to respond due to the disproportionate cost of gathering this data.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to introduce the Public Service Ombudsman Bill, as drafted in December 2016, to Parliament.

The government has no plans at this time to introduce the 2016 Public Service Ombudsman Bill to Parliament. Whilst the government will consider specific proposals on Ombudsman reform we do not currently view more large scale Ombudsman reform as a priority for this Parliament.

14th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether victims of the blood contamination scandal and their legal teams will have the opportunity to view the report into the framework for compensation for victims of the contaminated blood scandal on the same day as the Government.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement, HCWS681, made on 15 March.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many photographers are employed by the Office of the Prime Minister and No. 10 Downing Street; and on what date the advertisement for each role was published.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given by my Rt Hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, to PQ 119830.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the (a) ten publishing companies that received the most from the public purse through the All In, All Together advertising campaign and (b) total sum each of those companies received.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19. As part of this, we have utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A list of participating publishers will be placed in the Commons Library.

As with any media planning approach, titles are selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level.

Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the total cost to the public purse of the All In, All Together newspaper advertising campaign has been since April 2020.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19. As part of this, we have utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A list of participating publishers will be placed in the Commons Library.

As with any media planning approach, titles are selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level.

Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 17 January to Question 100698,UK Trade with EU: VAT, how many fulltime equivalent staff are dedicated to engaging with counterparts in EU Member States on issues relating to the interpretation by those countries’ custom officials of the VAT rules being applied to UK traders and hauliers.

Officials in a number of different Government Departments work on the full range of issues relating to trade with the EU under the new arrangements set out in the Trade and Co-operation Agreement. It is not possible to disaggregate the level of full time equivalent staff resource involved specifically in engaging with EU Member States on the interpretation of their VAT rules which is one issue among many.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the MPs Toolkit for UK Transition Campaign communication, emailed to hon. Members on 7 January 2021, what data were used to show many of the queries the Government receives about VAT are regarding the VAT regimes and operation of those in EU Member States.

We do not systematically record where queries specifically relate to EU VAT regimes. However, questions on this topic have been raised numerous times in various cross-government engagement fora over the last year. Although we do not record the data, we always direct customers to the relevant guidance.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what communication there has been between the Government and the Metropolitan Police, relating to the decision by the Metropolitan Police not to investigate allegations against (a) Number 10 Downing Street and (b) other Government Departments of breaking lockdown regulations while the civil service investigation into that matter, chaired by Sue Gray, is completed.

The Terms of Reference for the Cabinet Office’s investigation have been published on GOV.UK and deposited in the libraries of both Houses. The work will be concluded by the Second Permanent Secretary.

The Government does not comment on the specifics of an ongoing process.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on how many occasions the (a) Cabinet Officer Border and Protocol Delivery Group and (b) other Departments or agencies have engaged with EU member states on the interpretation by those countries’ custom officials of the VAT rules being applied to UK traders and hauliers.

The Border and Protocol Delivery Group, supported by HMRC and others, holds regular discussions with counterparts in EU Member States on all issues relating to the flow of freight and passengers.

It is not possible to provide a precise number for these contacts without incurring disproportionate costs.

The interpretation of each country’s VAT rules is ultimately a matter for the authorities of that country.

3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government will include in the terms of reference for its public inquiry into covid-19 (a) specific analysis of the impact of covid-19 on disabled people and (b) the impact of covid-19 on disabled people with additional protected characteristics.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a statutory public inquiry into COVID-19 will begin in spring 2022. The Prime Minister also confirmed that bereaved families and other groups will be consulted before terms of reference are finalised. Further details, including in respect of the terms of reference, will be announced by the independent chair in due course.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments on the adequacy of its funding; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the Honourable member to Written Statement HCWS185.

The Government is working with the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments to improve the operation and efficacy of the Business Appointment Rules. The recommendations from Nigel Boardman’s report into the development and use of supply chain finance in government, as well as the forthcoming Standards Matter 2 report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life will be considered as a part of this work, and an update to the Business Appointment Rules will be published this year.

22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 15 September 2021 to Question 49964 on Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, what assistance the Government can provide to secure a response from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to (a) letters from hon. Members and (b) referrals from constituents.

I would advise the hon. Member to contact the Ombudsman directly at MP@ombudsman.org.uk for any general correspondence or queries about particular cases.

The Government will, of course, pass on correspondence and complaints to the Ombudsman but cannot intervene directly in the Ombudsman’s day-to-day business. Members can also raise issues with the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee who scrutinise the Ombudsman if they have concerns about how the Ombudsman engages with members.

20th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that all government agencies pro-actively promote access to paper or printable forms for people who do not have full access to digital versions.

The Government’s Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) is responsible for producing the Service Standard (https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/service-standard) which guides government teams as to how they should design and produce content providing information regarding public services.

Government teams are required to make sure that all information is accessible across all channels, including online, phone, paper and face to face.

Government teams must also make sure that everyone can use their services, including disabled people, people with other legally protected characteristics, people who do not have access to the internet and/or lack the skills and/or confidence to use the internet. CDDO provides clear guidance on how to make non-digital parts of a government service as widely accessible as possible by providing a contact for users and providing forms in alternative formats for example, large print, braille or audio CD.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when covid-19 guidance for significant life events other than weddings such as (a) christenings and (b) Bar/Bat Mitzvahs will be published.

Guidance on significant life events is available on gov.uk as part of the places of worship guidance, and is kept under continual review.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
12th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the advice he has received on the reasons for the disparity between the covid-19 guidance for weddings and receptions and the guidance for the events and hospitality sector.

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

For that reason, we will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation.

On 10 May, the Government announced plans to proceed with Step 3 on 17 May. Based on the data, we have passed the four tests set out in the roadmap, which means that the planned easing of wedding and reception limits can continue as planned and set out in the roadmap.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID Secure venues that are permitted to open. Receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people in a COVID Secure indoor venue, or outdoors, which includes private gardens.

On 13 May, the Government published further detailed wedding guidance : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil
-partnerships

Guidance will be updated again ahead of Step 4.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
12th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to publish updated and detailed guidance for weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions to take place at (a) step 3 and (b) step 4 of the covid-19 roadmap.

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

For that reason, we will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation.

On 10 May, the Government announced plans to proceed with Step 3 on 17 May. Based on the data, we have passed the four tests set out in the roadmap, which means that the planned easing of wedding and reception limits can continue as planned and set out in the roadmap.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID Secure venues that are permitted to open. Receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people in a COVID Secure indoor venue, or outdoors, which includes private gardens.

On 13 May, the Government published further detailed wedding guidance : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil
-partnerships

Guidance will be updated again ahead of Step 4.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if his Department will launch a public education campaign that would alert consumers to their potential liability for (a) customs charges, (b) import VAT and (c) increased courier handling charges when making purchases from online marketplaces that fulfil orders from within the EU.

The Government is already communicating the practical changes that follow Brexit for citizens and businesses and has been doing so since last year. This public information campaign has reached 99.7% of UK adults.

The Government has worked with the retail industry to ensure that they take the actions necessary to comply with new rules now that the UK has left the EU. This includes ensuring that their customers are aware of any charges if goods are sourced from within the EU or from further afield.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the advice he has received on the reasons for the disparity between the covid-19 guidance for weddings and receptions and the guidance for the events and hospitality sector.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether alternative wedding ceremonies as defined in COVID-19: Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships are permitted from 12 April 2021.

In the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, the Government has set out the gradual and cautious approach to reopening different sectors in England, guided by science and the data.

We understand the unique significance that marriages and civil partnerships hold in people’s lives, but we have to take necessary steps to limit transmission of COVID-19. This includes restrictions on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, as well as other forms of social contact. By their very nature, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are events that bring families and friends together, making them particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.

Alternative wedding ceremonies are permitted in line with the regular wedding or civil partnership rules, in the same locations, at each step.

From 29 March, wedding and civil partnership ceremonies have been able to take place indoors or outdoors in COVID-Secure venues that are not expressly closed by the Regulations, or where a broader exemption applies. From 12 April, 15 people are permitted to attend. This approach allows couples to marry in legally binding licensed venues for wedding ceremonies (where outdoor options are limited) while remaining in line with the reopening of sectors and venues as set out in the roadmap. Wedding ceremonies should follow government guidance to reduce the risk of transmission.

Receptions (of up to 15 people) can resume from 12 April. The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. That is why receptions are only permitted outdoors at this Step and should be in a COVID-Secure venue.

From Step 3, no earlier than 17 May 2021, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID-Secure venues that are not required to close, or where a broader exemption applies. Receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people in a COVID-Secure indoor venue, or outdoors, which includes private gardens.

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

At each step, the limits on the number of attendees includes children of all ages, but not workers.

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

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans publish a comprehensive covid-19 roadmap for (a) weddings, (b) civil partnership ceremonies and (c) receptions detailing permitted arrangements at each step including but not limited to (i) the bubbling of households for ceremonies and receptions, (ii) how food can be served and (iii) the use of private land and garden weddings.

In the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, the Government has set out the gradual and cautious approach to reopening different sectors in England, guided by science and the data.

We understand the unique significance that marriages and civil partnerships hold in people’s lives, but we have to take necessary steps to limit transmission of COVID-19. This includes restrictions on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, as well as other forms of social contact. By their very nature, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are events that bring families and friends together, making them particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.

Alternative wedding ceremonies are permitted in line with the regular wedding or civil partnership rules, in the same locations, at each step.

From 29 March, wedding and civil partnership ceremonies have been able to take place indoors or outdoors in COVID-Secure venues that are not expressly closed by the Regulations, or where a broader exemption applies. From 12 April, 15 people are permitted to attend. This approach allows couples to marry in legally binding licensed venues for wedding ceremonies (where outdoor options are limited) while remaining in line with the reopening of sectors and venues as set out in the roadmap. Wedding ceremonies should follow government guidance to reduce the risk of transmission.

Receptions (of up to 15 people) can resume from 12 April. The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. That is why receptions are only permitted outdoors at this Step and should be in a COVID-Secure venue.

From Step 3, no earlier than 17 May 2021, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID-Secure venues that are not required to close, or where a broader exemption applies. Receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people in a COVID-Secure indoor venue, or outdoors, which includes private gardens.

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

At each step, the limits on the number of attendees includes children of all ages, but not workers.

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

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether children who are five years old or under are included in guest limits given for wedding ceremonies and receptions during the period of covid-19 restrictions.

In the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, the Government has set out the gradual and cautious approach to reopening different sectors in England, guided by science and the data.

We understand the unique significance that marriages and civil partnerships hold in people’s lives, but we have to take necessary steps to limit transmission of COVID-19. This includes restrictions on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, as well as other forms of social contact. By their very nature, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are events that bring families and friends together, making them particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.

Alternative wedding ceremonies are permitted in line with the regular wedding or civil partnership rules, in the same locations, at each step.

From 29 March, wedding and civil partnership ceremonies have been able to take place indoors or outdoors in COVID-Secure venues that are not expressly closed by the Regulations, or where a broader exemption applies. From 12 April, 15 people are permitted to attend. This approach allows couples to marry in legally binding licensed venues for wedding ceremonies (where outdoor options are limited) while remaining in line with the reopening of sectors and venues as set out in the roadmap. Wedding ceremonies should follow government guidance to reduce the risk of transmission.

Receptions (of up to 15 people) can resume from 12 April. The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. That is why receptions are only permitted outdoors at this Step and should be in a COVID-Secure venue.

From Step 3, no earlier than 17 May 2021, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID-Secure venues that are not required to close, or where a broader exemption applies. Receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people in a COVID-Secure indoor venue, or outdoors, which includes private gardens.

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

At each step, the limits on the number of attendees includes children of all ages, but not workers.

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

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil service widows and widowers have had their survivors pension restored on compassionate grounds.

The data obtained shows a total of 1472, an average of around 114 per year, pensions ceasing on remarriage or cohabitation for the period 2008 to 2020. The split of the data between those whose pension was stopped due to remarriage and cohabitation, and the breakdown between England, Wales and Scotland, and the number of survivor pensions restored on just compassionate grounds, is not available at this point.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil service widows and widowers have had their pensions revoked as a result of (a) remarriage and (b) cohabitation in (i) England and Wales and (ii) Scotland.

The data obtained shows a total of 1472, an average of around 114 per year, pensions ceasing on remarriage or cohabitation for the period 2008 to 2020. The split of the data between those whose pension was stopped due to remarriage and cohabitation, and the breakdown between England, Wales and Scotland, and the number of survivor pensions restored on just compassionate grounds, is not available at this point.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he sought (a) scientific and (b) other advice when deciding to support the actions of Dominic Cummings in relocating his family to County Durham at the end of March 2020.

I refer the Hon Member to my comments of 27 May 2020 at the Liaison Committee, HC 322. The matter is now closed.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish updates to Procurement Policy Notices (PPN) 02/20 and 04/20: Supplier relief due to coronavirus (COVID-19) - additional sector guidance for state funded schools, which expired on 30 June 2020 and 31 October 2020 respectively.

The guidance was issued to schools to offer support for implementation for PPN 02/20 and 04/20 for the provision of supplier relief. These PPNs have now expired and the Cabinet Office has no plans to issue further PPNs for supplier relief. Contracting Authorities can still make their own arrangements for contractual relief.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether (a) the local elections planned for May 2021 will go ahead as planned and (b) polling stations will be (i) accessible and (ii) covid-19 secure.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2020 to Question 123698, whilst individuals are not required to give a reason for refusing honours, how many of those who refused and did give a reason cited either (a) anti-imperialism or (b) an unwillingness to be associated with the former British empire in the last five years.

Nominees’ reasons, if any, for declining an award are given in confidence and the Government does not comment on the reasons given.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have declined an appointment to each Order of the British Empire award in each of the last five years.

It has always been the case that a small number of individuals have chosen to decline to receive honours.

The numbers of refusals for the Order of the British Empire broken down by award and honours round in the last five years for the Prime Minister's Lists can be found below. Figures for the British Empire Medal have been included as the award is closely affiliated with the Order of the British Empire.

As the figures show, refusal rates for honours remain extremely low. Individuals are not required to give reasons for refusing honours.

GBE

Kt

DBE

CBE

OBE

MBE

BEM

Total

NY16

-

-

1

-

3

6

2

12

BD16

-

-

-

4

6

5

7

22

NY17

-

2

-

5

6

13

8

34

BD17

-

-

-

3

3

7

7

20

NY18

-

-

-

1

6

8

9

24

BD18

-

-

1

5

6

11

3

26

NY19

-

1

-

3

5

9

8

26

BD19

-

-

-

3

5

9

6

23

NY20

1

-

-

-

5

7

11

24

BD20

-

-

-

3

10

15

15

43

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people who declined an appointment to an Order of the British Empire award cited (a) anti-imperialism and (b) an unwillingness to be associated with the former British empire in each of the last five years.

It has always been the case that a small number of individuals have chosen to decline to receive honours.

The numbers of refusals for the Order of the British Empire broken down by award and honours round in the last five years for the Prime Minister's Lists can be found below. Figures for the British Empire Medal have been included as the award is closely affiliated with the Order of the British Empire.

As the figures show, refusal rates for honours remain extremely low. Individuals are not required to give reasons for refusing honours.

GBE

Kt

DBE

CBE

OBE

MBE

BEM

Total

NY16

-

-

1

-

3

6

2

12

BD16

-

-

-

4

6

5

7

22

NY17

-

2

-

5

6

13

8

34

BD17

-

-

-

3

3

7

7

20

NY18

-

-

-

1

6

8

9

24

BD18

-

-

1

5

6

11

3

26

NY19

-

1

-

3

5

9

8

26

BD19

-

-

-

3

5

9

6

23

NY20

1

-

-

-

5

7

11

24

BD20

-

-

-

3

10

15

15

43

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the tax implications for UK boat owners whose vessels are currently harboured in EU member states in the trade deal negotiations with the EU.

Movements of goods from the EU will be treated the same as movements from the rest of the world after the end of the transition period. This means customs duties, including VAT, will be due, unless any relief or further agreement applies.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing pubs and licensed premises to deliver alcohol sales to customers during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Pubs and bars are permitted to sell alcohol through delivery or via click and collect where remote ordering has been utilised.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether photographs used in Government public health adverts in newspapers are required to reflect the diversity of the communities in which those adverts are placed.

The Government’s public health advertising is reflective of the UK’s diverse communities. We work with marketing agencies to address barriers by targeting audiences with bespoke communications, including providing translations of core campaign materials. This ensures our public health messaging reaches as many people as possible.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants received severance packages in (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020 to date.

Departments publish details in their Annual Report and Accounts each year.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many letters Government Ministers have (a) received from MPs and (b) replied to since 1 May 2020.

This information is not held centrally. Each department is responsible for its correspondence.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will place in the Library a list of the publishers who have participated in the All in, All together advertising campaign to date.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19. As part of this, we have utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A list of participating publishers will be placed in the Commons Library.

As with any media planning approach, titles are selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level.

Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the budget is for the All in, All together advertising campaign; how much has been spent to date; and if he will place in the Library the amount agreed to be paid to each recipient publisher.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19. As part of this, we have utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A list of participating publishers will be placed in the Commons Library.

As with any media planning approach, titles are selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level.

Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will place in the Library the criteria which the Government used to select which publishers would be included in the All in, All together advertising campaign.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19. As part of this, we have utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A list of participating publishers will be placed in the Commons Library.

As with any media planning approach, titles are selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level.

Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

4th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many requests the Government has received for the provision of a British Sign Language interpreter at the televised daily covid-19 briefings from Hon Members (a) on the daily conference calls with his Department and (b) through all forms of communication with his Department.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQs 39766 and 41529 on 4 May 2020.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, on what date Lord Agnew assumed responsibility for the procurement and supply chain of personal protective equipment.

Ministers in the Department for Health and Social Care have overall responsibility for PPE supply. However, other ministers and officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Cabinet Office, the Department for International Trade, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are closely involved in many aspects of the work. The Cabinet Office involvement includes providing a web portal for businesses offering medical and non-medical support and seconding commercial staff to support the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS officials carrying out procurement.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if he will take steps to introduce an ownership transparency register for land and buildings in town centres.

This is an area in which there is already a high level of transparency. HM Land Registry holds publicly accessible records of the registered proprietors of land and buildings in England and Wales.

If the registered proprietor is a UK company or an overseas entity, information about the company and its people with significant control, or, in the case of an overseas entity, its beneficial owners, is publicly available from Companies House.

Further measures to enhance land transparency are being brought forward by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities via the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill, currently passing through Parliament.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February to Question 136862 on Disease Control, what the cost to the public purse was of the two mobile UV irradiation units deployed at 1 Victoria Street.

The cost to the public purse of the two mobile UV irradiation units deployed at 1 Victoria Street was £1358, excluding VAT.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether she has had recent discussions with Ofgem on the potential impact of recent changes in off-peak night rates on Economy 7 electricity tariffs on households which use electricity to heat their homes in comparison with other households.

As the demand for electricity during the night-time period has grown, energy suppliers have had to pay significantly more to purchase that electricity for their customers. In turn, this is reflected in rising night-time rate for time-of-use tariffs

The setting of tariffs, including for peak and off-peak periods for ‘Time-of-Use’ tariffs (such as Economy 7), are a commercial matter for individual energy suppliers.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what progress her Department has made on a consultation on (a) introducing a statutory fuel finder scheme and (b) establishing a statutory monitoring body for fuel retailers.

The Government announced on 15 November that the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) would undertake the ongoing road fuels price monitoring function. The Digital Markets, Competition & Consumers (DMCC) Bill was amended at Commons Report stage to give the CMA information-gathering powers for the monitoring function.

We are due to launch our consultation on the design of the statutory open data scheme and aspects of the monitoring function not outlined in the DMCC Bill shortly.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 18 September 2023 to Question 198559 on Energy: Hospitality Industry, whether she has received representations from (a) UK Hospitality, (b) the British Beer and Pub Association, or (c) hospitality businesses about energy companies refusing to supply (i) pubs, (ii) restaurants and (iii) other hospitality premises.

The Department regularly answers correspondence on issues related to the retail energy market, including those raised by representatives from the hospitality industry. The Department regularly meets with stakeholders from this industry. On 12th September, I met again with the UK Hospitality CEO, Kate Nicholls, where we discussed UK Hospitality’s views on the Ofgem review into the non-domestic energy market.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to report by Ofgem entitled Non-domestic market review: Findings and policy consultation, published on 6 September 2023, whether she plans to take steps to support hospitality businesses to access competitively priced energy contracts.

The consultation closed on 6 September and the responses are currently being analysed by Ofgem.

Contractual terms offered to businesses are a commercial matter. As noted in the consultation, over half of suppliers are now offering ‘blend and extend’ arrangements for their customers, extending the fixed contract over a longer period of time but lowering the monthly customer bill.

The Energy Bills Discount Scheme continues to provide support to non-domestic customers.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will extend the application deadline for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding scheme beyond 31 May 2023 in the context of that date not being published on the scheme’s eligibility information or application form on the Gov.UK website as at 9 May 2023.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding launched on 27th February providing 3 months for eligible applicants to apply before the 31st May deadline, which the Government believes is sufficient time for households to claim their support. As such, there is currently no proposal for the deadline for the scheme to be extended. The closure date for the scheme has now been included on the GOV.UK webpage.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what proportion of eligible households who have not received Energy Bill Support Scheme payments automatically have made an application for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding.

The Government does not at this stage have figures on the number of eligible households who have applied for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding. These figures will be made available in May.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has made representations on the potential impact on global net-zero commitments of the Willow Project in Alaska to his American counterpart.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State is in regular discussion with the US Government on a range of energy and climate change issues, including the importance of accelerating the global clean energy transition. While he has discussed the Willow Project in Alaska with the US Government, decisions on it are for the US authorities alone.

The UK and US are committed to reaching net zero by 2050 and on 17 April, G7 nations underlined mutual global commitments ‘to accelerate the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels so as to achieve net zero in energy systems by 2050 at the latest in line with the trajectories required to limit global average temperatures to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels’.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the BBC Panorama programme entitled The Green Energy Scandal, whether Ofgem is taking steps to investigate if Drax Group plc were aware that biomass fuels used by them originated from non-sustainable sources; and if he will make a statement.

Ofgem undertakes regular audits of Drax’s adherence to their obligations under the Renewables Obligation scheme. As part of ongoing scheme compliance monitoring, an additional assurance audit is underway.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will take steps to ensure that hon. Members can scrutinise the extent to which Ofgem is successfully delivering the Renewables Obligation scheme.

Ofgem is accountable to Parliament for all of its activities. It regularly reports on delivery of Government schemes, and publishes annual reports. The Renewables Obligation annual reports set out its administration of the scheme and include information on compliance with the sustainability criteria. The latest report is for 2021/22 and is available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/renewables-obligation-ro-annual-report-scheme-year-20-2021-22.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will take steps to ensure that hon. Members can scrutinise the extent to which electricity suppliers comply with the relevant sustainability criteria of the Renewables Obligation scheme administered by Ofgem.

Ofgem is accountable to Parliament for all of its activities. It regularly reports on delivery of Government schemes, and publishes annual reports. The Renewables Obligation annual reports set out its administration of the scheme and include information on compliance with the sustainability criteria. The latest report is for 2021/22 and is available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/renewables-obligation-ro-annual-report-scheme-year-20-2021-22.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department plans to provide additional support with the increased cost of energy for leisure centres and gyms.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme review assessed a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence and contributions from businesses and other stakeholders, on sectors that may be most affected by price increase based on energy and trade intensity (ETII). The public leisure sector does not fall within the trade intensive category and is therefore not included in the ETII scheme.

However, recognising the vital role that swimming pools and leisure facilities play in our communities, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Spring Budget additional funding of over £60 million for public swimming pool providers to help with immediate cost pressures and to make facilities more energy efficient.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will reclassify (a) public swimming pools and (b) leisure centres as energy and trade intensive industries.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme review assessed a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence and contributions from businesses and other stakeholders, on sectors that may be most affected by price increase based on energy and trade intensity (ETII). The public leisure sector does not fall within the trade intensive category and is therefore not included in the ETII scheme.

However, recognising the vital role that swimming pools and leisure facilities play in our communities, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Spring Budget additional funding of over £60 million for public swimming pool providers to help with immediate cost pressures and to make facilities more energy efficient.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether it is his Department's policy that upper tier authorities should include all schools and school buildings in 2030 net zero commitments.

The Government has committed to achieving net zero by 2050. It recognises that local authorities have an essential role to play in local climate action, with significant influence in many of the national priorities across energy, housing, and transport, which are needed to achieve net zero.

Local authorities have a lot of flexibility and discretion in how they take action, including in their engagement with schools. Local authorities have varied local opportunities, needs and circumstances.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether a review mechanism is in place to ensure that energy companies calculating subsidies for their customers as part of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme cannot overclaim subsidies for customer accounts which have been billed using estimated readings by the supplier.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) established a robust enforcement and compliance regime, applicable across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to ensure suppliers are passing on to end users a correctly calculated EBRS discount, as set out in legislation.

This includes ensuring that energy companies do not overclaim subsidies for customers' accounts. Energy suppliers are required to submit validating billing data on the value of gas and electricity supplied to customers. Claims are reviewed through a series of checks to prevent fraud including overclaiming of subsidies. Where overclaiming is identified this will become part of regular reconciliation of energy supplier claims.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
3rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February to Question 136735 Energy Bills Rebate: Telephone Services, when he plans to complete work to ascertain the viability of comparing datasets held by the Electricity Central Online Enquiry Service with the Valuation Office Agency’s register of all domestic properties in England for the purposes of distributing EBSS Alternative Funding payments; and what other methods are being examined to identify eligible households.

Work is ongoing to ascertain the viability of the approach of comparing the datasets held by the Electricity Central Online Enquiry Service with the Valuation Office Agency’s register of all domestic properties in England, to identify eligible households under the EBSS Alternative Funding. The Government is also speaking to key stakeholder groups who are helping to update and provide further information to eligible households on when they can apply for their £400 support.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing funding for the (a) establishment, (b) maintenance and (c) research of (i) data trusts and (ii) other (A) institutions and (B) frameworks for sharing data.

Data intermediaries, including data trusts, have an important role to play in enabling appropriate data use for economic growth, research benefits and societal good.

The introduction of the Smart Data clauses in the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill will encourage the development of data intermediaries by enhancing individuals’ ability to access and share their data simply and securely with third parties.

Many forms of data intermediary, as well as other institutions and frameworks for sharing data, are operating in the UK. These include government-supported secure data environments such as UK Biobank and data sharing platforms such as the Rail Data Marketplace.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill on the (a) establishment and (b) use of data trusts as (i) institutions and (ii) frameworks to support data sharing.

Data intermediaries, including data trusts, have an important role to play in enabling appropriate data use for economic growth, research benefits and societal good.

The introduction of the Smart Data clauses in the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill will encourage the development of data intermediaries by enhancing individuals’ ability to access and share their data simply and securely with third parties.

Many forms of data intermediary, as well as other institutions and frameworks for sharing data, are operating in the UK. These include government-supported secure data environments such as UK Biobank and data sharing platforms such as the Rail Data Marketplace.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, when Ofcom's review into the transparency of in-contract price rises is due to be published.

Ofcom has stated it expects to publish its review into the transparency of inflation-linked in-contract price rises - alongside research on customers’ experience of price rise contract terms, and consult on any changes that may be needed to their rules - in December 2023.

23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how many life sciences companies were based in the UK in each of the last five years.

In the five years to 2021, the number of life sciences businesses operating in the UK were as follows: 6,164 in 2017; 6,528 in 2018; 6,489 in 2019; 6,537 in 2020; and 6,548 in 2021.

The Department does not yet hold statistics for 2022 or 2023. Statistics covering 2022 will be published by the Office for Life Sciences on 1 December 2023 in the annual ‘Bioscience and health technology sector statistics’ publication.

27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what discussions she has had with (a) BT and (b) other telecoms providers about promoting social tariffs to providers.

My department has regular engagement with telecoms suppliers, including BT, on a range of matters relating to affordability, including social tariff promotion.

In June 2022, DCMS convened a roundtable with leaders of the UK’s major broadband and mobile operators, agreeing a set of industry commitments to support people through the global rise in the cost of living. This includes a commitment from operators to better promote their low-cost social tariff offers to eligible households.

In November 2022, the then Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez MP, chaired a roundtable of broadband and mobile sector CEOs as-well-as leaders from consumer groups to discuss further steps to support customers who may be struggling with their monthly bills, including social tariff promotion.

In addition, we work closely with a range of providers, including BT, as part of our Help for Households campaign to help amplify messaging about the availability of social tariffs.

In January, as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, met with CEOs from broadband and mobile providers to discuss the affordability of services and made clear that they should be doing more to support their customers at this difficult time.

31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 30 January 2023 to Question 132590, whether households that do not have a traditional relationship with an electricity supplier could be identified by comparing the data sets held by the Electricity Central Online Enquiry Service with the Valuation Office Agency’s register of all domestic properties in England.

Based on current understanding of the Valuation Office Agency's register, the Government believes that comparing these two datasets is likely to produce an incomplete list of households eligible for the EBSS Alternative Funding in England, as it may omit certain eligible households. Officials will undertake further work to ascertain the viability of this approach.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 31 January to Question 13189 on Disease Control, how many mobile UV irradiation units have been purchased; and to which locations have they been deployed.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has purchased two mobile UV irradiation units, which were deployed at its main London building at 1 Victoria Street.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department (a) has or (b) has requested access to the Electricity Central Online Enquiry Service for the purpose of administering the Energy Bill Support Scheme (Alternative Funding).

The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) will not be administered via the Energy Central Online Enquiry Service as energy suppliers do not have details of the households sub-metered to their customers, making it impossible for them to identify eligible households and provide support. The Local Authorities across England, Scotland and Wales will deliver the EBSS AF this winter.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether their Department has purchased mobile UV virus irradiation units.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has purchased mobile UV irradiation units.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is taking steps to control the sale of vapes supplied through online marketplaces.

Products, including those such as vapes, whether sold through on-line marketplaces or in shops, need to comply with existing product regulation. Such products must be both safe and compliant with any restrictions relating to their sale. However, eCommerce has brought new challenges to the product safety framework as was highlighted by respondents to the Government’s Call for Evidence as part of the Product Safety Review. A consultation, including proposals to tackle the sale of unsafe products online, is being finalised for publication.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
5th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of Drax power station's compatibility with the sustainability criteria of the Contracts for Difference and Renewable Obligation scheme.

Only biomass that complies with stringent sustainability criteria is eligible for support under the Contracts for Difference and Renewables Obligation schemes. Biomass generators, including Drax, must demonstrate to Ofgem and the Low Carbon Contracts Company respectively that they have met the criteria before they can receive payment under these schemes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will review the eligibility criteria for the Help to Grow Management course; and if he will extend that criteria to include businesses employing between one and four people.

The Help to Grow Management course is designed to help SMEs to improve their productivity. It targets businesses with 5-249 employees as the course by its nature requires a reasonable span of leadership and management within the firm for the benefits to be realised.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Competition and Markets Authority’s road fuel review, published on 12 October 2022, what estimate he has made of time it will take to create an open data scheme through which individual forecourt prices are collected and made available.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave the Hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire on 18 November 2022 to Question 82451.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Use of electricity meter and gas meter personal data collected through the Energy Price Guarantee scheme: privacy notice guidance published on 1 October 2022, how often his Department will collect data from individual (a) traditional gas meters, (b) traditional electricity meters, (c) electricity smart meters and (d) gas smart meters.

The scope of the data required for the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) scheme, and how regularly it is collected and processed, is still being defined. The Government will safeguard consumers’ privacy, whilst enabling proportionate access to energy consumption data to support the monitoring, evaluation, fraud prevention and scrutiny of the EPG. Robust security measures are in place to protect data, such as firewalls and passwords and the Government will only retain data for as long as it is required. The Government will collect any data (e.g. energy consumption) via a secure transfer from the energy suppliers. Once the scope of the data has been agreed, and before it is collected and processed, a Data Protection Impact Assessment will be completed.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Use of electricity meter and gas meter personal data collected through the Energy Price Guarantee scheme: privacy notice guidance published on 1 October 2022, if he will publish the Data Protection Impact Assessment which concluded that it would be appropriate to store individual consumption data for a period of up to ten years.

The scope of the data required for the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) scheme, and how regularly it is collected and processed, is still being defined. The Government will safeguard consumers’ privacy, whilst enabling proportionate access to energy consumption data to support the monitoring, evaluation, fraud prevention and scrutiny of the EPG. Robust security measures are in place to protect data, such as firewalls and passwords and the Government will only retain data for as long as it is required. The Government will collect any data (e.g. energy consumption) via a secure transfer from the energy suppliers. Once the scope of the data has been agreed, and before it is collected and processed, a Data Protection Impact Assessment will be completed.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential ability of small and medium size businesses to (a) produce medium term business plans and (b) obtain finance in the context of uncertainty around energy costs beyond 31 March 2023 end date of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

The Government has announced unprecedented support within its Growth Plan to protect households and businesses from high energy prices. The Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme are supporting millions of households and businesses with rising energy costs, and they will continue to do so from now until April next year.

As the Prime Minister and Chancellor set out on 17 October, the Government will be looking at exactly how it can focus support for those in need beyond April 2023, while reducing costs to the taxpayer. The Government will set out more detail in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Energy Bill Relief Scheme will cap the amount of (a) standing charges and (b) costs that gas and electricity suppliers can charge businesses; and whether that Scheme will cap profits of those suppliers.

Applying a price cap in the non-domestic market similar to the domestic market would be impractical, so the Government has designed an equivalent scheme that applies a discount on energy bills with reference to a Government-supported price. A robust audit, compliance and enforcement regime will be in place to ensure neither suppliers nor businesses will disproportionately gain from or be disadvantaged by the scheme.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish further guidance on the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for adult social care providers and their suppliers of gas and electricity to improve clarity on the scheme's operation.

Guidance on the operation of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme has been published on GOV.UK:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/energy-bill-relief-scheme-help-for-businesses-and-other-non-domestic-customers.

Further information will be provided in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, National Grid's announcement of 6 October 2022 that the UK may experience power cuts lasting three hours per day during winter 2022, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of creating a compensation scheme for businesses to reimburse them for lost earnings in the context of Government contingency planning for energy security in winter 2022-23.

The Government is confident in its plans to protect households and businesses in the full range of scenarios this winter, in light of Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine. Widespread power cuts are unlikely, and the Government has not established a compensation scheme.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to National Grid's announcement of 6 October 2022 that the UK may experience power cuts lasting three hours per day during winter 2022, whether he has made an assessment of which business types or industries may be required to reduce their energy consumption as part of contingency planning for energy security during winter 2022-23.

The Government is confident in its plans to protect households and businesses in the full range of scenarios this winter and continues to work closely with Ofgem, National Grid and other key industry organisations to ensure the market can respond to any fluctuations in supply or demand. In the highly unlikely event of widespread disruption to electricity supplies, established emergency protocols would be implemented as early as possible to ensure an equitable distribution of electricity supply to customers, including industrial users, as far as reasonably practicable. No specific business types or industrial users are targeted to reduce energy usage as part of emergency measures

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his timescale is for (a) deciding and (b) announcing whether the Government plans to extend Energy Bill Relief Scheme beyond 31 March 2023.

The Government has committed to carrying out a review of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme by the end of the year to inform decisions on future support after March 2023, with any future support for those deemed eligible commencing on 1st April 2023 without a gap. The findings of the review will be published by the end of the year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to reimburse the complex cases in the Post Office Horizon compensation scheme announced in June 2022.

The Department has made provision of £19.5 million for interim payments to members of the GLO who are eligible. All but 75 of these payments had been made; over 60 relate to complex cases, notably bankrupt or recently deceased claimants.

The Department has been working with the Insolvency Service to establish the best way of ensuring that each postmaster receives as much of their interim payment as possible. The Department continues to strive to ensure that interim payments are made as soon as possible to all eligible postmasters.

21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 25 July 2022 to Question 37516 on Solar Power, if he will take steps to increase the installation of domestic solar panels by enabling households with solar panels and battery storage to receive the rate of wholesale electricity as payment for excess electricity exported to the grid for the next three years.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given by my Rt. Hon. Friend the then Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth on 25th July 2022 to Question 37516.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the British Franchise Association report entitled 2018 Franchise landscape: Brought to you by the BFA and NatWest, which found that failure rates for franchises remain very low, if he will take steps to launch a public campaign in support of the franchise model.

The Government has no current plans to launch any campaign on this issue.

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of decoupling gas and electricity wholesale prices.

The Government has recently announced a package of support for consumers and non-domestic customers that will provide people with certainty on energy bills. This includes negotiating new long term energy contracts with domestic and international gas suppliers, accelerating all sources of domestic energy, including North Sea oil and gas production, speeding up our deployment of all clean and renewable technologies including hydrogen, solar, carbon capture and storage, and wind, and also working with electricity generators to reform the outdated market structure where gas sets the price for all electricity.

The Government recently launched The Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA) - a major review into Britain’s electricity market design, which is considering ways of increasing investment in low carbon capacity which would result in gas-fired generation being the price setter for electricity less often, and reforms to the wholesale market which could decouple gas and electricity prices.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his contribution of 5 September 2022, Energy Update statement, Official Report, column 59, on what date he plans to announce the energy bill support arrangements for people in (a) park homes, (b) multiple dwelling units and (c) other homes without a conventional relationship with an electricity supplier.

On 29 July the Government set out further details of the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) and confirmed that further funding would be available to provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills for the small percentage of domestic energy consumers not reached by EBSS. This will include those who do not have a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with an energy supplier.

This support will be provided alongside the ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ which will mean a typical UK household will pay no more than £2,500 a year on its energy bill for the next two years.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to amend the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to include a subsidy of £5,000 towards the cost of a heat pump for households that retain a gas boiler where that is required by the planning authority due to (a) noise restrictions on heat pumps and (b) other legal restrictions.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) is a voluntary scheme to support households’ transition away from fossil fuel heating. The Government believes the funding available under this policy should be directed towards technologies that achieve this, rather than those which would continue to involve the burning of fossil fuels. As a result, the BUS does not currently provide funding for households that retain a gas boiler.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the levels of ancillary costs associated with installing heat-pumps in homes including (a) initial surveys, (b) planning permission applications and (c) noise surveys.

Most heat pump installations do not require planning permission, and compliance with noise regulations is typically covered as part of a heat pump suitability survey and design work carried out during the installation process.

BEIS-commissioned research (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-installing-heating-measures-in-domestic-properties) estimates that the average cost for a suitability survey and design for a typical 3-bedroom house is around £400.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with the National Grid on the potential merits of building an offshore electricity grid instead of additional on-land energy pylons.

BEIS has worked with National Grid Electricity System Operator to bring together the design of connections for offshore wind with wider network reinforcements and consider the cumulative environmental and community impacts upfront.

Where the need for new reinforcements have been identified in the Holistic Network Design (HND) no decisions have yet been taken by National Grid Electricity Transmission. Any project will be subject to the relevant planning processes. Placing all new infrastructure offshore is not a feasible option. Electricity needs to get to where the demand is, which is onshore. Even with offshore cables, infrastructure is required at landing points.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend the deadline of the Horizon compensation scheme to allow the estimated 170 branch managers who were not aware of the scheme and are reported to have missed the deadline to apply.

The Department has held initial discussions with Post Office on this issue and is expecting to receive a formal proposal shortly. BEIS, supported by UKGI, will then work closely with Post Office to find an appropriate and fair solution.

12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2022 to Question 23427, and with reference to the conclusion of the Statutory Review of the Groceries Code Adjudicator: 2016-2019 that the existence of the GCA had sent a message to large retailers that their supplier relationships needed to be conducted fairly and in accordance with the Code, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the proposals from Traidcraft Exchange to establish a fashion watchdog.

While the adjudicator model has had some success in raising standards in the groceries sector, there are significant differences between those two industries which calls into question how effectively the model can be transferred.

In the response to the single enforcement body consultation published last year, the government reaffirmed its commitment to continue to engage with the enforcement bodies and industry partners to strengthen our understanding of levels of non-compliance across the garment trade. We will continue to review this issue and consider options to drive up standards across the sector.

4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish the hydrogen sector development action plan.

The Government aims to publish a Sector Development Action Plan by the end of Summer 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much foreign currency was spent on importing gas between November 2021 and March 2022.

The Government does not directly contract for gas. Gas is bought and sold by commercial players. The Government does not have access to data on individual gas market trades. This includes currency used in commercial transactions by gas importers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Grocery Code Adjudicator in regulating the relationship between supermarkets and suppliers.

The Groceries Code Adjudicator Act requires the Government to conduct and consult on a review every three years into the operational effectiveness of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA). My officials have begun work on the third statutory review of the GCA covering the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2022 and the Government will issue a consultation to seek the views of stakeholders in due course.

15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 28 March to Question 143801 on Energy Bills Rebate, and with reference to the Energy Bills Support Scheme explainer published on 1 April 2022, if he will provide an update on the progress his department has made in ensuring that all households with a domestic electricity connection, including those using an electricity sub-meter in (a) park homes and (b) Multiple Dwelling Units, will be able to access the £400 energy rebate in October.

All domestic electricity customers who have a direct relationship with a licensed electricity supplier will be automatically eligible for this Scheme.

Households without a domestic electricity supply contract are not eligible for the Scheme and we are exploring options for other ways in which they might receive similar support. This was raised in our technical consultation (Energy Bills Support Scheme – Managing the impact of the energy price shock on consumer bills) which closed on the 23 May. Responses to the consultation are being analysed and the Government response will be published in the summer.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department supports a proactive, predictive immunology approach to the development of the next generation of covid-19 vaccines.

The Government supports a proactive approach to continue to develop the next generation of vaccines. Despite the highly successful national vaccination campaign, it is important we continue to study how to produce Covid-19 vaccines that induce robust, long-term protective immunity and which are effective across mutating variants.

To that end, following extensive engagement with academic and industry stakeholders, the Vaccine Taskforce are working with other stakeholders across government, to explore the establishment of a UK-wide Predictive Immunology Network, formed of centres of excellence spread across the UK.

The aim is to ensure the network will utilise the collaborative approach that was so successful during the pandemic, to bring together industry, academia, and the NHS to work towards a common goal and answer key immunology questions on how to improve vaccines including the next generation Covid-19 vaccines.

26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a scheme to allow companies to offer employees fuel bank vouchers, as a trivial benefit for tax purposes.

The Government is not currently considering introducing a scheme to allow companies to offer employees fuel bank vouchers.

The Government understands the pressures households are facing with increased cost of living caused by global energy prices and has therefore announced a cost of living package worth a total of £37bn this year in support to households.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has undertaken an assessment of the amount of non-residential building roof space that is (a) available and (b) suitable for the installation of solar panels.

Data estimating the floor area of non-domestic properties, from which commercial roof space can be inferred, is available on www.gov.uk here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/non-domestic-national-energy-efficiency-data-framework-nd-need-2020. However, not all rooves are suitable for solar panels due to shading, orientation, and location.

Solar is key to the Government’s strategy to decarbonise energy. The Government is supporting commercial rooftop solar deployment through capital allowances for spend on solar panels, exempting solar and storage used on site from business rates from 1 April 2022 until 31 March 2035, and changes to energy performance standards for non-domestic buildings.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will review section 172 of the Companies Act 2006 with a view to creating a legal requirement for companies to align their social and environmental impact with their existing duty to shareholders.

Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006 already requires directors to have regard to the impact of their company’s operations on the community and the environment, amongst other things. The Government strengthened this requirement in 2019 by requiring directors to make an annual statement explaining how they have discharged their section 172 duty in practice over the previous reporting year.

The Government believes the most effective way to encourage companies to address environmental and other challenges is through a transparent corporate reporting framework. This month, the UK became the first G20 country to introduce mandatory reporting in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, for economically significant UK companies. This will ensure that businesses consider the risks and opportunities they face on climate change and encourage them to set out their emission reduction plans and sustainability credentials. The Government has also published a landmark Roadmap on Sustainable Investing, the first phase of which will introduce new economy-wide sustainability disclosure requirements.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will launch a review into the energy costs incurred by those who need to power 24/7 medical equipment at home; and what assessment he has made of the merits of introducing new tariffs for disabled people with those needs.

Ofgem has updated its Consumer Vulnerability Strategy which set out its priorities to help protect gas and electricity consumers in vulnerable situations until 2025.

The energy price cap ensures prices for households fairly reflect the underlying costs of supply. The Government is faced with supporting households with the current high costs of energy with a £9.1bn package including an energy bills discount and Council Tax rebate.

A scheme operated by the NHS enables householders who use oxygen concentrators at home to receive a refund of the electricity costs used by the equipment.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what home insulation scheme grants are available to residents of mobile homes.

Existing Park Homes are eligible for support under the £500m Local Authority Delivery Scheme and the Home Upgrade Grant. Constituents should contact their local authority to make enquiries.

Residents of park homes may also be eligible for insulation under the Energy Company Obligation scheme. This scheme is not a grant, but a levy placed on larger energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency and heating measures to low income and vulnerable households across Great Britain. Relevant contact details are listed on the Simple Energy Advice website here: www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/pages/energy-company-obligation. The scheme can also be delivered in partnership with Local Authorities (LAs) via the LA flexible eligibility element of the scheme; constituents should contact their local authority.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many companies are registered at Companies House without any Directors in post as of 14 March 2022.

16,448 live companies are currently registered at Companies House without any Directors as of 15th March 2022.

1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the average cost difference between the installation costs and efficiency savings arising from smart meter installation.

The smart meter rollout is helping consumers manage their energy use while making Great Britain’s energy system cheaper, cleaner and more efficient.

After all costs, the smart meter rollout is set to deliver a £6 billion net benefit to Great Britain. The latest estimates of the costs and benefits can be found in the 2019 Cost Benefit Analysis of the smart meter rollout in Great Britain: www.gov.uk/government/publications/smart-meter-roll-out-cost-benefit-analysis-2019.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether preliminary findings have been made from the interdisciplinary research being undertaken in the Perennial biomass crops for GHG removal (PBC4GGR) study.

Research publications funded by UKRI are required to be open access, so any published findings will be accessible to all. Details of this specific project can be found at: https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=BB%2FV011553%2F1.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason the Government cancelled its contract with Valneva for their covid-19 vaccine.

As any responsible Government does, we manage our vaccine supply to meet our projected needs and to offer the best protection to those who need it, when they need it. The termination of the supply agreement with Valneva in September 2021 was made for commercial reasons, which remain confidential between Valneva and the Government.

Vaccine development is a complex and challenging process, which is why the Government seeks to achieve value for money for the UK taxpayer at all stages. As the pandemic progresses, we continue to assess and refine the vaccines in our portfolio, to ensure we continue to have access to those which offer the best long-term prospects in continuing to support the fight against Covid-19.

Thanks to this strategy, the UK currently has 3 approved vaccines in deployment and the UK’s vaccination programme continues to be a success with over 85% of the UK population [over 12s] double vaccinated and over 66% of the UK population [over 12s] have now received their booster or third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the ability of small businesses to repay Bounce Back Loans.

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

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

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 10 November 2021 to Question 68469 on Property: Ownership, and with reference to Written Statement on Register of Beneficial Owners of Overseas Entities Update, of 2 November 2021, HCWS366, if he will provide an urgent update on his plans to introduce a public beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property, in response to threats of Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

As indicated in the previous answer, the Government remains committed to establishing a new beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property. This register will help combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency in the UK property market. The Government has been exploring how best to implement the recommendations of the Joint Committee and when we introduce the Register it will be more effective, thanks to the broader powers we are now planning to give Companies House. This will also require primary legislation and we will legislate when parliamentary time allows.

4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made any assessment of the costs, benefits and potential merits of restoring the Rough Storage Complex Facility to store natural gas on an interim basis while the Government's hydrogen strategy is under development.

Gas storage will not lower the price of gas in the short term as the United Kingdom exists in a global market.

Rough Storage could play an important part in Hydrogen storage as was set out in the Hydrogen Strategy, published in August 2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it is Government policy to introduce a public beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property.

As set out in the Written Ministerial Statement I made on 2nd November 2021 (HCWS366), the Government remains committed to establishing a new beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property. This register will help combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency in the UK property market. We will legislate when parliamentary time allows.

22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to adopt the recommendations of #Wednesday4Women to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by ensuring that all fossil fuel projects at home and overseas are ended.

The Government remains strongly committed to the 1.5C target at COP26, and welcome initiatives to promote cleaner and renewable alternative to fossil fuel, to encourage development and energy security.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the recommendations of the Climate Assembly UK report, The path to net zero, published on10 September 2020, when he plans to publish his Department’s response to the recommendations in that report.

The Government responded to the Select Committee’s Call for Written Evidence as part of its inquiry that is available here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/1191/findings-of-the-report-of-climate-assembly-uk/publications/.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing the recommendations of the fourth Grimsey Review, published July 2021.

The Government is fully committed to supporting the independent businesses and communities that make our town centres successful as the nation responds to the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak. Our package of support for businesses through this period totals over £352 billion including business grants, the coronavirus loan schemes and Job Retention Scheme, as well as deferral of income tax payments. This builds on major investment and action from Government to level up opportunity and prosperity across all areas of the country, including through the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, the £220 million UK-wide Community Renewal Fund and the £3.6 billion Towns Fund.

The retail, hospitality and leisure business rates relief in England is worth over £6bn to eligible businesses in 2021/22 alone. We extended the moratorium on commercial landlords’ right to forfeiture for the non-payment of rent to March 2022, and we will introduce legislation to help landlords and tenants resolve historic Covid-19 rent debt through binding arbitration if necessary.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the draft Employment Bill will be published; and if he will reconsider the potential merits of introducing a pilot scheme on neonatal leave and pay as recommended by the Petitions Committee in its report, The impact of Covid-19 on maternity and parental leave, published 6 July 2020.

The Government is committed to ensuring that all workers can participate and progress in the labour market and building back better as we recover from COVID-19.

We will bring forward the Employment Bill in due course, and in the meantime we will continue to take necessary action to support businesses and protect jobs.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what rights furloughed workers have to the accrual of holiday pay.

Employment rights remain unchanged under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Therefore, all workers’ right to holiday accrues to the extent and in the same way it did prior to being placed on to furlough under the CJRS, as provided by the individual’s statutory and contractual rights.

If a furloughed worker takes holiday, the employer should pay them their full holiday pay, calculated in accordance with BEIS guidance. Employers will be obliged to fund any additional amounts over the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grant.

Further guidance to help employers manage holiday pay during Coronavirus is available on GOV.UK.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether periods when schools are closed to all but vulnerable pupils and children of key workers during the covid-19 outbreak are counted as pauses under the Agency Workers Regulation.

An agency worker can qualify for equal treatment after working for 12 weeks in the same role with the same hirer.

The working patterns of agency workers can be irregular. The regulations set out the effect of different types of absence or breaks on the 12-week qualifying period and provide for several circumstances in which breaks do not prevent agency workers from completing the qualifying period or cause the qualifying clock to pause.

The qualifying clock will pause if there is a break in service for any reason, where the break is no longer than six calendar weeks and the agency worker returns to the same role with the same hirer.

16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce the cost to people of disconnecting from gas supplies as part of decarbonising their homes.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out the immediate actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings. In the meantime, BEIS believes in a strong independent economic regulatory environment and support Ofgem in the core priority (amongst others) to help achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050 while maximising value for money for consumers.

As part of our commitment to the Future Homes Standard, which will ensure new build homes are future-proofed with low carbon heating and world leading levels of energy efficiency, we will consult on the feasibility of ending connections to the gas grid in new build homes.

We need to ensure the right legislation is in place to support the heating market through the transition to net zero. We will, therefore, review the overarching regulatory framework set out in the Gas Act 1995 to ensure the appropriate powers and responsibilities are in place to facilitate a decarbonised gas future that does not risk our energy security or lead to disproportionate impacts on consumers across the UK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the hospitality industry on providing financial support to those businesses that have had to (a) close and (b) reduce trading capacity due to their staff having to self-isolate during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has and continues to regularly meet with representatives from across the Hospitality sector to discuss how it can recover and build back from the pandemic. We have provided an unprecedented support package of £352 billion including grants, loans, business rates relief, VAT cuts and the job retention scheme.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Restart Grant Guidance for Local Authorities, updated 4 May 2021, for what reason animal boarding kennels are excluded from accessing support grants; and if he will reconsider that policy.

The Restart Grant scheme aimed to support businesses in specific sectors to reopen as coronavirus restrictions eased across the country. One-off grants were given to eligible businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors.

The Restart Grant scheme closed on 30 June. There are no plans to retrospectively change the eligibility criteria for this scheme.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Energy White Paper: Powering our Net Zero Future published December 2020, what steps he has taken to progress the planned consultation on opt-out tariff switching for energy customers.

The Government intends to publish its planned consultation on opt-in switching and testing of opt-out switching soon.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring UK-facing online marketplaces to warn consumers before accepting payment that orders fulfilled from EU countries may be subject to (a) customs charges, (b) import VAT and (c) increased courier handling charges; and if he will ensure that those charges are made clear to the consumer at the point of order.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 requires traders to provide information on the total price of goods or services, inclusive of any applicable or additional taxes or delivery charges, at the point of sale. Where the total price of the goods or services, including any additional taxes or delivery charges cannot reasonably be calculated in advance, such as cross-border transactions, the manner in which the price is to be calculated must instead be communicated. This information must be given to the consumer in a clear and comprehensible manner, along with the right to cancel if this exists.

Any information that the trader gives the consumer as required by these requirements are to be treated as included as a term of the contract. Changes to any of this information, made before entering into the contract or later, are not effective unless expressly agreed between the consumer and the trader.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2021 to Question 148866 on the hospitality sector, if he will make it his policy to provide financial assistance to invoice factoring schemes for suppliers in the hospitality sector.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic the Government has provided a package of financial support to businesses, including those in the hospitality sector and suppliers to the sector. The total financial support package is over £407 billion.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will establish a Government-backed pandemic insurance scheme for wedding (a) businesses and (b) consumers.

Since March of last year we have provided an unprecedented package of financial support to the economy, including the wedding sector, which we keep under regular review.

The Government recognises the essential role of the insurance industry in providing the cover businesses need to operate. We are working closely with insurers, trade bodies and regulators to understand what more the industry can do to support individuals and businesses.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether financial institutions are permitted to refuse offers of employment to people who have a poor credit history where that poor credit history is as a result of a period of ill health or a newly acquired disability.

Employers should treat all job applicants courteously as well as being fair and objective in their selection of successful candidates.

The Government does not impose requirement on employers as to how they carry out recruitment. However, the law is clear that they must not discriminate unlawfully, for example on grounds of race, sex or disability.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what requirements there are for online marketplaces to check the safety of the products that are sold via their platforms.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe consumer products can be sold in the UK. Product safety legislation places obligations on distributors to act with due care to ensure products they are selling are safe. This includes online retailers selling goods via marketplaces. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has recently taken action to ensure that a number of non-compliant products being sold by overseas third-party sellers have been removed from sale and are recalled, including toys.

The OPSS is also engaging proactively with major online marketplaces to ensure that they are playing their part in protecting UK consumers from unsafe products. This includes developing a new voluntary commitment for online marketplaces to agree actions they will take to reduce the risks from unsafe products being sold online, enabling them to publicly demonstrate their commitment to the safety of their consumers in the UK.

In order to ensure that the UK’s Product Safety framework is flexible and fit for the future, the OPSS is conducting a review. The review will ensure we have a framework that delivers safety for consumers while supporting businesses to innovate and grow and will consider the impact on product safety of non-traditional business models, including third-party sales.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to protect children from dangerous toys being sold by third-party sellers in online marketplaces.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe consumer products can be sold in the UK. Product safety legislation places obligations on distributors to act with due care to ensure products they are selling are safe. This includes online retailers selling goods via marketplaces. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has recently taken action to ensure that a number of non-compliant products being sold by overseas third-party sellers have been removed from sale and are recalled, including toys.

The OPSS is also engaging proactively with major online marketplaces to ensure that they are playing their part in protecting UK consumers from unsafe products. This includes developing a new voluntary commitment for online marketplaces to agree actions they will take to reduce the risks from unsafe products being sold online, enabling them to publicly demonstrate their commitment to the safety of their consumers in the UK.

In order to ensure that the UK’s Product Safety framework is flexible and fit for the future, the OPSS is conducting a review. The review will ensure we have a framework that delivers safety for consumers while supporting businesses to innovate and grow and will consider the impact on product safety of non-traditional business models, including third-party sales.

3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Cabinet Office's guidance, Reopening businesses and venues in England, published on 24 February 2021, whether pubs opening for outdoor trade at step 2 of the covid-19 reopening roadmap are also permitted to provide outdoor live music performances ancillary to the service of food and drinks.

If a pub wishes to provide complementary live music for their seated food and/or drink customers, they can do this outdoors at Step 2. However, if a pub charges for admission, or admits an audience in addition to seated food and/or drink customers, this would be considered to be a live music event, which should only take place at Step 3. Any live music should adhere to safer working guidelines for pubs and restaurants, which includes the need to ensure that background music should be kept at a low volume and that customers should not be singing or dancing.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend business grant funding via the Local Restrictions Grant scheme beyond 15 February 2021 for the duration of the covid-19 restrictions.

Yes. Businesses that are required by law to close will continue to be able to access grant support via the Local Restrictions Support Grant.

The current payment cycle will be for a 44-day period up to the end of the financial year, covering 16 February – 31 March 2021. It follows on directly from the first payment cycle, which covered 5 January – 15 February 2021.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what impact assessment he has conducted of the effects of no longer recognising the CE product mark for GB market access from 1 January 2022; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the use of the CE product mark alongside the UKCA product mark indefinitely.

The introduction of the UKCA mark on 1 January 2021 and the end of the UK's recognition of the CE mark is a consequence of the UK leaving the EU.

In order to help businesses to transition, products with the CE marking will be accepted on the GB market until 1 January 2022 (and longer in some cases). An assessment of the impact of introducing an end date to recognition of the CE marking on the GB market was published as part of recent secondary legislation. This found the change was likely to impose costs of around £36m over a 10-year period. It estimated that between 10,000 and 17,000 UK manufacturers and up to 135,000 UK wholesalers and retailers might be affected.

There are no plans to extend the recognition of CE marking on the GB market, as this would mean recognising EU regulations, even where there is divergence.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to reply to the letters from the hon. Member for St Albans of (a) 28 September 2020, (b) 4 November 2020 and (c) 30 November on calls for (i) grant funding for hospitality businesses that is commensurate with their fixed costs, (ii) an extension to the reduced 5 per cent rate of VAT for drinks sales in hospitality businesses, (iii) the extension of the business rates holiday beyond April 2021 and (iv) a cut to excise duty on draught beers to protect the hospitality industry.

The Hon. Member’s letter of 28 September was transferred to HM Treasury and I understand a reply was sent from there on 3 November. I replied to the Hon. Member’s letters of 4 and 30 November on 21 January, outlining the package of support measures that are available to hospitality businesses.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of the letter dated 17 December 2020 from the hon Member for St Albans on (a) grant funding for hospitality businesses that is commensurate with their fixed costs, (b) an extension to the reduced 5 per cent rate of VAT for drinks sales in hospitality businesses, (c) the extension of the business rates holiday beyond April 2021 and (d) a cut to excise duty on draught beers to support the hospitality industry.

I replied to the Hon. Member on 21 January outlining the package of support measures that are available to hospitality businesses.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing EEA and UK practitioners to have reciprocal rights of representation across (a) the UK Intellectual Property Office and (b) EU Intellectual Property Office after the transition period.

Rights of representation, whether before domestic courts in Member States or EU institutions, are the preserve of the Single Market and so do not form part of the UK approach to negotiations with the EU.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on UK Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys in the event that EEA attorneys continue to have access to both the UK and EU markets and UK attorneys have access to just the domestic market after the transition period.

The Government is aware that this is an important issue for stake holders, in particular UK-based trade mark attorneys.

Consistent with its overall approach to the UK’s exit from the EU, the government has laid legislation to change the ‘address for service’ requirement at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) from EEA-wide to UK-only. Subject to legislative implementation, following the transition period only a UK address for service will be accepted for new trade mark applications and other IP rights. This change will also apply to registered rights when certain proceedings are brought before the IPO.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when further (a) guidance and (b) funding will be provided to local authorities to enable them to pay the £1,000 grant to wet-led pubs in tier 2 and 3 local covid alert level areas.

Officials are working closely with local authorities to deliver the Christmas Support Payment for ‘wet-led’ pubs in Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions.

Guidance for the Christmas Support Payment for ‘wet-led’ pubs is now available on GOV.UK:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/942452/christmas-support-payment-la-guidance.pdf.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to provide local authorities with additional guidance on support schemes for the (a) leisure and (b) hospitality sector in tier 2 local covid alert level areas.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) scheme provides Local Authorities with discretionary funding to support businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors who have been severely affected by local restrictions but are not required to close. Local Authorities will be eligible for this scheme when under Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions. The updated guidance for the period from 2nd December has been published on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-restrictions-support-grants-lrsg-and-additional-restrictions-grant-arg-guidance-for-local-authorities.

For those businesses mandated to close on a sector basis, regardless of the local restriction in place, such as nightclubs, the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector) will provide grants of up to £3000 per 28-day period. This guidance is also available on GOV.UK.

The Christmas Support Payment for ‘wet-led’ pubs is a one-off £1,000 grant to support the wet-led pubs during the festive period in Tier 2 and Tier 3. This guidance is also available on gov.uk.

Businesses mandated to close under Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions will be eligible for Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) payments of up to £3,000 per 28-day period. This guidance is also available on gov.uk.

4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November to Question 109692, whether wet-led pubs are able to engage outside catering contractors under tier 2 rules as they did under tier 3 rules on 4 November 2020.

From 2 December pubs in Tier 2 areas may only provide alcohol for consumption on their premises with a substantial meal. A wet-led pub may partner with outside caterers or local food businesses to enable them to provide substantial meals, subject to any conditions contained in their licence.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 7 September 2020 to Question 78468 on Mozambique: Liquefied Natural Gas, if he will publish the most recent conclusions relating to his Department from the Government's ongoing review of its support for the fossil fuel industry.

At the UK-Africa Investment Summit in January we announced an end to Government support for thermal coal mining and coal power plants overseas, and we continue to keep our approach to other fossil fuel investments and financing overseas under review.

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 role of the China General Nuclear Power Group in Britain's nuclear power plants on UK security.

All investment involving critical infrastructure is subject to thorough scrutiny and needs to satisfy our robust legal, regulatory, and national security requirements.

The Government conducted a comprehensive review of the Hinkley Point C project in 2016. The conclusions of the review were set out in a statement made by the then Secretary of State on 15th September 2016, Official Report, Column 1066. We regularly review our assessments to ensure that they remain accurate.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding the Government has allocated to the research and development of fourth generation nuclear reactors to date.

At the Spending Review in 2015, the Government committed to invest around £460m in nuclear research and innovation between 2016 to 2021.

As part of this commitment BEIS expects to invest around £180 million on the Nuclear Innovation Programme. This includes up to £46m which directly supports “fourth generation” advanced modular reactor R&D and upskilling of the nuclear regulators. The remainder of the funding includes projects and programmes that support both the development of these reactors as well as “third and third+ generation” reactor technologies.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s recent Ten Point Plan included a commitment of £170m for Advanced Modular Reactor R&D under the £385m Advanced Nuclear Fund.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance he is providing to universities on allowing PhD students whose projects have been affected by the covid-19 lockdown to apply for extensions to their funding.

PhD students are funded from a variety of sources, whether that is a research funder, their host institution, or if they are self-funded. Government funds PhD students through UKRI, which funds around 25% of the total PhD population in the UK.

UKRI have already taken steps to support PhD extensions working to ensure that all the students it funds would continue to receive their maintenance stipend during the lockdown and would not have to suspend their studies. UKRI-funded students in receipt of a costed extension will continue to receive this stipend during their extension period. UKRI announced on 11 November £19m of further support, making a total of over £60m of financial support available to students most impacted by the pandemic.

We encourage all PhD students to discuss with their supervisors how projects can be adjusted to complete their doctoral education to a satisfactory standard. Decisions on extensions are the responsibility of individual funders, and we expect research institutions to act flexibly based on what funding is available. We will continue to monitor how the pandemic is affecting PhD students and the wider research system.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the requirement for hospitality businesses to only use click and collect to sell alcohol applies to the sale of non-alcoholic items from those same premises.

During the new national restrictions, hospitality venues may continue to offer food and non-alcoholic drink through delivery, takeaway prior to 10pm, and click and collect. Alcohol should only be sold from these venues via delivery or click and collect.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether hospitality businesses can facilitate the sale of sundry grocery items alongside food for consumption off the premises from (a) inside their existing premises and (b) from outside spaces under their control in a covid-secure way during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

Under the new national restrictions, hospitality businesses can remain open for takeaway (before 10pm and excluding alcohol), delivery and click and collect. Non-essential retail businesses can also continue to sell goods online for delivery and through click and collect. If a hospitality business is able to trade goods in a COVID-secure manner while following the new national restrictions and all other trade requirements, they may do so.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of amending the guidance on Bounce Back Loans to permit businesses, that have chosen to accept less than the total loan offered to them, to increase the borrowed amount up to the maximum they are eligible for.

As part of the broader package of support measures announced on 2 November, we announced that we will change the Bounce Back Loan Scheme rules to allow those businesses who have borrowed less than their maximum to top-up their existing loan.

If a business has already received a Bounce Back Loan of less than 25% of the turnover they stated on their last application form, they will be able to apply to their existing lender to top up their existing loan to 25% of turnover or £50,000, whichever is lower.

The top-up will be on the terms of the original loan, that is, the term for the top-up will finish on the same date as for the original, as will the repayment holiday.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the financial detriment to (a) licensed premises and (b) cask beer producers of the restriction on the sale of takeaway alcohol during the covid-19 lockdown.

During the new national restrictions in place from 5 November, pubs and bars are permitted to sell alcohol through delivery or via click and collect where remote ordering has been utilised.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether pubs in areas of Tier 3 local covid alert level restrictions, that do not normally serve food, can serve substantial meals by engaging an outside catering contractor.

Under the tiered system of Local Alert Levels, that applies until 5 November, pubs and bars in tier 3 (very high) areas can partner with outside caterers or local food businesses to enable them to provide substantial meals alongside alcohol, subject to any conditions to the contrary contained in their licence.

From 5 November, new national restrictions will replace the tiered system of local restrictions. Under these new national restrictions hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the potential effects on the marine environment of synthetic and plastic fibre pollution at the Cleve Hill solar farm site.

The deemed Marine Licence, which was granted by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 28 May 2020 as part of the Cleve Hill Solar Park Order 2020 (SI 2020/547), sets out the measures the developer of the Cleve Hill Solar Park must take to prevent pollution in the marine environment. The monitoring and enforcement of the conditions in the deemed Marine Licence are matters for the Marine Management Organisation.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the proportion of hospitality sales that occur after 10.00pm.

No assessment has been made, but we will be working with the sector to understand the impact over the coming weeks.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the vouchers for green home improvements announced on 7 July 2020 can be backdated to avoid customers cancelling planned work between now and the introduction of the vouchers in September 2020.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes.

Further detail on eligibility will be announced in due course, before the full launch.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to publish in full the scientific advice underpinning the Government's policy on which businesses can and cannot currently reopen following their closure due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Ministerial Taskforces have been getting scientific input from Public Health England (PHE), who have been directly involved in the taskforce meetings, helping to resolve scientific issues as they draft the guidance. Each individual working group which produced the guidance published on 11 May had active PHE presence, and each set of guidance was produced in collaboration with them, the Health and Safety Executive and other Departments. That model was followed for both the pubs and restaurants, close contact services, and non-essential retail taskforces. The PHE staff who have supported the BEIS taskforces are in regular direct contact with those attending SAGE and have access to the PHE SAGE read-outs. They have endeavoured to reflect closely the SAGE recommendations and have also been responsible for putting some subjects pertinent to BEIS discussions to SAGE, such as persistence of COVID-19 on surfaces, and consideration of social distancing requirements under different scenarios. SAGE information is shared on its website: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish (a) a timetable and (b) guidance for the re-opening of (i) beauty salons, (ii) nail bars, (iii) tanning salons,(iv) massage studios, (v) reflexology centres, (vi) complementary therapy centres, (vii) photography studios, (viii) tattoo studios, (ix) swimming pools, (x) gyms, (xi) soft play centre, (xii) bowling alleys, (xiii) sports halls and (xiv) dance schools that are currently unable to reopen following their closure due to the covid-19 outbreak.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in his speech on 3rd July, stated that a timetable for the reopening of closed sectors would be set out this week. The Prime Minister was clear he can only lift those remaining, national restrictions as and when it is safe to do so.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has now provided close contact services in England, except Leicester, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has released new guidance to enable competitive grassroots sport to be played – starting with cricket from 11 July. DCMS also stated that outdoor pools can reopen to the public from 11 July followed by indoor gyms, pools and leisure centres on 25 July.

The Government will continue to work with those industries that are still closed to understand how best to reopen them safely, at the right time, guided by science.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government plans to provide to those businesses that cannot currently reopen following their closure due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government’s priority has been to act to reduce the high levels of Covid-19 infection and this is the best way to support businesses. The sooner the spread of the virus is controlled, the sooner businesses and communities can move towards reopening.

The Government has introduced a comprehensive package of support to help businesses during this difficult period. These include the small business grants, the coronavirus loan schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, deferral of VAT and income tax payment, and more.

As of 5 July, 1.1 million employers have taken advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), totalling claims of £27.4 billion and safeguarding 9.4 million jobs. The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been accessed by 2.7 million individuals .

Over 867,600 businesses have claimed £10.65 billion through the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF), and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

As of 5 July, 1.1 million businesses have accessed over £45 billion worth of coronavirus loans, backed by Government guarantees. These range from loans of £,2000, to £200 million.

There has been significant support to date, and there is still funding to be disbursed. BEIS will continue to work closely with local authorities, businesses, and business representative organisations to understand whether there is additional need. Ultimately it is only by controlling the virus that the lockdown can be lifted, allowing businesses to re-open and operate more normally.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the annual value of the Artist's Resale Right to visual artists.

The Government has made no recent assessment. Like other copyright licensing schemes run in the UK, the collection of artist’s resale right is managed by collective management organisations on behalf of artists. These organisations are mandated by artists to collect on their behalf, and are responsible for publishing information on artist income generated from the resale right in annual transparency reports.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the guidance entitled, Keeping workers and customers safe during covid-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, published on 23 June 2020, restricts the number of customers permitted to be present in hospitality premises to a maximum of 30.

Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to have more than 30 people on the premises provided COVID-19 secure guidelines are being followed and other social distancing measures are still in place. This includes limiting those at a table to groups from a maximum of two households. These types of venues are not subject to the 30-person limit because of the way a gathering is defined in law. These types of venues can be thought of as being comprised of many smaller gatherings.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the financial ability of (a) pubs and (b) hospitality businesses to re-stock ahead of their re-opening.

The Government have engaged with hospitality businesses to discuss various issues around reopening, including financial issues. This Department’s ministerial team are in regular contact with the industry. Work is ongoing to develop guidance with the assistance of representatives from the industry in order to get the sector reopened safely, in line with our approach with other businesses and sectors.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons limited companies that have been trading for more than three years are excluded from the Bounce Back Loan Scheme on the grounds that their last annual accounts showed a loss greater than half of their share capital.

It is not the case that limited companies that have been trading for more than three years, whose last annual accounts showed a loss greater than half of their share capital, are necessarily excluded from the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

The scheme is open to most businesses, regardless of turnover, who meet the eligibility criteria and who were established on or before 1 March 2020.

As part of the application form, borrowers are required to declare either that the business was not a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019; or if it was a business in difficulty [on 31 December 2019], that the business does not breach de minimis State aid restrictions. A business in difficulty is also required to declare it does not meet the temporary framework aid limits.

A business is considered in difficulty if it met any one of the following criteria on 31 December 2019:

  • Individuals or companies that have entered into collective insolvency proceedings;
  • Limited companies which have accumulated losses greater than half of their share capital in their last annual accounts (this does not apply to SMEs less than 3 years old);
  • Partnerships, limited partnerships or unlimited liability companies which have accumulated losses greater than half of their capital in their latest annual accounts (this does not apply to SMEs less than 3 years old);
  • Where the undertaking has received rescue aid and has not yet reimbursed the loan or terminated the guarantee, or has received restructuring aid and is still subject to a restructuring plan;
  • A company which is not an SME where, for each of the last two accounting years: i) your book debt to equity ratio has been greater than 7.5; and ii) your EBITDA interest coverage ratio has been below 1.0.
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the support package for research and development intensive small and medium size firms announced by the Government on 20 April 2020, if he will publish the amount of funding allocated under that scheme once it has gone live, on a (a) weekly and (b) monthly basis.

Further details on the £750m package of support for R&D intensive small and medium sized firms, to be delivered through Innovate UK, are now available on their website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package

This includes guidelines on eligibility requirements and the full scope of competitions. In building this package Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, worked closely with BEIS and HMT to identify those organisations that it could offer effective support to, that would have struggled to access the wider packages of support my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer had already announced. As part of the exercise Innovate UK will be funding projects that have not previously had Innovate UK funding. This will be subject to a competitive process and will initially aim to fund around 1200 companies.

Innovate UK transparency data is published on a monthly basis on the Gov.uk website and includes information on all funded projects. Additionally information on projects can be found online at Gateway to Research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will provide additional information on the 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding, who are eligible for the support package for research and development intensive small and medium size firms announced by the Government on 20 April 2020.

Further details on the £750m package of support for R&D intensive small and medium sized firms, to be delivered through Innovate UK, are now available on their website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package

This includes guidelines on eligibility requirements and the full scope of competitions. In building this package Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, worked closely with BEIS and HMT to identify those organisations that it could offer effective support to, that would have struggled to access the wider packages of support my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer had already announced. As part of the exercise Innovate UK will be funding projects that have not previously had Innovate UK funding. This will be subject to a competitive process and will initially aim to fund around 1200 companies.

Innovate UK transparency data is published on a monthly basis on the Gov.uk website and includes information on all funded projects. Additionally information on projects can be found online at Gateway to Research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether firms that have pending applications with Innovate UK are eligible for the support package for research and development intensive small and medium size firms announced by the Government on 20 April 2020.

Further details on the £750m package of support for R&D intensive small and medium sized firms, to be delivered through Innovate UK, are now available on their website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package

This includes guidelines on eligibility requirements and the full scope of competitions. In building this package Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, worked closely with BEIS and HMT to identify those organisations that it could offer effective support to, that would have struggled to access the wider packages of support my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer had already announced. As part of the exercise Innovate UK will be funding projects that have not previously had Innovate UK funding. This will be subject to a competitive process and will initially aim to fund around 1200 companies.

Innovate UK transparency data is published on a monthly basis on the Gov.uk website and includes information on all funded projects. Additionally information on projects can be found online at Gateway to Research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how Innovate UK customers are defined in the eligibility criteria for the support package for research and development intensive small and medium size firms announced by the Government on 20 April 2020.

Further details on the £750m package of support for R&D intensive small and medium sized firms, to be delivered through Innovate UK, are now available on their website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package

This includes guidelines on eligibility requirements and the full scope of competitions. In building this package Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, worked closely with BEIS and HMT to identify those organisations that it could offer effective support to, that would have struggled to access the wider packages of support my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer had already announced. As part of the exercise Innovate UK will be funding projects that have not previously had Innovate UK funding. This will be subject to a competitive process and will initially aim to fund around 1200 companies.

Innovate UK transparency data is published on a monthly basis on the Gov.uk website and includes information on all funded projects. Additionally information on projects can be found online at Gateway to Research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that small businesses that have rateable values above the cap for the Small Business Grant Fund have fair access to covid-19 related grant funding.

The Small Business Grant Fund is targeted support for small and rural businesses that have potentially been hit hardest by the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The scheme has been tied to the existing business rates system to enable Local Authorities to make payments as quickly as possible. Businesses that are eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief are eligible for support under the Small Business Grants Fund.

We continue to look at the issues of businesses that aren’t in-scope of the existing grants schemes and how best to provide support. Where business operate from premises with a rateable value in excess of £15,000, other schemes including the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant or the recently announced Bounce Back Loan scheme might be more appropriate.

On the 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that a further up to £617 million is being made available to local authorities as a discretionary fund so that they can address cases that are out-of-scope from the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund and this could allow local authorities to make grants to businesses above the rateable value cap of £15,000 subject to them meeting the eligibility criteria of the discretionary fund.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend the deadline in the Feed-in Tariffs (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 for commissioning new hydropower generating stations by an additional six months to reflect the seasonal nature of their construction.

The recent Feed-in Tariffs (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 gives developers of a range of small-scale renewable energy projects an extra six months to complete the accreditation process to benefit from the Feed-in Tariffs scheme, reducing the impact of the Coronavirus on developers and community groups that have invested in low-carbon energy, but who could have been unable complete their construction and commissioning before the final deadline.

This emergency legislation was focussed on the projects most immediately affected by the Coronavirus, with deadlines between March and September 2020. The government is keeping the situation under review, including in relation to projects with deadlines beyond 30 September 2020.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses (a) registered and (b) operating in Hertfordshire have applied for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan; and how many of those businesses have been awarded funding from that loan scheme.

As of 21 April, over £2.8bn worth of loans have been issued under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, to over 16,600 businesses. We are working with the British Business Bank, HM Treasury and lenders on regular and transparent data publication going forward.

8th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had recent discussions with Reach plc on its third round of proposed redundancies.

The Government is committed to supporting local and regional newspapers as vital pillars of communities and local democracy. They play an essential role in holding power to account, keeping the public informed of local issues and providing reliable, high-quality information.

As society is increasingly moving online and local news publishers are facing significant challenges in transitioning to sustainable digital business models, the Government has taken action to support them.

This includes delivery of a £2 million Future News Fund, the zero rating of VAT on e-newspapers; the extension of a 2017 business rates relief on local newspaper office space until 2025; the publication of the Online Media Literacy Strategy; and our work through the Mid-Term Review of the BBC Charter, exploring how the BBC seeks to act as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, local commercial news outlets. The BBC also continues to support the sector directly, through the £8m it spends each year on the Local News Partnership, including the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme, which was expanded in 2020 to fund the placement of 165 journalists in newsrooms across the UK.

We have also introduced legislation to address the far-reaching power of the biggest tech firms, building on the findings of the Competition and Markets Authority’s market study into online platforms and digital advertising. Among many other things, the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill will help rebalance the relationship between publishers and online platforms on which they rely increasingly.

DCMS Ministers and officials continue to engage regularly with representatives from across the press sector, including Reach plc, on matters relating to the financial sustainability of the press.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
8th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if he will provide an update on the steps taken by his Department to implement the recommendations of the Cairncross Review.

The Government is committed to supporting local and regional newspapers as vital pillars of communities and local democracy. They play an essential role in holding power to account, keeping the public informed of local issues and providing reliable, high-quality information.

However, as the independent Cairncross Review into the future of journalism identified, society is increasingly moving online and local news publishers are facing significant challenges in transitioning to sustainable digital business models.

The Government supported the majority of Cairncross recommendations and has taken them forward through a range of fiscal and regulatory interventions. This has included delivery of a £2 million Future News Fund, the zero rating of VAT on e-newspapers; the extension of a 2017 business rates relief on local newspaper office space until 2025; the publication of the Online Media Literacy Strategy; and our work through the Mid-Term Review of the BBC Charter, exploring how the BBC seeks to act as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, local commercial news outlets. The BBC also continues to support the sector directly, through the £8m it spends each year on the Local News Partnership, including the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme, which was expanded in 2020 to fund the placement of 165 journalists in newsrooms across the UK.

We have also introduced legislation to address the far-reaching power of the biggest tech firms, building on the findings of the Competition and Markets Authority’s market study into online platforms and digital advertising. Among many other things, the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill will help rebalance the relationship between publishers and online platforms on which they rely increasingly.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made an assessment of the effectiveness of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in awarding grants to small charities.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund makes funding decisions independently of HM Government.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport sets Policy Directions for the UK and England. The National Lottery Heritage Fund ensures that its investment activities and strategies are aligned with these directions, as well as with the Financial Directions that it receives from HM Government, which were also issued under the National Lottery Act 1993.

The Heritage Fund has developed its strategy for 2023–33, Heritage 2033, which sets out the long-term vision and ambition of the Fund, as well as a series of 3-year plans for how to realise that strategy, which was endorsed by DCMS Ministers and which the Fund monitors and reports to the Department against.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether officials in her Department have received representations from (a) the UK Cinema Association and (b) cinemas acting independently of the association on the potential impact of a rise in performing rights fees as proposed by PRS for Music.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) continues to work closely with the UK’s cinema sector. DCMS has received representations from the UK Cinema Association and individual cinemas, primarily via their local MPs, regarding the potential impact of a rise in performing rights fees proposed by PRS for Music.

As DCMS has set out in response to these representations, this is a commercial matter for the film and music industries to resolve.

22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure the financial security of UK Athletics.

UK Sport - the Department’s Arm’s Length Body on elite sport - works very closely with UK Athletics and other National Governing Bodies.

UK Sport is continuing to invest in both UK Athletics’ elite performance and major events programmes. This includes an investment of £22,175,520 in the Athletics World Class Programme and an investment of £9,065,401 in the Para Athletics World Class Programme across the four year cycle leading to Paris 2024.

UK Sport is investing £1.45 million in the 2024 World Indoor Athletics Championships in Glasgow and £3 million in the 2026 European Athletics Championships in Birmingham.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has purchased mobile UV virus irradiation units.

DCMS has purchased no mobile UV virus irradiation units.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has made representations to the FIFA President on his remarks on equality and inclusion on 20 November 2022.

Sport operates independently of the government, therefore direct representations to FIFA on equality and inclusion would be a matter for Home Nation football governing bodies to raise.

The Government continues to work with National Governing Bodies of sport and sector organisations to tackle LGBT discrimination in local, national and international sport. Our aim is to increase diversity within sporting organisations and to help the sport sector be more inclusive and welcoming to its spectators, participants and people in its workforce.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will publish the dates of any meetings her Department has had with Reach Plc since 1 January 2022 in which requests by Reach employees who are also NUJ members to receive a pay increase were discussed.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with news publisher stakeholders on a variety of issues. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the GOV.UK website.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had discussions with the directors of Chelsea FC on consulting supporters on the sale of the club through the creation of a democratically elected shadow board.

The Government has been clear that it would like to see the club sold to an appropriate new owner before the end of the season. The process for any bid continues to be run by the club, and although we would welcome ongoing fan engagement, it will be for them to decide the precise terms of a proposed sale.

At the point the club has a preferred bidder we would expect them to apply for a licence to enable the sale. The Government will consider the merits of this licence application on its own terms, noting that we can only impose conditions on a licence which authorises the sale of the club if they are linked to the sanctions policy. The licence regime does not allow us to go further and insist on things which are not related to sanctions policy.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the upgrading of the telephone network, what steps she is taking to ensure resilience in telephone access to emergency services, particularly during a mains power failure.

The upgrade of UK landlines from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to Voice over IP (VoIP) technology is an industry-led initiative. Despite this, the Government and Ofcom are working together to ensure consumers and sectors are protected and prepared for the switchover process.

The Communications Act (2003) places obligations on Communications Providers, implemented under Condition A3 of Ofcom’s General Conditions of Entitlement, to ensure that any caller can access Emergency Organisations (Police, Ambulance, Fire & Rescue, HM Coastguard) by using the emergency numbers “112” and “999” free of charge. If calling via mobile, this enables calls to 999/112 be made via another network if the caller’s mobile provider cannot provide a signal to make the call.

Alongside this, Ofcom has imposed regulatory obligations on communications providers to ensure customers have uninterrupted access to emergency organisations in the specific event of a power failure. The guidance states that providers must have at least one solution available that enables customers to access emergency organisations for a minimum of one hour in the event of a power cut, and that it must be offered free of charge to customers who are at risk due to their dependence on their landline.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the upgrading of the telephone network, what steps she is taking to ensure that the provision of voice services is maintained for vulnerable landline-only users without broadband.

Whilst the upgrade of UK landlines from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to Voice over IP (VoIP) technology is an industry-led initiative, the government and Ofcom are working together to ensure consumers and sectors are protected and prepared for the upgrade process.

In order to function correctly, VoIP services require a minimum stable connection speed of just 0.5Mbps, and voice-only services will still be available to consumers in the UK who do not wish to purchase a general internet connection.

Ofcom has issued guidance on this migration which states that providers should take steps to identify at-risk customers and engage in effective communications to ensure all are protected and supported in the switch-over process.

Moreover, the PSTN migration does not affect the universal service obligations set in the Electronic Communications (Universal Service) Order 2003 which require the designated providers to offer telephony services throughout the UK. BT and KCOM are therefore still required to maintain access to a range of telephony services as well as provide a series of special measures designed for users who have a disability.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Environment Agency consultation entitled Boat registration charges proposals from 1 January 2022, published in July 2021, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect on (a) domestic and (b) overseas tourism to the East of England region in the event that the proposed increases in charges for registering boats on the Anglian Waterways go ahead.

I am aware of the positive impact boating businesses can have on promoting tourism on the waterways however, the responsibility for operational matters on inland waterways, such as boat registration charges, lies with the navigation authority.

DCMS is in regular contact with regional tourism stakeholders, including those in the East of England, to track tourism trends across the country and to make sure we best support the sector's recovery from the pandemic.

The Environment Agency has listened to the feedback on the proposals and will be taking these concerns into account in its final proposals, which are due to be published shortly.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with (a) YouTube and (b) other social media companies about whether their harmful or dangerous content policies should be extended to cover content including (i) breaking and entering and (ii) vandalism to personal property.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including YouTube, on a variety of issues, including dangerous content. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the GOV.UK website.

The draft Online Safety Bill sets out proposals to impose a new duty of care on tech companies to tackle illegal and harmful content on their services. Companies such as Youtube will have to identify and remove illegal content and protect children from harmful or inappropriate content.

The big social media companies, such as YouTube, will also need to keep their promises to users by taking action against harmful content that is prohibited under their terms of service. Under the new laws, their terms of service will need to cover content that could cause significant physical or psychological harm to users.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Historic England on the preservation of significant Roman ruins including those at Eastfield in North Yorkshire.

Roman ruins of national importance may be protected by the Secretary of State as Scheduled Monuments. Before doing so, he consults Historic England.

In the case of the currently unscheduled ruins discovered at Eastfield, Historic England has negotiated with Keepmoat Homes, the developer, to secure their short-term preservation as part of public open space within the ‘Capella’ housing scheme. Once the core area of the ruins is clearly defined and reburied, the Secretary of State will consider the case for designating them as a Scheduled Monument in order to help secure their protection and long-term preservation.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to publish proposals to tackle the online advertising of products that are high in fat, sugar and salt to ensure equivalence between traditional broadcasting platforms and online content providers.

The Government published on 24 June 2021 its response to the 2019 and 2020 consultations on introducing restrictions for high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) advertising across TV and online. The response outlined our intentions to introduce a 9pm TV watershed for HFSS products and a restriction of paid-for HFSS advertising online. These restrictions are being legislated for in the Health and Care Bill currently in Parliament. The restrictions are intended to come into force at the end of 2022.

The Government will appoint Ofcom as the statutory regulatory authority who will then be able to appoint a day-to-day regulator to carry out frontline regulation. Enforcement of advertising standards by front-line and statutory regulators is an arrangement already established for broadcast advertising. In order to ensure that HFSS advertising policy is proportionate and there is parity across media, we will introduce the same enforcement arrangement online.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether it is his policy to require all user generated content on social media that has been filtered or altered to be identifiable as such.

The government does not require all filtered or altered content to be identifiable as such on social media.

However, the Online Safety Bill will impose new duties on social media companies to address the harm that may be caused by user-generated content, including altered or filtered content, on their services. These duties will apply to illegal content and other content that may have a serious adverse physical or psychological impact on children and, in the case of the largest social media companies, on adults.

The Government has committed to publishing the Online Media Literacy Strategy which will complement the regulatory regime to support online safety. The Strategy will empower users with the skills and knowledge they need to make safer and more informed decisions online. This will include promoting critical thinking skills, and understanding that the online environment is not always reflective of reality.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Advertising Standards Agency on making digitally altered images of a human body or body part in advertisements clearly labelled as such for consumers.

The ASA’s existing rules on social responsibility and misleading advertising are already applied to advertising of cosmetic interventions and advertising featuring digitally altered images.

The ASA held a public consultation on cosmetic interventions in 2020 and are following this up with a call for evidence on body image this year. The Government will remain closely in touch with the ASA as they undertake this consultation. The government will be launching the Online Advertising Programme (OAP) later this year which will explore how to address harms in the content and placement of advertising online, and to ensure the regulatory regime for the online advertising ecosystem is coherent, clear and effective. As part of this work, the Government will be considering whether any additional measures should be brought forward to address body image concerns.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the legal position is that informed the decision to exclude fans who were (a) under 18 years old, (b) vulnerable adults and (c) pregnant from the World Snooker Championship that took place at Sheffield Crucible Theatre from 17 April to 3 May 2021.

The Ministerial Direction for the World Snooker Championships relaxed a number of Covid restrictions, including rules on capacity limits culminating in up to 4,000 people at an indoor seated venue for the Final.

For each pilot event a Public Sector Equality Duty impact assessment was carried out to consider the impact of this scientific study on groups with protected characteristics, including under 18s, those with disabilities, and pregnant people.

Under 18s were excluded from the World Snooker Championship as participants were asked to consent on the basis of the increased risk of COVID 19 transmission due to the relaxation of some risk mitigation factors (social distancing and capacity limits). It was considered that the disproportionate impact on under 18s not attending was justified.

It was considered that those defined as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, including those who are disabled or pregnant may have been more at risk where the restrictions on social distancing and capacity limits were removed. The Science Board agreed that given the nature of the pilot programme it would not be possible to permit clinically vulnerable people to safely participate. The disproportionate impact of clinically vulnerable people not attending was considered justified on the basis that the policy only applies to pilot events in the programme.

Throughout the Events Research Programme (ERP) processes have been reviewed and adapted. After the World Snooker Championship, following stakeholder consultation and feedback from a number of disability groups, the ERP Science Board reviewed the approach of the ERP with respect to Clinically Extremely Vulnerable individuals attending pilot events. The current position is that the decision to attend an ERP pilot event lies with the individual. All attendees are required to fill out a consent form as part of the sign up process for the research programme. This takes into account the increased risk of COVID 19 transmission due to the relaxation of some risk mitigation factors (including removing social distancing).

Although those under the age of 16 may be competent to agree to provide consent to medical treatment (known as Gillick competence), the Programme's Science Board has recommended that most ERP events will not allow under 16s.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the proportion of savings made in rent reductions as a result of the 2017 changes to the Electronic Communications Code that have been reinvested into telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas.

There has been no formal assessment of rent reductions received by site providers since the 2017 reforms came into effect. We were clear at the time the 2017 legislation was introduced that the changes would take time to achieve their intended effect, not only because the market would require time to adapt, but also because case law would need to be developed and the new provisions would not be immediately applied to existing agreements.

The government has committed a record £5 billion of funding through Project Gigabit to ensure hard to reach communities in rural areas are not behind and get access to world class broadband infrastructure. This has already started to be deployed and is not waiting for the end of the commercial rollout, building on the half a million rural homes and businesses already given coverage through our support.

In addition the government is investing £1 billion alongside the major mobile operators in the Shared Rural Network programme. This will mean that all four mobile network operators will provide 95 per cent combined coverage across the whole of the UK by the end of 2025, delivering strong 4G coverage irrespective of what network provider people use.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many site owners who lease their land to telecommunications companies for infrastructure have seen their rents reduced by more than 40 per cent as proposed by the Government's Impact Assessment accompanying the 2017 Electronic Communications Code.

The Impact Assessment that accompanied the 2017 reforms did not propose a 40% reduction in rents. The 40% figure estimate referred to in the Impact Assessment was drawn from a report by independent economic analysts (Nordicity). The Impact Assessment made clear the difficulty of predicting the exact amount by which rents would fall, given the fact that the price paid for rights to install digital infrastructure is, in the first instance, a matter for private negotiation between operators and site providers.

Government’s aim was to reduce the cost of deployment, including the amounts paid for access to land, overall. We have not completed a formal assessment on average rent reductions since the 2017 reforms came into effect and therefore cannot comment on what the average rent reductions have been.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with representatives of (a) the British Tenpin Bowling Association and (b) other stakeholders on the financial viability of bowling alleys.

DCMS officials have engaged extensively with visitor economy stakeholders throughout the pandemic and will continue to meet with representatives from across the sector. I met with representatives of the Tenpin Bowling Proprietors Association on 28 January to discuss the financial impact on bowling alleys.

Bowling centre operators can continue to access the Government’s comprehensive support package - including the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes, new grant schemes, as well as various government-backed loans.

Alongside a range of other measures to support leisure and hospitality, the Government will continue to provide eligible retail, hospitality and leisure 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.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring telecoms suppliers to offer their best value tariffs to existing customers when they reach the end of introductory fixed price deals.

The Government has recently strengthened Ofcom’s telecoms consumer protection powers. In February 2020, Ofcom introduced new rules to ensure that customers receive important information about their communications service when their contract is due to end.

As the contract end date approaches, providers must inform their customers on: the date their contract ends; the services currently provided and the price paid; any changes to the service and price paid at the end of this period; and information about the notice period required to terminate the contract. Providers must also include information on prices available to other customers, such as new customers. This is to ensure that customers do not have to negotiate in order to find out what their provider’s best price is, and means people can see if they are losing out and whether to switch provider.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which of the 139 recommendations identified in the Information Commissioner's Office audit of Government departments will be included as part of the National Data Strategy.

The audit referred to in the question was a specific audit by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of the Department for Education (DfE). The DfE has been working closely with the ICO since the audit was undertaken in February 2020 to address all the recommendations and published its formal response in January 2021 in the House Library, paper reference DEP2021-0072.

The work being done by DfE in partnership with the ICO to address the audit recommendations, particularly around data sharing policy and strategy, will support good practice across the public, private and third sectors, in line with the aims of the National Data Strategy.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that Society of Antiquaries can remain at Burlingham House; and what plans he has to support the Society in the future.

Officials from my Department are working closely with colleagues in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to explore whether there is a solution that can deliver public value and help the Society of Antiquaries and other Learned Societies to remain in situ at New Burlington House.

We do recognise the importance of the Society of Antiquaries, its collections and the historic site it is located in, but equally the government has a duty to maximise return to the public purse so we must explore options which balance the landlord and heritage interests in the situation.

This government is committed to supporting culture and heritage. The Society of Antiquaries recently received Culture Recovery Fund grant funding to support them during the pandemic and have been in receipt of National Heritage Lottery Fund project grants in recent years.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to guidance, Covid-19 Response - Spring 2021, at what stage the Government plans that travelling showpeople will be able to proceed with (a) fairground rides and (b) other services at (i) events and (ii) festivals.

Outdoor funfairs and fairgrounds operated by travelling showpeople can reopen in Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April. These events will be subject to local authority approval. The rules on social contact outdoors will apply in these settings. For Step 2, this means groups must be limited to up to 6 people or 2 households.

Outdoor funfairs and fairgrounds will also need to be organised by a business, charity or similar organisation; comply with COVID-Secure guidance with reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission and the completion of a risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits (unless another exemption exists, such as for work purposes, or supervised activities for children).

Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres, cinemas (except drive-in) and circuses, will reopen in Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May, and at least five weeks after Step 2, following a further review of the data and the four tests.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to what extent his Department assessed (a) the size of an organisation's cash reserves and (b) combined wealth of individual backers, when awarding funds from the Cultural Recovery Fund.

For the first round of funding in the Culture Recovery Fund, all organisations applying were asked to detail sources of income and levels of restricted and unrestricted reserves, to help the delivery bodies understand the financial position of each applicant up to 31 March.

Applicants were also asked in their application to detail how Covid-19 had impacted financial viability (including how they had exhausted all other reasonable options such as viable alternative options for commercial, contributed and philanthropic income, and using their reserves/resources), and therefore why a grant was necessary.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many cultural organisations met all of the criteria for funding from the Culture Recovery Fund but were not awarded that funding as a result of an oversubscription for those grants in their area.

For the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund, in order to deliver the fund in time to support the sector, the Arts Council delegated fixed budgets to regional assessment panels to make decisions on the smallest applications.

When those panels were oversubscribed, and there were more organisations which met the criteria than could be funded, organisations were considered against the published Balancing Criteria and prioritised for funding accordingly. As such, a very small number of organisations (94) that applied to Arts Council England and met the primary criteria were not awarded funding on the basis of over-subscription, and how they compared to the Balancing Criteria. All of these applications were for less than £1m.

In general, success rates across Round 1 of the Fund were high, averaging 67% in the latest data we have.

Any unspent funds across the Arms Length Bodies will be allocated to the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund, which will deliver further support for cultural organisations during Spring and Summer 2021.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his timescale is for his Department's review of the Gambling Act 2005.

The government has committed to reviewing the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure that it is fit for the digital age. Further details will be announced in due course.

As set out in the answer to Question 118541, ministers have met with a range of stakeholders ahead of the Gambling Act Review. Details of ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the government’s website at: https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?content_store_document_type=transparency&organisations%5B%5D=department-for-digital-culture-media-sport.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s independent regulator of advertising, including on matters relating to gambling advertising. The ASA is currently consulting on proposed changes to the advertising codes aimed at further restricting the potential for gambling adverts to appeal to children or vulnerable people.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress he has made on data protection arrangements with Japan; and when he plans to reach an adequacy decision on allowing digital trade to continue with Japan after the end of the transition period.

The UK–Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is the UK’s first major trade deal as an independent trading nation.

CEPA seeks to remove unjustified barriers to data flows to strengthen trade between our two countries. It requires both parties to maintain comprehensive legal frameworks that protect personal information.

CEPA does not alter the UK’s existing data protection framework, enshrined in the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR. Under CEPA, the UK may adopt measures restricting data flows to achieve a legitimate public policy objective, including personal data protection and the ability to maintain an independent international data transfers regime. From the end of the transition period, the UK will preserve the effect of the EU's adequacy decision for Japan on a transitional basis, that will continue to provide robust protections for the international transfer of personal data.

6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Regulations 16(1), 16(3), 17(6) and Schedule 2 Part 2 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020, if he will revise the Government's performing arts guidance of 5 November 2020 so that theatres that (a) are businesses and (b) operate within a designated theatre can continue to hold covid-secure rehearsals regardless of the professional status of the performers.

Since Thursday 5 November, new national restrictions have been in force in England to control the spread of coronavirus and to limit contacts between households.

The Health Protection Regulation 5(1) states that no person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse. The exceptions to the restrictions enables people to leave their homes for the purposes of work where it is not possible for them to work from home.

This exception extends to professionals within the performing arts who are unable to train, rehearse or take part in performances for broadcasting or recording purposes at home. Other than for this purpose, theatres, concert halls and entertainment venues must close.This exemption does not apply to non professional activity within the performing arts in accordance with the wider restrictions.



3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of permitting socially-distanced outdoor singles tennis games to be played during the period of new national covid-19 lockdown from 5 November 2020.

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

Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. Therefore, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December indoor and outdoor leisure including tennis courts will need to close. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions.

In order for these measures to have the greatest impact, we will all need to sacrifice doing some things that we would otherwise like to do, for a short period of time. As soon as we're in a position to start lifting restrictions, grassroots sports will be one of the first to return.

People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own, or with one person from another household or support bubble.The gravity of the situation has meant that we have been forced to take some tough choices. That meant having to deny extremely worthy candidates exemptions to the rules, including grassroots sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of permitting socially-distanced outdoor archery as a form of exercise during the period of new national covid-19 lockdown from 5 November 2020.

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

Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. Therefore, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December indoor and outdoor leisure including tennis courts will need to close. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions.

In order for these measures to have the greatest impact, we will all need to sacrifice doing some things that we would otherwise like to do, for a short period of time. As soon as we're in a position to start lifting restrictions, grassroots sports will be one of the first to return.

People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own, or with one person from another household or support bubble.The gravity of the situation has meant that we have been forced to take some tough choices. That meant having to deny extremely worthy candidates exemptions to the rules, including grassroots sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he is taking steps to support the BBFC in securing greater coverage for their trusted age ratings on video-on-demand platforms; what video-on-demand platforms carry BBFC age ratings; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of linking those ratings to parental filters.

While adoption of the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) best practice age ratings by online platforms is currently voluntary, we welcome Netflix’s commitment to work towards complete coverage of its content under the BBFC’s ratings and support the BBFC’s drive to encourage other Video On Demand platforms to follow suit. By doing so, this will provide consumers, especially parents, with well recognised age ratings and consumer advice.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of online content being age-rated and labelled using trusted BBFC classifications which reflect UK national sensitives as a result of large-scale consultation of all four UK nations.

It is vital that children are protected from accessing age-inappropriate, harmful content online. The government’s Online Harms legislation will establish in law a new ‘duty of care’ on companies towards their users. The ‘duty of care’ will ensure companies have robust systems and processes in place to keep their users safe and will deliver a higher level of protection for children than for the typical adult user. Details of how the online harms legislation will protect children from harmful content will be published later this year in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation.

Over the past year we have been working with the BBFC and industry to drive the voluntary adoption of the BBFC’s age rating symbols to Video On Demand platforms. Doing so will provide consumers with well recognised age ratings and consumer advice.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward proposals for family friendly WiFi which use the default filters imposed by mobile network operators, based on BBFC guidelines and regulated by the BBFC.

Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda, and wider government priorities. The government has worked hard to ensure content is filtered in public places where children are likely to be, as well as at home. The major providers of public WiFi are committed to providing family friendly public WiFi wherever children are likely to be. A Friendly WiFi Logo was launched in 2014 to help parents identify the safest places to browse the internet.

The BBFC provides an independent framework for mobile network operators and defines content that is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18 based on their Classification Guidelines for film and video. There are no plans to require other internet providers who provide family friendly filters to use the BBFC’s framework.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to make the 2018 BBFC AV Guidance approved by Parliament the basis for future Government online harms proposals to protect children from harmful content.

As we announced on 16 October last year, we will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act (DEA) 2017 and its provisions on age verification for online pornography as originally intended. Instead the online harms regime will include provisions to protect children from age-inappropriate content, including online pornography. Our Online Harms proposals will go further than the DEA’s focus on online pornography on commercial adult sites and provide a higher level of protection for children.

Details of how the online harms legislation will protect children from harmful content, including online pornography, will be published later this year in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Government plans to publish the online media literacy strategy connected with the Online Harms Bill.

The Online Harms White Paper set out the Government’s intention to publish an online Media Literacy Strategy to ensure a coordinated and strategic approach to media literacy education for all UK citizens. The Strategy is due to be published in spring 2021.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Ofcom on the role of the proposed online harms regulator to promote education and raise awareness of online safety.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with Ofcom on a variety of issues, including online media literacy education. Information about Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the gov.uk website. The forthcoming Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper Consultation will set out more detail about the online harms regulator’s role in promoting media literacy education.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government will pursue mutual recognition of regimes in respect of online harms and protections in trade negotiations with the US.

The UK’s negotiating objectives set out that our aim is to promote appropriate protections for consumers online and ensure the Government maintains its ability to protect users from emerging online harms. We will continue to carefully consider any interaction between trade policy and online harms policy.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what representations he has received from experts in the education sector on the Online Harms Bill.

Ministers and officials are engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, in developing the Online Harms Bill. This includes discussions with experts from the education sector. We will publish a Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year, which will include more detailed proposals on online harms regulation. We will continue to engage with stakeholders from the education sector, as well as industry, academia and civil society, as we develop proposals and move towards legislation.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing the events and exhibitions sector to reopen with reduced capacity during the covid-19 outbreak.

My Department, working with the events sector and Public Health England, has carried out three pilot business events to ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help the sector reopen when it is safe to do so. However, we needed to pause the planned 1st October reopening of larger conferences and events as part of our response to the recent rise in Covid-19 cases.

Meetings of up to 30 can still take place in permitted venues, as per the Covid-19 Secure guidance for the visitor economy. Since 11 July, a range of outdoor events have been able to take place.

We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to monitor the situation facing companies across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the statement by the Prime Minister on 22 September setting out further covid-19 lockdown restrictions, whether non-league football clubs can begin playing games from 1 October 2020 without fans present.

Decisions on whether to start playing competitive fixtures is a matter for the leagues themselves.

The FA have defined non-elite football as the leagues below the National Leagues North and South. Those leagues continue to be able to admit spectators in line with government’s overall framework on the Return to recreational team sport framework and the FA’s supplementary guidance.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make financial support available to (a) St Albans City FC and (b) other non-league football clubs during the covid-19 outbreak.

Football clubs, at all levels, form the bedrock of our local communities. There have been countless examples during the pandemic of football clubs across the country demonstrating their importance to their local area, volunteering both time and money during these difficult times.

The Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses throughout the pandemic, including a comprehensive and sizable package of direct fiscal support for business through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support. Many football clubs have benefited from these measures.

Where it can, we will expect the top tiers of professional sport to look at ways in which it can support itself, with government focusing on those most in need. I also welcomed the Premier League announcement to advance funds of £125 million to the EFL and National League to help clubs throughout the football pyramid.

As the Prime Minister said on 22 September, the government recognises the implications of being able to admit spectators on sports clubs and is working urgently on what the government can do to support them.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government's guidance, last updated on 11 September 2020, entitled Working safely during coronavirus, Performing arts, whether that guidance applies to recreational choirs.

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

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

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to issue guidance on the safe reopening of open air theatres as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

On 9 July, the Government published guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants which will help people understand how they can work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe.

Organisers of all events including open air theatres will always need to go through the relevant approvals. Where required, they will need to be granted licences from local authorities and be set up to be COVID-secure adhering to social distancing guidelines and regulations.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, following his confirmation at the daily press conference on 17 June, that all but 5 countries worldwide broadcast the restart of the Premier League on 17 June 2020, whether Premier League football was legally aired by any broadcaster in Saudi Arabia on that date.

beIN Media Group own the rights to broadcast Premier League football in the Middle East and North Africa. beIN Media is currently unable to operate in Saudi Arabia, so Premier League football cannot be viewed legally in Saudi Arabia at this time.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on National Portfolio Organisations; and what support his Department is providing to those organisations.

In order to support the sustainability of the Arts sector, including the National Portfolio, 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.

This package includes £90 million of support for National Portfolio Organisations so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. There is no upper limit for the amount of funding National Portfolio Organisations can apply for, and decisions on funding will be made on 30 June 2020.

In keeping with the arms-length principle, Arts Council England will determine whether and to what extent organisations receive funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult organisations within the Art sector, including National Portfolio Organisations, extensively to ensure we fully understand the impacts of Covid-19 and remain well placed to respond as it develops.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his Department's policy is on allocating the second tranche of Arts Council England funding to National Portfolio Organisations.

In order to support the sustainability of the Arts sector, including the National Portfolio, 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.

This package includes £90 million of support for National Portfolio Organisations so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. There is no upper limit for the amount of funding National Portfolio Organisations can apply for, and decisions on funding will be made on 30 June 2020.

In keeping with the arms-length principle, Arts Council England will determine whether and to what extent organisations receive funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult organisations within the Art sector, including National Portfolio Organisations, extensively to ensure we fully understand the impacts of Covid-19 and remain well placed to respond as it develops.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of underwriting zero interest rate loans for fixed periods for members of the English Football League during the covid-19 outbreak.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities and have unique social value.

The Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses throughout this period, including a comprehensive and sizable package of direct fiscal support for business through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support. Many football clubs have benefited from these measures.

The Government is in regular dialogue with all the football authorities to understand their financial position - but has been absolutely clear that it expects football to look first at how it can support itself through these difficult times. To this end I welcomed the Premier League announcement to advance funds of £125 million to the EFL and National League to help clubs throughout the football pyramid. The EFL has also announced a £50m relief fund to help their clubs enduring immediate cash flow problems because of the coronavirus crisis.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department made of the sustainability of local commercial radio as a result of the announcement by Bauer to reorganise 50 regional outlets into a national radio network.

We have made no such assessment. The local programming and content requirements for holders of local analogue commercial radio licenses are set by Ofcom under the relevant legislative framework – primarily the Broadcasting Act 1990 and the Communications Act 2003. These are matters for Ofcom.

In particular, Ofcom is required under section 314 of the Communications Act 2003 to publish and keep under review guidance for commercial radio licensees setting out the detailed local programming requirements that they consider it to be appropriate for local stations to carry.

The relevant guidelines were updated by Ofcom in 2018 to give local FM licensees greater flexibility in how and where local stations produce their programmes, while ensuring that listeners’ expectations for high quality local news and other content continue to be met. In drawing up the current guidance, Ofcom took account of the changing patterns of radio and audio listening and the views of radio listeners. The revised guidelines are published on Ofcom's website, and it will be for Bauer to make decisions about how to organise their services while still meeting their regulatory requirements - in particular, the requirements to produce local news and news programming.

The Government has long-term plans to legislate to reduce other burdens on commercial radio while maintaining protections for the provision on local news and extending these requirements to digital radio, where there are currently no such protections in place. We consulted on changes in 2017, and will bring forward legislation when Parliamentary time is available.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that Arqiva provides commercial radio broadcasters with equitable financial support to tackle high fixed transmission costs during the economic downturn.

We have discussed with Arqiva a possible package financial support for commercial radio broadcasters in relation to transmission fees. Discussions are continuing with Arqiva and we hope discussions will conclude shortly. Our priority, in raising these issues directly with Arqiva, is to ensure that the interests of small commercial radio stations are reflected in any agreements.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will publish the criteria used in negotiations with Arqiva to determine the level of financial support for transmission fees allocated to commercial radio broadcasters during the economic downturn.

We have discussed with Arqiva a possible package financial support for commercial radio broadcasters in relation to transmission fees. Discussions are continuing with Arqiva and we hope discussions will conclude shortly. Our priority, in raising these issues directly with Arqiva, is to ensure that the interests of small commercial radio stations are reflected in any agreements.

27th Apr 2020
If he will convene a virtual forum for representatives of (a) the creative industries and (b) political parties in Parliament to discuss Government support for the creative industries during the covid-19 outbreak.

We hold frequent virtual forums and roundtables with representatives across all creative industries, including the Creative Industries Council, the Creative Industries Federation and many trade bodies, to help identify ways to support them through the crisis - most recently on Wednesday 22 April.

I would happily listen to any suggestions from honourable members across this House on how to support one the UK’s most successful industries.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how the Government plans to tackle online harms committed by publishers of news media and information websites.

The government is committed to a free and independent press. This is vital to a strong and fully functioning democracy where the powerful can be held to account without fear. For this reason, the government does not intervene in what the press can and cannot publish, including on their websites.

The Online Harms White Paper does not seek to prohibit press freedom. The regulator will not be responsible for policing truth and accuracy online. Where services are already well regulated, regulation will not be duplicated.


Officials are currently working with stakeholders to ensure online harms proposals protect journalistic content. Further details will be published in the full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the EU’s Creative Europe programme on the growth of creative industries in the UK.

The Political Declaration stated that the UK is open to participation in certain EU programmes if it is in our interest to do so. While the Government has made the decision not to seek participation in Creative Europe’s 2021-27 programme, the Government is committed to supporting the UK’s thriving cultural and creative economy, and will continue to invest in the UK's cultural and creative sectors to support their world-class activity on the international stage. Domestic alternatives to Creative Europe will be considered in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to negotiate the UK's continued membership of Creative Europe from 2021.

The Government is committed to supporting the UK’s thriving cultural and creative economy, and will continue to invest in the UK's cultural and creative sectors to support their world-class activity on the international stage. While the Government has made the decision not to seek participation in Creative Europe’s 2021-27 programme, we will consider domestic alternatives in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. It should be noted that current UK beneficiaries will continue to benefit from EU programmes for the lifetime of the project, which in some cases goes beyond 2020.

5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2023 to Question 189943 on Free School Meals: Finance, whether her Department issues guidance on recouping unspent funds allocated to free school meals.

The department spends over £1 billion each year on free meals, which now support over one third of pupils in England. In 2023/24, the Free School Meal (FSM) factor of the National Funding Formula designates £480 per eligible pupil. This is increasing to £490 in 2024/25. Schools are allocated un-ringfenced funding through their core budgets to provide these free meals for disadvantaged pupils. This system recognises that schools are best placed to make decisions about how they use their funding and gives them considerable freedom in how they best deliver educational provision to their pupils.

The department is aware of concerns highlighted in the Hungry for Change report. It is for schools to deliver FSM provision and, in line with their duties, to ensure eligible pupils receive free and nutritious meals every day. Schools have freedom over the way in which they achieve this.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether free school meal providers are entitled to keep money allocated to but not spent on free school meals.

The department spends over £1 billion each year on free meals, which now support over one third of pupils in England. In 2023/24, the Free School Meal (FSM) factor of the National Funding Formula designates £480 per eligible pupil. This is increasing to £490 in 2024/25. Schools are allocated un-ringfenced funding through their core budgets to provide these free meals for disadvantaged pupils. This system recognises that schools are best placed to make decisions about how they use their funding and gives them considerable freedom in how they best deliver educational provision to their pupils.

The department is aware of concerns highlighted in the Hungry for Change report. It is for schools to deliver FSM provision and, in line with their duties, to ensure eligible pupils receive free and nutritious meals every day. Schools have freedom over the way in which they achieve this.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 22 June 2023 to Question 189943 on Free School Meals: Finance, what assessment her Department has made of the report Hungry for Change, published on 27 June 2019 by Northumbria University.

The department spends over £1 billion each year on free meals, which now support over one third of pupils in England. In 2023/24, the Free School Meal (FSM) factor of the National Funding Formula designates £480 per eligible pupil. This is increasing to £490 in 2024/25. Schools are allocated un-ringfenced funding through their core budgets to provide these free meals for disadvantaged pupils. This system recognises that schools are best placed to make decisions about how they use their funding and gives them considerable freedom in how they best deliver educational provision to their pupils.

The department is aware of concerns highlighted in the Hungry for Change report. It is for schools to deliver FSM provision and, in line with their duties, to ensure eligible pupils receive free and nutritious meals every day. Schools have freedom over the way in which they achieve this.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many special school places are available in England as of 24 January 2024, broken down by local education authority.

The information requested is not held centrally. The department does not collect real-time data on the availability of school places.

The department has begun collecting annual data from local authorities on available capacity in special schools, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) units and resourced provision, along with corresponding forecasts of demand for these places. This data will help the department to effectively support local authorities to fulfil their statutory duty to provide sufficient specialist places.

Local authorities are responsible for providing enough school places for children in their area.

The department supports local authorities to provide sufficient school places through capital funding, and the department has published over £1.5 billion of High Needs Provision Capital Allocations for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 financial years. This funding is allocated to local authorities to support them to deliver new places and improve existing provision for children and young people with SEND or who require Alternative Provision (AP). This funding forms part of the department’s transformational investment of £2.6 billion in new high needs provision between 2022 and 2025 and is on top of the department’s ongoing delivery of new special and AP free schools.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will publish a schedule of planned meetings between her Department and Hertfordshire County Council to monitor the progress of its Area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities service improvement plan.

The department is currently scheduling a series of monitoring meetings with senior representatives from the local area to review progress against the priority action plan at a strategic level. In line with departmental policy, the department does not publish the schedules of meetings but will monitor progress approximately every three months. Following a monitoring meeting, the department will engage with the local area partnership to discuss outcomes and appropriate next steps. Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission will then visit at the 18-month mark for formal monitoring.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Area SEND inspection of Hertfordshire Local Area Partnership report, published on 10 November 2023, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of appointing a Children’s Services Commissioner to assist Hertfordshire County Council with their statutory responsibilities to SEND children and their families.

​​Every child and young person with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) should have access to high-quality services. Where a council does not meet their requirements to provide appropriate support for these children, the department will act quickly to bring about rapid improvement.

​​On 10 November 2023, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published their joint local area SEND inspection report of Hertfordshire. Inspectors highlighted two areas of priority action and five areas for improvement.

​The local area partnership is required to submit a detailed priority action plan to Ofsted and the CQC by 19 December 2023, within 35 days of receiving the final report. To ensure independent and expert oversight of delivery of this plan, the partnership has appointed Dame Christine Lenehan as the new chair of the partnership’s multi-agency improvement board.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2023 to Question 189672 on Special Educational Needs, when he plans to decide whether to issue additional guidance on school admission for summer born children with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

The department will be publishing additional guidance on school admission for summer born children with an Education, Health and Care Plan in due course.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help schools make adjustments for (a) children and (b) young adults that are on the waiting list for an autism assessment.

All those working with, or commissioning services for children and young people, must have regard to the statutory Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice: 0-25 years. This sets out clearly that early years settings, schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to make sure that a child or young person with Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the support they need. This includes autistic children and young people. This support should be put in place at the earliest opportunity when a child or young person with SEN has been identified. There is no need to wait for a medical assessment or diagnosis.

The Code states that, where it has been identified that a child or young person needs SEN support, the early years setting, school or college should work with the child or young person and the family to agree the adjustments, interventions and support to be put in place.

Where an assessment of needs indicates that support from specialist services is required, it is important that children and young people receive it as quickly as possible. Agencies across education, health and care should work together to support children and young people.

In the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan, the department set out its vision to improve mainstream education through setting standards for early and accurate identification of need, including timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings, who is responsible for securing the support and from what budgets.

The department will also develop new practice guides to support frontline professionals. The first three practice guides will be published by the end of 2025, focusing on advice for mainstream settings, and will include a practice guide on autism.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of using air purifying equipment in schools on levels of covid-19 infections in schools.

Good ventilation can reduce the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19.

Evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies demonstrates that CO2 monitoring is an effective method of identifying poor ventilation in spaces with multiple occupants. The Department knows that sufficient ventilation can be challenging, particularly in the winter months when staff sometimes feel they need to choose between fresh air to reduce the risk of airborne illnesses, keeping classrooms warm and the impact of increased heating costs. As such, the Department has provided CO2 monitors for approximately 100% of eligible teaching spaces in England. This will help staff balance good ventilation with energy usage whilst maintaining a comfortable temperature in rooms.

These CO2 monitors enable the ventilation in teaching spaces to be monitored. Where these monitors consistently identified poor ventilation that could not be easily remedied, schools were able to apply for Department funded air cleaning units (ACU). The Department has now provided over 9,000 ACUs to eligible settings.

In general, ACUs can help reduce airborne contaminants in poorly ventilated spaces. ACUs remove particulate matter, including virus particles, from the air to improve indoor air quality. The air purifiers provided by the Department work using high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter technology. There is strong evidence from laboratory studies of the efficacy of HEPA filtration technology at removing airborne viruses from the air. However, although they help improve air quality, ACUs do not reduce CO2 levels or improve ventilation, so it is important that they are not used as a substitute for ventilation or a reason to reduce it.

Department officials sit on the working group for a project looking at the implications and potential benefits of fitting schools with air cleaning technology, which is the Bradford classroom air cleaning technology trial. This was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and managed through the UK Health Security Agency. The study is run from the Centre for Applied Education Research which is based at the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK. The trial has concluded and the academic leads intend to publish the results in a peer reviewed journal in due course.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Food Standards Agency on introducing allergen guidance for schools to help protect children with food allergies.

The Department works closely with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on all matters relating to school food.

Given the complexity and individual nature of allergies, the Department believes that head teachers, school governors, and their caterers are best placed to make decisions about their allergy handling policies, which consider individual circumstances.

The Department already has statutory guidance for schools to support pupils with medical conditions, which makes clear that schools should ensure they are aware of any pupils with allergies and have processes in place to ensure these can be well managed. Parents should be fully consulted and engaged in any discussions in relation to their child’s allergies. This guidance can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3.

While the Department keeps these policies under review, and welcomes feedback on how to better support schools’ implementation of them, the Department feels that the existing mix of national requirements and local flexibility is appropriate for this complex issue.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 17 July to Question 906018 on Degrees, whether she has made an assessment of the potential impact of students graduating from universities without receiving their degree classification on their future career prospects.

Unlike some other education sectors where the government has taken part in negotiations with trade unions, universities are autonomous. They are therefore responsible for the pay and pension provision of their staff.

While government plays no formal role in such disputes, the department is deeply concerned about the impact of the marking and assessment boycott on students. It is unacceptable that students, many of whom have already suffered significant disruption to their studies over recent years, face further disruption and uncertainty. This disruption is particularly damaging to those students who are due to graduate and looking to enter the jobs market or progress to further study. The department has made clear that whatever the rights and wrongs of the current dispute, action that damages students' prospects is the wrong thing to do.

Our current understanding is that the vast majority of students have been unaffected by the industrial action and, in most cases, have received their full results on time, and progressed or graduated as normal. However, the department appreciates that, at some higher education (HE) providers, the impact of the boycott has been more significant.

This government believes students should be at the heart of the HE system. This is why the Office for Students (OfS) has been set up to regulate the HE sector in England, protect student rights and ensure the sector is delivering real value for money.  The OfS wrote to institutions affected by the boycott on 12 June to reiterate its expectations in relation to its conditions of registration. The OfS have also published guidance to students on their rights during industrial action and will continue to monitor this ongoing situation through their normal regulatory mechanisms.

I have held discussions with the Russell Group, Universities UK and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to better understand the impact on students and the mitigating actions their members are taking to minimise disruption. I have also written to the Russell Group and Universities UK, encouraging them to continue to do everything within their powers to protect the interests of students during this phase of industrial action. On 11 August, I wrote to UCEA and the University and College Union (UCU) urging them both to resume negotiations which, if successful, will bring an end to the boycott and further industrial action.

Universities have worked to reduce the impact on students in a variety of ways, including reallocating marking to other staff members and hiring external markers. Moreover, many universities have awarded degrees when they have enough evidence of a student’s prior attainment to do so. Others have assigned provisional grades to students to allow them to progress, and, once all papers have been marked, most institutions will award degree classifications that either remain as provisionally assigned or are uplifted to reflect the student’s achievements.

The department strongly urges all parties involved in this industrial dispute to resume negotiations. We will continue to engage with the HE sector to help better understand how students’ interests can be protected during this time.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 13 June 2023 to Question 187808 on Special Educational Needs, and with reference to her Department's guidance Summer born children: advice for admission authorities, published on 27 April 2023, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing additional guidance for summer born children with an Education, health and care plan.

The Department is currently considering whether to issue additional guidance on school admission for summer born children with an Education, Health and Care plan.

12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the letter from the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing to the hon. Member for St Albans, dated 17 May 2023, on the application of the National Funding Formula (NFF) for special educational needs and disability to Hertfordshire, whether she will publish the analysis which shows that (a) the gap between Hertfordshire and other education authorities' historic levels of spending and their current allocation has significantly narrowed since 2017/18, and (b) adjusting historic spending data used in the NFF calculation would not have a significant effect on the central funding allocation for Hertfordshire.

I apologise to the hon. Member for St Albans that she has not yet received a response to her request for this analysis. I will write to you within the next week, providing the analysis that you have requested.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 5 December 2022 to Question 99943 on Special Educational Needs, whether a Public Sector Equality Duty assessment was carried out on the decision to not apply the School Admissions Code to children with Education, Health and Care plans.

A parent may ask a local authority to place their child with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan in a school year group other than the usual for their chronological age. It is then for the local authority to decide whether to do so, taking into account all relevant factors. Such factors will include the views of the parents and of the head teacher, and whether such an arrangement would be considered as ‘special educational provision’ in response to an identified special educational need.

The School Admissions Code is established pursuant to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. Decisions about placements of children within EHC Plans are covered by a different legal regime, the Children and Families Act 2014 and Regulations made under that Act. This means that there was no decision to be made about whether to apply the School Admissions Code to children with EHC plans.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 5 December 2022 to Question 99943 on Special Educational Needs, whether a local education authority has a duty to place a student with an Education, Health and Care Plan in a year group other than the usual for their chronological age when a parent requests it.

A parent may ask a local authority to place their child with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan in a school year group other than the usual for their chronological age. It is then for the local authority to decide whether to do so, taking into account all relevant factors. Such factors will include the views of the parents and of the head teacher, and whether such an arrangement would be considered as ‘special educational provision’ in response to an identified special educational need.

The School Admissions Code is established pursuant to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. Decisions about placements of children within EHC Plans are covered by a different legal regime, the Children and Families Act 2014 and Regulations made under that Act. This means that there was no decision to be made about whether to apply the School Admissions Code to children with EHC plans.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to her correspondence with teachers of 29 March 2023, if she will make an assessment of the affordability of the proposed pay award for teachers at schools that signed fixed-term energy contracts at peak prices that will expire after 31 March 2024.

The Government’s recent pay offer was fully funded, nationally, as set out in the Department’s recent Education Hub post, which can be found here: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2023/03/28/teacher-strikes-latest-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-teacher-pay-offer/.

Following the rejection of this offer, final decisions on teachers’ pay for 2023/24 will now be made following recommendations on pay rises by the independent School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB).

The Autumn Statement announced additional funding of £2 billion in each of the 2023/24 and 2024/25 financial years, over and above totals announced at the 2021 Spending Review. This means funding for both mainstream schools and high needs is £3.5 billion higher in 2023/24, compared to 2022/23.

Total funding for both mainstream schools and high needs will total £58.8 billion in the 2024/25 financial year, the highest ever level in real terms per pupil. After accounting for the new pay offers in 2023, the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimate that school funding is still growing faster than school costs.

The Government provides these annual increases to school revenue budgets so that schools can cover cost increases in the year ahead, including teacher pay increases. England’s funding system, using a national formula, is designed so that schools seeing the largest pressures typically attract the largest funding increases, but it does not match each individual school’s precise costs, as schools have autonomy over their own spending. The Government’s judgement of the affordability of teacher pay increases is based on national figures, which equate to the position for an average school.

19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools have a (i) school nurse, (ii) healthy lifestyles coach and (iii) equivalent health worker.

In November 2021, the latest available information, 49 (0.3%) state funded primary schools and 266 (8.1%) state funded secondary schools in England employed at least one person whose role was reported as ‘nurse’.

Please note that the figures provided are based on staff roles as reported by the school, and as such ‘nurse’ may not necessarily indicate a qualified specialist community public health nurse. School nurses play a pivotal role in supporting schools to meet this duty, but they will not be the only healthcare professionals available to help schools in supporting their pupils.

The information requested on the number and proportion of (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools that have a (i) healthy lifestyles coach and (ii) equivalent health worker is not held centrally.

Information on the state funded school workforce in England, including the number of support staff employed by schools each November, is published in the annual ‘School Workforce in England’ national statistics release at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information her Department holds on (a) the number of requests for new needs assessments for education, health and care plans from upper-tier local authorities and (b) the number of such requests that have been open for more than 20 weeks.

The requested information is available in the National Statistics publication on education, health and care (EHC) plans, which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

The latest available data shows that 93,300 initial requests were made for an assessment for an EHC plan during 2021. Of requests which led to a new EHC plan made during 2021, 34,249 (59.9%) were issued within 20 weeks.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to correspondence from the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing to the hon. Member for St Albans dated 21 February 2023, on what date her Department received a letter from Hertfordshire County Council on special educational needs and disabilities funding in Hertfordshire; and if she will meet with the hon. Member for St Albans to discuss that matter.

Following on from my initial reply to the hon. Member for St Albans, received on 21 February, I will be sending a further response, copied to other hon. Members representing Hertfordshire constituencies. This will address the matters raised in the letter from Hertfordshire County Council’s Director of Inclusion and Skills dated 7 December 2022, which the hon. Member passed on to me.

As arranged, I look forward to meeting the hon. Member for St Albans on Wednesday 19 April 2023.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of providing free school meal vouchers to those students who are eligible for free school meals but cannot access a school setting due to (a) disability, (b) Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA), (c) Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) or other factors.

The Education Act 1996 places a duty on maintained schools and academies to provide free school meals (FSM) to pupils of all ages that meet the criteria for eligibility and who are attending school during term time. The Act makes clear that a child must be registered at a publicly funded school as a condition of claiming FSM.

Local Authorities are funded to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including those who are unable to attend school on a long term basis. Parents are advised to liaise with Local Authorities to consider suitable alternatives in line with the guidance on long term illnesses, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/illness-child-education.

21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government is on course to reach the target that 90 percent of all deaf children having expected standards in maths and literacy by the age of 11 by 2030.

In the Schools White Paper, published March 2022, the department set clear ambitions for 90% of all children to leave primary school having achieved the expected standard in Key Stage 2 reading, writing and mathematics, and that in secondary schools, the national GCSE average grade in both English language and in mathematics will increase from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030.

The department is confident that the policies set out in the White Paper will have a significant impact on improving literacy and numeracy at both KS2 and GCSE. The White Paper marked the start of a journey towards these targets.

The department knows that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are disproportionately represented in those cohorts not meeting expected standards. If we are going to achieve our 90% and grade 5 targets by 2030 it is vital that we ensure pupils of all characteristics and backgrounds are making progress.

On 29 March 2022, we published the SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper, which set out our plans to improve the experience and outcomes for children and young people with SEND, including those with Sensory Impairment, within a fairer and financially sustainable system. We are now carefully considering the feedback we received through the thousands of responses to the consultation and in the many events that took place during the 16-week consultation period. We will publish a full response in an Improvement Plan imminently.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to increase the number of deaf teachers.

I refer the honourable member for St Albans to the answer I gave on 13 February 2023 to Question 140375.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
3rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the 2022 National Plan for Music Education and prescribed geographic areas for new Hub Lead Organisations, whether individual county-wide upper tier authorities may act as a Local Authority Hub without having to join with other local authorities to create a hub that would cover multiple local authority areas.

In June 2022, the Government published a National Plan for Music Education. The plan sets out the Government’s priorities until 2030 for music education for children and young people, including plans to strengthen the success of Music Hubs. The plan also builds on the Model Music Curriculum published in March 2021, setting out how pupils can progress in music from Key Stages 1 to 3, including on instrumental teaching.

Music Hubs are partnerships, covering one or multiple Local Authority areas, co-ordinated by a hub lead organisation and are made up of schools and academy trusts, Local Authorities, music and wider arts and education organisations, community or youth organisations, and more. They were established in 2012, with direct funding from the Department that had previously been awarded to Local Authority Music Services. While no longer directly receiving funding, some Music Services do currently serve as lead organisations in addition to their other responsibilities. The Department has committed £79 million per year for the Music Hubs programme over three years, up to and including 2025.

The Department’s intention is that the current model of how Music Hubs operate will transition to one where more Hubs will cover multiple Local Authority areas. This reflects the increase of formal partnerships across England over the last decade.

These Music Hub lead organisations will be in place for children and young people in September 2024. Arts Council England has consulted with potential bidders regarding prescribed geographical areas. All feedback will be used to inform next steps and further information will be communicated to all potential bidders later this year.

24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether their Department has purchased mobile UV virus irradiation units.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is currently funding a programme of work to assess the ability of air cleaning devices to mitigate aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other air borne pathogens. This includes research to assess the ability of UVC devices to mitigate aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other airborne pathogens.

As part of commissioning the Rapid Covid-19 Disinfection Study (RCADS), NHS Test & Trace, which is now part of UKHSA, purchased upper room ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (ur-UVGI) and active enclosed UVC devices via an accelerated open procedure as per government policy.

In addition, funding to purchase high efficiency particulate air filters with integral UVC was provided to Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Addenbrookes Hospital as part of commissioning the Addenbrookes Air Disinfection Study.

2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary schools in England employ a (a) play or (b) creative arts therapist.

The 2022 Schools White Paper set out the Government’s plan for all schools to provide safe, calm and supportive school environments, with targeted academic, pastoral and specialist support, helping children and young people to fulfil their potential.

It is for schools to decide what support they provide, taking into account the needs of their pupils.

The roles of staff employed by schools is collected as part of the annual School Workforce Census each November. The data can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

Data from the November 2022 census is currently being collected and will be published in the summer of 2023.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to analysis by Child Poverty Action Group and its finding that 800,000 children in poverty do not qualify for free school meals, published on 9 June 2022, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of this analysis.

The department does not have plans to make changes to Free School Meal (FSM) eligibility. However, we continue to monitor the rising cost of living whilst working with other government departments on support surrounding this issue. The department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

In setting a threshold, the government believes that the current level, which enables children to benefit from FSM, while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one.

The latest published statistics show that around 1.9 million pupils are claiming FSM. This equates to 22.5% of all pupils, up from 20.8% in 2021. Together with a further 1.25 million infants supported through the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy, the greatest ever proportion of school children, 37.5%, are now provided with FSM.

23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to review the eligibility criteria for free school meals before the end of the 2022-23 autumn term.

The department does not have plans to assess the potential impact of changes in the cost of living on pupils who are not eligible for free school meals (FSM). However, we continue to monitor the rising cost of living whilst working with other government departments on support surrounding this issue.

The department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them. In setting a threshold, the government believes that the current level is correct, as it enables children to benefit from FSM, while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools.

23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the cost of living crisis on the numbers of children living in poverty who are not eligible for free school meals.

The department does not have plans to assess the potential impact of changes in the cost of living on pupils who are not eligible for free school meals (FSM). However, we continue to monitor the rising cost of living whilst working with other government departments on support surrounding this issue.

The department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them. In setting a threshold, the government believes that the current level is correct, as it enables children to benefit from FSM, while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools.

5th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether under arrangements for Education, Health and Care Plans for Deaf children may include provision and specific funding to support parents and close family members of those children to learn British Sign Language.

Funding is available through the adult education budget (AEB) for qualifications in or focussing on British Sign Language (BSL) up to and including level 2. About 60% of the AEB has been devolved to Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority who determine which provision to fund for learners resident in their areas. Education and Skills Funding Agency provides the remaining funding for learners resident in non-devolved areas. Some providers of community learning offer BSL courses, and those providers determine the course fees, including levels of fee remission. For qualifications at level 3 and above, Advanced Learner Loans are available for certain BSL qualifications. BSL qualifications and the appropriate further education funding offer can be found here: https://www.qualifications.education.gov.uk/Search. Eligible students will be able to apply for student support if their undergraduate course is designated for funding under The Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011. If undertaking a BSL qualification that leads to a masters level qualification, eligible students can access a postgraduate loan, as long as they have not previously accessed the postgraduate loan product, or already hold a level 7 qualification. Several universities and organisations offer such qualifications.

There is a statutory duty, under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, for local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of ‘children in need’ in their area, including disabled children, by providing appropriate services to them. Services for disabled children provided under Section 17 will typically include short breaks for parent carers, equipment or adaptations to the home, and support for parents.

Section H1 of an education, health and care plan must specify all services assessed as being needed for a disabled child or young person under 18, under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. This may include services to be provided for parent carers of disabled children, including following an assessment of their needs under the Children Act 1989. Where this assessment judges that the family needs provision to learn BSL, it could be included here.

5th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) local and (b) national funding is available for parents and close family members for studying advanced British Sign Language courses that enable them to communicate more effectively with their children.

Funding is available through the adult education budget (AEB) for qualifications in or focussing on British Sign Language (BSL) up to and including level 2. About 60% of the AEB has been devolved to Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority who determine which provision to fund for learners resident in their areas. Education and Skills Funding Agency provides the remaining funding for learners resident in non-devolved areas. Some providers of community learning offer BSL courses, and those providers determine the course fees, including levels of fee remission. For qualifications at level 3 and above, Advanced Learner Loans are available for certain BSL qualifications. BSL qualifications and the appropriate further education funding offer can be found here: https://www.qualifications.education.gov.uk/Search. Eligible students will be able to apply for student support if their undergraduate course is designated for funding under The Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011. If undertaking a BSL qualification that leads to a masters level qualification, eligible students can access a postgraduate loan, as long as they have not previously accessed the postgraduate loan product, or already hold a level 7 qualification. Several universities and organisations offer such qualifications.

There is a statutory duty, under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, for local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of ‘children in need’ in their area, including disabled children, by providing appropriate services to them. Services for disabled children provided under Section 17 will typically include short breaks for parent carers, equipment or adaptations to the home, and support for parents.

Section H1 of an education, health and care plan must specify all services assessed as being needed for a disabled child or young person under 18, under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. This may include services to be provided for parent carers of disabled children, including following an assessment of their needs under the Children Act 1989. Where this assessment judges that the family needs provision to learn BSL, it could be included here.

5th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the letter from Education Unions dated 21 July 2022, how many schools were provided with HEPA air filtration devices during the 2022 summer holidays in preparation for the Autumn term.

Over the last year, backed by £25 million in Government funding, the Department has provided 386,699 CO2 monitors to state-funded education settings including early years, schools and further education providers. CO2 monitors can support schools to identify poor areas of ventilation which will provide further reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, especially over the winter months. As well as helping to identify areas that are poorly ventilated, CO2 monitors can be useful to help settings balance good ventilation with keeping classrooms warm.

Where an area of poor ventilation has been identified that cannot be resolved through simple measures such as opening doors and windows. Where it is not possible to maintain adequate ventilation, it may be appropriate for settings to consider the use of an air cleaning unit while the underlying ventilation issue is addressed. In January, the Government committed to fulfil all eligible applications for air cleaning units to state-funded education settings for poorly ventilated teaching spaces where quick fixes to improve ventilation were not possible. All eligible applications received have been fulfilled, with 8,026 air cleaning units distributed by 24 June 2022. All units delivered use High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA).

A marketplace remains open for all state-funded education settings as a route to purchasing air cleaning units directly from suppliers at a suitable specification and competitive price. All units available on the marketplace use HEPA filtration. It can be accessed on GOV.UK at the following link: Air cleaning units for education and childcare settings - Find a DfE approved framework for your school - GOV.UK (find-dfe-approved-framework.service.gov.uk).

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons his Department will not introduce a GCSE in British Sign Language until September 2025.

The department is committed to developing the new British Sign Language (BSL) GCSE as quickly as we can, while also ensuring it can be completed to the highest standard. We are working closely with subject experts, stakeholders and Ofqual, the independent qualifications regulator, to develop the draft subject content for the BSL GCSE. The department plans to consult publicly on this draft content later this year. We will then make any necessary amendments in light of the consultation responses and finalise the high-level subject content next Spring.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, work to support the management of and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including to ensure pupils could access the qualifications they needed to progress, was prioritised. This meant that the development of this GCSE was delayed. However, once the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic eased, we resumed work to develop the new BSL GCSE.

The development and introduction of a new GCSE is a complex process. It typically takes over two years from the publication of the department’s high level subject content to the first teaching of a new qualification.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to launch a consultation on the British Sign Language GCSE.

The department is committed to developing the new British Sign Language (BSL) GCSE as quickly as we can, while also ensuring it can be completed to the highest standard. We are working closely with subject experts, stakeholders and Ofqual, the independent qualifications regulator, to develop the draft subject content for the BSL GCSE. The department plans to consult publicly on this draft content later this year. We will then make any necessary amendments in light of the consultation responses and finalise the high-level subject content next Spring.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, work to support the management of and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including to ensure pupils could access the qualifications they needed to progress, was prioritised. This meant that the development of this GCSE was delayed. However, once the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic eased, we resumed work to develop the new BSL GCSE.

The development and introduction of a new GCSE is a complex process. It typically takes over two years from the publication of the department’s high level subject content to the first teaching of a new qualification.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of exclusions from schools in Hertfordshire were of (a) pupils with SEND and (b) black pupils in 2020-21.

The requested information is not yet available for the 2020/21 academic year. This is due to be published on 28 July 2022.

Information for the 2019/20 academic year and earlier academic years is available in the Office for National Statistics’ release ‘Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England’, available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england.

The following data has been produced from the ‘Explore data and files section’. It includes details of permanent exclusions and suspensions by characteristic (pupils with special educational needs and disabilities and black pupils), from 2006 to 2019 in Hertfordshire: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/9aa11aed-bd1a-43a2-9c3a-d891128d54b8.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support is available for parents to challenge the decision of school governing boards on student exclusions, in the event that parents consider racial discrimination to be a factor.

Published in 2019, the Timpson Review of School Exclusions illustrated a complex picture and identified that there is no substantial difference in permanent exclusion rates, when comparing all ethnic minority children as a whole with white British children. However, the department recognises that certain groups of children are more likely to be permanently excluded, although local context means there will be different patterns across the country.

The updated suspension and permanent exclusion guidance, published 13 July 2022, sets out that it is vital that schools, local authorities, and local partners work together to understand what lies behind local trends. Local leaders should use this understanding to plan and put in place additional and targeted action. If they identify any gaps, they should act to ensure those who work with children have the training, services, and support they need to address them.

Under the Equality Act 2010, schools also have a legal duty not to discriminate against pupils. Ofsted’s assessment of behaviour in schools includes specific consideration of rates, patterns, and reasons for exclusions, as well as any differences between groups of pupils.

If a parent believes that any form of discrimination has been a factor in their child’s exclusion, they can make a claim to the first-tier tribunal in relation to disability, or a county court for other forms of discrimination.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to tackle the disproportionate rates of school exclusions of black children.

Published in 2019, the Timpson Review of School Exclusions illustrated a complex picture and identified that there is no substantial difference in permanent exclusion rates, when comparing all ethnic minority children as a whole with white British children. However, the department recognises that certain groups of children are more likely to be permanently excluded, although local context means there will be different patterns across the country.

The updated suspension and permanent exclusion guidance, published 13 July 2022, sets out that it is vital that schools, local authorities, and local partners work together to understand what lies behind local trends. Local leaders should use this understanding to plan and put in place additional and targeted action. If they identify any gaps, they should act to ensure those who work with children have the training, services, and support they need to address them.

Under the Equality Act 2010, schools also have a legal duty not to discriminate against pupils. Ofsted’s assessment of behaviour in schools includes specific consideration of rates, patterns, and reasons for exclusions, as well as any differences between groups of pupils.

If a parent believes that any form of discrimination has been a factor in their child’s exclusion, they can make a claim to the first-tier tribunal in relation to disability, or a county court for other forms of discrimination.

15th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to The Khan review: making smoking obsolete, published on 9 June 2022, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing the recommendation to include the (a) risks of and (b) age restrictions for vaping in the school health education curriculum.

The relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) statutory guidance includes content on drugs, as a supplement to drug education which is part of the national curriculum for science in key stages 2 and 3.

The guidance sets out that in both primary and secondary school, pupils should be taught the facts about legal and illegal harmful substances and associated risks, including smoking, alcohol use, and drug-taking. Additionally, in secondary school, pupils should be taught the associated legal and psychological risks of taking drugs.

To support schools, the department published a suite of teacher training modules and non- statutory guidance. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health. This includes a module on drugs, alcohol and tobacco, which makes specific reference to e-cigarettes (vaping) and includes information on the age restrictions and laws around both legal and illegal drugs to protect young people.

The department is developing plans for monitoring implementation of RSHE over time, including measuring teacher confidence in teaching the statutory requirements, and whether additions or other changes to the curriculum will be required.

1st Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with representatives of AQA about grade allocations following the reported leak of A level chemistry paper 2; and if he will make a statement.

The department has not had discussions with representatives of AQA about the alleged leak of material from an A level chemistry paper. While serious exam malpractice remains rare, it is vital that any breach is thoroughly investigated by the exam boards.

Exam boards have well established processes in place to manage such incidents. AQA have confirmed that their Exams Integrity team is investigating these reports and they will take any action necessary, including working with the police.

While such leaks are very rare, exam boards have demonstrated previously that they are able to effectively gather evidence about the students who had unauthorised access to any questions before the exam was taken. In the event of a leak, Ofqual will work with the exam board to minimise the impact on students.

8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure every family with a disabled child receives the social care support they need.

I refer the hon. Member for St Albans to the answer I gave on 10 June 2022 to questions 13292, 13293, and 13294.

8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that parent carers can hold health and social providers to account when they do not meet legal deadlines for providing SEND support.

I refer the hon. Member for St Albans to the answer I gave on 10 June 2022 to questions 13292, 13293, and 13294.

8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the proposals in the SEND Green Paper address the backlogs in disabled children’s health and social care.

I refer the hon. Member for St Albans to the answer I gave on 10 June 2022 to questions 13292, 13293, and 13294.

8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) specialist and (b) mainstream schools can provide the (i) therapies and (ii) other services disabled children need to live fulfilling lives.

I refer the hon. Member for St Albans to the answer I gave on 14 June 2022, to Question 13295.

26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the (a) shortest, (b) average and (c) longest period of time between a pre-tribunal settlement for education, health and care provision being agreed and a settlement order being signed for each upper tier local authority.

The department does not hold or collect information on the period of time between a pre-tribunal settlement for education, health and care provision being agreed and a settlement order being signed.

26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to (a) require local authorities to ask parents who request an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) form whether or not English is their first language and (b) offer additional language support to parents throughout the EHCP process.

The Children and Families Act 2014 requires local authorities to have regard to the importance of the child or young person, and the child’s parents, participating as fully as possible in decisions, and being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions. All local authorities must have arrangements for information and advice and should ensure that advice and guidance for children and young people is tailored appropriately for them. All local authorities must publish a local offer about all their services. One of the requirements of local offers is that they must be accessible to the local population, which does include ensuring access those for whom English is not their first language. The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) code of practice also makes clear that the format of an education, health and care (EHC) plan is agreed locally. Local authorities must decide on the languages that EHC plans are available in, depending on local need.

In addition, it is the department’s aim, through the proposals set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper to provide parents and carers with a clearer understanding of the support that should be available to meet their child’s needs. This includes a proposal to standardise the EHC plan process to drive consistency in how needs are identified and assessed. The public consultation for the Green Paper is due to close on 22 July 2022.

26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to require upper tier local authorities and clinical commissioning groups to provide parents of children with special educational needs or disabilities with a list of potential sources of financial support to which they might be entitled.

Local authorities must provide information on personal budgets as part of their local offer. This should include a policy on personal budgets that sets out a description of the services across education, health and social care that currently lend themselves to the use of personal budgets, how that funding will be made available, and clear and simple statements of eligibility criteria and the decision-making processes. Personal budgets are optional for the child’s parent or the young person, but local authorities are under a duty to prepare a budget when requested. Local authorities must provide information about organisations that may be able to provide advice and assistance to help parents and young people to make informed decisions about personal budgets.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the level of need for respite breaks for kinship carers.

The government recognises the important role that kinship carers play in caring for children who are unable to live with their parents. We know that most children benefit from living with someone they already know and trust. Therefore, in recent years we have improved the support to these families.

The government issued statutory guidance in 2011 for local authorities about support for kinship carers. The guidance makes it clear that children and young people should receive the support that they and their carers need to safeguard and promote their welfare. The local authority should also have in place clear eligibility criteria in relation to the provision of support services. This can include providing short breaks (respite) for families where they need this.

The government has also extended funding for the Family and Friends helpline, run by the Family Rights Group, which offers kinship families support, advice and guidance. In 2021 the government added kinship carers to the priority groups that local authorities must include in their school admissions Fair Access Protocols to include children in kinship care arrangements, and this year the government are providing funding of £1 million for the organisation Kinship to deliver more peer to peer support groups to kinship carers across England.

The department is aware from feedback from carers that the provision of support is mixed, and the Independent Review of Social Care, published on 23 May 2022, sets out a compelling case for more support for these families. The department is now looking at the recommendations, including those in kinship care, which will inform an ambitious and detailed government response and implementation strategy, to be published before the end of 2022.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to encourage local authorities to increase their support for kinship carers in the context of the varying levels of support under different local authorities.

The government recognises the important role that kinship carers play in caring for children who are unable to live with their parents. We know that most children benefit from living with someone they already know and trust. Therefore, in recent years we have improved the support to these families.

The government issued statutory guidance in 2011 for local authorities about support for kinship carers. The guidance makes it clear that children and young people should receive the support that they and their carers need to safeguard and promote their welfare. The local authority should also have in place clear eligibility criteria in relation to the provision of support services. This can include providing short breaks (respite) for families where they need this.

The government has also extended funding for the Family and Friends helpline, run by the Family Rights Group, which offers kinship families support, advice and guidance. In 2021 the government added kinship carers to the priority groups that local authorities must include in their school admissions Fair Access Protocols to include children in kinship care arrangements, and this year the government are providing funding of £1 million for the organisation Kinship to deliver more peer to peer support groups to kinship carers across England.

The department is aware from feedback from carers that the provision of support is mixed, and the Independent Review of Social Care, published on 23 May 2022, sets out a compelling case for more support for these families. The department is now looking at the recommendations, including those in kinship care, which will inform an ambitious and detailed government response and implementation strategy, to be published before the end of 2022.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of support available to kinship carers.

The government recognises the important role that kinship carers play in caring for children who are unable to live with their parents. We know that most children benefit from living with someone they already know and trust. Therefore, in recent years we have improved the support to these families.

The government issued statutory guidance in 2011 for local authorities about support for kinship carers. The guidance makes it clear that children and young people should receive the support that they and their carers need to safeguard and promote their welfare. The local authority should also have in place clear eligibility criteria in relation to the provision of support services. This can include providing short breaks (respite) for families where they need this.

The government has also extended funding for the Family and Friends helpline, run by the Family Rights Group, which offers kinship families support, advice and guidance. In 2021 the government added kinship carers to the priority groups that local authorities must include in their school admissions Fair Access Protocols to include children in kinship care arrangements, and this year the government are providing funding of £1 million for the organisation Kinship to deliver more peer to peer support groups to kinship carers across England.

The department is aware from feedback from carers that the provision of support is mixed, and the Independent Review of Social Care, published on 23 May 2022, sets out a compelling case for more support for these families. The department is now looking at the recommendations, including those in kinship care, which will inform an ambitious and detailed government response and implementation strategy, to be published before the end of 2022.

30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to issue guidance to end the need for young people in care homes being asked to self-isolate when they come into contact with members of staff and other residents who test positive for covid-19.

From 1 April 2022, the UK Health and Security Agency has issued updated guidance on health protection in schools and other childcare facilities. The guidance contains practical advice on managing a range of infections and outlines the steps regarding self-isolation for those with a positive COVID-19 test result.

This replaces all guidance previously issued for the children’s social care sector. It is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-protection-in-schools-and-other-childcare-facilities.

25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of whether diamond schools in which primary and sixth form provision is coeducational, with girls and boys taught separately between the ages of 11 and 16, are compatible with his Department's guidelines; and whether he has sought legal advice on the compatibility of those schools with the Equality Act 2010.

It is open to all mixed sex schools to demonstrate how they comply with and apply any relevant statutory exemptions under the Equality Act 2010, where they are separating based on sex. Schools using the ‘diamond school’ model may be complying with the Act, but the onus is on school leaders to demonstrate that they are meeting their duties under the Act.

The department has published guidance on gender separation in mixed sex schools here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gender-separation-in-mixed-schools. The guidance is clear that if there is separation by sex, this needs to be justified by school leaders in terms of it why it is allowed under the Act.

Where a mixed sex independent school chooses to separate based on sex and this is not permitted under the Act, then it is open to them to divide into two separate single sex schools to regularise their position.

14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposal not to provide university students loans if prospective students have failed GCSE Maths and English, on the ability of young people from low-income households to attend university.

We are currently consulting on the principle of a minimum eligibility requirement (MER) for access to student finance for those intending to study a degree-level qualification.

We strongly believe that access to higher education should be based on a student’s attainment and ability to succeed, not their background. It is important that students, of all backgrounds, are not misdirected or encouraged towards courses that are unlikely to provide high-quality outcomes for them and good value for money.

Evidence shows that students with poorer entry qualifications are less likely to complete their degree and get a ‘good’ classification, and more likely to have worse employment and degree outcomes.

We are carefully considering the impact of the measures we have proposed and are seeking views on what would be a fair and proportionate level at which to set a minimum eligibility requirement, as well as the proposed exemptions. After our proposed exemptions are applied, 1% or fewer of total entrants would be affected by a minimum eligibility requirement set at either GCSE or A level. We will assess responses to the consultation before making the final decision.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will consider expanding the National Skills Fund, to include Level 2 qualifications, in order to help tackle skill shortages in the specialist covered car transport sector.

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

Training offers funded through the National Skills Fund, including the free courses for jobs level 3 offer and Skills Bootcamps, have been developed to boost the supply of skills needed by employers and provide adults with a clear line of sight to a job. This training is delivered primarily at levels 3-5 because the evidence has shown that these skill levels are in high demand in the labour market.

The free courses for jobs offer give eligible adults the chance to access level 3 qualifications for free. Complementing this, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses for adults, primarily at levels 3-5. They are co-designed with employers to respond to skill shortages.

In response to evidence of a national shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers, we are investing £34 million to create up to 11,000 training places for Skills Bootcamps in HGV driving – these courses are at level 2. Since their launch in December, we know that many employers from the transport and logistics sectors are already benefiting from this offer.

Following the announcement at Spending Review of an additional £550 million for Skills Bootcamps over the spending review period, we will continue to expand the offer, ensuring that provision meets the needs of employers and the changing needs of the economy.

In addition, level 2 qualifications are funded through the adult education budget, which overall fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of schools have a mental health counsellor or practitioner available to students.

I refer the hon. Member for St. Albans to the answer I gave on 28 January and 2 February 2022 to questions 111496 and 113691.

4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to authorise school absences of children in risk groups as defined by table 4, the Green Book Chapter 14a, until they have been fully vaccinated and obtained maximum protection.

Regular attendance at school is vital for children’s education, wellbeing and long-term development. School attendance is mandatory and parents have a duty, under section 7 of the Education Act 1996, to ensure that their child of compulsory age receives an efficient full-time education either by attendance at school or otherwise.

Following expert clinical advice and the successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, people previously considered to be particularly vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), and high or higher-risk are no longer advised to shield.

Children and young people previously considered CEV should attend school and should follow the same COVID-19 guidance as the rest of the population. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. If, however, a child or young person has been advised to isolate or reduce their social contact by their specialist, due to the nature of their medical condition or treatment, they should continue to follow the advice of their specialist. The NHS is also now vaccinating the most at risk 5 to 11-year-olds.

Schools are responsible for recording absence in the register using the most appropriate code in line with the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended. As usual, school leaders continue to have discretion to grant leaves of absence in exceptional circumstances. Where a pupil is not attending school for reasons related to COVID-19, we expect the school to offer them immediate access to remote education. Schools must also have regard to the expectations for remote education which are available here: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk/statutory-obligations.

4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will introduce an attendance code to specifically authorise home learning whilst children in risk groups, as defined in table 4 of the Green Book Chapter 14a, are awaiting full covid-19 vaccination.

Regular attendance at school is vital for children’s education, wellbeing and long-term development. School attendance is mandatory and parents have a duty, under section 7 of the Education Act 1996, to ensure that their child of compulsory age receives an efficient full-time education either by attendance at school or otherwise.

Following expert clinical advice and the successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, people previously considered to be particularly vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), and high or higher-risk are no longer advised to shield.

Children and young people previously considered CEV should attend school and should follow the same COVID-19 guidance as the rest of the population. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. If, however, a child or young person has been advised to isolate or reduce their social contact by their specialist, due to the nature of their medical condition or treatment, they should continue to follow the advice of their specialist. The NHS is also now vaccinating the most at risk 5 to 11-year-olds.

Schools are responsible for recording absence in the register using the most appropriate code in line with the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended. As usual, school leaders continue to have discretion to grant leaves of absence in exceptional circumstances. Where a pupil is not attending school for reasons related to COVID-19, we expect the school to offer them immediate access to remote education. Schools must also have regard to the expectations for remote education which are available here: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk/statutory-obligations.

26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what responsibilities nurseries and childcare settings have to inform parents of positive covid-19 cases in those settings.

In the event of a person testing positive for COVID-19, childcare providers and nurseries should consider whether parents of children attending the setting and staff need to be informed of a positive case, taking account of factors such as known vulnerability. Education and childcare providers are best placed to decide how they wish to communicate this information but should not disclose any information that could result in an individual being identified.

Education and childcare providers are not expected to trace contacts of a positive case. NHS Test and Trace are responsible for identifying close contacts. As in any other setting, NHS Test and Trace will work with the individual who has tested positive to identify any close contacts.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January to Question 98444 on Schools: Finance, how many schools have contacted the Educational Skills and Funding Agency on the matter of financial difficulties in each year since 1 April 2017.

The department trusts schools to manage their own budgets. The latest published data shows that financial health has held up well and that most academy trusts and maintained schools are in surplus. At the end of the 2019/20 academic year, 96% of academy trusts were in surplus or broke even compared to 94% the previous year. At the end of 2020/21 financial year, 92% of local authority maintained schools were in cumulative surplus or broke even compared to 88% the previous year.

For academies, the department is the primary regulator. Academy trusts’ Funding Agreements, the Academy Trust Handbook and the Academies Accounts Direction set a clear regulatory framework. The academy trust financial support framework provides trusts, and the public, with greater clarity on the circumstances in which we would offer financial support to financially vulnerable trusts, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-support-for-academy-trusts-in-financial-difficulty/financial-support-for-academy-trusts-in-financial-difficulty. It sets out more information about our expectations and requirements for receiving this support, and the conditions we may apply to ensure any support is managed effectively. As part of this activity, we work with trusts to develop and monitor a plan to return to a sustainable, well-managed position and helping them build their capacity. The department is transparent and publishes annual data on the financial support given academy trusts in financial difficulty, and to trusts supporting schools in financial difficulty. The data for academic years 2018-19 and 2019-20 can be found on GOV.UK, here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academy-trusts-receiving-esfa-financial-support-in-2018-to-2019 and here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1041460/Annex_9_additional_funding.pdf. Data for academic year 2020-21 will be published later this year alongside the 2020-21 Academies Sector Annual Report and Accounts.

The primary responsibility for maintained schools and the management of their finances, including schools in financial difficulty, rests with their local authority. Local authorities are required to publish schemes for financing schools, setting out the financial relationship between them and the schools they maintain. Each scheme will be different and tailored to local authority. The department’s role is to support local authorities in their efforts to strengthen the financial accountability and efficiency of the maintained schools’ sector.

The department also provides a range of information, tools, training, and guidance to help schools and trusts save money on day-to-day costs through the school resource management programme, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/schools-financial-health-and-efficiency.

7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many retired teachers his Department has asked to return to school in order to ease covid-19 pressures; and how many of those teachers are aged (a) 50 to 59, (b) 60 to 69 and (c) over 70.

The department is working to support all schools to remain open for face-to-face education and every ex-teacher that comes forward to help can make a difference to pupils.

The department’s campaign aims to further bolster the many supply staff that are already working in our schools and who have been throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. The call has just begun, agencies are continuing to recruit new candidates for our schools. The department are extremely grateful to all the teachers who are responding to our call to return temporarily to the classroom.

The department does not routinely collect data on supply staff, however, we are in close contact with supply agencies to monitor the interest they receive. The findings of our initial survey of agencies were published on Wednesday 12 January and this showed that at least 585 ex-teachers registered interest (between 20 Dec 2021 and 7 January 2022) in returning to the classroom to support schools.

The department have not asked for any data on the personal characteristics, such as age, of the people who have expressed an interest.

5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the additional funding required by schools to cover the costs of hiring agency workers as a result of teachers self-isolating during the covid-19 outbreak.

School leaders and staff have worked incredibly hard to make sure all pupils have been able to return to school safely. The department is extremely grateful to all the teachers who are responding to our call to return temporarily to the classroom to support schools whilst cases of the Omicron variant continue to rise.

This should be seen in the wider context of funding for schools. The government is delivering the biggest funding boost for schools in a decade which will give every school more money for every child. This financial year, in 2021-22, mainstream school funding for 5 to 16-year-olds increased by 3.5% overall. In financial year 2022-23 it will increase by a further 5.8%, or £300, cash increase in funding per pupil, on average.

This funding boost will rapidly give schools the resources they need to rise to the challenges of COVID-19 response and recovery, increase teacher pay, and meet the cost of the Health and Social Care Levy, while continuing their work to raise attainment and educational outcomes for all children and young people.

Schools 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. Schools will be able to use their existing budgets to help with the costs associated with COVID-19 absences.

The department has re-introduced the COVID-19 workforce fund to provide financial support to eligible schools and colleges for absence costs from 22 November until 18 February. The fund is available to support schools and colleges facing the greatest staffing and funding pressures to continue to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils.

All schools can access a range of school resource management tools to help them get the best value from their resources. Schools in financial difficulty should contact the Educational Skills and Funding Agency or their local authority.

5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to offer teachers any recognition or rewards for their work during the covid-19 outbreak in order to help retain teaching staff.

The COVID-19 outbreak has shone a light on the life-changing role that teachers play in children’s lives. I recognise and am grateful for the extraordinary efforts that school leaders and staff have made to ensure pupils get the best possible education throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

Teacher retention is key to ensuring effective teacher supply and quality, and we are taking action to support teachers to stay in the profession and thrive. Over two-thirds of teachers who started 5 years ago are still teaching today, and of those who started 10 years ago, nearly 3 in 5 are still teaching. However, we recognise that more needs to be done.

The department is creating an entitlement to at least three years of structured training, support and professional development for all new teachers, to bring teaching into line with other prestigious professions such as law, accountancy, and medicine. Underpinning this is the initial teacher training (ITT) Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework. These ensure that new teachers will benefit from at least 3 years of evidence-based training, across ITT and into their induction.

We have also published a range of resources to help address teacher workload and wellbeing and support schools to introduce flexible working practices. These include the staff wellbeing charter and the workload reduction toolkit, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-staff-wellbeing-charter and here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-workload-reduction-toolkit.

This year's remit to the School Teachers’ Review Body reiterates the government's commitment to raising teacher starting salaries to £30,000 and seeks recommendations for pay awards in the 2022/23 and 2023/24 academic year. This will give schools the opportunity to better plan their budgets as we make the uplifts required to progress towards a £30,000 starting salary.

We are looking to deliver this through balanced pay uplifts across the entire workforce, with investment targeted as effectively as possible to address recruitment and retention challenges and, ultimately, ensure the best outcomes for pupils.

Additionally, we will be offering a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 tax-free for maths, physics, chemistry and computing teachers in years 1 to 5 of their careers. This will support recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in these subjects and in the schools and areas that need them most.

4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the School Teachers’ Review Body plans to provide its recommendations on teacher pay rises in 2022.

In the remit letter to the chair of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has requested that the STRB provide their recommendations on the academic years 2022/23 and 2023/24 pay awards during May 2022.

Any pay award will be announced after the Secretary of State has reviewed the STRB’s report. As ever, we will work with colleagues across government to ensure we publish the STRB’s report and the government’s response as quickly as possible.

4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to announce any pay rises for school teaching staff by April 2022 to allow schools to include those rises in their budgeting processes which take place before the summer holidays.

In the remit letter to the chair of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has requested that the STRB provide their recommendations on the academic years 2022/23 and 2023/24 pay awards during May 2022.

Any pay award will be announced after the Secretary of State has reviewed the STRB’s report. As ever, we will work with colleagues across government to ensure we publish the STRB’s report and the government’s response as quickly as possible.

4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that local authorities, Ofsted and safeguarding bodies have the necessary powers to investigate, seize evidence and shut down illegal schools.

It is a criminal offence under section 96 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 to conduct an unregistered independent school. The department and Ofsted continue to investigate any schools, colleges, and universities where intelligence or evidence suggest that this offence is being committed. Section 97 of the act permits no-notice inspections of education providers believed to be operating as an unregistered independent school.

Between 1 January 2016 and 31 August 2021, 850 education providers were investigated leading to 412 inspections. These inspections have led to 114 unregistered schools being identified, and joint work between the department and Ofsted has led to 101 of these schools changing their provision to cease operating unlawfully. In addition, since 2016, 6 successful prosecutions have been brought against groups responsible for operating illegal education providers

The department has previously committed to taking forward measures to make it easier for Ofsted to investigate and gather evidence of breaches of section 96 of the act, and prosecute those responsible for running unregistered schools, including in the 2019 Integrated Communities Action Plan. Such measures are planned to be taken forward when a suitable legislative opportunity arises.

10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of hours spent teaching PE in state funded schools.

Physical education is an important part of a broad and balanced curriculum and should be taught to pupils of all ages. That is why it is the only foundation subject compulsory through all stages of the national curriculum. It is for schools to decide how much time should be dedicated to physical education and the department does not set specific expectations.

The department has invested £1.6 billion in primary PE and sport since 2013 through the PE and Sport Premium, and taken a range of actions with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Health and Social Care to deliver on our School Sport and Activity Action Plan, which we will be updating next year. The department is also working to deliver on the nearly £30 million announced in October towards improving and opening school sport facilities in England, as well as to improve the teaching of physical education at primary school.

12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answers of 2 November 2021 to Questions 62860 and 62861 on Remote Education, whether his Department plans to remove references to specific digital platforms from its Get Help with Remote Education guidance to avoid actively supporting or mandating individual products.

The guidance shares details of the digital platforms programme, which informs a school how to apply for a platform through our partners Microsoft and Google. Schools are also free to consider other providers with chargeable services in this area to deliver specific elements of online education, where they see fit.

The digital platforms programme is closing to new applications on 30 November 2021, after which schools can continue to apply for free licensing of the Microsoft and Google platforms, directly with those companies, or seek alternatives.

12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answers of 2 November 2021 to Questions 62860 and 62861 on Remote Education, whether the Department’s Get Help with Remote Education guidance actively supports the use of (a) Google and (b) Microsoft products over challenger companies.

The guidance shares details of the digital platforms programme, which informs a school how to apply for a platform through our partners Microsoft and Google. Schools are also free to consider other providers with chargeable services in this area to deliver specific elements of online education, where they see fit.

The digital platforms programme is closing to new applications on 30 November 2021, after which schools can continue to apply for free licensing of the Microsoft and Google platforms, directly with those companies, or seek alternatives.

2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on covid transmission in areas where the local Director of Public Health has introduced extra measures in line with the contingency framework, including isolation of under 16s whose siblings have tested positive for covid-19.

The department’s priority is to maximise the number of children and young people in face-to-face education or childcare and minimise any disruption, in a way that best manages the COVID-19 risk.

Whilst the Directors of Public Health have discretion over local public health measures within a national framework, the advice in the contingency framework does not reverse the national policy for self-isolation which changed on 16 August. Unless they test positive, fully vaccinated adults, children and young people aged under 18 years and 6 months are not required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19. The contingency framework provides guidance on the following measures: testing, face coverings, shielding, attendance restrictions as well as educational visits and events.

The department is monitoring measures in regions and continually seeking to improve its understanding of their effectiveness. Current data which is publicly available on case rates is broken down by region. Attendance data for nurseries and schools is also available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing and updating the list of digital platforms that are included in his Department’s Get help with remote education guidance to reflect the Government’s new ambition to create a pro-competition regime for digital markets.

Beyond the need to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the department believes that it is up to educational establishments to decide what technology they need to meet their requirements in relation to their educational contexts and circumstances, and do not actively back or mandate individual products.

More information about digital education platforms can be found here: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/digital-platforms/.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing and updating the list of digital platforms that are included in his Department’s Get help with remote education guidance to include (a) UK companies and (b) challengers to the largest technology companies.

Beyond the need to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the department believes that it is up to educational establishments to decide what technology they need to meet their requirements in relation to their educational contexts and circumstances, and do not actively back or mandate individual products.

More information about digital education platforms can be found here: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/digital-platforms/.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason his Department’s Get help with remote education guidance does not include (a) UK companies and (b) challengers to the largest technology companies.

The department has distributed over 1.35 million laptops and tablets to disadvantaged pupils since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. On 22 October 2021, a further rollout of an additional 500,000 devices was announced. Our published guidance relates to devices delivered to schools as part of this programme and is intended to support users in making best use of devices they have received.

When purchasing devices, the department took account of the needs of schools and other users, availability and the need to achieve value for money. As a result, we provided devices from a range of different manufacturers. This has included large technology companies including Apple, Microsoft, Acer, Lenovo, Samsung, Dell, and HP and Tactus, a leading UK firm.

The department also has also offered, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, support to schools to set digital education platforms offered by Microsoft and Google. Schools have told us that these platforms, which are free to use, meet their needs by offering real time communication and collaboration and education specific tools that can assist teachers, pupils and students to learn remotely. Schools can decide whether to make use of these resources or those provided by other organisations.

19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many tutoring sessions have been delivered by the National Tutoring Programme during the autumn 2021 school term, by region.

In the last academic year, 41 Tuition Partners were engaged in the National Tutoring Programme.

This year, all 41 Tuition Partners have been accredited and on-boarded, while a further 20 are on track to join through the department’s new ‘Open Access’ process.

The department has not yet finalised the data for how many sessions have been delivered during the autumn term. This information will be released after the end of this term.

19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many tutors have been on-boarded by the National Tutoring Programme in (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21.

In the last academic year, 41 Tuition Partners were engaged in the National Tutoring Programme.

This year, all 41 Tuition Partners have been accredited and on-boarded, while a further 20 are on track to join through the department’s new ‘Open Access’ process.

The department has not yet finalised the data for how many sessions have been delivered during the autumn term. This information will be released after the end of this term.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of teachers leaving the profession in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of teachers who have retired and the number who have left the profession in each of the last five years is published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england/2020.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of teachers who have retired in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of teachers who have retired and the number who have left the profession in each of the last five years is published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england/2020.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much and what proportion of school covid-19 catch-up funding has been spent by region to date.

All payments from the £650 million catch up premium were allocated during the 2020/21 academic year. The COVID-19 catch up premium allocation guidance provides data on the funding provided at school and local authority level: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium-provisional-allocations.

The catch up premium conditions of grant, which can be found on the page linked above, permit schools to carry any unspent funding forward to future years. There is no mechanism to confirm what amount has been spent by each school to date at a regional level from the allocations provided. Schools are held to account for their use of catch up premium as per their other forms of funding. The catch up premium guidance states that governors and trustees should scrutinise schools use of the catch-up premium and that Ofsted may discuss plans schools have to use the funding as part of their inspections. This can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/catch-up-premium-coronavirus-covid-19.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what safeguards have been put in place to ensure the data held by ClassDojo is not shared with the third-party service providers with which it works.

The department provides guidance to support schools with data protection activity via the General Data Protection Regulation toolkit for schools. The toolkit is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-protection-toolkit-for-schools. Schools are data controllers and are ultimately responsible for their own data protection procedures and compliance with legislation.

It is a school’s individual responsibility to assess the digital resources it uses from a data protection and privacy perspective. Further information on GDPR compliance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what safeguards have been put in place to ensure the data held by ClassDojo complies with UK data protection and privacy law.

The department provides guidance to support schools with data protection activity via the General Data Protection Regulation toolkit for schools. The toolkit is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-protection-toolkit-for-schools. Schools are data controllers and are ultimately responsible for their own data protection procedures and compliance with legislation.

It is a school’s individual responsibility to assess the digital resources it uses from a data protection and privacy perspective. Further information on GDPR compliance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the privacy of children’s data held on US-based application, ClassDojo, that is in use in UK schools.

The department provides guidance to support schools with data protection activity via the General Data Protection Regulation toolkit for schools. The toolkit is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-protection-toolkit-for-schools. Schools are data controllers and are ultimately responsible for their own data protection procedures and compliance with legislation.

It is a school’s individual responsibility to assess the digital resources it uses from a data protection and privacy perspective. Further information on GDPR compliance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation.

13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on recording absence from school as authorised in the event that eligible children are required to isolate following a covid-19 vaccination.

Children aged 12 to 15 in England will now be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, following advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers. Vaccinating children should help to reduce the need for pupils to have time off school and reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 within schools.

When a child is not well enough to not attend their school or college, as usual this may be recorded as authorised absence due to illness.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of classrooms had ventilation equipment in place on the first day of the autumn term 2021.

Health and safety law states that employers, including schools, colleges, and nurseries, must make sure that there is an adequate supply of fresh air in enclosed areas of the workplace. This has not changed during the COVID-19 outbreak. This can be provided by natural means, mechanical ventilation, or a combination of both. Most schools, colleges, and nurseries are likely to have adequate ventilation already, including those that were built or refurbished using 'Building Bulletin 101: Guidelines on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality in schools'.

From 6 September, the Department for Education started to dispatch CO2 monitors to schools, colleges, and nurseries. The monitors will allow schools, colleges, and nurseries to assess how well ventilated spaces are and to encourage them to take action to improve ventilation where necessary. The Department has committed to supplying around 300,000 CO2 monitors to schools, colleges, and nurseries across England in the autumn term.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy that pregnant teachers can choose to be medically suspended at 28 weeks gestation to protect them from potential harm while covid-19 is a significant workplace risk.

There is a long standing requirement for employers to put in place measures to ensure workplace safety where a significant health and safety risk is identified for a new or expectant mother. Pregnant staff and their employers should follow the advice set out in our operational guidance, and in the Department of Health and Social Care and the Health and Safety Executive COVID-19 advice for pregnant employees.

The COVID-19 advice for pregnant employees provides recommendations for pregnant women beyond 28 weeks and those who have underlying health conditions that may place them at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19, where a more precautionary approach is recommended.

If employers cannot put the necessary control measures in place, such as workplace adjustments or working from home, they should suspend the pregnant worker on paid leave. This is in line with normal requirements under regulation 16(3) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The Department would expect employers to manage this at a local level.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of germicidal ultraviolet air disinfection on tackling the spread of covid-19 in schools and other educational settings.

A trial of air cleaning devices in 30 schools in Bradford has recently been launched. It includes upper room ultraviolet and high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) devices to help understand their effectiveness. The Department for Education will monitor the outcomes from the trial.

Additionally, the Department has announced that CO2 monitors will be provided this term to state-funded nurseries, schools and colleges, backed by £25 million in government funding.

The new monitors will enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping classrooms warm.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to review and update the list of digital platforms that are included in his Department’s Constituency framework: education and childcare setting (excluding universities) guidance.

The updated Contingency Framework sets out the expectation that schools and colleges should offer remote education to any pupils unable to attend in person. It does not refer to specific platforms but does signpost the Department’s ‘Get help with remote education’ service which provides information, guidance and support on setting up remote education.

This includes the Department’s continued work with Google and Microsoft providers to deliver the Digital Education Platforms programme. The programme provides Government funded support for schools and colleges to get set up on one of two free to use digital platforms, which includes G Suite for Education (Google Classroom), and Office 365 Education (Microsoft Teams). The Microsoft and Google platforms were chosen as they are free to use to the education sector and had the unified technology and support to set up and deliver effective remote education provision.

The funding covers the technical set up of the platform including all staff and pupil accounts.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what framework he used to determine which digital platforms are included in his Department’s Constituency framework: education and childcare setting (excluding universities) guidance.

The updated Contingency Framework sets out the expectation that schools and colleges should offer remote education to any pupils unable to attend in person. It does not refer to specific platforms but does signpost the Department’s ‘Get help with remote education’ service which provides information, guidance and support on setting up remote education.

This includes the Department’s continued work with Google and Microsoft providers to deliver the Digital Education Platforms programme. The programme provides Government funded support for schools and colleges to get set up on one of two free to use digital platforms, which includes G Suite for Education (Google Classroom), and Office 365 Education (Microsoft Teams). The Microsoft and Google platforms were chosen as they are free to use to the education sector and had the unified technology and support to set up and deliver effective remote education provision.

The funding covers the technical set up of the platform including all staff and pupil accounts.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing students to study British Sign Language as a language option in Key Stage 3.

The Government has recognised British Sign Language (BSL) as a language since 2003. BSL is not a compulsory part of the National Curriculum, although schools are free to offer BSL as part of their wider school curriculum or as part of a varied programme of extra-curricular activities. Some schools may also offer accredited BSL qualifications to support pupils' achievements in the language. ​

The Department is aiming to introduce a GCSE in BSL as soon as possible, provided it meets the rigorous requirements that apply to all GCSEs. Officials are currently working closely with subject experts and Ofqual to develop draft subject content. The Department plans to consult publicly in due course. Officials are also engaging with Ofqual to ensure the subject content can be assessed appropriately and will be working with stakeholders to ensure that a wide range of views is reflected.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many supply teachers have taken maintained schools to Employment Tribunal for breach of Agency Workers Regulations in each of the last five years.

The requested information is not held by the Department. The Department does not have an employer-employee relationship with the school workforce and does not collect information on employment tribunal cases.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are responsible for the Agency Worker Regulations. An individual claiming an employer is in breach of those regulations may take their employer to an employment tribunal.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what catch-up funding will be made available to students in further education institutions beyond the 16 to 19 tuition fund.

On 24 February 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a further investment of £102 million to extend the 16 to 19 tuition fund into the 2021/22 academic year. On 2 June 2021 we announced a further £222 million to extend the 16 to 19 tuition fund for an additional two years until the 2023/24 academic year.

The fund will have a continued focus on targeting additional tuition at young people who need the most support. Eligibility for the 16 to 19 tuition fund in the 2021/22 academic year is being broadened to include economic disadvantage, in addition to low prior attainment. Including these students allows providers to offer tuition to all disadvantaged students who have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, while still maintaining focus on low prior attainment.

To ensure that those with the least time left have the opportunity to progress, the government is also giving providers of 16 to 19 education the option to offer students in year 13, or equivalent, the opportunity to repeat up to one more year if they have been particularly severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. While we expect most students will continue to progress to a suitable destination (such as higher education or into employment), this option will ensure that those who have been most severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak have sufficient options to complete their education.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Government will make sharia-compliant Takaful finance available for student loans.

The government has been considering Alternative Student Finance carefully, alongside its other priorities, as it concludes the Post-18 Review of Education and Funding and responds to the detailed recommendations of the independent panel chaired by Sir Philip Augar.

We will provide an update on this matter when we conclude the Post-18 Review.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what provision the Government is making for specialist post-16 institutions to access the Post-16 Capacity Fund.

£83 million was announced in the Spending Review for 2021-22 to ensure that post-16 providers can accommodate the upcoming demographic increase in 16 to 19-year-olds from 2022 and 2023. On 18 May, we launched a bidding round to which eligible providers could bid for funding. Providers eligible to bid for this funding were 16–19 academies, 16–19 free schools (inclusive of university technical colleges and maths schools), sixth form colleges and further education colleges. The bidding round closed on 21 June. Specialist post-16 institutions were not eligible to bid.

We are investing £300 million in 2021-22 via High Needs Provision Capital Allocations to support local authorities to deliver new school places and improve existing provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities, almost four times the amount provided to local authorities in 2020-21. It is for local authorities to determine how to best use this funding to address their local priorities, and in doing so they can work with any appropriate institution in their area, including specialist post-16 institutions.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to provide SEND pupils with (a) respite, (b) social opportunities and (c) family support over the 2021 summer holiday.

Respite care services (also known as ‘short breaks’) for disabled children are provided on the basis of an individual assessment of each child and family’s needs. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have ensured that respite care services for disabled children and their families have been allowed to continue to operate. This applies to services which care for children in and away from home.

To support local areas, the government has given over £6 billion in un-ringfenced funding directly to councils to support them with the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including children’s services.

In addition to statutory services, we are providing £27.3 million to the Family Fund in the 2021-22 financial year to support over 60,000 families on low incomes raising children and young people with disabilities or serious illnesses. Grants can be used for a range of purposes, including family breaks.

We are also providing £200 million for all secondary schools, including specialist settings, to deliver face-to-face summer schools. Schools are being encouraged to target provision at pupils who are most likely to benefit from increased support, which may include disabled children and those with special educational needs.

This is alongside wider support funded through our Holiday Activities and Food Programme across the country which provides healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children. This has been expanded to every local authority across England this year – backed by up to £220 million. It builds on previous programmes, including last summer’s, which supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities. Our guidance is clear that the provision should be inclusive and accessible.

16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to support SEND pupils with (a) educational skills catch-up and (b) health and wellbeing needs due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is a priority for this government. We are committed to helping all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in all education settings, make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since June 2020, we have announced more than £3 billion of additional funding to support education recovery in schools, colleges and early years settings – this will have a material impact in closing gaps that have emerged. Schools will continue to be able to access a package of support from September 2021. The package provides support to children aged 2-19 in schools, 16-19 providers and early years. It expands our reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear that our investment will have significant impact: high quality tutoring targeted at those that need it most and high-quality training for teachers. The one-off Recovery Premium for state-funded schools for 2021/22 will further help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a boost to academic and pastoral support. This is in addition to the £650 million catch-up premium shared across state-funded schools over the 2020/21 academic year, to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place. While education settings cannot provide specialist clinical care, the support schools and colleges are providing to their pupils following the return to face-to-face education should include time devoted to supporting mental health and wellbeing, which will play a fundamental part in supporting recovery.

We have consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts both in the Catch-up Premium this academic year and the Recovery Premium for the next academic year, in recognition of the significantly higher per pupil costs they face. In addition, special schools will receive additional funding to ensure these settings can provide 1:1 tutoring for their pupils. Children will further benefit from additional funding to ensure that teachers in schools and early years settings are able to access high quality training and professional development. We know that high quality teaching is the best way to support all students, including those with SEND.

We are working with education settings, the relevant Royal Colleges and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to ensure that health and wellbeing issues for SEND pupils are prioritised. DHSC have identified provision for children and young people with SEND in their NHS recovery planning. The COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan, published in March 2021, references various areas of support. £31 million will be used to address particular challenges faced by individuals, including £3 million for community respite services.

The Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food programme, which provides healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children, has been expanded to every local authority across England this year – backed by up to £220 million. Our guidance is clear that the provision should be inclusive and accessible. We will continue to support local authorities to deliver services that meet the needs of children and young people with SEND. Education, health and care plan quality and timeliness is something we have been monitoring through the COVID-19 outbreak and continue to do so, and we provided £40.8 million for the Family Fund in 2020-21 to support over 90,000 families on low incomes raising children with disabilities or serious illnesses. This included £13.5 million to specifically respond to needs arising from the COVID-19 outbreak.

16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to support specialist post-16 institutions to access the Condition Improvement Fund.

The Department allocates condition funding each year to schools and those responsible for school buildings to maintain and improve the condition of their estates. We have allocated £11.3 billion in condition funding since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed in the financial year 2021/22.

Schools and other eligible institutions access funding through different routes depending on their size and type. The per pupil amount of funding available is calculated using the same funding formula.

Local authorities, larger multi-academy trusts and large voluntary-aided (VA) school bodies receive an annual School Condition Allocation (SCA) to invest in capital maintenance and upgrades across the schools for which they are responsible.

Smaller multi-academy, or stand-alone trusts, VA schools not part of large VA school bodies, and sixth form colleges are instead able to bid to the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) each year.

Special post-16 institutions (SPIs), with students funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, are eligible for condition funding, which they access through an annual SCA, rather than bidding to the CIF.

All schools, including eligible SPIs, also receive funding to spend on their capital priorities through an annual Devolved Formula Capital allocation.

Capital allocations are published on GOV.UK.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his timeframe is for making changes to the safeguarding framework in response to the Review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges published by Ofsted on 10 June 2021.

Amended statutory guidance for schools in respect of safeguarding titled ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) was published on 6 July 2021, alongside revised departmental advice on sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in school: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/999348/Keeping_children_safe_in_education_2021.pdf.

The guidance has been strengthened and updated following the consultation on proposed changes to KCSIE and the departmental advice, as well as findings from the Ofsted review into sexual abuse in schools and colleges. We will continue to consider what further changes are needed for KCSIE 2022, following a further consultation later this year.

The statutory guidance for inter-agency working titled ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ received a technical update in December 2020. We are currently assessing what changes may be needed following the publication of the Ofsted review. Working Together guidance will also need to be consulted upon and we will provide a date for this in due course.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to amend the safeguarding framework in response to the Review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges published by Ofsted on 10 June 2021.

Amended statutory guidance for schools in respect of safeguarding titled ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) was published on 6 July 2021, alongside revised departmental advice on sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in school: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/999348/Keeping_children_safe_in_education_2021.pdf.

The guidance has been strengthened and updated following the consultation on proposed changes to KCSIE and the departmental advice, as well as findings from the Ofsted review into sexual abuse in schools and colleges. We will continue to consider what further changes are needed for KCSIE 2022, following a further consultation later this year.

The statutory guidance for inter-agency working titled ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ received a technical update in December 2020. We are currently assessing what changes may be needed following the publication of the Ofsted review. Working Together guidance will also need to be consulted upon and we will provide a date for this in due course.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much and what proportion of the funding for subsidised tuition under the National Tutoring Programme has been taken up by schools.

In summer 2020, the Department announced a £1 billion catch-up package to help tackle the effect of lost teaching time as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including a £350 million National Tutoring Programme (NTP) for disadvantaged pupils.

The NTP for 5 to 16 year olds has two pillars:

  • Schools can access high quality, subsidised tuition support from approved Tuition Partners.
  • Schools in the most disadvantaged areas have been supported to employ in-house Academic Mentors to provide tuition to their pupils.

Schools have not directly received funding to access the NTP. Through approved Tuition Partners, they will have access to high quality tuition, with the cost to schools subsidised by 75%. The core salary for Academic Mentors employed through the NTP will also be covered by the Department (£19,000 pro-rata). Schools are free to use additional catch-up funding to pay the remaining cost of both NTP Partners and Academic Mentors should they wish to do so.

Since the launch of the programme in November 2020, over 240,000 pupils have been enrolled to receive tutoring across over 5,000 schools. Of those enrolled, over 195,000 have already commenced tutoring.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that students who are entitled to free school meals and are transitioning from secondary school to further education continue to receive that provision during the summer 2021 holidays.

Schools provide free school meals for eligible pupils during term time. Beyond that, billions of pounds of welfare assistance is in place to support families, young people and children.

The COVID Local Support Grant, established by the Department for Work and Pensions and operated through local authorities in England, is there to support the hardest hit families and individuals with food and essential utility costs. This grant has been extended for a final time, with a further investment of £160 million, to cover the period up to 30 September 2021.

This grant is further to the £269 million invested since the scheme (previously known as the COVID Winter Grant Scheme) launched in December 2020.

The funding remains ring-fenced, with at least 80% targeted to assist with food and bills, and at least 80% for families with children. Local authorities have discretion to decide how to allocate government funding in their areas, recognising that they are best placed to understand local needs.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many tutors within the National Tutoring Programme are based outside of the UK.

The Department has recently laid out quality and accreditation standards for tutoring providers to be accredited in delivering tutoring through the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). We will be publishing the quality and accreditation standard as part of the launch of open access, where tutoring organisations will then be able to apply to be accredited. The Department is still finalising the website, and this will be released in due course.

There are currently over 26,000 tutors supporting over 186,000 pupils across England access tutoring provision.

The Department does not hold data on how many tutors we have outside the UK. Ensuring that tutors are suitably qualified, knowledgeable, and trained is key to the delivery of high quality tuition, and it is the responsibility of individual tuition partners to set their own suitability and eligibility criteria for tutors working on the NTP. There is an expectation that stringent suitability criteria are in place across all tuition partners which not only appropriately reflects the provision offered but also meets schools’ expectations.

The Department sets high standards for the NTP. Tuition partners must follow all applicable laws and regulations, pay their tutors fairly, and make sure high minimum standards of tutor qualifications are in place. Ongoing monitoring of all organisations involved in the programme is in place to make sure tutoring is of high quality.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's recent announcement that Randstad will be the new supplier of the National Tutoring Programme from September 2021, if he will publish the guidance his Department has provided to Randstad on tutoring partner quality standards and accreditation standards.

The Department has recently laid out quality and accreditation standards for tutoring providers to be accredited in delivering tutoring through the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). We will be publishing the quality and accreditation standard as part of the launch of open access, where tutoring organisations will then be able to apply to be accredited. The Department is still finalising the website, and this will be released in due course.

There are currently over 26,000 tutors supporting over 186,000 pupils across England access tutoring provision.

The Department does not hold data on how many tutors we have outside the UK. Ensuring that tutors are suitably qualified, knowledgeable, and trained is key to the delivery of high quality tuition, and it is the responsibility of individual tuition partners to set their own suitability and eligibility criteria for tutors working on the NTP. There is an expectation that stringent suitability criteria are in place across all tuition partners which not only appropriately reflects the provision offered but also meets schools’ expectations.

The Department sets high standards for the NTP. Tuition partners must follow all applicable laws and regulations, pay their tutors fairly, and make sure high minimum standards of tutor qualifications are in place. Ongoing monitoring of all organisations involved in the programme is in place to make sure tutoring is of high quality.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of qualified supply teachers currently not working in the education sector.

The requested information is not available.

The Department collects details of teachers working in state funded schools in England through the annual School Workforce Census. The census does identify those teachers who are employed via a service agreement, but not whether they are a supply teacher.

Teachers not currently working in state funded schools in England are not specifically identified as supply teachers. A teacher who has left a state funded school having been a supply teacher may subsequently return to employment as a permanent contracted teacher, and vice versa.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with universities on the resumption of face-to-face lectures in September 2021.

We have regularly discussed a range of COVID-19 related issues with representatives from the higher education (HE) sector, through the Higher Education Taskforce, which was established in August 2020, and through meetings with representatives of the HE sector, including University Vice Chancellors, the National Union of Students, the Union for Colleges and Universities and the devolved administrations. This has included discussions on the approach to planning for the new academic year in September 2021.

From step 4 of the roadmap, we can confirm there will no longer be restrictions on the approach to teaching and learning in HE settings as a result of COVID-19. There will be no requirement for social distancing or other measures. Providers are, therefore, able to shape their courses without restrictions to face-to-face provision.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, many providers have developed their digital offering and, as autonomous institutions, some might choose to retain elements of this approach. However, they will not have to do this because of COVID-19 restrictions, and our expectations are very clear: universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and ensure it is accessible to all students.

We expect providers to have contingency plans to deal with any identified positive cases of COVID-19 or outbreaks. HE providers should communicate clearly to their students what they can expect from planned teaching and learning under different circumstances and scenarios, so that they are able to make informed choices.

The Office for Students, as the regulator for English HE providers, has made it clear that they must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected.

We have updated our HE guidance to support the return of students for the new academic year, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

We will continue to keep these measures under review, informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government's announcement that the pupil premium will be calculated based on eligible pupils recorded by schools in October 2020, when his Department plans to publish the new pupil premium rates for each local education authority in England.

On 24 June 2021, the Department published the annual pupil premium allocations, which shows how much pupil premium funding each school and local authority will receive in the 2021/22 financial year. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2021-to-2022.

Total pupil premium funding is increasing to more than £2.5 billion in 2021/22 financial year, up by £60 million from the previous financial year. This reflects an increase in funding in approximately two thirds of schools, as more children have become eligible for free school meals (FSM). The increase is spread across the country, with pupil premium funding increasing in 87% of local authorities. For comparison, 77% of local authorities saw an increase in their total pupil premium funding last year.

The pupil premium rates for the 2021/22 financial year will be the same as in the 2020/21 financial year:

  1. £1,345 per head for the number of primary aged pupils recorded as claiming free school meals at any point in the last six years (“Ever6-FSM”)
  2. £955 per head for the number of eligible secondary-aged pupils (Ever6-FSM)
  3. £2,345 per head for ‘Pupil Premium Plus’, which supports the needs of Looked After children (paid to local authorities) and those who left care in England and Wales through adoption or other court orders (paid to schools).

For mainstream and special schools, the Department has based pupil premium funding for the 2021/22 financial year on the October 2020 census data, instead of using the January census. Alongside the annual pupil premium publication, we have also published the financial impact of moving to using the October census which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pupil-premium-effective-use-and-accountability.

The move to using the October census brings the pupil premium in line with how the rest of the core schools’ budget is calculated. The change also provides earlier clarity for schools on their allocations. From next year, the annual pupil premium allocations will be published in March.

The effect of the census change should not be viewed in isolation. We are investing in an ambitious education recovery programme worth £3 billion. This includes £302 million for the Recovery Premium, to further support disadvantaged pupils with their attainment. This is on top of the £14 billion additional school funding we are providing over three years. The additional funding schools will receive through the Recovery Premium alone will far exceed the financial effect of the census change.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 179576 on Department for Education: Data Protection, on what date he plans to publish an update on the Information Commissioner's Office’s audit on his Department.

The Department published its formal response in January 2021 in the House Library, paper reference DEP2021-0072. This contained an undertaking to publish an update in June.

A further update to the original publication detailing progress and the recommendations that have been successfully met will now be placed in the Libraries of both Houses on or before 22 July 2021.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the finding of Ofsted's report on sexual abuse in schools and colleges published 10 June 2021, that LGBT+ children and young people reported a big gap between staff’s knowledge of incidents and their daily experience of harmful sexual behaviour, what steps he is taking to close that gap; and what support is being provided to LGBTQ+ young people experiencing that harmful behaviour.

The government’s guidance to schools is clear that, whilst anyone can be a victim of abuse, schools and colleges should recognise that some groups of children, including LGBTQ+, are potentially more at risk than others from child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment. Therefore, when we developed the relationships, sex, and health education (RSHE) curriculum, we worked with a wide range of stakeholders and representative groups. We made sure that care and attention were taken when developing the support and guidance for LGBTQ+ pupils and their teachers. The RSHE curriculum teaches pupils how to recognise and report abuse, including emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Pupils are taught how to report concerns and seek advice when they suspect or know that something is wrong.

Part 1 of the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ guidance provides advice on peer-on-peer abuse, including the indicators and signs to look for, how to identify it, and how to respond to reports. Part 5 of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ provides detailed guidance on managing reports of child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment. The Department for Education’s ‘Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Between Children’ advice includes more detailed information on what sexual violence and sexual harassment look like, important context, legal duties, and advice on a whole-school approach to preventing abuse.

We have asked schools to dedicate time from INSET days to focus on training and preparations for delivering the RSHE curriculum and safeguarding. We are also extending our designated safeguarding lead support and supervision programme, with a specific focus on sexual harassment and abuse, and will share the learning from that work with all schools. We have also set up a specific National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children ‘Reporting Abuse in Education’ helpline to offer advice and make referrals when necessary. The number is 0800 136 663.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students with registered neurodiverse conditions there are in higher or further education.

This government believes it is important that all students, including those with neurodiverse conditions and/or disabilities receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study, and is committed to ensuring that all students receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

We do not hold information on whether a further education and skills learner has a registered neurodiverse condition. Adult (19+) further education and skills learner participation (which includes apprenticeships) in the 2019/20 academic year by primary learning difficulty and/or disability and/or health problem as self-declared by the learner can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/a87f0184-c377-46df-b8d7-8c73d7aca865.

This government expects all higher education (HE) providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all students, including students with neurodiverse conditions, and disabled higher education students, not just those in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

In terms of funding, DSA is available in addition to the standard support package to help students with the additional costs they may face in HE because of their disability, including long-term health conditions, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

DSA is not means tested and does not have to be repaid. It is available to full-time and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, alongside support available from HE providers, and in line with the recommendations of the student’s DSA Needs Assessment. There is no list of approved disabilities; to receive DSA, any student must be eligible for the main support package and disabled in line with the definition contained in the Equality Act 2010.

Disabled students and students with neurodiverse conditions should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices and individual reasonable adjustments made by their HE providers. DSA is available in addition to these for the provision of more specialist support (for example, British Sign Language interpretation).

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional funding is available to students in further or higher education with neurodiverse conditions.

This government believes it is important that all students, including those with neurodiverse conditions and/or disabilities receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study, and is committed to ensuring that all students receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

We do not hold information on whether a further education and skills learner has a registered neurodiverse condition. Adult (19+) further education and skills learner participation (which includes apprenticeships) in the 2019/20 academic year by primary learning difficulty and/or disability and/or health problem as self-declared by the learner can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/a87f0184-c377-46df-b8d7-8c73d7aca865.

This government expects all higher education (HE) providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all students, including students with neurodiverse conditions, and disabled higher education students, not just those in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

In terms of funding, DSA is available in addition to the standard support package to help students with the additional costs they may face in HE because of their disability, including long-term health conditions, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

DSA is not means tested and does not have to be repaid. It is available to full-time and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, alongside support available from HE providers, and in line with the recommendations of the student’s DSA Needs Assessment. There is no list of approved disabilities; to receive DSA, any student must be eligible for the main support package and disabled in line with the definition contained in the Equality Act 2010.

Disabled students and students with neurodiverse conditions should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices and individual reasonable adjustments made by their HE providers. DSA is available in addition to these for the provision of more specialist support (for example, British Sign Language interpretation).

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what provisions are in place to ensure that neurodiverse students are able to access all aspects of further and higher education courses, including work experience.

This government believes it is important that all students, including those with neurodiverse conditions and/or disabilities receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study, and is committed to ensuring that all students receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

We do not hold information on whether a further education and skills learner has a registered neurodiverse condition. Adult (19+) further education and skills learner participation (which includes apprenticeships) in the 2019/20 academic year by primary learning difficulty and/or disability and/or health problem as self-declared by the learner can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/a87f0184-c377-46df-b8d7-8c73d7aca865.

This government expects all higher education (HE) providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all students, including students with neurodiverse conditions, and disabled higher education students, not just those in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

In terms of funding, DSA is available in addition to the standard support package to help students with the additional costs they may face in HE because of their disability, including long-term health conditions, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

DSA is not means tested and does not have to be repaid. It is available to full-time and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, alongside support available from HE providers, and in line with the recommendations of the student’s DSA Needs Assessment. There is no list of approved disabilities; to receive DSA, any student must be eligible for the main support package and disabled in line with the definition contained in the Equality Act 2010.

Disabled students and students with neurodiverse conditions should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices and individual reasonable adjustments made by their HE providers. DSA is available in addition to these for the provision of more specialist support (for example, British Sign Language interpretation).

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve the experience of further and higher education for neurodiverse people.

This government believes it is important that all students, including those with neurodiverse conditions and/or disabilities receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study, and is committed to ensuring that all students receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

We do not hold information on whether a further education and skills learner has a registered neurodiverse condition. Adult (19+) further education and skills learner participation (which includes apprenticeships) in the 2019/20 academic year by primary learning difficulty and/or disability and/or health problem as self-declared by the learner can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/a87f0184-c377-46df-b8d7-8c73d7aca865.

This government expects all higher education (HE) providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all students, including students with neurodiverse conditions, and disabled higher education students, not just those in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

In terms of funding, DSA is available in addition to the standard support package to help students with the additional costs they may face in HE because of their disability, including long-term health conditions, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

DSA is not means tested and does not have to be repaid. It is available to full-time and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, alongside support available from HE providers, and in line with the recommendations of the student’s DSA Needs Assessment. There is no list of approved disabilities; to receive DSA, any student must be eligible for the main support package and disabled in line with the definition contained in the Equality Act 2010.

Disabled students and students with neurodiverse conditions should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices and individual reasonable adjustments made by their HE providers. DSA is available in addition to these for the provision of more specialist support (for example, British Sign Language interpretation).

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that there is sufficient hotel quarantine accommodation for students arriving from countries on the covid-19 travel red list.

International students are a vital and valued part of our higher education sector. I speak regularly with my counterparts across the government about how various COVID-19 policies may affect students, with a view to minimising burdens for students while maintaining public health. I remain in close contact with Department for Health and Social Care Ministers responsible for the Managed Quarantine Service.

Quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel is a necessary measure taken in order to stop the spread of potentially harmful variants of COVID-19 into the UK. International students on the ‘red list’ are still able to enter the UK if they have been in or transited through a 'red list’ country in the last 10 days, but they are required to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel on arrival for ten days as set out in the guidance.

The government recently published an update to the International Education Strategy, stressing the UK’s commitment to international students. The strategy contains a number of specific commitments to improve the international student journey, prioritising international student experience.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will require exam boards to publish details of the costs they have incurred in the assessment of pupils in summer 2021; and how that amount compares to the amount which has been billed to schools.

The Department has encouraged examination boards to set their fees appropriately based on the costs involved with alternative arrangements in 2021. The Department worked at pace with Ofqual to provide clarity to examination boards, and the wider sector, on how alternative arrangements to examinations in 2021 would work.

Examination boards are responsible for setting their examination fees. Although examinations did not take place this summer, examination boards are incurring a range of costs as part of their processes that will lead to the awarding of qualifications. Examination boards need to cover these costs, and they will make commercial decisions on fees and refunds on that basis.

Examination boards have stated that they do not intend to profit from any reduction in their costs this year. Statements from individual examination boards can be accessed on their websites. Given the unusual circumstances this year, it is not possible for them to have certainty about their 2021 costs in advance. It is for individual examination boards to publish any details on costings and rebate arrangements.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with exam boards on the appropriate level of rebate which schools and colleges should receive in light of changes to assessments in summer 2021.

The Department has encouraged examination boards to set their fees appropriately based on the costs involved with alternative arrangements in 2021. The Department worked at pace with Ofqual to provide clarity to examination boards, and the wider sector, on how alternative arrangements to examinations in 2021 would work.

Examination boards are responsible for setting their examination fees. Although examinations did not take place this summer, examination boards are incurring a range of costs as part of their processes that will lead to the awarding of qualifications. Examination boards need to cover these costs, and they will make commercial decisions on fees and refunds on that basis.

Examination boards have stated that they do not intend to profit from any reduction in their costs this year. Statements from individual examination boards can be accessed on their websites. Given the unusual circumstances this year, it is not possible for them to have certainty about their 2021 costs in advance. It is for individual examination boards to publish any details on costings and rebate arrangements.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of requiring students to wear face coverings in schools following the increase in cases of the covid-19 variant originating in India.

When a variant of COVID-19 is classed as a variant of concern, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) will increase targeted testing in that area to help suppress and control any possible new cases and better understand the new variants.

The reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students or staff, may be advised for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks, including variants of concern. In all cases, any educational drawbacks should be balanced with the benefits of managing transmission.

In Enhanced Response Areas, Directors of Public Health have discretion to recommend supervised in-school testing, or that secondary schools reintroduce face coverings in indoor communal areas including classrooms, subject to an assessment of the educational impact against public health benefit.

The Strengthened Support Packages are now the process for escalating any education-based interventions. NHS Test and Trace has set up Regional Partnership Teams (RPTs) made up of Public Health England (PHE) Regional Directors; Contain Regional Convenors; and Joint Biosecurity Centre Regional Leads to support local areas in managing outbreaks. Local Authorities or Directors of Public Health who are concerned about the impact of variants of concern on nurseries, schools and colleges should first and foremost engage with their RPTs. We continue to work closely with other government departments throughout the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including PHE and DHSC, as well as stakeholders across the sector.

Our policy on the system of controls is kept under review and based on the latest scientific and medical advice including in the context of prevalence, new variants and progress of the vaccination programme. We will continue to develop comprehensive guidance and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils, students and parents.

17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many respondents to the Office for Students consultation on recurrent funding for 2021-22 (a) supported and (b) opposed the removal of London weighting from the student premium allocations.

We have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for the 2021-22 financial year. These reforms include the re-allocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology, mathematics and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs, as well as the removal of the London Weighting element of the Strategic Priorities Grant.

The OfS has publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on allocations are made.

The OfS is analysing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many respondents to the Office for Students consultation on recurrent funding for 2021-22 (a) supported and (b) opposed the withdrawal of the targeted allocation for students attending courses in London.

We have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for the 2021-22 financial year. These reforms include the re-allocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology, mathematics and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs, as well as the removal of the London Weighting element of the Strategic Priorities Grant.

The OfS has publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on allocations are made.

The OfS is analysing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many respondents to the Office for Students consultation on recurrent funding for 2021-22 (a) supported and (b) opposed the reduction by half to the rate of high-cost subject funding for courses in (i) performing and creative arts, (ii) media studies and (iii) archaeology.

We have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for the 2021-22 financial year. These reforms include the re-allocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology, mathematics and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs, as well as the removal of the London Weighting element of the Strategic Priorities Grant.

The OfS has publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on allocations are made.

The OfS is analysing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy that (a) international students at UK universities and (b) foreign language students on placements abroad will not have to pay for the cost of covid-19 hotel quarantine on entering the UK.

Hotel quarantine is in place to prevent the spread of potentially harmful COVID-19 variants in the UK. There is a need to have strict rules in place to prevent the vaccine effort from being undermined. As is the case for any international arrival, the costs of quarantine are borne by the traveller, and the costs are the same for any individual arriving in the UK from (or via) a red list country.

However, the department’s officials have worked closely with the higher education (HE) sector and colleagues across the government to ensure that UK residents who are facing significant financial hardship (including international students, due to their visa status) will have the opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking their managed quarantine hotel room. Travellers who are eligible will be referred to a government debt collection agency (“Qualco”), who will perform an independent financial assessment and determine an appropriate payment plan. Information on the deferred repayment plan can be found on GOV.UK.

In addition, students experiencing financial hardship should speak to their HE provider about the support available. The government has made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers in the 2020/21 academic year. This is in addition to the £256 million of government-funded student premium funding already available to HE providers to draw on for the 2021/21 academic year. This support can be used to help all students, including postgraduates and international students, who can be confident in expressing concerns about hardship to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.


Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional resources will be provided to schools and colleges to allow teachers the capacity during the summer 2021 term to carry out the assessments and quality assurance necessary for students to receive grades in GCSEs, A-Levels and vocational qualifications.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional training his Department has offered to teachers on (a) assessing and (b) moderating (i) GCSE and (ii) A-Level exam papers in the 2020-21 academic year.

The Joint Council for Qualifications has published clear guidance for centres to support them to determine teacher assessed grades. The guidance provides detailed information to schools and colleges on the grading process and the different factors that need to be accounted for. Teachers have the flexibility to use a range of evidence to determine students’ grades, including the use of optional questions provided by exam boards.

The sets of questions with mark schemes were provided to centres on 31 March 2021. Exemplar responses were provided to centres on 12 April, to assist teachers with marking these questions and making fair, objective, and consistent judgements of the standard of a student’s performance. The sets of questions were made openly available on 19 April.

In addition to the guidance and the assessment materials, exam boards have provided grade descriptors and exemplification materials to support teachers in making an evidence-based judgement of the grade at which each student is performing. This will ensure that there is a common basis to all teacher assessed grades.

To ensure qualifications are fair, students will be assessed only on what they have been taught. Centres can draw on a range of evidence to make their assessment. This range and flexibility in the assessment approach means that qualifications cannot be moderated in the way, for example, that non-examined assessments can be in normal years. We trust teachers to make judgements of the grades reflected by their students’ evidence. They are best placed to understand their students’ performance. To support teachers, exam boards will check centres’ approaches to assessment and provide external quality assurance, including the review of a sample of grades. Head teachers will also have to sign a head of centre declaration form to confirm they support the grades submitted. Parents and pupils can have confidence in the grades awarded this summer. As set out in the guidance, this year’s quality assurance process is not designed to moderate grades but will support teachers to do what is needed and ensure centres adhere to the exam boards’ requirements, in order to ensure outcomes are as consistent as possible.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his article entitled There is nothing Dickensian about a well-ordered, disciplined classroom published in the Telegraph newspaper on 6 April 2021, what (a) assessment his department made and (b) research his Department commissioned on the effect of lack of regular structure and discipline while schools were closed during the covid-19 outbreak on classroom behaviour.

All schools should be calm and orderly environments. The Government is pursuing an ambitious programme of work to improve behaviour in schools. Earlier this month we commenced the Behaviour Hubs programme, investing £10 million to help schools develop and sustain a culture where good behaviour is the norm. We are reforming training as part of the Early Career Framework, so that all new teachers will be shown how to effectively manage behaviour in their first two years in the profession from September 2021. We will be consulting on how we can help head teachers remove phones from the school day and other revisions to the Department’s behaviour and discipline and expulsions guidance later in the year.

The Department’s programme of work to improve behaviour is in response to Ofsted judgements, Department for Education teacher surveys and wider research conducted prior to the COVID-19 outbreak which consistently show that managing pupil behaviour has been a longstanding and serious challenge for some schools, and particularly so in a secondary context.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish in full (a) the audit by the Information Commissioner's Office on his Department and (b) his Department's plans to implement the recommended improvements of that audit.

The Department has been working closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office since the audit was undertaken in February 2020 to address all the recommendations and published its formal response in January 2021 in the House Library, paper reference DEP2021-0072.

The Department has undertaken to publish an update to the audit in June 2021 and further details regarding the release mechanism of the full audit report will be contained in this update.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the aims of the Turn on the Subtitles campaign that encourages television companies to provide subtitles on children's TV programmes as a default to help improve child literacy rates.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards, ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. By ensuring high quality phonics teaching, the Government wants to improve literacy levels to give all children a solid base upon which to build as they progress through school and help children to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.

Turn on the Subtitles (TOTS) is a campaign to persuade broadcasters to turn on same language subtitles by default for children’s television (Key Stage 2 and 3). The Department has recently made an assessment of the evidence behind the TOTS campaign and the current evidence is inconclusive over whether turning on the subtitles improves children’s reading.

It is the choice of parents and guardians whether their child watches television with subtitles on.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the guidance, Covid-19 Response - Spring 2021, at what stage the Government plans to re-open outdoor education facilities for overnight school trips; and when he plans to publish relevant guidance.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. The Department has updated its advice to schools on the planning and booking of educational day and residential visits: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#educational-visits.

It is in line with the Government’s roadmap to recovery, as set out in: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a Nature Premium for children to help tackle inequalities of access to nature.

We recognise that outdoor activity and access to nature is a fundamental part of childhood which supports children’s mental health and wellbeing and understanding of the importance of the natural world. We also know that some children have good access to natural spaces whilst others do not, such as those living in areas of high urban disadvantage.

The national curriculum includes content in different subjects which promotes understanding of the natural world. Primary science and geography give pupils a firm foundation for the further study of the natural environment in secondary school, through teaching about climate, the habitats of plants and animals and how environments can change, which can include positive and negative impacts of human actions. In secondary school, pupils continue to study ecosystems, including positive and negative human interactions with ecosystems and their impact on biodiversity, and are taught about how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments, and the climate. The teaching of this content can be supported by direct contact with the natural environments.

We want headteachers to have as much discretion as possible over how they use their funding. It is for schools to decide how to teach the curriculum and what wider pastoral and extra-curricular activity to put in place, based on the needs of their pupils and drawing on evidence of effective practice. Schools’ core funding is rising per financial year by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20 funding levels.

To support children from disadvantaged backgrounds to have better access to natural environments, the department has provided funding for the ‘Children and Nature Programme’, working alongside Natural England and the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. The programme is supporting three delivery projects which aim to demonstrate and improve understanding of the effectiveness of interventions in nature, particularly for schools with the highest proportions of disadvantaged pupils in England.

We also recognise the important role wraparound childcare and other out-of-school activities, such as outdoor education, can play in providing enriching activities which support children’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. That is why we have ensured, for the duration of the national lockdown, that these activities have been able to stay open for all children eligible to attend school on site, where it is to support certain essential purposes, and for vulnerable children and young people under any circumstance.

As of 8 March 2021, in line with the wider return of pupils to school, these settings are now able to open for all children. Vulnerable children and young people can continue to attend under any circumstance, with parents of other children able to access this provision for their children where it is:

  • Reasonably necessary to support them work, seek work, undertake education or training, address a medical need or to attend a support group.
  • Being used as part of their child’s efforts to obtain a regulated qualification, meet the entry requirements for an education institution, or to undertake exams and assessments.
  • Being used by electively home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education.

As set out in the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ guidance, we have also committed to ensure all children will be able to access outdoor education and activity provision under any circumstance, from 29 March, in line with when schools close for the Easter holidays. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021.

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