Dan Jarvis Portrait

Dan Jarvis

Labour - Barnsley Central

Dan Jarvis is not a member of any APPGs
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
22nd Jun 2015 - 14th Sep 2015
Shadow Minister (Justice)
7th Oct 2013 - 18th Jun 2015
Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Oct 2011 - 7th Oct 2013
Business, Innovation and Skills Committee
21st Mar 2011 - 24th Oct 2011


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Investing in Children and Young People
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 224 Noes - 0
Speeches
Wednesday 21st July 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

The Secretary of State denies that these proposals would create a moral equivalence between our veterans and the paramilitaries, but …

Written Answers
Friday 30th July 2021
Transplant Surgery: Coronavirus
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 29th June 2016
Child Poverty in the UK (Target for Reduction) Bill 2016-17
A Bill to establish a target for the reduction of child poverty in the United Kingdom; to make provision about …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 12th July 2021
1. Employment and earnings
£75 received on 24 June 2021 for completion of a survey on 18 June 2021. Hours: 30 mins. (Registered 09 …
EDM signed
Monday 12th July 2021
England and Euro 2020
This House congratulates the England Football Team, manager Gareth Southgate, the players and all the back room staff for the …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 19th July 2017
Freedom of Information (Extension) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Dan Jarvis has voted in 231 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Dan Jarvis Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
Ben Wallace (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Defence
(11 debate interactions)
Nigel Evans (Conservative)
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(15 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(13 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Dan Jarvis's debates

Barnsley Central Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with most Barnsley Central signatures
Dan Jarvis has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Dan Jarvis

12th July 2021
Dan Jarvis signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 12th July 2021

England and Euro 2020

Tabled by: Clive Betts (Labour - Sheffield South East)
This House congratulates the England Football Team, manager Gareth Southgate, the players and all the back room staff for the way they have represented the country with dignity and commitment; particularly commends them for the clear and demonstrable opposition to racism and discrimination which they have shown before every game …
36 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jul 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 29
Conservative: 3
Independent: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
30th June 2021
Dan Jarvis signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 5th July 2021

Co-operative businesses 250 years after Robert Owen

Tabled by: Geraint Davies (Labour (Co-op) - Swansea West)
That this House notes that the UK co-operative movement has grown to a combined annual turnover of £38.2 billion and has increased by £340 million in the last year; notes that over 7,000 independent co-operatives in the UK are owned by over 14 million members and 241,714 employees; recognises the …
9 signatures
(Most recent: 12 Jul 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 3
Scottish National Party: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Independent: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Dan Jarvis's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Dan Jarvis, 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.


Dan Jarvis has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Dan Jarvis has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Dan Jarvis


A Bill to establish a target for the reduction of child poverty in the United Kingdom; to make provision about reporting against such a target; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 3rd February 2017
(Read Debate)


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 2nd July 2014

756 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
6 Other Department Questions
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, if he will meet with the M10 network of Metro Mayors.

Details of my public engagements will be announced in the usual way. We want to empower local people to make decisions in areas that matter to them – on infrastructure, transport, housing – and for their future to be in their hands. Last month’s Metro Mayor elections built on the biggest transfer of powers to local areas since the Second World War. And we will introduce a Levelling Up White Paper too – allowing every community across the country to have more local control and boosting livelihoods across the country as we recover from the pandemic.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with Ministers in HM Treasury on the allocation of specific funding from the public purse to (a) new mothers and (b) children born since the outbreak of covid-19.

The Government is committed to providing support to all those that need it, including new mothers and children born during the pandemic, as we recover from the impact of COVID-19. During the crisis we have rolled out unprecedented levels of support to protect jobs and income for both women and men, including via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Universal Credit uplift.

Financial support available for those who are pregnant or new parents includes Child Benefit, the Sure Start Maternity Grant, and the Healthy Start Scheme, as well as Maternity Allowance or paid parental leave for those who are eligible and/or Universal Credit where relevant.

We also recognise the impact of the pandemic and restrictions on people’s mental wellbeing and are doing our utmost to ensure that mental health services are there for everyone who needs them. The Government's mental health recovery action plan, backed by £500 million, will support hundreds of thousands of people with mental health issues.

All specialist and in-patient perinatal mental health services have remained available during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, having moved at pace during the early stages to be able to deliver digital and remote support.

Since 1 April 2020, GPs are required to offer a maternal postnatal consultation at 6-8 weeks after birth, focusing on a review of the mother’s physical and mental health and general wellbeing. This service has also continued throughout the pandemic.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what progress he has made on including the Mayoral Advisory Panel in the preparations for COP26.

I have set up the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council with mayors and local leaders from across the UK and which had its first meeting last year. I look forward to engaging with the group on our plans for COP26 at our upcoming meeting. Local leaders will have a key role in reaching communities as part of Together for Our Planet and supporting us to make this an ‘All of Society COP’.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Right hon. Member for East Hampshire, representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what assessment the body has made of the viability of Church House as a temporary replacement for the Palace of Westminster while it undergoes essential repairs.

The Sponsor Body, working closely with the Delivery Authority, has recently carried out a Strategic Review for how the restoration programme should be carried out. The Sponsor Body looked at all viable options as part of the Strategic Review, including consideration of Church House. The Strategic Review will be published in due course.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to ensure that employers are not discriminating against autistic job applicants during recruitment in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

It is generally unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act), for an employer to ask a job applicant about their health or disability - which would include autism - during the initial stages of a recruitment process. The Act aims to ensure that all disabled applicants are given the opportunity to have their ability to carry out a job properly assessed by prohibiting employers from asking questions about their disability and health during the recruitment process, except in a few specific circumstances (for instance to establish whether a job applicant can undertake a function intrinsic to the job). The Act is clear that questions about health and disability can only be asked when an applicant has been offered a job.

The Equality and Human Right Commission enforces the Act and provide guidance on recruitment: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/your-rights-equality-work-when-you-apply-job

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) provides authoritative and impartial advice free to employees or employers in relation to employment discrimination issues via their website (http://www.acas.org.uk) and telephone helpline 0300 123 1190 or text relay service 18001 0300 123 1190. Acas also provides employees and employers with Early Conciliation to help them resolve/settle their workplace dispute without going to court.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what plans he has to increase the amount of time victims of domestic violence are given with the Crown Prosecution Service before being called as a witness at trial.

The Crown Prosecution Service understands that attending court is often an intimidating experience for all victims of crime, including victims of domestic abuse. The Crown Prosecution Service is committed to treating all victims and witnesses at court with respect and sensitivity. Victims of domestic abuse are encouraged to take part in pre-trial familiarisation visits, which can help them understand what will happen when they attend court. Additionally, the Speaking to Witnesses at Court guidance commits the prosecutor to meet the victim before they give their evidence to explain court processes and procedures and answer questions the victim may have.

Michael Ellis
Attorney General
17th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the oral evidence session on 8 December 2020 of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committe,: The Government’s Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission HC892, what steps his Department is taking to ensure reviews remain independent; and how review topics will be selected.

The Government remains absolutely committed to looking at the broader aspects of the constitution and the relationship between the Government, Parliament and the courts as pledged in our Manifesto. As set out to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, we are taking forward this work through a number of separate workstreams to ensure all policy development is given the utmost consideration.

Of those workstreams which have already been announced, two of these have been subject to independent review including an expert panel. These are the Independent Review of Administrative Law chaired by Lord Faulkes which presented its findings to Government earlier this year, and the current Independent Review of the Human Rights Act chaired by Sir Peter Gross.

We will consider the composition and focus of future workstreams carefully including whether these should be the subject of an independent review.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the answer from the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice to Q90 on 8 December 2020 during the oral evidence session of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, The Government’s Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission HC892, for what reason his Department decided against establishing a Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission.

The Government remains absolutely committed to looking at the broader aspects of the constitution and the relationship between the Government, Parliament and the courts as pledged in our Manifesto. As set out to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, we are taking forward this work through a number of separate workstreams to ensure all policy development is given the utmost consideration.

Of those workstreams which have already been announced, two of these have been subject to independent review including an expert panel. These are the Independent Review of Administrative Law chaired by Lord Faulkes which presented its findings to Government earlier this year, and the current Independent Review of the Human Rights Act chaired by Sir Peter Gross.

We will consider the composition and focus of future workstreams carefully including whether these should be the subject of an independent review.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the planned timetable is for publishing the levelling up White Paper announced in the Queen's Speech 2021.

Levelling up is at the heart of the Government’s agenda to build back better after the pandemic and to deliver for citizens in every part of the UK. The Government will publish a landmark Levelling Up White Paper later this year, setting out bold new policy interventions to improve livelihoods and opportunity in all parts of the UK. The Levelling Up Unit will be resourced in line with the PM’s ambitions for this agenda.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants will be assigned to the levelling up task force.

Levelling up is at the heart of the Government’s agenda to build back better after the pandemic and to deliver for citizens in every part of the UK. The Government will publish a landmark Levelling Up White Paper later this year, setting out bold new policy interventions to improve livelihoods and opportunity in all parts of the UK. The Levelling Up Unit will be resourced in line with the PM’s ambitions for this agenda.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many women are employed by construction companies with Government contracts.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not usually disclosed.

The Government fully recognises the importance of diversity and acknowledges that women are currently underrepresented in many occupations in the Construction and Built Environment sectors. The Construction Leadership Council recently published a Skills Plan for the sector that sets out a series of clear actions and commitments for both industry and Government to help tackle this.

We expect all suppliers in all sectors to lead by example by upholding the values of the Supplier Code of Conduct, including supporting key government corporate social responsibility policy areas, such as diversity and inclusion, sustainability, apprenticeships and skills development and addressing the gender pay gap.

Through our policy to extend the use of the Social Value Act, effective from 1 January, all major central government procurements will, where appropriate, explicitly evaluate social value.

The information on the number of women employed by construction companies with Government contracts is not held centrally.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of reducing the Office for Veterans' Affairs budget on (a) veterans and (b) their dependants; and if he will make a statement.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs’ budget has not been confirmed and the Cabinet Office budget for 2021/22 will be published in due course. Support for veterans is funded through a variety of Government channels, including the OVA and individual departments delivering veterans’ services. This year, more funding than ever before has been made available to veterans’ mental health services in NHS England, and unprecedented support has been offered to the service charity sector.

The OVA works to champion veterans across government, driving new approaches and policies in areas that will improve the support the nation offers veterans over the long term, in line with the commitments made by all four nations of the Union in the Strategy for our Veterans. Examples of this are through better use of data to drive change, improved digitisation to make services easier to access and navigate, developing a coherent research strategy to improve our understanding of issues affecting veterans and to improve collaboration across the veterans sector.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to reduce the budget of the Office for Veterans' Affairs; and if he will make a statement.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs’ budget has not been confirmed and the Cabinet Office budget for 2021/22 will be published in due course. Support for veterans is funded through a variety of Government channels, including the OVA and individual departments delivering veterans’ services. This year, more funding than ever before has been made available to veterans’ mental health services in NHS England, and unprecedented support has been offered to the service charity sector.

The OVA works to champion veterans across government, driving new approaches and policies in areas that will improve the support the nation offers veterans over the long term, in line with the commitments made by all four nations of the Union in the Strategy for our Veterans. Examples of this are through better use of data to drive change, improved digitisation to make services easier to access and navigate, developing a coherent research strategy to improve our understanding of issues affecting veterans and to improve collaboration across the veterans sector.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to relocate civil servants to South Yorkshire.

The Government has committed to ensuring that the administration of Government is less Whitehall-centric with 22,000 civil service roles relocating to the regions and nations of the UK by the end of the decade. As you are aware, HMT and MHCLG both announced their relocation plans in the last few weeks. The Places for Growth programme is working with departments on their relocation plans to ensure a broad geography of the UK is benefiting from this agenda. Further announcements will be made in due course.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the announcement made in Budget 2021 on civil service relocation, what additional plans the Government has to relocate more civil servants outside of London; and when he plans to publish details of those proposed relocations.

The Government has committed to ensuring that the administration of Government is less Whitehall-centric with 22,000 civil service roles relocating to the regions and nations of the UK by the end of the decade. As you are aware, HMT and MHCLG both announced their relocation plans in the last few weeks. The Places for Growth programme is working with departments on their relocation plans to ensure a broad geography of the UK is benefiting from this agenda. Further announcements will be made in due course.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the announcement in the March 2020 Budget on the relocation of civil servants, what recent progress his Department has made on relocating civil servants; and if he will publish the criteria used to select potential sites for relocations.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given by myself and the Minister without Portfolio to questions on 12 November.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of relocating civil service roles from London on regional inequality.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given by myself and the Minister without Portfolio to questions on 12 November.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to review the policy of enabling foreign (a) governments and (b) companies to invest in critical national infrastructure.

The Government considers national security implications arising from foreign investment on a case-by-case basis.

On 22 June this Government laid secondary legislation to amend the Enterprise Act 2002, strengthening the Government’s powers to intervene in certain investments made into the UK.

The Government will also bring forward the National Security and Investment Bill when Parliamentary time allows. As announced in the Queen’s Speech, the Bill will upgrade the Government’s powers to scrutinise investments and consider the risks that can arise from hostile parties acquiring ownership of, or control over, businesses or other entities and assets that have national security implications.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that face coverings are (a) widely available to the public, (b) affordable and (c) effective in reducing the transmission of covid-19.

Further to the answer given to PQs 48885, 48886, 48887 on 14 May 2020, the Government has published guidance on staying safe outside the home during the COVID-19 pandemic:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home

The guidance includes information on the use of face coverings. We are asking people to make their own face coverings at home, using scarves or other textile items and we have published guidance to help illustrate the process.

In terms of the wider production of PPE for use for medical purposes, Lord Deighton has been appointed to lead the national effort to boost PPE production, and also support the scaling up of engineering efforts for small companies capable of contributing to supplies.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on allowing 180-day visa-free tourist travel for UK citizens in the Schengen area.

Arrangements for UK nationals crossing the Schengen Area border will remain as now for the duration of the transition period. Thereafter, the EU will grant UK nationals visa free access for short-term visits, subject to reciprocity. This means that UK business visitors and tourists will not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in every 180-day period.

We are willing to discuss with the EU how to facilitate crossing of our respective borders for legitimate travel purposes.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to extend the death in service benefit to families of all key workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise the extraordinary efforts of frontline workers, who are going above and beyond to ensure people get the support they need in these incredibly challenging times. The government will continue to review the support provided to public sector workers on the front line of responding to this crisis.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans his Department has to add security officers responsible for ensuring the safety of buildings and their contents to the list of key workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Our message to the British public is clear: stay at home, in order to protect the NHS and save lives. The position remains, as outlined on gov.uk, that everyone who can work from home should do so.

Where that is not possible, people should go into work where it is safe and they are not symptomatic, isolating or shielding. Relevant guidance including from Public Health England should be followed.

In terms of the provision of education for the children of certain key workers, it is already the case that security officers and private security workers working in, for example, hospitals and social care could be eligible as long as "their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service". This is set out here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

The Government has placed restrictions on the operations of certain businesses as part of the strategy to ensure people stay at home and away from others. Separate guidance has been published on this and is also available on gov.uk.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the potential increase in risk to national security of critical national infrastructure being owned by foreign governments and companies.

The Government undertakes regular reviews of our preparedness for the risks facing the UK through the National Security Risk Assessment (NSRA) and National Resilience Capabilities Programme (NRCP). This includes the risk from foreign investment into critical national infrastructure.

In addition, the Government considers any national security implications arising from foreign investment on a case-by-case basis, including in investments in Critical National Infrastructure. The Government’s approach is predicated on a risk assessment based on the specific circumstances of the case.

The Government’s current powers to intervene in mergers that may raise national security concerns are contained in the Enterprise Act (2002), which establishes key parts of the UK’s competition regime. The vast majority of transactions raise no national security concerns and the Government expects to quickly rule out national security risks in most cases, allowing parties to proceed with certainty.

Oliver Dowden
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Home Secretary and (b) Secretary of State for Transport on the effect of quarantine rules on British (i) businesses and (ii) employees that are required to travel to red and amber list countries to fulfil business contracts.

Business travel is permitted in accordance with rules about access and quarantine that have been agreed across Government. The rules relating to red and amber list countries can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england. From the 19th of July, individuals arriving in England from amber list countries who are fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine (plus 14 days) will be exempt from self-isolation and day 8 testing.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what financial support he is making available to the glass manufacturing industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has acted with unprecedented speed to support UK manufacturing companies, including businesses in the glass sector.

To safeguard jobs we introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which continues until 30 September 2021.

We also introduced the government backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme (CBILS), Bounce Back Loan, Recovery Loan schemes.

We have also provided Local Authorities with additional funds to support businesses through the Local Restrictions Support Grant, Restart Grant and the Additional Restrictions Grant.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to increase recruitment in the glass manufacturing industry in South Yorkshire.

The Government is committed to supporting jobs and growth as we begin the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through our Plan for Growth and our Lifetime Skills Guarantee, we will back business and people to unleash their full potential. Our Plan for Jobs will also support new opportunities in every part of the country.

Last year, the government also launched the Kickstart Scheme which provides full government funding to business to create new jobs for 16-24 year olds currently on Universal Credit.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including coach companies as non-essential retail to ensure they can access financial support during the covid-19 outbreak.

I am answering the question under the assumption that it refers to the designation of businesses for the purpose of eligibility for Restart Grants.

The primary principle of the Restart Grant scheme is to support businesses that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises, in the relevant sectors.

Coach Tour Operators are not eligible for the Restart Grant Scheme but maybe able to access discretionary support through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). Local Authorities are free to provide ARG support that suits their local area and guidance for ARG makes clear that Local Authorities are able to issue ARG grants to tour operator businesses. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced at the Budget that an additional £425m will be made available via ARG meaning that more than £2bn has been allocated to Local Authorities since November 2020.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) women and (b) BAME communities working in the wedding industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce, established to represent all parts of the UK Weddings sector, to understand the impact on jobs and businesses, including those with protected characteristics who work in the sector.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, including those in the wedding industry, which we keep under regular review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support jobs across Liberty Steel’s UK operations in South Yorkshire.

We are closely monitoring developments around Liberty Steel, and my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has spoken with representatives from the company and unions many times in recent weeks. The Government is considering options, however it would be premature to act when the company is looking to find its own commercial solutions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that people are able to cancel their gym memberships during the period of covid-19 restrictions.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has produced guidance on rights and responsibilities when contracts such as gym memberships have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds.

The CMA has also created a COVID-19 taskforce and set up an online form to enable consumers to report any business they believe is behaving unfairly during the pandemic. Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly by a business should complete the online form at: https://www.coronavirus-business-complaint.service.gov.uk/.

Consumers can also seek advice on their rights from the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133, www.citizensadvice.org.uk which offers a free service advising consumers on their rights and how to take complaints forward.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a timescale for the resumption of wedding ceremonies with more than six attendees as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and if he will make a statement.

As set out in the Government’s “COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021”, attendee limits for wedding ceremonies are set out for each step of the roadmap.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has been made of the potential merits of extending the eligibility for the Low Income Household voucher included in the Green Homes Grant for claimants of a War Pensions Scheme without a mobility element.

The list of qualifying benefits selected for the low income element of the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme mirrors the eligibility requirements for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. Under ECO, energy suppliers are required to provide low income and vulnerable households with energy efficiency and heating upgrades. We will keep the Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme eligibility, including qualifying benefits, under review.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals after covid-19 restrictions are lifted on ensuring that auction houses offer both (a) in-person and (b) virtual auctions to ensure that they are adhering to non-consumer sale standards.

Auction houses must comply with relevant consumer protection law when their activities fall within its scope, and whether these involve in-person or virtual auctions is a matter for the auction house. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute and Citizens Advice provide free advice and information on consumer rights.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions his Department has had with business leaders in the hospitality sector on developing a plan to re-open businesses that use the covid-19 personal protective equipment and safety measures businesses invested in during the tiered public health restrictions.

Over the course of the pandemic the government has worked closely with the hospitality sector to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and has responded with a substantial package of business support. We keep all restrictions under constant review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many start-up businesses in their first year of trading have (a) liquidated and (b) dissolved in the 2019-20 financial year in (a) Barnsley Central constituency, (b) the Sheffield City Region and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber.

Companies House is responsible for registering companies. Companies House’s data does not extend to unregistered businesses and is therefore unable to identify start-up businesses. It is also unable to identify if a company is in the first year of trading.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of permitting pubs to sell takeaway alcohol on (a) pubs' financial recovery from the covid-19 outbreak and (b) the economy.

Under the current restrictions, hospitality businesses are not permitted to sell takeaway alcohol. This is to reduce instances of social interactions that could undermine the Government’s primary objective of reducing the spread of COVID-19. The Government recognises the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the sector, which is why it has put in place a £284bn package of business support measures including grants of £3000 per month for businesses forced to close. The Government announced on 5 January an extra £4.6 billion to protect jobs and support affected businesses and includes a one off additional grant of up to £9000. Local Authorities in England will be given an additional £500 million discretionary funding to support their local business and builds on the £1.1 billion discretionary funding which Local Authorities have already received.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure pensioners’ properties are installed with insulation to tackle cold-related illnesses.

Officials in DHSC and BEIS have had discussions on these matters. We recognise the link between ill health and fuel poverty and we are aware of the benefits of insulating properties for all, including pensioner households.

Improving the energy efficiency of homes remains the most sustainable long-term solution to tackling fuel poverty, and therefore in reducing the impact of ill health exacerbated by cold homes.

The Energy Company Obligation is a GB wide energy efficiency scheme worth £640m per year until March 2022 and is focused on low-income and vulnerable households. Households with a resident in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit are eligible.

The Green Homes Grant, launched in September 2020, is a £2 billion programme which will help improve the energy efficiency of homes in England. Of this, around half is specifically for low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households, including those in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit. The Green Homes Grant consists of a voucher scheme and a Local Authority Delivery Scheme (LAD). The primary purpose of the LAD scheme is to raise the energy efficiency rating of low income and low EPC rated homes (those with D, E, F or G). Funding is available through LAD to support the retrofit of existing domestic dwellings for all tenure types.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Ministers in the Department for Health and Social Care on the potential effect on the reduction of cold-related illnesses from the installation of insulation in pensioners’ properties.

Officials in DHSC and BEIS have had discussions on these matters. We recognise the link between ill health and fuel poverty and we are aware of the benefits of insulating properties for all, including pensioner households.

Improving the energy efficiency of homes remains the most sustainable long-term solution to tackling fuel poverty, and therefore in reducing the impact of ill health exacerbated by cold homes.

The Energy Company Obligation is a GB wide energy efficiency scheme worth £640m per year until March 2022 and is focused on low-income and vulnerable households. Households with a resident in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit are eligible.

The Green Homes Grant, launched in September 2020, is a £2 billion programme which will help improve the energy efficiency of homes in England. Of this, around half is specifically for low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households, including those in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit. The Green Homes Grant consists of a voucher scheme and a Local Authority Delivery Scheme (LAD). The primary purpose of the LAD scheme is to raise the energy efficiency rating of low income and low EPC rated homes (those with D, E, F or G). Funding is available through LAD to support the retrofit of existing domestic dwellings for all tenure types.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much (a) European Structural and Investment Funding and (b) UK matched funding was or will be allocated to (i) Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, (ii) the Sheffield City Region, (iii) England and (iv) the UK, in each of the four fiscal years from 2018-19 to 2021-22.

Allocations of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for each UK programme and region by year are published in the latest revision (31 January 2020) of the EU Structural and Investment Funds UK Partnership Agreement at Table 1.6*.

Information on ESIF match funding at national level is difficult to collate. We will place any available information in the Libraries of the House. Information on match funding for ESIF programmes in the Sheffield City Region is available and will be placed in the Libraries of the Houses shortly. Equivalent information for Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council cannot be provided as information is not available at this level.

*see attached

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of state aid rules under the Covid-19 Temporary Framework for UK Authorities on the level of financial support available to (a) pubs, (b) restaurants and (c) the hospitality sector; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has put forward a package of support for businesses in the hospitality sector in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. In England, this included the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). The Government published clear guidance on the grant scheme, and local authorities were responsible for delivering grants to businesses that were in scope. As stated in the guidance, RHLGF grants could be paid to eligible businesses under the Covid-19 Temporary Framework for UK Authorities up to a limit of £800,000 and subject to the recipient confirming they were not an undertaking in difficulty (within the definition of Article 2(18) of the General Block Exemption Regulation) on 31 December 2019.

As at 30 September, over £11.12 billion had been paid out to 906,620 business premises across the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF) and the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) schemes. We do not hold grant payment data from local authorities broken down by sector or type of business, however a full breakdown of final grant payment figures by local authority is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses Both schemes have now closed.

Further grant support?totalling?£2.2 billion has been made?available via local authorities to support businesses?that had to close during the 5 November and 2 December nationalrestrictions, as well as businesses impacted by?localised restrictions. State aid limits apply. On 13 October 2020 the European Commission (CION) announced further amendments to its State Aid Temporary Framework. The U.K. Government has notified the CION of its intention to use the new provision and must await approval from the CION to do so. The Covid-19 Temporary Framework for UK Public Authorities will need to be amended before aid under this new measure may be provided. All Local Restrictions Support Grants guidance documents will be updated to reflect the new provisions if and when they are applied to the LRSG schemes once the UK Government has approval.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Fireworks Regulations 2004 in reducing noise pollution.

There is already a comprehensive regulatory framework in place for fireworks that aims to reduce the risks to people and disturbance to animals. Existing legislation controls the sale, availability and use of fireworks, as well as setting a curfew and noise limit.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) published its Fireworks Evidence Base on 29 October 2020. This included reviewing existing data around fireworks including producing a research paper on fireworks noise levels and impacts on health and the environment.

We remain committed to promoting the safe and considerate use of fireworks through the effective legislative framework and through non-legislative measures.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with Bounce Back Loan Scheme lenders on access to credit for businesses that have business accounts with other lenders.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme, launched in May 2020, has been introduced to help smaller businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). It is available through a range of British Business Bank accredited lenders and partners listed on the British Business Bank website: www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/bounce-back-loans/current-accredited-lenders-and-partners/

In the first instance and where possible, businesses should approach a Bounce Back Loan Scheme accredited provider with whom they have an existing relationship. They may also consider approaching other Scheme accredited providers if they are unable to access the finance they need or if their existing provider is not accredited to provide loans under the Scheme.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme does not mandate that the applicant must have a business relationship with the lender in order to receive a loan. However, certain lenders may require that you enter into a business relationship with them before you can apply and, within their standard policies and terms and conditions of business, some lenders may not permit an existing customer to operate their business via a personal account.

All lending decisions remain solely at the discretion of the lender.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria were used to define essential retail in relation to the guidance issued on the additional public health restrictions which came into force on 5 November 2020 in England.

The decision to close non-essential retail is part of a wider package of measures to make clear that people should stay at home except for a limited set of exemptions – allowing non-essential retail to remain open would run contrary to that aim. These restrictions?have been?brought in because we?have to?limit social contact.

All shops can continue to offer home delivery and click and collect services to customers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to ensure that supply chains for perishable goods are maintained in the event that the UK and EU do not agree a deal on their future relationship by the end of the transition period.

The Department is not responsible for all supply chains of all perishable goods.

The Department of Health and Social Care, in consultation with the Devolved Administrations and Crown Dependencies, is working with trade bodies, product suppliers, and the health and care system to make detailed plans to help ensure continued supply of medicines and medical products to the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland, at the end of the transition period.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to amend the Consumer Rights Act 2015 so that the same rights apply to non-consumer sales.

The Government has no plans to amend the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to apply to non-consumer sales.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many smart meters were installed in England in each month of 2020.

From January to the end of June 2020 1,119,775 smart electricity and gas meters were installed in homes in Great Britain. The latest data on the number of smart electricity and gas meters installed is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/smart-meters-in-great-britain-quarterly-update-june-2020

Data is collected at Great Britain level on a quarterly basis from large energy suppliers. Therefore a breakdown of installations for England by month is not available.

The next quarterly publication covering the period from July to end of September is due for release on 26 November.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a timescale for the resumption of wedding ceremonies with over 30 attendees as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are continuing to engage with representatives from the industry to explore how larger weddings and celebrations may be resumed in a COVID-19 secure way, once it is safe to do so. The limit of 30 people who can attend a wedding ceremony is consistent with broader policy on public gatherings – it is unlawful for private parties of over 30 to take place and we are advising that gatherings and events in COVID-19 secure venues should not exceed 30 people.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to provide sector-specific support for the financial recovery of night clubs and the UK night time entertainment services sector after the covid-19 outbreak.

We appreciate that the outbreak presents a significant challenge to the owners of nightclubs, which are still required to remain closed. The Government put in place an unprecedented programme of support to help businesses across the economy through the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, loan guarantees, grants, VAT deferral and the forfeiture moratorium. We are engaging regularly with the nightclub sector to understand their immediate and longer-term needs.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to review the date for resuming facial treatments in beauty salons as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

In my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement on 17 July, close contact services including treatments to the face are allowed to resume as of 1 August, as long as they operate in a COVID-secure way.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals on neonatal leave and pay entitlement as announced in the March 2020 Budget.

The Government is committed to providing parents with an entitlement to take extended leave for neonatal care, to support those new mothers and fathers who need it during the most stressful days of their lives.

This is why we committed at Budget to create an entitlement to Neonatal Leave and Pay for employees whose babies spend an extended period of time in neonatal care, providing up to 12 weeks paid leave so that parents do not have to choose between returning to work and taking care of their vulnerable newborn.

The new entitlement will be brought forward in due course through the necessary legislation as part of the Employment Bill.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the financial recovery of the UK aerospace sector after the covid-19 outbreak.

The aerospace industry is benefiting from the Government’s £330 billion of Covid-19 support, which includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The aerospace and aviation sectors are also benefiting from support through UK Export Finance, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, and grants for research and development. We remain in active discussion with aerospace businesses, including at sector level through the Aerospace Growth Partnership, to do all we can to help industry through the Covid-19 pandemic and back to growth.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to make further funding available for the coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund.

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support for businesses to help with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This package of support includes?the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). As of 5 July, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council have paid out over £41.8 million in grants to 3,788 business premises under the SBGF and RHLGF.

On 1 May,?the Government announced that up to £617 million has been made available to Local Authorities?in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants.?Under the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF), Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council have an additional £2.1 million to deliver to further small businesses.

We appreciate that there?is substantial demand for the LADGF,?and the scheme will not be able to support every business. Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council will need to manage?their?scheme to stay within?their?funding?allocation?and?will have?to make choices about which businesses?to?prioritise.

Officials are keeping in close contact with Local Authorities?to understand how the schemes are rolling out and advising ministers on any additional support?which could be offered to help businesses and support local economies. No decisions have yet been taken, but the level of demand will continue to be monitored.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to review the date for the re-opening of (a) beauty salons and (b) beauticians’ services as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Hairdressers and barbers in England were able to reopen from 4 July to offer hairdressing services. Other close contact services, like beauty salons and beauticians’ services, remain closed until further notice. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in his speech on 3rd July, stated that a timetable for the reopening of these closed sectors would be set out this week.

We appreciate that this is difficult for some businesses. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and every step is weighed against the evidence, remembering that the more we open up the more vigilant we will need to be.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a code of practice on the minimum teaching requirements for companies delivering scaffolding training.

The Government recognises that scaffolding is a safety-critical sector, and that scaffolding that is adequately erected and maintained can help to prevent accidents in the construction industry.

The necessary levels of practical skills for scaffolders can be achieved through approved training and assessment programmes, in combination with experience in the workplace. The Government has no current plans to introduce a code of practice relating to teaching requirements for companies delivering scaffolding training.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plan to review the date for the re-opening of sports massage therapist services as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government has published safer working guidance on 23 June for close contact services, including sports massage therapist services. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, hairdressers and barbers in England will be able to reopen from 4 July, once they are following the COVID-secure guidelines. Other close contact services, like sports massage therapists, remain closed until further notice.

We are taking a phased, cautious approach to reopening our economy, working with businesses, trade associations and medical experts on the safest way to reopen close contact services like sports massage therapists where there is often greater risk of transmission due to prolonged periods of face-to-face contact and close proximity between staff and customers.

We intend to allow close contact services to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support companies delivering independent training to scaffolders who are not part of the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme.

The Government is supporting the construction sector to increase investment in skills development, and to equip workers with the skills that they will need for the future.

This is a cross-industry drive, which includes companies delivering independent training to scaffolders who are not part of the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme. This will be achieved through a joint commitment to implement reforms to the Construction Industry Training Board to make it more strategic and industry-led, and to enable the sector to make best use of funding from the Apprenticeship Levy.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent guidance his Department has issued to employers on ensuring a safe workplace for employees with diabetes.

It is critical that employers offer safe workplaces. The Government has published guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These guides cover a range of working environments and are available at www.gov.uk/workingsafely.

Nothing in this guidance affects employers’ existing responsibilities under employment and equalities legislation. Employers therefore need to bear in mind the particular needs of different groups or individuals, and make sure that the steps they take to address the risk of COVID-19 do not unjustifiably impact on some groups compared with others.

The safer workplaces guidance provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that unpaid carers working in Barnsley Central constituency are supported to remain in work.

The Government recognises the crucial role unpaid carers play, especially during this difficult period.

On 8th April we published guidance for unpaid carers on GOV.UK, which includes general advice on infection control, advice on caring where someone has symptoms, how to create care plans, make alternative care arrangements at short notice and access links to various NHS resources.

We have provided additional funding to Carers UK’s helpline, information and support services, to help more carers access trusted information and advice. We also continue to signpost carers to the charity’s website for additional information and support during this pandemic.

We are committed to supporting carers in Barnsley Central and across the country to remain in work, recognising the challenges of balancing work and care also in the longer term.

This is why the Government is now consulting on proposals to introduce Carer’s Leave, to support working people who are also carers to balance employment with their caring responsibilities.

This Government is also clear about the benefits of flexible working for employers and for their employees, including those with caring responsibilities. In our manifesto we said that, subject to consultation, we would introduce measures to make flexible working the default.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that employers are following guidance on social distancing in the workplace for employees who are (a) clinically extremely vulnerable and (b) clinically vulnerable.

The guidance is non-statutory but does not change existing obligations relating to health and safety, employment, or equalities. Employers have a duty under UK law to protect the health and safety of their workers and other people who might be affected by their business. This includes considering the risks that COVID-19 represents.

Employers should carry out a risk assessment in consultation with their workers to inform what actions to take, to give the best combination of protection from their usual risks as well as the risks of COVID-19. Employers should consider whether workers who are classed as either clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable are exposed to any specific risks. If so, they should take the steps needed to protect those individuals.

Health and safety legislation is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and by local authorities. If the enforcing authority finds that an employer is not taking action to properly manage workplace risk, a range of actions is open to them including specific advice or issuing notices.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with Royal Mail on the retention of the universal service obligation.

The Universal Service Obligation is set out in the Postal Services Act 2011.

Ministers have no role in temporary changes to the service level. The regulatory conditions that require Royal Mail to deliver letters 6 days a week as part of the universal postal service also provide that Royal Mail is not required to sustain these services without interruption, suspension or restriction in the event of an emergency. Ofcom has acknowledged in this context that the COVID-19 pandemic is an emergency.

There is a clear and transparent process for how longer-term changes to service standards would be considered and any changes would need to be made through secondary legislation and agreed by Parliament. Ministers and officials have regular discussions with Ofcom and Royal Mail on matters relating to postal services.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Office, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect on businesses of staff (a) accruing paid holiday entitlement and (b) increasing their length of service while furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, almost all workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks annual leave, which should be paid as if workers were still at work and working. Annual leave continues to accrue as long as the worker maintains their employment relationship with their employer, which is the case whilst an employee is on a period of furlough through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Regarding length of service, a furlough period is a variation to a worker’s contract of employment. The contract of employment would continue and count towards continuous employment.

The Government has been clear that employment rights remain unchanged under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Therefore, as holiday rights are unaffected by the scheme, and as being placed on furlough does not break the contract of employment, no assessment has been made.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions his department has had with representatives of the travel and tourism industry on compensating holidaymakers that (a) no longer wish to and (b) are unable to travel following the outbreak of covid-19.

The Government recognises the extremely difficult circumstances consumers and many businesses are currently facing. BEIS officials have held regular discussions with travel and tourism sector representatives, travel businesses and consumer advocacy bodies to assess the impact of cancellations made in light of the covid-19 outbreak.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of offering a three month paid extension to maternity leave in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Maternity Leave and Pay are provided to enable employed women to take time off work in the later stages of their pregnancy and after they have given birth.

The UK’s Maternity Leave offer is already amongst the most generous in the World – up to 52 weeks of leave are available, 39 weeks of which are paid – and we currently have no plans to extend it.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses have had their Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme applications (a) approved and (b) rejected in the (i) Sheffield City Region and (ii) Barnsley Central constituency.

As of 21 April, over £2.8 billion worth of loans have been issued under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme across the UK, to over 16,600 businesses. Lenders have received 36,000 completed applications.

The British Business Bank has streamlined the system by which the biggest accredited CBILS lenders provide information to the Bank, in order to expedite the process. The Bank’s system therefore gathers data from these lenders when loans are offered and drawn. The system does not capture any information on rejected applications.

At this time we cannot provide a breakdown of funding by region, as we have given lenders a temporary dispensation from uploading their data to the British Business Bank’s system in order to let them focus on issuing new loans. This is a pragmatic step that reflects the urgency of getting loans issued. We are working with the British Business Bank, HM Treasury and lenders on regular and transparent data publication going forward.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that banks taking part in the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme do not require a personal guarantee from business directors to secure loans of less than £250,000.

Under the British Business Bank’s scheme rules, Personal Guarantees of any form cannot be requested to support a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) facility below £250,000. This has been made clear in the guidance provided to all the CBILS accredited lenders.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure businesses provide delivery drivers with appropriate personal protective equipment during the outbreak of covid-19.

The Government is clear that we will support people in work during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are regularly engaging with industry stakeholders, including the British Retail Consortium, to ensure they are well prepared and that their operations remain in line with the latest health guidance.

The Government is working with the manufacturing sector to ensure additional personal protective equipment (PPE) can be provided to frontline workers as quickly as possible to ensure their safety. While PPE supplies are currently being prioritised for health and social care workers, we are working to ensure additional requirements for PPE and consumables can continue to be sourced through normal distributors.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure self-employed contractors do not incur financial penalties from businesses while self-isolating as a result of the covid-19.

The Government is supporting the self-employed through an unprecedented package of measures during this period of disruption. Measures include a temporary relaxation of the earnings rules (known as the Minimum Income Floor) for self-employed claimants who are sick or self-isolating according to Government guidance. The Government has extended this to all self-employed claimants, not just those directly impacted by the virus, ensuring those affected by the economic impact of the outbreak are supported.

On 26 March, the Chancellor announced a world-leading scheme to support the UK’s self-employed affected by Covid-19. The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, whose income has been negatively impacted. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

Details of Government support for business during the Coronavirus outbreak can be found at: www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support is available to small businesses who specialise in contact sport during covid-19 outbreak.

Sports clubs and social enterprises form an integral part of this country and it is important they are given as much support as possible. The government has announced a comprehensive package of direct support for business through tax relief and cash grants to help business manage cash flow during the Coronavirus outbreak. For example, businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), delivered by the British Business Bank, is now open for applications from eligible smaller businesses, including unincorporated businesses such as partnerships and sole traders. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free. Decision-making on whether a business is eligible to access CBILS will be fully delegated to the 40+ accredited lenders.

Details on all Government business support is on: www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had discussions with the Financial Conduct Authority on introducing rules for broadband providers on the same model as its rules from May 2022 for insurers on offering existing customers new customer prices.

The Secretary of State has not met with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to discuss its new measures on offering existing customers the same prices as new customers. It should be noted however that Ofcom, the independent telecoms regulator, has a statutory duty to further and protect the interests of telecoms consumers and end-users, and as Minister for Digital Infrastructure I have regular engagement with Ofcom on these matters.

In December 2020, the Government strengthened Ofcom’s telecoms consumer protection powers. As a result, Ofcom introduced new rules, in February 2021, so that a customer near the end of their contract will receive a notice from their current provider informing of the date their contract will end; the notice period to leave; the service they receive and price they pay as well as any changes to the service and price should they take no action to renew or move their service. These notices must also include information on the prices available to other customers, including new customers. We consider this approach encourages operators to offer competitive pricing to their loyal customers and equally empowers consumers to switch to better deals if those offers do not meet their needs.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the qualifying criteria are for the Platinum Jubilee medal; and what plans the Government has to award the medal to former members of the armed forces.

Recipients of the Platinum Jubilee Medal will include members of the Armed Forces, frontline members of the Prison Service that are publicly employed,frontline emergency services and members of the Royal Household. Recipients must also have completed the relevant period of qualifying service.

It is for the relevant Government Department, Devolved Administration or Crown Dependency to apply these broad criteria, and any additional sub-criteria they deem relevant. The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that recipients must be serving members of the armed forces on 6th February 2022 to be eligible to receive the Platinum Jubilee Medal.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support girls and women pursue careers in football.

We are absolutely committed to supporting diversity in sport at every opportunity including through employment.

We support the Football Association’s work in encouraging more women and girls into football. On 19 October 2020, the Football Association published its new women’s and girls’ football strategy ‘Inspiring Positive Change: FA Women’s Football Strategy 2020-24’. The strategy includes a commitment to developing a diverse, well supported and highly skilled workforce including coaches, referees, sports development officers and administrators at every level of the game. An example of how they plan to achieve this by 2024 is by encouraging more coaches in the women and girls’ game, with a greater proportion being female and from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

In addition to this, in October 2020 the FA launched their Football Leadership Diversity Code to increase diversity and inclusion across English football. This included the target of 30% of new hires being female in senior leadership and team operation roles.

UK Sport and Sport England’s Code for Sports Governance (published in 2016) seeks to improve the diversity of governance structures in sport and applies to any organisation seeking public funding for sport. Latest figures show that women now account for 40% of board members across bodies funded by either Sport England or UK Sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the data used to inform the policy that amateur choirs cannot rehearse indoors in a group of more than six people.

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

However, it is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions. We have followed the views of public health experts on singing. We are aware, through the NERVTAG and PERFORM studies that singing can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission through the spread of aerosol droplets. This was backed up by a consensus statement from SAGE, resulting in the suggested principles of safer singing being published.

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

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to allow amateur choirs to return to indoor rehearsals in groups of more than six.

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

However, it is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions. We have followed the views of public health experts on singing. We are aware, through the NERVTAG and PERFORM studies that singing can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission through the spread of aerosol droplets. This was backed up by a consensus statement from SAGE, resulting in the suggested principles of safer singing being published.

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

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the £2.25 million funding allocated to the Sport Winter Survival Package for the Women’s Super League includes other Government support.

On 19 February 2021 we announced that the Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship would receive a combined £2.25m of support from the Sport Winter Survival Package. This was grant support for essential costs across these two leagues, and included no other government support.

On 19 March 2021 we announced a further £680,000 in grant funding from the Sport Winter Survival Package for six women’s football clubs in these two leagues. This brought the total support provided to women’s football from the Package to £2.9 million.

Details about the methodology used to assess funding applications is provided in Sport England’s Programme Guide, available on their website at https://www.sportengland.org/news/more-details-given-sport-winter-survival-package

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the methodology used to allocate the funding to the Sport Winter Survival Package for the Women’s Super League.

On 19 February 2021 we announced that the Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship would receive a combined £2.25m of support from the Sport Winter Survival Package. This was grant support for essential costs across these two leagues, and included no other government support.

On 19 March 2021 we announced a further £680,000 in grant funding from the Sport Winter Survival Package for six women’s football clubs in these two leagues. This brought the total support provided to women’s football from the Package to £2.9 million.

Details about the methodology used to assess funding applications is provided in Sport England’s Programme Guide, available on their website at https://www.sportengland.org/news/more-details-given-sport-winter-survival-package

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2021 to Question 163699 on Football: Females, how much and what proportion of the funding under Sports England's (a) Uniting the Movement strategy and (b) Community Emergency Fund has been allocated to (i) women and girls football teams and (ii) men and boys football teams.

The Government remains committed to encouraging more women and girls to get active and helping women’s sport emerge from the current crisis stronger than ever. This is an important opportunity to create a long-lasting legacy for women’s and girl’s sport and the Government is determined that women’s sport is protected as we emerge from the pandemic.

Sport England’s new strategy, Uniting the Movement, has already committed an extra £50m to boost grassroots sports clubs and organisations - including women’s and girl’s football. Sport England expects to build on this investment as the implementation of the strategy progresses.

Sport England is also investing £24.6m in The Football Association over the course of 2016-21 for its work on grassroots participation, the football talent pathway, and coaching programmes. Within this, £2.6m is specifically reserved for women and girls talent programmes.

The Community Emergency Fund - part of Sport England’s COVID-19 support package - has delivered more than £5.38m of National Lottery funding for Association Football supporting both men’s and women’s football, and across Sport England’s COVID Support Package, £10,488,255 has been provide for 1,558 Association Football projects, benefitting all ages and genders.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions his Department has had with Ministerial colleagues of the Department for Education on plans to provide support to help increase participation in girl's football in primary schools.

Sports and physical activity are crucial for our mental and physical health. The Chief Medical Officer is clear that being physically active is important to long-term health and crucial for keeping people healthy. That’s why we have continued to make sure that people can exercise throughout the national restrictions, and why we have ensured that grassroots and children’s sport was at the front of the queue when easing those restrictions.

My department works closely with the Department for Education on school sport provision. Schools are free to organise and deliver a flexible, diverse and challenging Physical Education curriculum that suits the needs of all their pupils, which can include football for girls.

The Secretary of State for Education and the Culture Secretary jointly hosted a school sport roundtable in March where the English FA were represented. This roundtable launched our ongoing work to bring together a sports sector offer to support schools through an active summer recovery term, and on into the summer holidays, in order to get children and young people active again.

Minister Gibb and I also recently met with Baroness Sue Campbell, Director of Women's Football at the FA, to discuss PE and school sport including the work that Baroness Campbell is doing to increase the numbers of girls playing football in schools.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2021 to Question 163699 on Football: Females, what discussions he has had with representatives of Sport England on rearranging the FA FIVES tournament that was cancelled in 2020 as a result of the covid-19 public health restrictions.

I have had a number of conversations with Sport England, The FA, and numerous other stakeholders about the rescheduling of the UEFA EURO 2020 Championships, and associated events such as the FA FIVES, since their postponement due to the covid pandemic last year. The scheduling of the FA FIVES is a matter for The FA with the support of Sport England, however, we are confident of staging a successful men’s EURO 2020 Championships this year, and a successful women’s EURO 2022 Championships next year.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress his Department has made on delivering support through the Culture Recovery Fund to the culture and heritage sector in Barnsley.

In round one of the Culture Recovery Fund, 6 awards in total were made in the constituencies of Barnsley Central, totalling £609k.

In round two of the Culture Recovery Fund, 6 awards in total were made totalling £419k.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to review the methodology used to allocate funding from the Cultural Recovery Fund.

Last year the government announced the unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the culture sector. Over £1 billion worth of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund has been allocated across all four nations of the UK. This includes over £800 million to almost 3800 arts, culture and heritage organisations in England, helping to support at least 75,000 jobs. A further £300 million of support was announced by HM Treasury at Spring Budget.

Rigorous criteria have rightly been applied, to ensure we are supporting organisations that have national and local importance. Our ALBs - Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the British Film Institute - have the delegated authority to take decisions on grant applications due to their long established grant delivery role, their expertise and understanding of the sectors in which they operate.

In reviewing applications, our ALBs considered a number of factors, and organisations were only supported if they were both culturally significant and could robustly demonstrate that they are at risk of failure this Financial Year, and took all reasonable steps to support themselves financially.

They are overseen by the independent Culture Recovery Board, chaired by Sir Damon Buffini, which was created to increase assurance over the delivery of the Culture Recovery Fund programme, to leverage a range of external expertise to support decision making on grant applications and to take final decisions on loan applications.

DCMS works closely with the sector, Arm’s Length Bodies, the Culture Recovery Board, HM Treasury and the National Audit Office to keep the progress of fund allocations and the level of need in the sector under close review.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he made of regional inequality when allocating funding from the Cultural Recovery Fund.

Over £1 billion worth of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund has been allocated across all four nations of the UK. This includes over £800 million to almost 3800 arts, culture and heritage organisations in England, helping to support at least 75,000 jobs. Organisations were supported if they were culturally significant, could demonstrate that they are at risk of failure and that they had taken all reasonable steps to support themselves financially.

DCMS has worked closely with its Arm’s Length Bodies, who are delivering the fund to so we can best support the valuable cultural fabric of our towns and regions. Criteria have been applied to allocate funding to ensure we are supporting organisations that have national and local importance. Grants have been awarded to organisations as diverse as the Birmingham Hippodrome, Shakespeare’s Globe, Blackpool Tower Ballroom, Opera North and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as well as thousands more ranging from internationally recognised cultural institutions to locally cherished organisations.

In the first round, 67% of grants awards worth over £1 million were awarded to organisations outside London. Regions particularly hard hit by the pandemic have felt the tangible impact of the fund. For example, funding is supporting organisations which employ 69% of arts sector employees in the West Midlands and 43% in the North West.

The second round is in progress, and a further £300 million of support was announced by HM Treasury at Spring budget to continue to support key cultural organisations, bridge the sector as audiences begin to return, and ensure a vibrant future for the culture sector, including theatres, as the nation recovers from the pandemic.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of the Football Association on classing women's academy football as an elite sport.

We are absolutely committed to women’s sport. I recently met with the Football Association about to discuss a range of issues, and we continue to liaise closely with them on women’s football.

It is up to the respective governing bodies to determine what constitutes the boundary between elite and non-elite within their sports and the classification of such competitions.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to allocate specific funding from the public purse to female grassroots football teams.

I am committed to encouraging more women and girls to get active and helping women’s sport come out of the current crisis stronger than ever. Over the last year I have met with a range of sports organisations to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on women’s sport and how together we can address these challenges going forward. I have made clear in these discussions that I expect women’s sport to be protected through the pandemic and prioritised as we emerge on the other side.

Through our national sports council, Sport England, the government is investing £24.6m in The Football Association over the course of 2016-21 for its work on grassroots participation, the football talent pathway, and coaching programmes. Within this, there is no specific ring-fencing of funding between men's and women's programmes, apart from £2.6m which is specifically reserved for women and girls talent programmes.

Sport England has also awarded The FA £1m to date to deliver The FA FIVES national promotion programme, a mass participation five a side football competition linked to EURO 2021 & EURO 2022. Its aim is to provide opportunities throughout England for men and women to take part in a fun, friendly football event. In addition, they have awarded £987,000 towards the Women’s Euro 2022 Host City Legacy Impact intended to increase activity levels in football amongst women aged 16+.

Sport England has also provided £220m directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres through this pandemic, via a range of funds including their £35m Community Emergency Fund. £2.25m of this funding has been awarded to the FA to support a safe restart of football. This funding will prioritise groups most impacted by Covid-19, including Women’s National League. This sector support was recently boosted by an extra £50m to help grassroots sports clubs and organisations as part of Sport England’s new strategy Uniting the Movement.

On 19 February, it was announced that women’s sport would also receive multi-million pound support through the Sport Winter Survival Package including £2.25m for the Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of reopening bowling alleys alongside non-essential retail and leisure businesses after the national covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021 ends.

The Prime Minister outlined the roadmap for reopening in England on 22 February 2021.


Step 3 of the roadmap will take place no earlier than 17 May, and at least 5 weeks after Step 2. Sectors which can reopen in Step 3 include indoor entertainment such as bowling alleys. COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and premises must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits.


DCMS officials continue to engage with representatives of the Ten-Pin Bowling Proprietor’s Association, along with several other visitor economy stakeholders through the Tourism Industry Council, to assess how we can most effectively support the sector’s reopening.



Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to encourage gym usage once public health restrictions are lifted.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. That’s why we have made sure that people can exercise throughout the national and local tiered restrictions. We will continue to promote exercise throughout the pandemic and encourage the usage of sports facilities including gyms when they are able to open again.

Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many sport clubs have benefited from. On top of wider economic support, the Government has announced a £100m support fund for local authority leisure centres to ensure these important facilities remain available once public health restrictions are lifted.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of permitting indoor one-to-one golf tuition under the covid-19 public health restrictions introduced on 2 December 2020 in England.

As the Prime Minister said on 23 November national restrictions ended on Wednesday 2 December, and gyms and sport facilities including golf courses are able to reopen across all tiers. One to one golf tuition indoors can take place across all tiers as long as strict social distancing is observed.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of the Youth Investment Fund is planned to be awarded to (a) Barnsley Central constituency, (b) Sheffield City Region and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber.

In the recently announced Spending Review £30m of the Youth Investment Fund was committed as capital investment for 2021-22. This will provide a transformational investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture. Further details on the plans for distribution will be announced in due course.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether fishing clubs located on private land can continue to operate under Tier 3 of the public health restrictions which come into effect on 2 December 2020.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. That’s why we made sure that people could exercise at least once a day even during the height of the first period of enhanced national restrictions and why we opened up grassroots sport and leisure facilities as soon as it was safe to do so.

Organised outdoor sport is exempt from legal gathering limits across all levels. This means that organised outdoor team sport and outdoor exercise classes, as well as outdoor licensed physical activity, can happen with any number of participants, as long as undertaken in line with published COVID-secure guidance. This includes fishing clubs located on private land.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of using a similar initiative to Kick it Out to tackle racism in cricket.

Racism or any form of discrimination has no place in cricket or wider society.Organisations such as Kick It Out play an important role in helping to tackle discrimination in local, national and international sport. It is ultimately for individual sports to decide on the appropriate initiatives for their circumstances.

The Government welcomes the steps taken by the English Cricket Board (ECB) in recent years to increase diversity in cricket, including the announcement in July this year around strengthening its Inclusion and Diversity Strategy.

There is still more to do, however, and we will continue to liaise with the ECB to ensure this issue is tackled effectively.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when Sport England plans to publish the findings of the joint review of code for sports governance.

Sport England and UK Sport began their joint review of the Code for Sports Governance in July 2020. Their aim is to publish the initial findings of the review in early 2021.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the level of (a) structural and (b) institutional racism in professional cricket.

Racism or any form of discrimination has no place in cricket or wider society.Organisations such as Kick It Out play an important role in helping to tackle discrimination in local, national and international sport. It is ultimately for individual sports to decide on the appropriate initiatives for their circumstances.

The Government welcomes the steps taken by the English Cricket Board (ECB) in recent years to increase diversity in cricket, including the announcement in July this year around strengthening its Inclusion and Diversity Strategy.

There is still more to do, however, and we will continue to liaise with the ECB to ensure this issue is tackled effectively.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
9th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to make an assessment of the effect of access restrictions at the National Archives on (a) historians and (b) the general public.

In line with Government guidance at the time, The National Archives was closed to the Public during the early stages of the COVID outbreak. I receive regular updates from The National Archives on the implementation of its reopening strategy, and current work to make its services safe for the public.

In order to be Covid-secure in line with scientific evidence, The National Archives has been forced to reduce the number of visitors to around 15% of usual capacity to allow for social distancing, and is implementing a 72-hour quarantine of accessed records. This inevitably impacts upon The National Archives’ ability to deliver its services as it ordinarily would. As well as this in-person service, The National Archives has continued free access to digital records through its Digital Downloads service, which has supported the download of over 1 million records by around 80,000 users since April 2020.

The measures which are currently in place are subject to weekly review and The National Archives are also undertaking surveys of users to take feedback on its provision, the results of which are shared with myself.

I appreciate that this reduced provision will have a particular impact on intensive users such as historians as well as the general public, but I and the Archives are cognizant of the need to balance the desire for greater access to public records with the need to ensure the continuing safety of The National Archives’ audiences. With this consideration in mind, I will continue to monitor the situation in collaboration with The National Archives.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to financially support (a) the events and exhibitions industry and (b) other sectors that are unable to open as a result of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

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

Businesses can continue to access the Government’s UK wide support package. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

As the Chancellor announced on 24 September, we are also offering affected businesses generous terms for the repayment of deferred taxes and government-backed loans, as well as extending the application window of the government-backed loan schemes.

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
Assistant Whip
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to provide financial support to English Football League football clubs through the 2020-21 season.

Ministers have spoken to all of the major spectator sports, including football, to see what they need, and have asked for detailed financial returns so the Government can understand what support they might need.

We have worked closely with football throughout the pandemic including getting the Premier League and English Football League back behind closed doors but we have been clear that we expect the game - where it can at the top tiers - to support itself. The Government will then focus our support on those in the sector most in need as a result of the October 1 decision.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on English Football League football clubs.

Ministers have spoken to all of the major spectator sports, including football, to see what they need, and have asked for detailed financial returns so the Government can understand what support they might need.

We have worked closely with football throughout the pandemic including getting the Premier League and English Football League back behind closed doors but we have been clear that we expect the game - where it can at the top tiers - to support itself. The Government will then focus our support on those in the sector most in need as a result of the October 1 decision.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional support his Department is providing to independent cinemas applying for the British Film Institute managed grant.

My officials are working closely with the British Film Institute (BFI) to ensure that appropriate support is in place for those independent cinema owners applying to the Culture Recovery Fund. We recognise that some independent cinema owners will not have had much experience applying for Government funding and as a result we have agreed with the BFI a range of measures to support their applications.

This includes detailed guidance notes, a robust supporting Q&A document, dedicated contact points to answer questions, and proactive engagement from the BFI’s Film Audience Network and its regional English Film Hubs to actively promote the Fund and support applicants through the required process. DCMS and the BFI have also been promoting the Fund through press and comms channels and encouraging potential applicants to apply. It is also positive that the industry has provided further support, with the UK Cinema Association setting up a series of meetings for their members to better understand the application process.

The Culture Recovery Fund is intended to support the nation’s most important national, regional, and local organisations and funding will not be available for every organisation. As such it is critical that we scrutinise applications against rigorous criteria and continue to act to support applications from all eligible cinemas.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to financially support bowling alleys during the covid-19 outbreak.

Bowling alleys have been permitted to reopen in line with Covid-19 Secure guidelines since 15th August, except in specific areas where local restrictions are in place.

Bowling alleys are able to benefit from the reduced rate of VAT which the Government has applied to attractions, accommodation and hospitality from 15 July 2020-12 January 2021. To support businesses - including bowling alleys - through Covid-19, the Government has also introduced a comprehensive support package, including business rates relief for eligible leisure businesses and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We have supported bowling alleys by working closely with stakeholders to develop further Covid-19 Secure reopening guidance for venues. Specific guidance on bowling alleys has been published within UKHospitality’s ‘COVID-19 Secure Guidelines for Hospitality Businesses.’ We continue to meet regularly with the wider sector through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce’s Sport and Visitor Economy working groups.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) (a) applied for funding through the DMO Resilience Fund and (b) were successful in their application.

The Destination Management Organisation (DMO) Resilience Fund awarded a total of £1.33m to eligible DMOs in England.

The fund has supported 56 DMOs. A further 23 applications were made which were unsuccessful as they did not meet the criteria.

The Government recognises that these remain extremely challenging conditions for tourism organisations across the country. We will continue to monitor the situation in the tourism sector as restrictions are eased, and I encourage DMOs to keep sharing information with VisitEngland and my Department.

DMOs have provided vital business support to local tourism organisations during this crisis, and will play a key role in helping our tourism industry recover.

List of DMOs who successfully applied to the fund and the amount awarded to them can be found on the attached table.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding has been awarded through the DMO Resilience Fund, by individual Destination Management Organisations.

The Destination Management Organisation (DMO) Resilience Fund awarded a total of £1.33m to eligible DMOs in England.

The fund has supported 56 DMOs. A further 23 applications were made which were unsuccessful as they did not meet the criteria.

The Government recognises that these remain extremely challenging conditions for tourism organisations across the country. We will continue to monitor the situation in the tourism sector as restrictions are eased, and I encourage DMOs to keep sharing information with VisitEngland and my Department.

DMOs have provided vital business support to local tourism organisations during this crisis, and will play a key role in helping our tourism industry recover.

List of DMOs who successfully applied to the fund and the amount awarded to them can be found on the attached table.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak on destination management organisations (DMO); and whether his Department plans to increase the level of funding provided through the DMO resilience fund.

The Destination Management Organisation (DMO) Resilience Fund awarded a total of £1.33m to eligible DMOs in England.

The fund has supported 56 DMOs. A further 23 applications were made which were unsuccessful as they did not meet the criteria.

The Government recognises that these remain extremely challenging conditions for tourism organisations across the country. We will continue to monitor the situation in the tourism sector as restrictions are eased, and I encourage DMOs to keep sharing information with VisitEngland and my Department.

DMOs have provided vital business support to local tourism organisations during this crisis, and will play a key role in helping our tourism industry recover.

List of DMOs who successfully applied to the fund and the amount awarded to them can be found on the attached table.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department plans to review the date for the re-opening of indoor gyms as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health. The Government is in discussions with representatives from the physical activity sector, and is working towards the re-opening of indoor sports venues and facilities, including gyms, as soon as it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department plans to review the date for the re-opening of swimming pools as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The government recognises the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and we agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by an understanding of the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on classical orchestras; and what support his Department is providing to those orchestras during the outbreak.

In order to support the sustainability of the Arts sector, including classical orchestras, 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 £140 million of support for artistic organisations including orchestras; and £20 million of financial support for individuals, including self-employed classical musicians, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. More than 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this emergency funding.

Furthermore, self-employed classical musicians are among the millions of people (including freelancers) who can now benefit from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which will provide those eligible with cash grants worth up to £2,500 per month. We expect that the Self-Employed Income Support scheme will cover 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

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

On the basis of that engagement, DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures that are needed to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector, including orchestras and classical musicians.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to safeguard people with epilepsy from online harm.

The Government published the initial response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation on 12 February 2020. This confirmed that the Government is developing legislation on online harms to establish a new duty of care on online companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. The duty of care will require companies to put appropriate systems and processes in place to deal with harmful content on their services to keep their users safe. We are aiming to publish a full government response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year, and this will include more detailed proposals on online harms regulation.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the safety of resuming coarse angling, whilst maintaining social distancing, during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is vital that people continue to be active during the Covid-19 outbreak to support their physical and mental health


Government advice on how people can remain active is clear. People are able to leave home for basic exercise once a day, for example for a walk, a cycle or a run, provided it is done in a way that meets the latest guidance on social distancing and advice on unnecessary social contact. This means it can be done by people on their own or with their households, not in groups. It is important that people do not go outside unless they have to, and that when they do, they are spending as little time outside as possible, and avoiding unnecessary travel.

Government is carefully reviewing the lockdown guidance over the coming days and weeks.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the financial situation of community radio stations following the outbreak of covid-19.

The Government is strongly supportive of the community radio sector and recognises the great value that it offers to communities across the United Kingdom, in terms of providing quality local news, information and entertainment.

The Government has today announced that the £400,000 Community Radio Fund administered by Ofcom will be used to provide a lifeline for radio stations hit hardest by the coronavirus. Relevant stations will be invited to bid for emergency grants through Ofcom to help meet their core costs.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has plans to increase the funding allocated to the Community Radio Fund to cover emergency payments to community radio stations following the outbreak of covid-19.

The Government is strongly supportive of the community radio sector and recognises the great value that it offers to communities across the United Kingdom, in terms of providing quality local news, information and entertainment.

The Government has today announced that the £400,000 Community Radio Fund administered by Ofcom will be used to provide a lifeline for radio stations hit hardest by the coronavirus. Relevant stations will be invited to bid for emergency grants through Ofcom to help meet their core costs.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department plans to coordinate a public health awareness campaign using local newspaper outlets during the outbreak of covid-19.

The Government recognises that news publishers, including local newspaper outlets, have a vital role to play in ensuring the provision of reliable, high-quality information to citizens during the current COVID-19 crisis. The need for independent, verifiable news and information is more essential than ever. The design and implementation of a public health awareness campaign is for the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health and Social Care to decide. However, the Government is clear that getting reliable information out to the public on this issue is a priority and that newspapers provide one of the vehicles for doing so.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the cultural sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced additional measures to support businesses and organisations that have been impacted by the pandemic. Details of which can be found below.

Government has been working round the clock to do whatever it takes to protect our people and businesses. That means that we are not only taking unprecedented action, but doing so at unprecedented speed, because we know that businesses and their employees need help now.

During the response to this outbreak, the Secretary of State and Minister for Digital and Culture have led a number of calls with representatives of the creative and cultural sectors, amongst other DCMS sectors, to understand the challenges that they are facing. There are plans for ongoing, regular contact with members and representatives of the cultural sector.

Officials are also continuing to engage with organisations regularly in order to best understand how Government can support the cultural and creative sectors and to discuss the practicalities and implications of policy measures. The Government has announced a number of measures to support the cultural sector as they handle the significant implications of the Covid-19 virus. In particular:

  • The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has already announced a host of measures to help businesses in this period with £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

  • £20bn of direct fiscal support for businesses in England through tax relief and cash grants to help business manage cash flow.

  • A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month. The scheme will be backdated to March 1 and available for at least three months, with first grants to be paid within weeks.

  • Deferral of the next quarter of VAT payments for firms, until the end of June - representing a £30bn injection for employers.

  • A package of temporary welfare measures, which when taken together with those announced at Budget provide over £6.5bn of additional support through the welfare system for people affected by COVID-19.

  • This comes on top of compensation for statutory sick pay that the Chancellor announced in the Budget.

  • Arts Council England have announced a £160m emergency response package, supported by Government funding, to complement the financial measures already announced by Government. It will help individuals and organisations focus on two things: sustaining their livelihoods and businesses, and where possible, developing creative responses to the Covid-19 crisis (e.g. participatory digital content for people self-isolating) to help buoy the public for its duration.

  • Alongside this injection of additional cash, at least until 30 June this year National Portfolio Organisations, Music Education Hubs and Creative People and Places programmes will continue to receive funding, with funding conditions relaxed as needed. Where possible, ACE will also advance grant payments to assist with cashflow, to relieve immediate financial pressure for those in need.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether Openreach agreed to the Cabinet and Pole Siting Code of Practice 2013.

BT Group, the parent company of Openreach, are signatories to the Cabinet and Pole Siting Code of Best Practice, along with The Planning Officers’ Society, Historic England, the UK Competitive Telecoms Association, Virgin Media and National Parks England. The Cabinet and Pole Siting Code of Best Practice was agreed in 2013 and revised in November 2016.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the regulation Openreach by Ofcom.

Ofcom is an independent regulator. Its Openreach Monitoring Unit oversees the legal separation of Openreach from BT and produces regular monitoring reports on progress. The Government considers these reports, as part of its ongoing assessment of whether legal separation is delivering better connectivity for consumers and contributing positively to the Government’s ambition to deliver national gigabit capable broadband as soon as possible.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what her Department's policy is on the decriminalisation of TV licence fee evasion.

On 5 February, the Government announced an 8 week consultation on whether to proceed with the decriminalisation of TV licence evasion by replacing the criminal sanction with an alternative civil enforcement scheme.

The Government believes that it is right to look again at whether the criminal sanction remains appropriate for TV licence fee evasion, given ongoing concerns about whether the criminal sanction is unfair and disproportionate.

Following careful consideration of the responses, the Government expects to publish a response by summer 2020.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the potential effect of an integrated transport system on the creative industries in South Yorkshire.

Strong transport connections are important to all businesses but particularly so for creative industries, which rely on bringing together creative talent. Growth of creative industries in particular locations benefits neighbouring areas and therefore support for creative hubs can boost the local economies around them. Furthermore, creative industries are overwhelmingly micro businesses and SMEs with a network of suppliers and collaborators including freelancers. For these networks to function effectively, communication links are critical.

South Yorkshire benefits from a number of fast-growing creative industries such as Sheffield’s strengths in digital, publishing and design alongside that of Sheffield’s universities widely recognised . South Yorkshire also neighbours other counties with fast-growing creative industries clusters including fashion in Leeds and film, TV, games and media in York, both of which have benefited from recent investment via the Arts & Humanities Research Council’s £100m Creative Industries Cluster Programme.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to support music venues in improving accessibility for disabled (a) audiences and (b) performers.

We believe everyone should have equal access to music, arts and culture and that opportunities should be available to all. We work with venues and organisations representing disabled people to identify barriers to access and; to consider what more cultural venues need to do to be accessible to people with disabilities.

We are supportive of the work being undertaken by Attitude is Everything which aims to improve deaf and disabled people’s access to live events, working in partnership with audiences, artists, and the music industry.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the South Yorkshire music industry.

The music industry is a vital part of the UK’s creative economy, contributing £5.2bn in 2018. We have taken a number of steps to support the industry UK-wide including reforming licensing; bolstering copyright protections; funding music education initiatives and addressing issues in secondary ticketing.

Arts Council England (ACE) are investing in a number of music focused programmes across South Yorkshire, including Higher Rhythm in Doncaster and Sheffield’s Abbeydale Picture House which is benefitting from the Supporting Grassroots Live Music funding. ACE also supports four music hubs across the region providing opportunities for children and young people to access music education.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

I have no immediate plans to visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park but I would be very happy to consider such a visit in the future. I’d like to congratulate Yorkshire Sculpture Park and its partners on last year’s successful Yorkshire Sculpture International, which was supported by Arts Council England. I have previously visited in a personal capacity, and hope to visit again in the future to hear more about their impressive education and outreach programmes, support for contemporary sculpture, and plans for the future.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with the Prime Minister on hosting the 2030 FIFA World Cup in the North of England.

The government will fully support the Football Associations in their plan to bid for the men's 2030 FIFA World Cup, including through investing an extra £550 million in grassroots football over the next 10 years. The government is committed to seeing the benefits of hosting the tournament spread across the country. The Prime Minister regularly engages with his ministers on all manifesto commitments.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to allocate additional local authority funding to support schools to provide (a) breakfast clubs and (b) after school clubs until the Breakfast Clubs programme procurement closes.

Earlier this year, we released an invitation to tender worth up to £24 million to continue our support for school breakfast clubs. This will enable our investment in school breakfast clubs to continue until 2023, making sure that thousands of children in disadvantaged areas have a healthy start to the day. The outcome from this procurement process will be available shortly. This builds on the investment of up to £38 million in school breakfast clubs which the government has delivered since 2018. The current contract is due to complete in July 2021, and the new procurement will enable our provision to continue seamlessly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of supporting more universities to offer foundation year courses on the Government’s levelling up agenda.

We recognise that foundation years can play an important role in enabling students with lower prior attainment, potentially from disadvantaged backgrounds, to access high tariff provision. We also recognise their role in allowing students to switch subjects. Some universities are already using high-quality foundation years in ways which provide good value for these students, and we are pleased to support such universities.

We are committed to ensuring that all foundation years continue to provide good value for money and provide a distinct benefit to students.

We plan to consult on further reforms to the higher education system, including the treatment of foundation years, in summer 2021, before setting out a full response to the report and final conclusion to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding alongside the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of universities that offer foundation year provision.

We recognise that foundation years can play an important role in enabling students with lower prior attainment, potentially from disadvantaged backgrounds, to access high tariff provision. We also recognise their role in allowing students to switch subjects. Some universities are already using high-quality foundation years in ways which provide good value for these students, and we are pleased to support such universities.

We are committed to ensuring that all foundation years continue to provide good value for money and provide a distinct benefit to students.

We plan to consult on further reforms to the higher education system, including the treatment of foundation years, in summer 2021, before setting out a full response to the report and final conclusion to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding alongside the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to increase the number of special educational needs and disabilities places in schools in the Barnsley Central constituency.

The statutory duty to provide sufficient school places, including for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), sits with local authorities. We are supporting local authorities to fulfil this duty by investing £300 million in the 2021-22 financial year to support local authorities to deliver new places and improve existing provision for children with SEND or who require alternative provision.

On 9 April 2021 we announced that Barnsley has been allocated almost £1.5 million of this funding via its High Needs Provision Capital Allocation. It will be for Barnsley to determine how best to use this funding to address their local priorities and local authorities are free to work with any schools in their area.

This funding is on top of the £365 million we invested nationally through the Special Provision Capital Fund between the 2018-19 and 2020-21 financial years, and our continued investment in the free schools programme. We are also providing an increase in revenue funding for those children and young people with more complex needs, of nearly a quarter (24%) over 2 years, bringing the total high needs budget to more than £8 billion in the 2021-22 financial year.

Further funding for new high needs places will be subject to the outcomes of the next government spending review, where we will have a chance to consider how we can best support the sector in the round.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps he has taken to help retain newly qualified teachers.

It is a top priority of the Government to ensure that we continue to attract, retain, and support the high-quality teachers we need to inspire the next generation. We continue to progress the delivery of the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy that the Government published in January 2019. Our strategy includes commitments to ensuring all teachers receive world-class training and development and are supported to stay and succeed in the profession.

Central to these reforms is the Early Career Framework (ECF) which is the biggest teaching reform in a generation. It will provide newly qualified teachers with a funded, two-year support package, and will be fully rolled out in autumn 2021. Early roll-out began in autumn 2020 and is taking place in selected areas: the North East, Greater Manchester, Bradford, and Doncaster.

The content of the ECF builds on and complements Initial Teacher Training and underpins what all early career teachers should be entitled to learn about and learn how to do, based on expert guidance and the best available research evidence. The ECF has been designed to support early career teacher development in five core areas, including behaviour management, to ensure that new teachers receive high-quality support and development during the first two years of their careers.

The offer for early career teachers includes:

  • 5% off timetable in their second year of teaching to undertake induction activities, including training and mentoring
  • Freely available high quality development materials based on the Early Career Framework
  • A dedicated mentor and training for these mentors
  • Funding for mentors to spend with early career teachers in the second year of induction

This is designed to ensure teachers feel more confident and in control at the start of their new career, and have the knowledge, skills and support they need for a strong start in the profession.

We are also taking a range of actions to address teacher workload and wellbeing, including improving access to resources, building wellbeing into teacher training and policy making, and the creation of the first ever Education Staff Wellbeing Charter which will be published at the earliest opportunity this year. We continue to assess the impact of policy changes and requests to schools on workload, working to reduce that impact wherever possible, for example, by reviewing data collections, services and requests.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, on average how many looked after children have received custodial sentences in each of the last 10 years.

The information held by the department covers children aged 10 years or over, who were looked after for at least 12 months, who were convicted or subject to youth cautions, or youth conditional cautions during each year. The figures are shown in the table below:

Number of children aged 10 years or over who were looked after for at least 12 months who were convicted or subject to youth cautions, or youth conditional cautions during the year in England[1]

Year ending 31 March

Number looked after for at least 12 months aged 10 to 17 at 31 March[2]

Number convicted or subject to youth cautions, or youth conditional cautions during the year[2]

2020

39,620

1,160

2019

38,090

1,280

2018

36,730

1,510

2017

35,090

1,590

2016

33,120

1,640

2015

31,800

1,630

2014

30,650

1,690

2013

29,840

1,830

2012

29,790

2,070

2011

30,280

2,200

Source: SSDA903

The latest information on children looked after in England is contained in the ‘Children looked after in England’ statistics release, which is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions.

[1] Figures include children aged 10 to 17 years who have been continuously looked after for at least 12 months as at 31 March. Figures exclude children who were looked after under an agreed series of short-term placements.

[2] Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recent National Education Union polling showing that one in three teachers in the UK plans to leave the profession within five years.

It is a top priority of the Government to ensure that we continue to attract, retain and support the great teachers we need to educate the next generation. The Government is moving forward with delivery of the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy that was published in January 2019. This includes commitments to reduce teacher workload, improve continuing professional development, and create greater opportunities for flexible working.

We have started to roll out the Early Career Framework (ECF) – the biggest teaching reform in a generation – providing the foundations for a successful career in teaching, backed by up to £130 million a year in funding when fully rolled out. Early roll-out began in autumn 2020 and is taking place in selected areas: the North East, Greater Manchester, Bradford, and Doncaster.

The new initial teacher training (ITT) Core Content Framework, which was implemented from September 2020, is a mandatory core minimum entitlement for all trainees and will work coherently with the ECF to ensure all new teachers benefit from at least 3 years of evidence-based training, across ITT and into induction.

We are also launching new National Professional Qualifications from September 2021, offering high-quality professional development for teachers and school leaders at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in specialist areas of teaching practice, to those leading multiple schools across trusts.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many laptops had been supplied to schools under the Get Help with Technology programme and predecessor programmes aimed at supporting schools through the covid-19 outbreak, by each local education authority in the UK as of (a) 1 September 2020, (b) 20 December 2020 and (c) 1 April 2021.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including making 1.3 million laptops and tablets available for disadvantaged children and young people.

To date, over 1.29 million laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools, academy trusts, local authorities and further education colleges.

The Department has partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help over 30,000 disadvantaged children get online as well as delivering over 75,000 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.

Data on the number of laptops, tablets and 4G routers distributed by the Get Help with Technology Programme to local authorities has been published periodically over the duration of the programme and can be found through this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/laptops-and-tablets-progress-data-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many Looked After Children attend (a) university and (b) further education from (i) Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and (ii) the UK in the latest period for which data is available.

The information is not held centrally in the form requested. The department does not collect information on the educational activity of all looked after children. Information is held on the number of care leavers aged 17 to 21 years old who are in higher education or other types of education on or around their birthday.

The number of care leavers (full-time and part-time) aged 17 to 21, who were in higher education in Barnsley local authority and England in the year ending 31 March 2020 or in ‘education other than higher education’ are shown in the table.

Number of care leavers aged 17 to 21 in education12

Care leavers in Barnsley and England

Year ending 31 March 2020

All care leavers

Higher Education

Other than Higher Education

Barnsley Local Authority

90

C3

30

England

42,960

2,230

11,530

  1. Education ‘other than higher education’ refers to all studies excluding degrees, diplomas in higher education, teaching and nursing qualifications, HNDs, ONDs, and BTEC levels 4-5, all of which fall under the category of higher education.
  2. The definition of a care leaver is a young person who has been ‘looked after’ at some point since they were 14 years old, and were in care on or after their 16th birthday. Care leavers are entitled to some ongoing help and support from Children’s Services after they leave care. The leaving care age in England is 18 years old, however some young people do leave care aged 16 or 17.
  3. c = suppressed to protect confidentiality

The latest information on children looked after in England, including the number of care leavers in education on 31 March 2020, is contained in the Children looked after in England statistics release, which is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions.

Figures on children looked after outside England is a matter for the devolved administrations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he is providing to help looked after children secure a place in (a) higher and (b) further education.

Improving the academic attainment of looked after children in school is vital to increasing their subsequent participation in further and higher education. Every local authority in England must appoint a Virtual School Head, who has a statutory duty to promote the educational achievement of all children in their care up to the age of 18. Virtual School Heads have made a significant impact since they were introduced by statute in 2014, bringing expert leadership to the system that has seen a very significant reduction in permanent expulsions and absenteeism and improved educational progress. All looked after children, up to age 18, must also have a personal education plan. This should include careers advice and financial information about further and higher education, training, and employment.

Children in care and care leavers are a priority group for receipt of the 16 to 19 bursary, which provides up to £1,200 a year to help meet the financial costs of participating in further education.

If care leavers attend university, local authorities are required to provide a minimum £2,000 bursary and provide, or meet the costs of, accommodation during non-term times. As with other students, care leavers can request a maintenance loan to cover their living costs and a student loan to cover their course fees. In addition, many universities provide additional support for care leavers. In 2019, the department published the care leaver higher education principles for higher education institutions, which identify the areas where care leavers need extra support to access and succeed in higher education, with examples of best practice from across the sector. Further information on these is available here: https://mycovenant.org.uk/offers/educational/.

We have also launched the Care Leaver Covenant, which provides a way for organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors to show their commitment to care leavers through providing concrete offers of support. In total, 67 further education colleges and higher education institutions have signed the Care Leaver Covenant and published their offer to care leavers.

At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, wrote to universities and other providers of higher education to highlight the vulnerability of care leavers and estranged students and asked them to prioritise these groups for additional support. We have also prioritised care leavers for the receipt of laptops and data packages, distributed to local authorities in summer 2020 to allocate to vulnerable children and young people in their local areas, to help them to access education online and keep in touch with their support networks.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he is providing to schools during the covid-19 outbreak to support children with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been extremely challenging for many families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and schools who support them. Mainstream and special schools, special post 16-providers and alternative provision remained open to vulnerable children and young people throughout the third national lockdown, including those with education, health and care plans. Due to this, many specialist settings continued to offer face-to-face provision for the vast majority of, if not all of, their pupils and students.

To support those settings, we published guidance, which we regularly update, to provide additional information and support for delivering education in these settings.

In June last year, we introduced a COVID-19 catch-up premium worth £650 million to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. Head teachers decide how this premium is spent (for example, on educational psychologists, speech and language therapy and access to technology). Schools can prioritise funding support for SEND.

On 24 February, the government announced a new £700 million package for a range of additional measures to give early years settings, schools, providers of 16-19 education – including specialist settings – the tools they need to target support for all students.

Specific targeted support for children and young people with SEND includes a new one-off Recovery Premium for state primary and secondary schools, building on the Pupil Premium, which will be provided to schools to use as they see best to support disadvantaged students. This funding can be used to lay on additional clubs or activities or for other evidence-based approaches for supporting the most disadvantaged pupils, including those with SEND, from September.

To support schools with delivering remote education, the department made £4.84 million available for the Oak National Academy, both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20 and the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects. Specialist content for pupils with SEND is available. Additionally, the Oak National Academy offers therapy-based lessons and resources across occupational, physical, sensory and speech and language therapy, which can be accessed at this link: https://classroom.thenational.academy/specialist.

We have also funded the National Star College to launch their SEND Hub, providing advice and guidance on ways to ensure the curriculum is accessible and inclusive for all.

Finally, through our funding of the Whole School SEND consortium in the financial year 2021-22, we have provided resources for families and schools and training for teachers to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in the last contract year. The funding in the financial year 2021-22 will bring the total funding for this contract to over £8 million.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many Special Educational Needs and Disabilities places are available in schools in (a) Yorkshire and Humber and (b) England as at 23 March 2021.

The statutory duty to provide sufficient school places, including for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) sits with local authorities. We provide funding for all the places that are needed, based on local authorities’ own data. We have announced nearly £500 million to provide places needed for 2023. This funding is on top of over £8.1 billion to provide places needed from 2015 to 2022 and our investment in the Free Schools programme. School capacity published data estimates that, as at May 2019, local authorities in Yorkshire and Humber still needed to provide a further 8,644 places by September 2021. Funding is allocated at local authority level. The local authorities within Yorkshire and Humber have been allocated £1 billion to provide new school places between 2011 and 2023.

In addition to this funding, we are investing £300 million in 2021-22 for new places for children with SEND or who require alternative provision. This funding is on top of £365 million allocated to local authorities through the Special Provision Capital Fund across 2018-19 to 2020-21, with local authorities across Yorkshire and the Humber receiving nearly £22 million through this fund. Funding for future years will be determined as part of the next Spending Review.

The majority of children with special educational needs[1] (SEN) are educated in mainstream settings[2]. Of those identified in state-funded education[3] as either requiring SEN Support (983,559) or who have an education, health and care plan (269,022), 1,125,476 are currently educated in mainstream settings in England. This trend is replicated in the Yorkshire and Humber region, where 116,079 of 126,703 children requiring SEN support or have an education, health and care plan are in mainstream settings.

Under the SEND Code of Practice 2015, all mainstream schools are under a duty to use their best endeavours to support children with SEN (whether or not the child has an education, health and care plan). The Children and Families Act 2014 requires local authorities to keep the provision for children and young people with SEND under review (including its sufficiency), working with parents, young people, and providers.

[1] We collect data on pupils with a special educational need (SEN). This does not cover all disabilities and pupils may have a disability without a special educational need.

[2] Mainstream refers to state-funded primary and secondary schools only.

[3] State-funded refers to state-funded primary, secondary and special schools only.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities places available in schools in (a) Yorkshire and Humber and (b) England.

The statutory duty to provide sufficient school places, including for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) sits with local authorities. We provide funding for all the places that are needed, based on local authorities’ own data. We have announced nearly £500 million to provide places needed for 2023. This funding is on top of over £8.1 billion to provide places needed from 2015 to 2022 and our investment in the Free Schools programme. School capacity published data estimates that, as at May 2019, local authorities in Yorkshire and Humber still needed to provide a further 8,644 places by September 2021. Funding is allocated at local authority level. The local authorities within Yorkshire and Humber have been allocated £1 billion to provide new school places between 2011 and 2023.

In addition to this funding, we are investing £300 million in 2021-22 for new places for children with SEND or who require alternative provision. This funding is on top of £365 million allocated to local authorities through the Special Provision Capital Fund across 2018-19 to 2020-21, with local authorities across Yorkshire and the Humber receiving nearly £22 million through this fund. Funding for future years will be determined as part of the next Spending Review.

The majority of children with special educational needs[1] (SEN) are educated in mainstream settings[2]. Of those identified in state-funded education[3] as either requiring SEN Support (983,559) or who have an education, health and care plan (269,022), 1,125,476 are currently educated in mainstream settings in England. This trend is replicated in the Yorkshire and Humber region, where 116,079 of 126,703 children requiring SEN support or have an education, health and care plan are in mainstream settings.

Under the SEND Code of Practice 2015, all mainstream schools are under a duty to use their best endeavours to support children with SEN (whether or not the child has an education, health and care plan). The Children and Families Act 2014 requires local authorities to keep the provision for children and young people with SEND under review (including its sufficiency), working with parents, young people, and providers.

[1] We collect data on pupils with a special educational need (SEN). This does not cover all disabilities and pupils may have a disability without a special educational need.

[2] Mainstream refers to state-funded primary and secondary schools only.

[3] State-funded refers to state-funded primary, secondary and special schools only.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the quality of teaching and learning at Northern College in Barnsley.

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to the hon. Member for Barnsley Central directly and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to include education on gender-based violence in schools.

The Department is supporting all young people to be happy, healthy, safe, equipped for adult life, able to understand the world they are growing up in, and able to make a positive contribution to society.

Relationship Education is now compulsory for all primary school pupils, Relationships and Sex Education compulsory for all secondary school pupils, and Health Education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools. The new subjects are being taught from the start of this academic year, and the latest statutory guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

High quality teaching of these subjects will ensure that children understand what positive, healthy, and respectful relationships look like and help to prevent abuse and gender- based violence. The starting principle when teaching these subjects must be the applicable law. The Department wants pupils to develop a clear understanding of their rights, including how to recognise unhealthy or abusive relationships. We also want schools to support pupils who have experienced unsafe or abusive relationships and approach these subjects with sensitivity.

To support teachers to deliver these topics safely and with confidence we have produced Relationship, Sex and Health Education teacher training modules. Each module covers safeguarding to make sure teachers, pastoral staff and the designated safeguarding leads are equipped to deal with sensitive discussions and potential disclosures. Additionally, to help schools implement a whole school approach to promoting healthy relationships and tackling gender-based violence, the Department has developed a ‘Respectful Schools Tool’. The tool is designed to help schools deliver on a range of existing equalities, behaviour, bullying and safeguarding duties.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the potential effect of gender-based violence education in schools on helping to reduce the number of (a) adults convicted of a sexual offence and (b) victims of sexual assault.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, meets regularly with Cabinet colleagues to discuss the Department's agenda.

Tackling gender-based violence is a top priority for the Government and we are determined to step up our response to prevent these crimes and improve support and outcomes for victims.

The Department welcomes the re-opening of the Home Office’s consultation on Violence Against Women and Girls and would encourage everyone to take part, if they have not already done so. We will continue to work closely with the Home Office on the development of the Government’s forthcoming Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy, which will be informed by the responses received to the call for evidence. The new VAWG Strategy will focus on prevention, drive forward improvements in the effort to target perpetrators, respond to the changing nature of crimes against women and girls and, most importantly, will continue to put victims at the heart of our approach.

The Department is supporting teachers to deliver the new Relationship, Sex and Health Education with confidence, including covering issues such as rape, harassment and abuse in the newly published Being Safe module.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of (a) schools, (b) further education providers and (c) universities recording and publishing the number of sexual abuse cases experienced by students for the safety of female students.

Any form of harassment, violence or sexual assault is abhorrent and unacceptable anywhere in society, including in our schools, colleges and universities, which should be safe and inclusive environments.

There is already a strong and clear framework in place for schools and colleges, which sets out what they should be doing in terms of recording and reporting (to the police and children's social care, as required) in sexual abuse cases.

This is set out in ‘Keeping children safe in education’ (KCSIE), which is the statutory guidance to which all schools and colleges must have regard to when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2. It sets out a framework for information recording, collection and sharing. This includes, amongst other things, that all concerns, discussions and decisions made, and the reasons for those decisions, should be recorded in writing and that staff should speak to their Designated Safeguarding Lead if they have any doubts about this requirement.

To further support schools and colleges, we have published departmental advice on what sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges looks like, how to prevent it, how to respond to reports of it, and on how to support victims. This information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sexual-violence-and-sexual-harassment-between-children-in-schools-and-colleges.

We regularly consult on KCSIE to see where we might be able to strengthen it. Our latest consultation was launched on 10 December 2020 and closed on 4 March 2021. At the same time, we also sought views on revisions to the stand-alone advice on sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges. We are now analysing those responses and revised guidance is expected to come into force in September 2021.

Higher Education (HE) providers are autonomous, and have clear responsibilities, including under the Equality Act 2010, and should have robust policies and procedures in place to comply with the law, and to investigate and swiftly address reports of sexual misconduct.

The government already urges university leaders to ensure a zero-tolerance approach to all harassment and sexual misconduct and improve the systems for reporting incidents. The government also urges HE providers to collect comprehensive accurate data on harassment incidents, and continue to break down barriers to reporting, in spite of the potential for this to lead to initial spikes in reported instances.

The Universities UK ‘Changing the Culture' framework 2016 report made a number of recommendations on tackling harassment and hate crime on campus, including on improving reporting rates and mechanisms for disclosure in HE providers. These included that relevant internal and external support should be signposted, and that reporting procedures should be centralised, accessible, and allow for anonymity if preferred, as well as enabling accurate data to be captured to determine the scale of a problem and track year on-year trends. The report can be found here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2016/changing-the-culture.pdf.

The Office for Students has recently made a statement on next steps for tackling harassment and hate crime in higher education, including plans for publication of its statement of expectations on harassment and hate crime. This is available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/student-wellbeing-and-protection/prevent-and-address-harassment-and-sexual-misconduct/statement-of-expectations/.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of access to (a) first steps and (b) community learning on disadvantaged adults in South Yorkshire; and what recent steps his Department has taken to support those people.

Community learning, funded through the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and Adult Education Budget (AEB), provides a way of progressing to further learning, training or employment, particularly for disadvantaged learners.

The ESFA community learning objectives require providers to prioritise disadvantaged learners. It is an important stepping stone, particularly for these learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, learners with low basic skills, learners with mental health issues, and learners facing financial hardship.

Community learning is funded through the AEB which aims to engage adults and provide the skills and learning they need to equip them for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. Colleges and training providers have the freedom and flexibility to determine how they use their community learning, to determine how best to meet their learners' needs.

Currently, approximately half of the AEB has been devolved to seven Combined Mayoral Authorities (CMAs) and the Mayor of London, acting where appropriate through the Greater London Authority (GLA). Devolution of the AEB gives CMAs and the GLA direct control over adult education provision for their residents and provides local areas the opportunity to better meet local needs. The ESFA is responsible for funding AEB learners resident in non-devolved areas including South Yorkshire currently.

Sheffield City Region is due to take on adult education functions from the 2021/22 academic year. We will continue to work with Sheffield City Region to support their preparations for devolution.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will provide additional support to Northern College in Barnsley to help ensure the future sustainability of residential provision at that College.

I refer the hon. Member for Barnsley Central to the answer I gave on 4 March 2021 to Question 160672, which is available here: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-01/160672.

Due to concerns with Northern College’s future financial position, the Further Education Commissioner undertook a diagnostic assessment at the College on 15 and 16 February 2021.

The Commissioner and the Education and Skills Funding Agency are now working with the leadership at Northern College as they consider options to improve their financial situation. They will also work with Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, who will provide most of the College’s funding from August 2021 through the devolved Adult Education Budget, to ensure they are closely sighted on steps taken to try and secure a sustainable financial future for the College.

It will be for the two Combined Authorities to agree the value of the Adult Education Budget that Northern College will receive in future academic years. This income will be key to the financial sustainability of the College moving forward.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department issued to schools for the return of clinically extremely vulnerable students as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Department for Education has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England to develop our guidance, which can be found at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

DHSC are the lead department on shielding and clinical vulnerability policy. We work closely with them on the policy for clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) staff and students. DHSC and PHE guidance for CEV people sets out which additional measures people in this group need to take: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

The advice for pupils who have been confirmed as CEV is to shield and stay at home as much as possible until 31 March. They are advised not to attend school while shielding advice applies. The guidance for CEV individuals is advisory, although they are strongly advised to follow the advice in order to keep themselves safe.

Schools are required to provide remote education to pupils who are unable to attend school because they are complying with government guidance, as provided for in the Remote Education Temporary Continuity Direction. This can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remote-education-temporary-continuity-direction-explanatory-note.

As outlined in our guidance, where CEV individuals are shielding, it is important that schools put systems in place to keep in contact with them, offer pastoral support and check they are able to access education support.

CEV advice applies to individuals and not households. Those living with someone who is CEV, but who are not CEV themselves, can attend education, but they should ensure that they maintain good prevention practice in the workplace and home settings.

The Department has published information for parents and carers on remote education and on how they can best support their child while learning from home. This includes resources and advice to help parents and carers on how to establish a routine with their child, and how best to support mental health and wellbeing during this period: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supporting-your-childrens-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19?priority-taxon=b350e61d-1db9-4cc2-bb44-fab02882ac25.

Additionally, we published information for parents and carers about attending schools, nurseries and colleges in the spring term 2021. This can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the future sustainability of residential provision at Northern College in Barnsley.

Due to concerns with Northern College’s future financial situation, the Further Education Commissioner undertook a diagnostic assessment of the college on 15 and 16 February.

Recommendations in the Commissioner’s report will include actions the college needs to take to explore structural change in order to secure a sustainable delivery model. The Commissioner and the Education and Skills Funding Agency will work with the leadership at Northern College as they consider these options and their plans for improving the financial stability of the college. They will also work with both combined authorities to ensure they are closely sighted on steps taken to try and secure a sustainable financial future for the college.

Northern College receives the majority of its funding through the Adult Education Budget (AEB). This budget will be devolved to Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority and West Yorkshire Combined Authority from August 2021 and it will be for the two combined authorities to agree the value of the AEB that Northern College will receive. This income will be key to the financial sustainability of the college.

The specific steps the department will take will emerge over the next few weeks and officials will ensure that both combined authorities are kept informed.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the (a) potential merits of increasing the number of SME businesses involved in apprenticeship schemes and (b) potential effect on the economy of such an increase.

The government recognises the enormous value that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute to the UK economy. We will make sure that training for apprentices in smaller employers is properly funded, to drive up the number of apprenticeship opportunities available in SMEs across the country. In 2021-22 financial year funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England is £2.5 billion – double what was spent in 2010-11. This includes funding for employers that do not pay the levy, who will continue to be able to access funding for 95% of apprenticeship training and assessment costs.

To help employers of all sizes offer new apprenticeships, they are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for new apprentices aged 25 and over between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021 as part of the government’s Plan for Jobs.

We are improving the system so that levy paying employers can more easily transfer their funds to support apprenticeships in other employers, particularly in SMEs where there is significant potential for job creation. From August 2021, employers who pay the levy will be able to transfer levy funds in bulk to other employers, including SMEs, with a new pledge function, supported by a new online service to match levy payers with SMEs. This will enable levy paying employers to support apprenticeship starts in their supply chains and help meet local or sectorial skills needs.

From 1 April 2021 all SMEs arranging new apprenticeship starts will do so through the apprenticeship service, giving them more control over their apprenticeship choices and the ability to reserve funds before choosing the provider that best meets their needs.

We continue to work with smaller employers to give them the confidence and support to take on new apprentices.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of students taking on apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships provide people with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start an exciting career in a wide range of industries, everything from artificial intelligence, archaeology, data science, business management, and banking. We want more people to benefit from high-quality apprenticeships.

On 21 January 2021 we published the Skills for Jobs White Paper focused on giving people the skills they need, in a way that suits them, so they can get great jobs in sectors the economy needs and boost this country’s productivity. Our reforms will build on our successful apprenticeship reforms, where a focus on employer needs and standards transformed apprenticeships into a prestigious choice. A key aim of the White Paper is to continue to improve and grow apprenticeships, so more employers and individuals can benefit from them.

To encourage more students to consider apprenticeships, we are promoting apprenticeships in schools through our Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge programme. This free service provides schools and teachers with resources and interventions to help better educate young people about apprenticeships. In addition, a provider access law, introduced in January 2018 and commonly known as the ‘Baker Clause’, requires all maintained schools and academies to publish a policy statement setting out opportunities for providers of technical education and apprenticeships to visit schools to talk to all year 8-13 pupils, and to make sure the statement is followed. In the Skills for Jobs white paper, the department announced the introduction of a 3-point-plan to enforce the Baker Clause. This includes creating clear minimum legal requirements, specifying who is to be given access to which pupils and when. This is an important step towards real choice for every pupil.

We are also working with the Department for Work and Pensions to enable Kickstart placements to turn into apprenticeships where that is the right thing for the employer and the young person. We have made a special provision to allow employers taking on Kickstarters as apprentices to be eligible for the incentive payment, supporting a pathway between the schemes.

We are supporting the largest ever expansion of traineeships, providing an additional 30,000 places in the 2020-21 academic year, to ensure that more young people have access to high-quality training to develop skills, experience, and confidence to obtain an apprenticeship. We are developing traineeships in construction and rail to support young people to transition into apprenticeships in these sectors. We have introduced £1,000 incentive payments for employers who offer traineeship work placement opportunities between 1 September 2020 and 31 July 2021.


Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions his Department has had with the (a) Department for Work and Pensions and (b) Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the effect of the Skills for Jobs white paper reforms on future employment.

Officials in the department have met regularly with other departments before and after the publication of the Skills for Jobs White Paper, including officials at the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Further engagement is also planned in order to oversee implementation and ensure the proposals in the white paper deliver productivity growth and improved future employment outcomes.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to include (a) Mayoral Combined Authorities and (b) Local Enterprise Partnerships in the implementation of the reforms set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper.

The Skills for Jobs White Paper sets out a number of reforms that will support people to get the skills our economy needs throughout their lives, wherever they live in the country. This is an aim shared by Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships for their communities.

Our reforms, including the introduction of new Local Skills Improvement Plans, will build on the work that Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships have done through their establishment of Skills Advisory Panels. We will work closely with all local areas when developing and trailblazing our reforms. In the case of Mayoral Combined Authorities, their responsibilities for delivering adult education functions will continue without change.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to support children’s mental health when schools reopen as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

We know that the COVID-19 outbreak and the associated measures and restrictions, such as social distancing and school closures, will be impacting on the mental wellbeing of many people, including children and young people. The government has made student wellbeing and mental health a central part of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the support we have already put in place for schools, colleges and universities will be critical during this time.

The return to school for all pupils is being prioritised due to the significant and proven impact caused by being out of school, including on wellbeing. The support schools provide to their pupils as they return to face-to-face education should include time devoted to supporting wellbeing, which will play a fundamental part in supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing recovery. The expectations for schools in this regard are set out clearly in the main Department for Education guidance to schools which also signposts further support, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

We are also providing support and training to schools through the £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme, a Department for Education-led initiative alongside Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Higher Education England, Public Health England and key voluntary sector organisations. It is funding local experts to provide training, advice and resources for schools and further education providers to help support pupil and student, parent and carer, and staff wellbeing, resilience, and recovery in light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown. Over 90% of local authority areas in England have reported they are delivering additional training and support into local schools and further education providers because of the Wellbeing for Education Return funding and have been continuing to do so remotely.

We have also put in place a £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package with £650 million shared across early years, schools and 16-19 providers over the 2020/21 academic year to support education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place. The Education Endowment Foundation have published a COVID-19 support guide to support schools to direct this funding, which includes further information about interventions to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

In addition to this, the return to school for all pupils from 8 March 2021 will be supported with a new £700 million package, which includes a new one-off Recovery Premium for state primary, secondary and special schools to use as they see best to support disadvantaged students. This will help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a one-off boost to the support, both academic and pastoral, that has been proved most effective in helping them recover from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department for Education and DHSC have convened a Mental Health in Education Action Group. The purpose of the action group is to look across the age ranges at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on children, young people and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities.

Furthermore, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, appointed Dr Alex George (an A&E Doctor) as Youth Mental Health Ambassador to advise government and raise the profile of mental health education and wellbeing in schools, colleges and universities. As Youth Mental Health Ambassador, he will use his clinical expertise and personal experience to champion the government’s work on children’s and young people’s mental health and shape policy on improving support for young people in schools, colleges and universities.

In the long term, we remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with DHSC and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Office for Students report on digital poverty will be published.

On 23 June 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, commissioned Sir Michael Barber in his capacity as Chair of the Office for Students (OfS) to lead a review of digital teaching and learning in higher education (HE).

The review is considering opportunities for innovation in the delivery of HE in the medium and long term and will explore how HE providers can ensure that all students have access to a high-quality digital teaching and learning experience.

The review is in the final stages and will be published shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer about providing financial support to university students during covid-19; and what support is being provided for students' (a) mental health and (b) remote learning.

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

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

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

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

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

On 13 January 2021, I wrote to the OfS, the regulator for HE providers in England. I outlined government expectations of the HE sector: universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have the resources to study remotely.

The OfS does not get involved in individual student complaints. Students can, however, notify the OfS of issues that may be of regulatory interest to it. These are called ‘notifications’. The OfS uses this information as part of its regulatory monitoring activity and keep HE providers under review to ensure that they comply with the ongoing conditions of registration.

OfS has produced a guide for students to support them in this process: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/office-for-students-notifications/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department made of the effect of recording vulnerable children under a separate attendance code where they have opted for remote learning on their (a) attendance record and (b) college applications.

Attendance at school is a protective factor and is beneficial for children’s education, welfare, and long-term development, which is why vulnerable children are strongly encouraged to attend so that they can receive support during this period.

If parents of vulnerable children do not want their child to attend school, we have made clear that schools should grant a leave of absence given the exceptional circumstances, so no pupil is unfairly penalised for their absence. Moreover, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has issued a temporary disapplication notice to suspend the offences related to absence from school so parents cannot be sanctioned for their child’s absence at this time.

Additionally, last year, the Department amended regulations to remove the requirement on schools to report on pupils’ attendance for academic year 2019/20 in pupils’ reports and advised schools to take a proportionate approach in deciding what information to include. Where a pupil is no longer of compulsory school age, and is leaving school, headteachers must provide a school leaver’s report containing brief particulars of the pupil’s progress and achievements in subjects and activities forming part of the school curriculum.

In light of the disruption to school attendance again this year, we will review and provide further advice to schools about what should be included in pupils’ attendance records in end of year and school leavers' reports to ensure no pupil is unfairly penalised for their attendance during the current restrictions.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on increasing funding for vocational education.

The department has regular engagement with my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and HM Treasury in respect of technical and vocational education.

The government has made major investments in technical education and announced on 31 August 2019 that it would invest an extra £400 million in 16-19 education in 2020-21. This is the largest injection of money in a single year since 2010. As part of this, the base rate of 16-19 funding increased by 4.7% in academic year 2020/21, from £4,000 to £4,188. Extra funding was been made available for more expensive and high value subjects, boosting funding for vocational areas such as construction, engineering, manufacturing and ICT.

A further £291 million was made available in the 2020 Spending Review, enabling these higher rates and additional funding elements to be maintained in 2021/22 allocations.

New T Levels will transform technical education in this country, and we announced in 2017 that these new programme would be backed by an additional £500 million of investment every year when fully rolled out, supporting the extra hours of delivery and high quality industry placements that these programmes incorporate.

We are continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) (£1.34 billion in 2020/21).

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced £375 million for the National Skills Fund at the Spending Review in November 2020. This includes £95 million funding for a new level 3 adult offer and £43 million for Skills Bootcamps. Investment in skills through the National Skills Fund is vital, ensuring adults have the opportunity to progress into higher wage employment and to support those who need to, the opportunity to retrain at different points throughout their lives.

From April 2021, we will be supporting any adult aged 24 and over who wants to achieve their first full level 3 qualification – equivalent to two A levels, or a technical certificate or diploma – to access nearly 400 fully funded courses. Complementing the Level 3 adult offer, the Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. Skills Bootcamps have the potential to transform the skills landscape for adults and employers.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of his Further Education Reform White Paper on the future role of Skills Advisory Networks (a) for understanding local skills needs and (b) in the South Yorkshire economy.

We have considered the implications for the 36 Skills Advisory Panels across the country and will not make any changes at this time.

Our reforms will build on the work the Panels have been doing to date to understand local skills needs, including the Local Skills Reports due to be published at the end of March. We plan to continue funding all Panels, including Sheffield City Region’s Skills Advisory Network, as we trailblaze Local Skills Improvement Plans in a small number of areas.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the progress being made on tackling the digital divide for further education students in South Yorkshire.

For students in further education across England, we have extended the Get Help with Technology service to provide support with devices and connectivity. We have allocated over 82,000 laptops and tablets to further education providers. Secondary schools with sixth forms have also received devices for their 16-19 pupils.

Colleges and other further education institutions are eligible to receive devices where they have students aged 16-19 who are in receipt of free school meals, and where they have students aged 19 and over with an education, health and care plan who are also in receipt of free school meals. Further education providers will own the laptops and tablets provided under this scheme and can lend these to the young people who need them the most. All further education providers with eligible students have already been invited to order devices and orders are currently being fulfilled within 5 working days.

Once providers have joined the service and placed an order for devices, they will also be eligible to request 4G wireless routers for financially disadvantaged students who do not have a broadband connection at home.

Prior to extending the Get Help with Technology service to further education, we encouraged providers to use their 16-19 bursary funding to purchase devices and connectivity for disadvantaged students aged 16-19 where this is a barrier to learning. During the summer term last year, additional bursary funding was made available to providers via a business case process to provide further support with the additional costs arising from students participating online.

We are also in regular discussions with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the coverage of high-speed internet connectivity and affordability to tackle data poverty, as well as working with Department for Work and Pensions to test approaches to help low-income families to get online and stay online.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on progress on tackling the digital divide.

The Department is in constant communication with colleagues at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on tackling the digital divide. The Department also plays an active role in the DCMS led “Digital Skills Partnership Computing in Schools” group. The Co-Chairs of this group have recently had a letter of support from my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, for their work on improving the value of digital skills and digital careers awareness.

In the immediate term, as part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

The Department has also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the number of supply teaching staff not enrolled on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on the recruitment and retention of teaching staff in the (a) 2020-21 and (b) 2021-22 academic years.

The Department does not hold data on the number of supply teachers that have, or conversely have not, accessed support via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has released estimates of the number, and value, of claims made to the CJRS. This outlines the number of companies, and employees who have been supported by the CJRS by employment sector, including education. However, the statistical release does not provide data on specific job roles within a sector.

CJRS statistics can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-december-2020.

The Department does not hold data on the total number of supply teachers. Officials continue to engage with suppliers on the Department and Crown Commercial Service’s supply teacher framework to monitor demand and capacity.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department plans to provide to children leaving local authority care for the financial year 2020-21.

All local authority duties to care leavers will continue to be provided, including ensuring that a Personal Adviser is appointed to support them to make the transition from care to independence. Local authorities are also required to provide support to help care leavers to engage in education, employment, or training and to secure suitable accommodation, as set out in the Children Act and other legislation. In 2018, we extended support from a Personal Adviser to all care leavers, to age 25.

In addition to the support that local authorities provide, central Government has funded a range of measures, including in 2020/21, to improve care leavers’ outcomes, including:

  • extra funding for 47 local authorities to provide intensive support to care leavers who are most at risk of homelessness and rough sleeping;
  • commissioning three care leaver Social Impact Bonds, which support care leavers to secure sustainable education, employment and training;
  • established the Civil Service care leaver internship scheme, which this year offered over 250 paid internships for care leavers across Government;
  • established a Cross-Government Ministerial Board to drive better outcomes for care leavers; and have
  • launched the Care Leaver Covenant, which provides a way for organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors to show their commitment to care leavers through providing concrete offers of support.

In addition, we recognised that the lockdown period would be particularly challenging for care leavers as many of them live alone without families to support them emotionally or financially. In response we have:

  • asked local authorities not to move young people out of care during that time and provided discretionary finding to care leavers at risk of hardship;
  • prioritised care leavers to receive laptops and routers that we have distributed to local authorities;
  • provided extra funding to 3 care leaver charities – through the DCMS charities funding pot to enable them to keep in more regular contact with care leavers; and
  • introduced a number of wider measures across Government which will be of particular benefit to care leavers, including the £20 increase in Universal Credit.
Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications of the findings of Ofsted’s report, COVID-19 series: briefing on early years, November 2020, for the economy in Yorkshire.

The government recognises the importance of the role of the early years sector during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Local authorities are responsible for monitoring demand and capacity for childcare and should work with early years settings to ensure there are sufficient places to cater for those in priority groups as well as meeting local need.

While we recognise childcare attendance has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw attendance rise over the autumn term from 482,000 on 10 September to 792,000 on 10 December. On 17 December, the government announced a return to funding early years settings on the basis on attendance. Under these arrangements local authorities should ensure that providers are not penalised for short-term absences of children, for example sickness, arriving late or leaving early, or a family emergency through withdrawing funding, but use their discretion where absence is recurring or for extended periods taking into account the reason for the absence and the impact on the provider.

Early years settings have been open to all children since 1 June and current evidence suggests that pre-school children (0 to 5 years) are less susceptible to infection and are unlikely to be playing a driving role in transmission.

Where nurseries do see a drop in income from either parent-paid fees or income from the Department for Education, they are able to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to furlough staff who were on payroll on or before 30 October. Working parents on COVID-19 support schemes will still remain eligible for childcare support even if their income levels fall below the minimum requirement.

We continue to ensure early years providers can access all the support available. Providers should consult the full guidance on the CJRS scheme before submitting a claim: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care. Childminders may use the Self Employment Income Support Scheme: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme. The sector has also benefitted from business rates holidays and business loans.

We stay in regular contact with the early years sector and are closely monitoring both parental take-up of places and the capacity. We will keep this under constant review to understand how they can best be supported.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the effect on the viability of (a) academy trust nurseries and (b) maintained school nurseries of local authorities returning to funding following the child from 1 January 2021.

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

While we recognise childcare attendance has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw attendance rise over the autumn term from 482,000 on 10 September 2020 to 792,000 on 10 December 2020. On 17 December 2020, the government therefore announced a return to funding early years settings on the basis on attendance.

Under these arrangements, local authorities should ensure that providers are not penalised for short-term absences of children (for example sickness, arriving late or leaving early, or a family emergency) through withdrawing funding but use their discretion where absence is recurring or for extended periods, taking into account the reason for the absence and the impact on the provider.

The national lockdown announced by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, on 4 January 2021 means the number of children attending childcare will drop although early years settings remain open for all.

We stay in regular contact with the early years sector and have heard from them already on this subject. We publish regular official statistics on attendance in early years settings, available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. The next release is due on Tuesday 19 January 2021. We will be closely monitoring both parental take-up of places and the capacity and responses of providers and will keep under constant review whether further action is needed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to improve access to education for asylum seekers while awaiting the outcome of their applications.

Access to post-16 education for asylum seekers is governed by funding rules in further and higher education.

In further education, asylum seekers aged 19 and over who have lived in the UK for 6 months or longer while awaiting the outcome of their application, and no decision on their claim has been made, are eligible to receive funding through the Adult Education Budget. For asylum seekers aged 16-19, we will fund those who have applied for asylum as well as those who have been granted asylum status by the Home Office.

In higher education (HE), eligibility requirements for student support usually means that a student resident in England should have ‘settled’ status or a recognised connection with the UK and have been a resident of the UK and Islands for the 3 years prior to the first day of the first academic year of the course. However, an exception to the 3 year ordinary residence requirement is made for students with refugee status and humanitarian protection. This means that immediate access to HE student support is available once a person has been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection by the Home Office.

A considerable subsidy has been built into the student loan scheme, which is targeted to those who are likely to remain in England (or at least the UK) indefinitely, so that the general public benefits of their HE will be to the country’s advantage. There are no plans to extend eligibility to HE student finance to asylum seekers awaiting a Home Office decision on their claim as there is no guarantee that they will go on to be granted a relevant status.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to extend testing of secondary school aged children to all schools under tier 3 covid-19 restrictions.

The asymptomatic testing programme has been successfully stood-up for secondary schools and colleges and will continue to support testing in schools and colleges. Secondary schools and colleges should continue to roll out the rapid mass testing, alongside serial testing, for staff, children of critical workers and vulnerable children on site, with the full rollout of the testing programme across secondary schools and colleges when they reopen. Secondary schools and colleges should also carry out initial testing of vulnerable children and children of critical workers who are on school or college sites (two tests, three to five days apart). The Department will roll out the testing programme in primary schools when home testing is available for pupils in these settings. Weekly testing for staff will roll out later this month, although currently there is no confirmed date.

This programme will help to break the virus's chains of transmission by identifying asymptomatic cases, therefore minimising disruption to schools and colleges.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of introducing covid-19 testing of all secondary school aged children in Yorkshire and Humber on the transmission of covid-19.

The asymptomatic testing programme has been successfully stood-up for secondary schools and colleges and will continue to support testing in schools and colleges. Secondary schools and colleges should continue to roll out the rapid mass testing, alongside serial testing, for staff, children of critical workers and vulnerable children on site, with the full rollout of the testing programme across secondary schools and colleges when they reopen. Secondary schools and colleges should also carry out initial testing of vulnerable children and children of critical workers who are on school or college sites (two tests, three to five days apart). The Department will roll out the testing programme in primary schools when home testing is available for pupils in these settings. Weekly testing for staff will roll out later this month, although currently there is no confirmed date.

This programme will help to break the virus's chains of transmission by identifying asymptomatic cases, therefore minimising disruption to schools and colleges.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring employment agencies representing supply teachers to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until 31 Match 2021 to support individuals and businesses who are impacted by disruption caused by COVID-19 this winter: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#when-furlough.

The CJRS is open to all employers that meet the eligibility criteria, with no differences in the scheme from sector to sector: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

If supply teachers employed via employment agencies are unable to find work due to COVID-19, unable to work as they are clinically extremely vulnerable, or unable to work due to caring responsibilities resulting from COVID-19, their employment agency can claim for 80% of their wages, including during school holiday periods, provided that the usual eligibility criteria are met.

Whether or not an employer wishes to furlough their employees via the CJRS is entirely at the employer's discretion.

Schools in England reopened in full to all pupils in September 2020, with the demand for supply teachers returning to normal levels. The Department has also announced a new COVID-19 workforce fund to support schools that are eligible for the fund with some of the costs of covering staff absences in schools, this can include employing supply staff to cover these absences: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-funding-to-support-schools-and-colleges-during-covid-pandemic.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the ending of the Union Learning Fund from April 2021 on (a) workers affected by covid-19 and (b) the Government’s policy on reducing regional inequality.

The main impact COVID-19 has had on the economy and workforce has been a rise in unemployment. We need to help these people reskill where necessary and re-enter into employment. The Union Learning Fund operates mostly through larger employers within unionised parts of the economy and is not designed to help those out of work – only 2% of people supported via the Union Learning Fund are unemployed.

The decision to no longer support the Union Learning Fund after 31 March 2021 was taken as part of the wider Spending Review discussions and in light of our expanded commitment to skills development through the £2.5 million National Skills Fund, and Lifetime Skills Guarantee. This national fund will support individuals to get the training and qualifications they need wherever they are located and regardless of whether they are able to access the Unionlearn network.

As part of this expanded commitment, I can confirm all the money will be invested in skills and retraining that will be accessible to all.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of teaching about the risks of gambling and gambling-related harm in schools.

The Department for Education wants to equip young people for adult life and help them make a positive contribution to society. The new subjects of relationships, sex and health education will support all young people in managing risk and making informed decisions, including in key areas such as mental wellbeing and online behaviour. For example, under the topic of internet safety and harms, the guidance sets out that young people should be taught about the risks related to online gambling, including the accumulation of debt, how advertising and information is targeted at them, and how to be a discerning consumer of information online. The statutory guidance for the new subjects is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

Other National Curriculum subjects, such as citizenship and computing, can also address online gambling and its dangers. This could be through developing the financial literacy of young people, and by highlighting the dangers of online gambling whilst using digital platforms (such as gambling opportunities introduced within computer games, and in-app games/purchases, for example “loot boxes”) in their e-safety teaching.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, meets regularly with cabinet colleagues to discuss the Department's agenda. This includes relevant topics covered by the new subjects. The Department has worked with other government departments, including the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in developing the content for the new curriculum subjects which are being taught in schools from this academic year.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on teaching the risks of gambling in schools.

The Department for Education wants to equip young people for adult life and help them make a positive contribution to society. The new subjects of relationships, sex and health education will support all young people in managing risk and making informed decisions, including in key areas such as mental wellbeing and online behaviour. For example, under the topic of internet safety and harms, the guidance sets out that young people should be taught about the risks related to online gambling, including the accumulation of debt, how advertising and information is targeted at them, and how to be a discerning consumer of information online. The statutory guidance for the new subjects is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

Other National Curriculum subjects, such as citizenship and computing, can also address online gambling and its dangers. This could be through developing the financial literacy of young people, and by highlighting the dangers of online gambling whilst using digital platforms (such as gambling opportunities introduced within computer games, and in-app games/purchases, for example “loot boxes”) in their e-safety teaching.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, meets regularly with cabinet colleagues to discuss the Department's agenda. This includes relevant topics covered by the new subjects. The Department has worked with other government departments, including the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in developing the content for the new curriculum subjects which are being taught in schools from this academic year.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with awarding bodies on ensuring that grades awarded to A-level students sitting exams during the autumn 2020 term take into account the atypical number of students sitting those exams in that period.

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

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with awarding bodies on ensuring that students who have opted to sit exams in October 2020 will be awarded grades that are consistent with those awarded in (a) summer 2020 and (b) summer 2019.

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

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Oct 2020
What assessment he has made on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on universities.

We have worked across government and with the higher education (HE) sector to understand the impact of COVID-19.

In response, between April to September we have announced a suite of measures to mitigate the impact of the virus upon the HE sector and HE students and staff. This includes the HE stabilisation package, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's research stabilisation package, access to business support schemes, the capital fund and the HE restructuring regime.

We have prioritised the mental health and well-being of students, emphasising our strong support for the University Mental Health Charter and continued to work closely with Universities UK on embedding the Step Change: Mentally Healthy Universities framework. We confirmed universities and HE providers were able to use Office for Students (OfS) Student Premium funding towards student hardship funds and announced the OfS funded, Student Minds Led, Student Space which has been designed to work alongside existing mental health services.

Importantly, to support universities to reopen this autumn, to enable them to provide high quality education to students in a COVID-secure environment, we have provided advice and guidance on reopening and have worked to ensure universities have robust outbreak plans in place. We will shortly also be providing additional guidance on winter planning and end of term preparation.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department has provided to foster carers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 outbreak has brought unprecedented challenges to some foster families. Foster parents play an invaluable role, especially now, in the stability and care of some of our most vulnerable children and in our response to the outbreak. The department remains committed to taking the necessary action to ensure that foster parents receive the respect and support that they need and deserve. That is why, in June, we launched the new FosterlinePlus service, providing free access to a range of specialist one-to-one support and advice services for foster families who need additional guidance during these uncertain times.

This year, the government has issued over £3.7 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including within children’s social care. Fostering services have been using this funding to provide additional resources to families, including an increase in allowances and direct support, and to maximise foster carer capacity.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our latest guidance for fostering services can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to academy trusts on ensuring the affordability of school uniforms.

It is for the governing body of a school (or in the case of academies, the academy trust) to decide whether there should be a school uniform, what it will be and how it should be sourced. To support them to do this the department issues best practice guidance which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-uniform.

This makes clear that high priority must be given to cost considerations. The Department’s guidance clearly states that uniform items should be easily available for parents to purchase and schools should keep compulsory branded items to a minimum. It also states that schools should avoid single supplier contracts, but where schools do choose to enter into such contracts, they should be subject to a regular competitive tendering process.

No school uniform should be so expensive as to leave pupils or their families feeling unable to apply to a school. The Government is pleased to support the Private Members' Bill to ‘Make provision for guidance regarding the cost aspects of school uniform policies’ which was recently introduced to Parliament on 5 February. This demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring that school uniform costs are reasonable.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the deadline for employers to claim apprenticeship levy funds by two years.

We currently have no plans to extend the expiry period for employers’ levy funds. From the point at which funds enter an employer’s account, they already have 24 months in which to spend the funds, and these funds only begin to expire on a rolling, month-by-month basis 24 months after they enter an employer’s account. Levy-paying employers can transfer up to 25% of their annual funds to help support apprenticeship starts in their supply chain or to meet local skills needs. We remain committed to improving the operation of the apprenticeship levy, and while we recognise the current challenges facing employers, we currently consider that this period is sufficient to give employers time to develop their apprenticeship programmes and encourage them to create new apprenticeship opportunities

To help employers offer new apprenticeships, they will be able to claim £1,500 for every apprentice they hire as a new employee from 1 August 2020 until 31 January 2021- rising to £2,000 if they hire a new apprentice under the age of 25. In addition, we have increased the number of reservations that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can now make through the apprenticeship service, from 3 to 10, enabling them to recruit more apprentices. Details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

The new payment means it is a great time for employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities and take advantage of existing flexibilities to train their apprentices in a way that suits their needs.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools and venues with shared sports facilities are able to reopen safely as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

As announced on the 9 July, indoor gyms, tennis courts and fitness and dance studios will be able to reopen from 25 July. This includes facilities shared with schools.

Out-of-school settings which run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children can operate over the summer holiday, with safety measures in place. Providers of these settings have been able to open from 4 July, provided that they follow the protective measures set out by Government.

Out-of-school settings should check the latest government guidelines (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance) on which businesses and venues can open and for which purposes as some premises may only be able to open for certain limited purposes. Out-of-school provision cannot use indoor gyms, tennis courts and fitness and dance studios until they reopen on 25 July.

Protective measures guidance for out-of-school settings, to enable them to operate as safely as possible, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Providers who offer indoor sports activities for children should also refer to the guidance on Keeping workers / volunteers and customers safe during COVID-19 for providers of grassroots sports and gym / leisure facilities.

Guidance to support schools to deliver safe physical education lessons, sport and physical activity is included within the guidance for full opening (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools). Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided whilst following the measures in their system of controls. The Association for Physical Education has published guidance (https://www.afpe.org.uk/physical-education/wp-content/uploads/COVID-19-Interpreting-the-Government-Guidance-in-a-PESSPA-Context-FINAL.pdf) for the education-based workforce and Youth Sport Trust has published resources (https://www.youthsporttrust.org/coronavirus-support-schools) on the principles of teaching PE in response to COVID-19.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 40618 on Free School Meals: Coronavirus, what recent discussions he has had with Edenred on establishing a freephone helpline.

An Edenred phone number (0333 400 5932) has been set up specifically for the national voucher scheme for free school meals. Calling this number costs no more than the national rate and therefore is included within mobile phone contract ‘inclusive minutes’ and charged at the national rate thereafter.

We are working with mobile phone operators to ensure that the Edenred website is exempt from data charges.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of recent media reports of continuing technical problems affecting the free school meals national voucher scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The government will continue to provide schools with their expected funding, including funding to cover benefits-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals, throughout this period. We are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach. As schools open more widely, they should speak to their school catering team or provider about the best arrangements for school meals. Schools should ensure that catering teams and food suppliers are supported to return to school to provide meals both for those children attending school and for those remaining at home who are eligible for free school meals. If a school catering service cannot provide meals or food parcels for children who are at home, the school can continue to offer vouchers to families of eligible pupils if needed.

There were initial technical problems with the Edenred system, and government officials have been working tirelessly with Edenred to ensure these issues were resolved at pace. Substantial improvements have been made including a significant reduction in the waiting times for schools ordering and parents redeeming their codes.

Thousands of orders are being processed every week. Voucher codes are being distributed and families are redeeming them. Edenred has reported that over £205 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families as of 1 July and that over 18,000 schools had placed orders as of 23 June. We have been working closely with Edenred to further improve the scheme, and we thank schools using the system for their patience while it has been upgraded to meet the ongoing demand.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he will allow indoor dance lessons to resume, where the lessons consist only of members of two different households with social distancing measures in place.

Indoor dance lessons for children are considered to be an out-of-school setting. Out-of-school settings are currently not able to reopen. However, as my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, confirmed on 23 June, holiday clubs and out-of-school clubs for children will be able to restart over the summer, subject to the science and with safety measures in place. Adjustments to current measures for these clubs will be part of Step 3 of the recovery strategy (from 4 July). We will be providing guidance for the sector on how to implement the protective measures necessary to open safely as soon as possible, this will cover group sizes and social distancing measures.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to provide financial support to private childcare providers who have experienced a loss of income due to the covid-19 outbreak.

I would like to extend my thanks to the childcare sector for everything they have done to enable critical workers to do their essential jobs, and to continue to care for children who are vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak. Since 1 June, early years providers have been able to open to children of all ages.

The government wants to support nurseries, pre-schools and childminders during what must continue to be a worrying and uncertain time.

We will continue to pay local authorities their regular instalments of Dedicated Schools Grant, including the early years block, as usual. We expect local authorities to follow the Department for Education's position and, in general, continue paying all childminders, schools and nurseries, for the early years entitlements.

A package of support is available for individuals and businesses and will benefit many childcare providers, including a business rates holiday, business interruption loans, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and help for the self-employed. Details of support for childcare providers is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#funding.

We are continuing to work with the early years sector to understand how the sector can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available for children now, and in the longer term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the universal credit taper for teachers in receipt of universal credit who receive payments under the (a) Mathematics and Physics Teacher Retention Payments Pilot scheme and (b) Teachers’ Student Loan Reimbursement Pilot scheme.

The Mathematics and Physics Teacher Retention Payments Pilot and Teachers’ Student Loan Reimbursement Pilot are designed to reward early career secondary school teachers who are teaching in certain areas of the country. We know there are particular challenges in retaining early career teachers in these areas, especially those teaching mathematics and the sciences. These pilots are testing whether offering these payments incentivises these teachers to remain in the profession.

Universal Credit awards are calculated in a way that ensure fairness of treatment for all claimants. This means that as earnings increase Universal Credit is gradually reduced, which is a long-standing principle of means-tested benefits. The payments made under the two pilot schemes are treated in the same way as any other earnings. All earnings are subject to the Universal Credit taper rate and a work allowance where appropriate.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to universities on support for students who are due to begin their studies in the 2020-21 academic year.

We expect universities to be open for the autumn term and for them to offer a blend of online teaching and in-person tuition as they consider appropriate, while taking account of the need to minimise the risk to staff and students.

We have now published guidance for higher education providers on reopening campuses and buildings. This will support them in deciding when and how they can make facilities accessible again to students and staff, as long as they follow the relevant public health advice, available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to allocate additional to support colleges providing education to 16-18 year olds from September 2020.

The government previously announced on 31 August 2019 that it will invest an extra £400 million in 16 to 19 education in 2020-21. This is the largest injection of money in a single year since 2010 and represents an increase of 7% in overall 16 to 19 funding. As part of this, the base rate of 16 to 19 funding will increase by 4.7% in the academic year 2020/21, from £4,000 to £4,188.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency allocations for 2020-21 have been confirmed, and payments will be made in line with the national profile, which will be confirmed in the relevant 2020-21 funding rules. This should provide the funding certainty required to address the impact of responding to COVID-19.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to extend the additional therapeutic support available to adoptive families through the Adoptive Support Fund to fostering families during the covid-19 outbreak.

There are no plans to extend eligibility to the fund to foster families during the COVID-19 outbreak because this fund is focused on adoptive families.

However, the government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including within children’s social care. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months.

The government is providing free IT devices and equipment for children who do not currently have access to these, including children living with foster carers, to access services and support they need.

We are continuing to work with fostering services and sector organisations to better understand the specific challenges that foster carers are facing in order to ensure the right level of support is put in place. This includes working closely with Fosterline, an independent advice and support line funded by the department, to consider what additional support can be offered to foster families struggling at this time.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the financial recovery of colleges after the covid-19 outbreak.

I am very grateful for how colleges are responding to the unique challenge of COVID-19. We recognise the financial impact this is having on the FE sector and are working to make changes where we can.

We have confirmed that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will continue to pay grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year. Allocations for 2020/21 have also now been confirmed and payments will be made as scheduled. Up to date details are contained in operational guidance available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision.

In addition, training providers, including colleges, were able to apply to the ESFA Provider Relief Scheme for support if they have contracts for services that were procured as a service under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. The purpose of the Relief Scheme is to ensure training providers can continue to deliver high quality education and training to make sure we have the skills needed to rebuild our economy post COVID-19. This also includes supporting new learners where possible to get the skills they need to progress. Details are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esfa-post-16-provider-relief-scheme.

On 20 May 2020, we also launched a provider relief scheme for European Social Fund contractors. Details are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esfa-esf-provider-relief-scheme.

For colleges in significant financial difficulties the existing support arrangements remain in place, including short-term emergency funding.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has also announced a series of wider measures to support employers and employees, recognising the significant impacts caused by COVID-19. We have confirmed that FE providers can apply to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for non grant-funded employees. The CJRS has been extended until August 2020. Up to date details of this support are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

As announced last summer, we will next year be increasing investment in education and training of 16-19 year olds by £400 million, including an increased base rate, and more funding for high cost and high value subjects, which should help the sector to deliver in the difficult circumstances we are facing. In March, we also announced an investment of £1.5 billion over five years in capital spending for further education colleges.

These are rapidly developing circumstances and we will continue to keep the situation under review and to keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the financial effect on colleges of the covid-19 outbreak.

I am very grateful for how colleges are responding to the unique challenge of COVID-19. We recognise the financial impact this is having on the FE sector and are working to make changes where we can.

We have confirmed that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will continue to pay grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year. Allocations for 2020/21 have also now been confirmed and payments will be made as scheduled. Up to date details are contained in operational guidance available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision.

In addition, training providers, including colleges, were able to apply to the ESFA Provider Relief Scheme for support if they have contracts for services that were procured as a service under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. The purpose of the Relief Scheme is to ensure training providers can continue to deliver high quality education and training to make sure we have the skills needed to rebuild our economy post COVID-19. This also includes supporting new learners where possible to get the skills they need to progress. Details are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esfa-post-16-provider-relief-scheme.

On 20 May 2020, we also launched a provider relief scheme for European Social Fund contractors. Details are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esfa-esf-provider-relief-scheme.

For colleges in significant financial difficulties the existing support arrangements remain in place, including short-term emergency funding.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has also announced a series of wider measures to support employers and employees, recognising the significant impacts caused by COVID-19. We have confirmed that FE providers can apply to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for non grant-funded employees. The CJRS has been extended until August 2020. Up to date details of this support are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

As announced last summer, we will next year be increasing investment in education and training of 16-19 year olds by £400 million, including an increased base rate, and more funding for high cost and high value subjects, which should help the sector to deliver in the difficult circumstances we are facing. In March, we also announced an investment of £1.5 billion over five years in capital spending for further education colleges.

These are rapidly developing circumstances and we will continue to keep the situation under review and to keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to review funding rates for colleges.

The government announced on 31 August 2019 that it will invest an extra £400 million in 16 to 19 education in 2020-21. This is the largest injection of money in a single year since 2010 and represents an increase of 7% in overall 16 to 19 funding. As part of this, the base rate of 16 to 19 funding will increase by 4.7% in the academic year 2020/21, from £4,000 to £4,188.

The government appreciates the importance of adult education to improving people’s life chances and is looking carefully at all elements of further education funding, in preparation for the forthcoming Spending Review.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of the £1.5 billion capital funding announced in the 2020 Budget he plans to invest in (a) technology and (b) software for colleges.

We announced plans in the Budget to invest £1.5 billion in England from 2021-22 to upgrade the college estate. Our ambition is to level up the skills of the entire nation and ensure that post-16 education providers are in a great shape to deliver this. We are considering how best to achieve this ambition, in light of the impact of COVID-19 on further education colleges’ priorities and requirements, and will announce details on future capital funding in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of school closures due to the covid-19 outbreak on the mental health of pupils.

The department is continuing to assess the impact of the potential effect of school closure on children and young people’s mental health. We are working closely with educational institutions, sector organisations, the Department for Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England to understand the risks to mental health and wellbeing and identify the children and young people that need help.

We have published an initial list of online educational resources, including resources to support mental wellbeing, physical activity, and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education. This information includes links to guidance that Public Health England has produced for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people during COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

NHS services remain open and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. The Department for Education is working across government to consider what further support might be appropriate for educational institutions.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to maintain the level of funding for residential adult education colleges.

To help manage the pressures of COVID-19, we can confirm that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will continue to pay grant funded providers, including residential adult colleges, their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year. And for 2019/20 only, the ESFA will not carry out the final reconciliation for grant funded providers in receipt of ESFA funded adult education budget (AEB) and the advanced learner loans bursary (ALLB) fund, subject to them meeting certain conditions set out in the further education (FE) Operational Guidance on maintaining education and skills training provision, published on 23 March 2020.

The ESFA also confirmed in March 2020 the AEB provider allocations for 2020/21 for providers, including residential adult colleges. Advanced learner loans facilities and the associated bursary fund for the 2020/21 academic year will be issued later this month.

The government appreciates the importance of adult education to improving people’s life chances. We are currently reviewing funding for Residential Specialist Designated Institutions, focussing on the residential support for learners funded via the AEB and the ALLB. We will complete this review in autumn 2020.

We are also looking carefully at all elements of FE funding in preparation for the forthcoming Spending Review.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) social and (b) economic effect of residential adult education colleges on local communities.

To help manage the pressures of COVID-19, we can confirm that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will continue to pay grant funded providers, including residential adult colleges, their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year. And for 2019/20 only, the ESFA will not carry out the final reconciliation for grant funded providers in receipt of ESFA funded adult education budget (AEB) and the advanced learner loans bursary (ALLB) fund, subject to them meeting certain conditions set out in the further education (FE) Operational Guidance on maintaining education and skills training provision, published on 23 March 2020.

The ESFA also confirmed in March 2020 the AEB provider allocations for 2020/21 for providers, including residential adult colleges. Advanced learner loans facilities and the associated bursary fund for the 2020/21 academic year will be issued later this month.

The government appreciates the importance of adult education to improving people’s life chances. We are currently reviewing funding for Residential Specialist Designated Institutions, focussing on the residential support for learners funded via the AEB and the ALLB. We will complete this review in autumn 2020.

We are also looking carefully at all elements of FE funding in preparation for the forthcoming Spending Review.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of school closures during the covid-19 outbreak on the educational attainment of young carers; and what additional support his Department is providing to those young carers.

The department will do whatever it can to make sure no child, whatever their background, falls behind as a result of COVID-19. We know that young carers may be particularly vulnerable during this time and are committed to ensuring that vulnerable children and young people remain protected and supported.

The government has published guidance for both schools and local authorities on how best to support families and protect vulnerable children during COVID-19. This is available on GOV.UK.

Educational settings remain open and safe for vulnerable children and young people. Our definition of vulnerable children and young people includes those who have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who are therefore in need of continued education provision - this can include children on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services, adopted children, or those who are young carers, and others at the provider and local authority discretion.

Local authority duties to assess the needs of young carers, under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, remain unchanged.

The government has committed over £100 million to boost remote education, including by providing devices and internet access to vulnerable children who need it most, including young carers who have social workers. Schools continue to receive additional funding through the pupil premium - worth around £2.4 billion annually - to help them support their disadvantaged pupils. We have also given local authorities over £3.2 billion of extra funding to help address the pressures faced in responding to the pandemic, including within children’s social care.

We have also taken wide-ranging action to help schools and parents to support all young people during the school closures. This includes:

  • publishing a list of online education resources and guidance for parents
  • supporting the launch of a new online academy offering pupils 180 online lessons a week

Additionally, the BBC has created a package of TV and online materials to support learning at home.

The department is also considering, with a range of partner organisations, how best to support all pupils, especially those who are disadvantaged, to make up for time spent out of school.

The government will be publishing advice for young people with caring responsibilities, which will include information and guidance on how and where they can get help and support during this period.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the national voucher scheme over future school holidays during the outbreak of covid-19 for pupils in receipt of free school meals.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, during the Easter holidays the department met the costs of offering free school meals to eligible pupils not attending school during term time weeks. This was in recognition of the unprecedented levels of disruption and uncertainty for schools during this time. We currently have no plans to extend the scheme into future holiday periods.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) parents and (b) schools are not charged to access telephone support for supermarket vouchers supplied by Edenred for pupils in receipt of free school meals during the outbreak of covid-19.

An Edenred phone number (0333 400 5932) has been set up specifically for the department’s national voucher scheme. Phone calls to this number should cost no more than the national rate and therefore are included within mobile phone and landline contract ‘minutes’ or times and charged at the national rate thereafter.

These are rapidly developing circumstances and we will continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the guidance published by his Department on 19 April 2020 entitled remote education, what estimate he has made of the number of children from low-income households that do not have access to (a) IT equipment and (b) a reliable internet connection that will not qualify for support.

To make remote education accessible to pupils while schools are closed, the Department is providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, or are a care leaver.

Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we will also be providing 4G internet hotspots so that they can learn at home.

To support householders who face challenges accessing an internet connection, the Government has brokered an agreement with all the major telecoms companies aimed at protecting the most vulnerable, as well as those who may become vulnerable due to COVID-19.

The Government is also working with telecoms companies to exempt educational resources from data charges, supporting families who rely on mobile data.

We will ensure that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children have the support they need at this time.


Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the guidance published by his Department on 19 April 2020 entitled Remote education during coronavirus, what estimate he has made of the number of pupils that (a) will receive IT equipment and (b) have a reliable internet connection.

To make remote education accessible to pupils while schools are closed, the Department is providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, or are a care leaver.

Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we will also be providing 4G internet hotspots so that they can learn at home.

To support householders who face challenges accessing an internet connection, the Government has brokered an agreement with all the major telecoms companies aimed at protecting the most vulnerable, as well as those who may become vulnerable due to COVID-19.

The Government is also working with telecoms companies to exempt educational resources from data charges, supporting families who rely on mobile data.

We will ensure that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children have the support they need at this time.


Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the processing times for supermarket vouchers as an alternative for pupils in receipt of free school meals via the Edenred online portal following the outbreak of covid-19.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

During this period, we are asking schools to support pupils who are eligible for benefits related free school meals by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for children who are eligible for free school meals, and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

We are monitoring the use of the scheme on a daily basis. Voucher codes are being processed and many thousands of families are already redeeming them. As of Monday 27 April, Edenred reported that over £29 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme.

Once an eCode has been ordered, it will be sent within four days. Edenred is keeping schools informed of the status of orders once they have been placed. Schools can choose to ‘bulk order’ eCodes for regular distribution, for example on a weekly basis, in which case the eCode will be sent on or before the date specified. The eCodes must then be redeemed to create an eGift card, which will be received within 24 hours.

We continue to work closely with our supplier and with schools to increase the speed at which orders can be processed. We thank schools using the system for their patience while it is upgraded to meet demand.

While we encourage schools to use the national voucher scheme, they are best placed to determine what is appropriate locally. Schools providing meals themselves or using their own voucher schemes can be reimbursed for any additional costs, with further details available in the published guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure students who are unable to complete apprenticeships are awarded their qualifications following the covid-19 outbreak.

Wherever possible, we want apprentices and employers to continue apprenticeships and complete end-point assessment. We have introduced flexibilities to mitigate the effects of disruption to assessment, training or employment caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We are encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely and via e-learning as far as is practicable. This includes furloughed apprentices who are able to continue with their apprenticeship training and end-point assessment. We are also allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible, to enable apprentices to successfully complete their apprenticeship. Apprentices who have been made redundant are also be able to complete their training and assessment in certain circumstances. Our intention is to safeguard the quality of apprenticeships, and we believe that end-point assessment is an important part of that.

Guidance setting out how the apprenticeship programme is responding to the impact of COVID-19 is available here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response. We are keeping the guidance under review and will publish updates as the situation evolves.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to provide financial support for apprenticeships delivered by independent training providers following the covid-19 outbreak .

As my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have both made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

We recognise the financial impact on training providers, and have been regularly liaising with the sector and working to make changes where we can. On 24 April 2020, we published details of a provider relief scheme that will offer targeted financial support for training providers. This is designed to retain capacity within the apprenticeships and adult education sector to deliver the skills we need to support economic recovery. As part of that, we want to maintain support for existing learners and employers and enable new learners to enrol. Full details of the scheme are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esfa-post-16-provider-relief-scheme.

This is in addition to the series of wider measures to support employers and employees set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 3 April. Details are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The full range of our latest guidance and advice for all educational settings can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

These are rapidly developing circumstances and we will continue to keep the situation under review and to keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure children in homes without reliable internet connectivity are supported during school closures as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

On 19 April 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced that devices will be provided for the most disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for exams (in Year 10), or receive support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Local authorities, trusts and other relevant organisations overseeing schools have been given guidance on how to place online orders for government-funded and allocated devices for eligible children and young people.

Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we will also provide the capability for them to access the internet.

Additionally, the country’s major telecommunication companies will make it easier for families to access selected educational resources by temporarily exempting these sites from data charges.

For those in rural areas or without a connection, schools will be able to draw on support from the BBC which is broadcasting lessons on television; as well as their existing resources and the many resources offers which have been made by publishers across the country.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to cover additional private childcare costs incurred by key workers following the outbreak of covid-19.

The government has asked childcare providers to continue to care for a limited number of children – those who are vulnerable and those whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home. Guidance for childcare providers to follow in this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Local authorities will be assessing the needs of communities and will be liaising with providers about how best to organise childcare for vulnerable children and children of critical workers.

Providers should try to be as flexible as possible for critical workers who work shifts or atypical hours.

We urge all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, given the great uncertainty they will be facing too.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support universities during the covid-19 outbreak.

The higher education (HE) sector is facing challenges during these unprecedented times. The government’s priority is the safety and wellbeing of students and staff. On Friday 20 March, I wrote to HE providers to thank them for the huge amount of work they have done to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and to outline the steps that the department is taking to support them. On Thursday 26 March, I wrote a second letter to HE providers, giving further government advice on key issues.

We are ensuring that information-flows between the department and providers are as strong as possible. We are actively supporting the Universities UK-led Sector Coordination Group and providing guidance on GOV.UK relating to all educational settings. Working with the Office for Students (OfS), as the regulator in England, we will supplement this general guidance with more HE-specific information and have suspended a number of regulatory reporting requirements for the duration of the crisis, so providers can focus on doing their best for students.

We will do all we can to support our HE system. The department is working closely with the Home Office, the Student Loans Company, UCAS and Ofqual, as well as equivalent bodies in the devolved administrations, on measures designed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the HE sector. We are also working closely with the OfS to ensure that we understand the potential financial implications of COVID-19 on the sector and to keep abreast of developments.

The latest guidance for schools and other educational settings can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to Answer of 24 January 2020 to 7627, what plans he has to ring-fence funding in the National Plan for Music Education to provide support for talented young musicians from low-income families.

The Government recognises that music is an important subject and that all pupils should receive a high-quality music education. The subject is compulsory in the national curriculum up to age 14.

To support schools to deliver high quality music education for all their pupils, the Government has provided funding of over £300 million for music education hubs across England between 2016 and 2020. We have already announced funding of £85 million for music and arts education in 2020-21. This includes a further year of the music education hub programme, to help thousands more children learn to play musical instruments, and further funding for initiatives, including In Harmony, that support pupils from a range of backgrounds to learn about different styles of music.

The Government has confirmed that an arts premium will be provided to secondary schools to fund enriching activities for all pupils. Work is underway to develop the arts premium and we will be making further statements on this in due course.

The Department recently held a Call for Evidence on music education to inform our refresh of the National Plan for Music Education. We will be undertaking further work on this ahead of publication of the Plan in the autumn.

Funding beyond 2021 will be subject to the 2020 Spending Review.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2020 Question 7627, what plans he has to increase funding for the In Harmony music programme.

The Government recognises that music is an important subject and that all pupils should receive a high-quality music education. The subject is compulsory in the national curriculum up to age 14.

To support schools to deliver high quality music education for all their pupils, the Government has provided funding of over £300 million for music education hubs across England between 2016 and 2020. We have already announced funding of £85 million for music and arts education in 2020-21. This includes a further year of the music education hub programme, to help thousands more children learn to play musical instruments, and further funding for initiatives, including In Harmony, that support pupils from a range of backgrounds to learn about different styles of music.

The Government has confirmed that an arts premium will be provided to secondary schools to fund enriching activities for all pupils. Work is underway to develop the arts premium and we will be making further statements on this in due course.

The Department recently held a Call for Evidence on music education to inform our refresh of the National Plan for Music Education. We will be undertaking further work on this ahead of publication of the Plan in the autumn.

Funding beyond 2021 will be subject to the 2020 Spending Review.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2020 to Question 2542, what support is available to parents of children eligible for free school meals who have medical dietary requirements that the school cannot guarantee to meet.

Schools are expected to make reasonable efforts to cater for pupils with particular requirements, including to reflect medical, dietary and cultural needs. In exceptional circumstances, it may be considered reasonable for the school not to make special provision for particular children – for example, where this would be very difficult and costly to achieve. In the rare event that schools are unable to accommodate the dietary requirements of a student, schools are not required to provide additional support.

Guidance for schools is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools with additional supporting information on allergies at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools/allergy-guidance-for-schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve the provision of music education in schools.

The Department wants all pupils to have a high-quality music education.

The Department is proud of and will be refreshing its National Plan for Music Education, which sets an ambitious vision for music education for every child, regardless of their background. The subject is compulsory in the national curriculum and the Department is providing funding of over £300 million for Music Education Hubs between 2016 and 2020. In January we announced a further £80 million investment in Hubs for 2020-21. Music Education Hubs support schools to drive up the quality and consistency of music education and our national funding formula for Hubs, based on local pupil numbers, means extra weighting for pupils in receipt of free school meals. The Hubs work to ensure there is more equitable access to music education. We also provide £500,000 per year to In Harmony, a national music programme that aims to inspire and transform the lives of children in deprived communities through ensemble music-making.

The Department is supporting exceptionally talented young musicians from low-income families to fulfil their potential through the £30 million per annum Music and Dance Scheme. The scheme helps ensure that all children and young people with exceptional ability can benefit from world-class, specialist training, regardless of their personal circumstances.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that music education is accessible for children from low-income families.

The Department wants all pupils to have a high-quality music education.

The Department is proud of and will be refreshing its National Plan for Music Education, which sets an ambitious vision for music education for every child, regardless of their background. The subject is compulsory in the national curriculum and the Department is providing funding of over £300 million for Music Education Hubs between 2016 and 2020. In January we announced a further £80 million investment in Hubs for 2020-21. Music Education Hubs support schools to drive up the quality and consistency of music education and our national funding formula for Hubs, based on local pupil numbers, means extra weighting for pupils in receipt of free school meals. The Hubs work to ensure there is more equitable access to music education. We also provide £500,000 per year to In Harmony, a national music programme that aims to inspire and transform the lives of children in deprived communities through ensemble music-making.

The Department is supporting exceptionally talented young musicians from low-income families to fulfil their potential through the £30 million per annum Music and Dance Scheme. The scheme helps ensure that all children and young people with exceptional ability can benefit from world-class, specialist training, regardless of their personal circumstances.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that schools cater for all dietary requirements for students entitled to free school meals.

Food allergies can be complex and worrying for parents and because of their complexity, it would not be appropriate for the department to legislate that food providers cater for all dietary requirements. However, through legislation, the minimum standards for school food have been set out. Guidance for schools is available on gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools. Additional supporting information on allergies is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools/allergy-guidance-for-schools.

Beyond this headteachers, school governors and their caterers are best placed to make decisions about their school food policies taking account of local and individual circumstances. We allocate £440 of funding per child, per year (which is the equivalent of £2.30 per day for a school year) to local authorities for each of the pupils in their area eligible for free school meals. Local authorities then distribute this money to schools through their local funding formula. School leaders then have autonomy over how this funding is used in relation to their school meal arrangements.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding he plans to allocate to support schools in the provision of meals for children with dietary requirements that are entitled to free school meals.

Food allergies can be complex and worrying for parents and because of their complexity, it would not be appropriate for the department to legislate that food providers cater for all dietary requirements. However, through legislation, the minimum standards for school food have been set out. Guidance for schools is available on gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools. Additional supporting information on allergies is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools/allergy-guidance-for-schools.

Beyond this headteachers, school governors and their caterers are best placed to make decisions about their school food policies taking account of local and individual circumstances. We allocate £440 of funding per child, per year (which is the equivalent of £2.30 per day for a school year) to local authorities for each of the pupils in their area eligible for free school meals. Local authorities then distribute this money to schools through their local funding formula. School leaders then have autonomy over how this funding is used in relation to their school meal arrangements.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing financial support to British businesses that are required to contract a veterinary surgeon as part of exporting goods to Northern Ireland.

The Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS) was established following an assessment of the need to provide financial support to businesses that are required to contract a veterinary surgeon as part of exporting goods to Northern Ireland. The scheme, now in place until 2023, has already supported more than 140 businesses, covering the cost of more than 11,400 certificates and 1,300 inspection hours.

The Government has increased the number of Official Veterinarians (OVs) holding the relevant qualification to certify exports of products of animal origin, including meat products, in Great Britain from approximately 600 in February 2019 to more than 1900 to date. On 1 October 2020, the Government launched a new funded training scheme to enhance OV capacity further. In parallel, the Government launched a scheme to train Certification Support Officers (CSOs). CSOs can handle several preliminary and administrative tasks to prepare consignments for certification. This reduces the burden on OVs and Local Authority Certifying Officers.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of Aminopyralid residues on (a) crop production (b) people who rely on home-grown crops for food security over the last 12 months.

The herbicide aminopyralid is authorised for the control of annual and perennial broadleaf weeds in certain crops, turf and pasture. Aminopyralid products are subject to strict conditions of use aimed at preventing aminopyralid residues from leaving farms where it has been used.

The Health and Safety Executive maintains close contact with the main authorisation holder for this herbicide, Corteva Agriscience, and has regular reviews of this issue. The number of reported incidents has declined significantly since the measures were introduced in 2009 and is now at a very low level. Corteva has a product stewardship programme in place that is designed to ensure users are fully aware of the particular requirements for correct use.

In our 25 Year Environment Plan, the Government has outlined its approach to reducing the environmental impact of pesticides while protecting crops. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) lies at the heart of our approach to maximise the use of non-chemical control techniques and minimise the use of chemical pesticides. IPM means that pesticide users can reduce the associated risks (including indirect effects), combat pest resistance, and support agricultural productivity. This includes increasing the use of nature-based, low toxicity solutions and precision technologies, with potential to enhance biodiversity.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on reducing littering in and around drive-through services in the UK.

Defra does not think it would be appropriate to require take-away food vendors to implement a vehicle registration number printing and tracing system for packaging, due to the additional burden this would place on these businesses and those who would be responsible for enforcement. Data protection issues have also been raised.

The Litter Strategy sets out how we intend to work with the relevant industries to tackle certain types of problematic litter, including fast-food packaging.

To this effect, I held a roundtable in September 2020 with large fast-food retailers, many of whom are associated with 'drive-through' type restaurants, to understand what action they are taking now to tackle the litter created by their products. It was encouraging to hear about the initiatives they are working on and, more importantly, that they are committed to delivering lasting change by working together to tackle what is an industry wide issue. We are watching closely to see how their commitments translate into action.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on litter. Defra has had no discussions with the Department Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on reducing littering in and around drive-through services in the UK.

Our recently published EPR packaging consultation proposes that producers who make or handle consumer-facing packaging should fund the full net-costs associated with the collection, sorting and treatment of the packaging they place on the market, once it becomes waste. We are also proposing that these fees could cover the costs of consumer information campaigns on recycling packaging waste and litter-related costs. We will continue to engage with producers as these measures come forward.

The Environment Bill will provide the powers necessary to introduce such an extended producer responsibility scheme via secondary legislation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of drive-through restaurants including customer’s car registrations on take away cups to help tackle littering.

Defra does not think it would be appropriate to require take-away food vendors to implement a vehicle registration number printing and tracing system for packaging, due to the additional burden this would place on these businesses and those who would be responsible for enforcement. Data protection issues have also been raised.

The Litter Strategy sets out how we intend to work with the relevant industries to tackle certain types of problematic litter, including fast-food packaging.

To this effect, I held a roundtable in September 2020 with large fast-food retailers, many of whom are associated with 'drive-through' type restaurants, to understand what action they are taking now to tackle the litter created by their products. It was encouraging to hear about the initiatives they are working on and, more importantly, that they are committed to delivering lasting change by working together to tackle what is an industry wide issue. We are watching closely to see how their commitments translate into action.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on litter. Defra has had no discussions with the Department Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on reducing littering in and around drive-through services in the UK.

Our recently published EPR packaging consultation proposes that producers who make or handle consumer-facing packaging should fund the full net-costs associated with the collection, sorting and treatment of the packaging they place on the market, once it becomes waste. We are also proposing that these fees could cover the costs of consumer information campaigns on recycling packaging waste and litter-related costs. We will continue to engage with producers as these measures come forward.

The Environment Bill will provide the powers necessary to introduce such an extended producer responsibility scheme via secondary legislation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 4 March 2021 to Question 160671, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending eligibility for the Waste and Resources Action Programme grant scheme to (a) schools, (b) businesses and (c) other public bodies in the UK.

The Binfrastructure grant scheme closed on the 10th March 2021. Local authorities were able to work in partnership with Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) or other local partners when applying to the scheme, though grants could only be awarded to local authorities.

We believe that education, as well as getting businesses to take responsibility on litter, is important and this is reflected in our Litter Strategy, which is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/litter-strategy-for-england

We want every child to have the opportunity to learn about the impacts of litter. As well as the Eco-Schools programme run by Keep Britain Tidy, which 80% of schools in England participate in, there are many other resources available for schools to use should they wish to teach pupils about the impact of litter and the importance of not littering. Organisations such as Keep Britain Tidy, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Marine Conservation Society have all produced excellent resources for schools about litter and the damage that it can do to the environment.

We believe that businesses should try to reduce the amount of litter their products generate. The Litter Strategy sets out how we intend to work with the relevant industries to tackle certain types of particularly problematic litter, including fast-food packaging, smoking-related litter and chewing gum.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 4 March 2021 to Question 160671, how much funding has been allocated through the Waste and Resources Action Programme grant scheme to local authorities in the UK.

The Litter Binfrastructure Grant, provides local authorities in England with the opportunity to apply for capital grants of £10,000-£25,000 to support the purchase of new litter bins. The scheme which, is managed by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and funded by Defra, was open from 17th December 2020 until 10th March 2021. 77 applications were received in total, and £983,000 has been awarded to local authorities across 44 grants.

Six applications were received from local authorities in the Yorkshire and Humber region, as follows:

  1. North Lincolnshire Council
  2. Bradford Metropolitan District Council
  3. Leeds City Council
  4. Richmondshire District Council
  5. North East Lincolnshire Council
  6. Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to introduce a food recycling system across (a) the UK, (b) England and (c) in each local authority.

Waste and recycling policy is a devolved matter. Following support in response to initial public consultation, the Environment Bill will require all local authorities in England to arrange for the separate collection of food waste from households, at least once a week, so that this material can be collected for recycling. Businesses and organisations in England will also be required to arrange for the separate collection of food waste for recycling. We will be launching a further consultation on recycling consistency this spring. In this consultation, we will be seeking further views on implementing separate food waste collections, including transition timelines for local authorities and businesses, and statutory guidance for waste collectors.

The Government will ensure that local authorities are resourced to meet net costs arising from new statutory duties. This will include the additional costs associated with the requirement to separately collect food waste.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce plastic waste in the ocean.

Marine litter is one of the greatest environmental challenges we are facing with 80% of marine plastic litter originating from land-based sources and science predicting a threefold increase in the amount of plastics in the ocean between 2015 and 2025. Domestically our 25 Year Environment Plan establishes our target of reducing all forms of marine plastic pollution where possible, and our Resources and Waste Strategy sets out how we will achieve this.

Internationally, the UK has supported the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) since 2018; a pioneering initiative to accelerate the international response to addressing plastic pollution through uniting public, private and civil society leaders. GPAP has launched successful partnerships in Indonesia, Ghana and Vietnam, working with the most influential players across the plastics value chain, including local decision-makers and private partners such as Coca Cola and Nestlé to deliver on national commitments to tackling plastic pollution. The UK has also committed to launch a £500m Blue Planet Fund, financed from official development assistance (ODA), to help eligible countries protect their marine resources from key human-generated threats including climate change, marine pollution such as marine litter, overfishing and biodiversity loss.

Due to the scale of the marine litter challenge the UK believes it is time to start negotiating a new global agreement on marine litter and microplastics at the United Nations Environment Assembly. A new global agreement would build upon the important work we are doing to tackle marine litter both domestically and internationally and support our commitments to eliminate plastic entering the ocean.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions officials in his Department have had with officials in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the steps they are taking to tackle dog fouling.

Most dog owners conscientiously clean up after their pets. Those who do not leave an unsightly and unhygienic mess which can spoil local spaces that are meant to be enjoyed by all.

Local councils have a duty to ensure that public areas are kept clear of litter and refuse. This includes removing dog faeces from certain types of land.

On behalf of Defra and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has recently published guidance for local authorities and Business Improvement Districts in England on the provision of public bins, which includes a section on dog fouling. The Right Bin in the Right Place guidance is available at: https://wrap.org.uk/content/binfrastructure-right-bin-right-place

In support of this guidance, a £2 million grant scheme has been launched for local authorities in England to apply for capital grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 to purchase new bins. The scheme is being funded by Defra and managed by WRAP.

Councils also have powers to issue Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs). PSPOs allow councils to deal with a particular nuisance or problem arising in an area by imposing conditions on the use of that area. For example, a PSPO may be used to exclude dogs from designated spaces such as a children’s play area in a park or to require dog owners to pick up their dog’s faeces.

Those who breach the terms of a PSPO may be prosecuted in a magistrates’ court, which can lead to a criminal record and a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction. Alternatively, the council can issue a fixed penalty notice of up to £100. It is up to each council to decide how and to what extent they use these powers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to make financial support available for schools to fund preventative measures to tackle (a) dog fouling and (b) littering in the vicinity of schools.

Local councils are responsible for keeping their public land clear of litter and refuse; which may include land in the vicinity of schools. The role of central Government is to enable and support this local action: providing a clear legal framework of rights, responsibilities and powers, setting national standards and, where possible, making sure that the costs of dealing with litter issues are passed to those responsible for causing the problem.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) have launched a £2m grant scheme for local authorities in England to apply for capital grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 to purchase new bins. This scheme is being funded by Defra.

The Department for Education funds schools so they are able to carry out statutory duties, including to keep school estates clear of litter and refuse. School funding is increasing significantly over the next three years, with the largest cash boost for schools in a decade. Core school funding is increasing by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, and will increase by £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to 2019-20.

Around 80% of schools in England participate in the Eco-Schools programme, run in England by Keep Britain Tidy. This programme encourages pupils, parents and teachers to improve sustainability and reduce litter and waste in their schools and communities. That number of schools participating in this programme is growing, putting young people at the heart of environmental issues.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of excluding criminal record checks from the dog licensing process on the safety of (a) animals and (b) local communities.

Under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations) anyone who is in the business of breeding and selling dogs requires a valid licence from their local authority. The local authority is responsible for enforcing the 2018 Regulations and has powers to grant, refuse or revoke a licence. Regulation 11 and Schedule 8 of the 2018 Regulations set out restrictions as to who may not hold a licence under the 2018 Regulations and this includes people who have animal related criminal offences under certain legislation, across Great Britain. As required by the 2018 Regulations, we will be reviewing them five years after they came into force (2023). The review of the 2018 Regulations would be a suitable time to consider whether or not background criminal record checks should be included in the licensing process. In the meantime, if anyone suspects a licencee should not be operating because they fall within Regulation 11 and Schedule 8 of the 2018 Regulations, they should report the matter to the relevant local authority which has powers to investigate.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to introduce requirements for criminal record checks to the dog licensing process.

Under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations) anyone who is in the business of breeding and selling dogs requires a valid licence from their local authority. The local authority is responsible for enforcing the 2018 Regulations and has powers to grant, refuse or revoke a licence. Regulation 11 and Schedule 8 of the 2018 Regulations set out restrictions as to who may not hold a licence under the 2018 Regulations and this includes people who have animal related criminal offences under certain legislation, across Great Britain. As required by the 2018 Regulations, we will be reviewing them five years after they came into force (2023). The review of the 2018 Regulations would be a suitable time to consider whether or not background criminal record checks should be included in the licensing process. In the meantime, if anyone suspects a licencee should not be operating because they fall within Regulation 11 and Schedule 8 of the 2018 Regulations, they should report the matter to the relevant local authority which has powers to investigate.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Department on the England Tree Strategy and its role in achieving the net zero target ahead of COP26.

The Environment Secretary attends the Climate Action Implementation Committee chaired by the COP President. The Secretary of State also attends the Climate Action Strategy Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister.

These committees consider matters relating to the delivery of COP26, net zero and building the UK's resilience to climate impacts and ensure the credibility and delivery of these plans. Trees are a key nature-based solution to climate change and biodiversity loss and are integral to our economy-wide net zero plans.

We committed in our manifesto to increasing planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025. To achieve this, we announced a £640 million Nature for Climate Fund to increase planting in England and will soon publish plans for how we will increase tree planting for nature, people, the economy and net zero.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of border checks on goods arriving from the EU after the transition period on the quality of (a) perishable goods and (b) fresh cut flowers.

Products of animal origin (POAO) from the EU will not be subject to additional checks until April 2021. From April, documentary checks on these goods will be carried out remotely. From July, POAO will be subject to a minimum of 1% physical and identity checks at the border, and documentary checks will continue to be carried out remotely to preserve the flow of goods from the EU to Great Britain.

Fresh produce (flowers, fruit and vegetables) will be required to have a phytosanitary certificate and some goods will need to be pre-notified from April 21. There will, however, be no physical checks at the border until July at which point all physical checks on regulated plants and products will be performed at designated Border Control Posts. Any documentary checks will be carried out remotely. The list of goods requiring pre-notification from April onwards will be published on the GOV.UK website shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has for the UK to become self-sufficient in the growth of fresh flowers in the event of the UK not reaching an agreement with the EU on a future relationship.

We have the climate, landscape, and entrepreneurial farmers and growers in this country allowing us to grow top-quality fresh flowers, ensuring consumers are able to access a wide range of UK-grown produce.

A vibrant and successful ornamental horticulture sector brings significant benefits and plays a crucial role in our economy. We will always champion the sector, looking for ways it can stay competitive with measures to increase productivity and invest in new technology. Part of this work includes working with industry on a sustainable, long-term growth strategy for the sector.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to support fresh flower sellers in the event that tariffs are applied to the flower industry after the transition period.

The UK Government intends to achieve an FTA with the EU by December 2020. In that scenario, we would not expect the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) to apply to EU imports. The Political Declaration sets an aim for "a zero tariff and zero quota FTA" and we are working hard to achieve that. Reducing the cost pressures and processes associated with trade is in the interests of people and businesses across the UK.

The Government wants a free trade deal, based on friendly cooperation. The UK is a significant importer of goods, including flowers, from the EU, and ensuring frictionless trade and avoiding tariffs would be beneficial to both sides, given our shared commitment to high regulatory standards.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the outcome of the second consultation on Consistency in household and business recycling collections in England will be published.

We will publish the next stage of our proposals for consistency in recycling in household and business recycling in early 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to make funding available for a free garden waste disposal service for households.

We have recently consulted on whether households in England generating garden waste should be provided with a free garden waste collection service, as part of proposals to increase consistency in recycling. If introduced, we propose that this would be a minimum fortnightly collection service of a 240-litre capacity container (either a bin or a sack) throughout the growing season. Further capacity or more frequent collections could be charged for by the local authority.

Responses at consultation generated a range of views on a free minimum garden waste collection service. We will therefore give further consideration to the costs and benefits of this measure before making a final decision. We are preparing to consult further on recycling consistency proposals in 2021.

The Government has committed to covering the costs of any additional burdens that local authorities would face as a result of any new duties to arrange for the collection of garden waste separately for recycling. This is in keeping with the New Burdens Doctrine which requires new burdens on local authorities to be properly assessed and fully funded, so that there will be no increase in council tax as a result of the policy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many local authorities (a) charge for and (b) offer a free garden waste disposal service; and of those that charge for that service, what the average charge is per household in England.

As of 2018/19, 319 local authorities in England (98%) collect garden waste. 213 local authorities (65%) charge for garden waste collection as a subscription service, and the remainder of local authorities collecting garden waste provide a free collection service. For local authorities that charge for a garden waste collection service, the mean average charge per household in England is £43.23 per year (WRAP survey data).
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of 10 September 2020, Official Report, column 759, when he plans to hold the Yorkshire flood summit.

The Government recognises the impact that flooding has had on individuals and local communities and sympathises with all those affected. I have been in contact with Hon. Members from the South Yorkshire area on the issue of a round table.

Prior to lockdown, Defra officials were working to set this up. However, the coronavirus pandemic has caused delays. Officials continue to work on the logistics for holding a meeting in response to the November 2019 flooding and I expect to be able to confirm a date very soon.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the criteria his Department used to allocate the flooding and coastal erosion funding announced on 14 July 2020.

On 14 July 2020 the Government announced it will invest up to £170 million to bring forward work on flood defence schemes which will drive economic growth and better protect thousands of homes, businesses and jobs from the devastating effects of flooding.

The additional economic recovery funding will enable work to start on 22 new flood defence projects in 2020 or 2021, in addition to those schemes which were already planned to commence in the final year of the current six-year programme to better protect 300,000 homes from flooding.

The schemes identified were shortlisted and approved based on their economic growth/recovery potential, specifically including numbers of businesses and jobs protected. They are also all projects that were “shovel-ready” to begin construction in the financial years 20/21 or 21/22.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using river and canal dredging to tackle the flooding in South Yorkshire.

The Government’s flood risk management work focuses on where it delivers the greatest benefit to people and property. Dredging and other work to improve the river channel’s ability to carry increased flow (conveyance) often forms an important part of the Environment Agency’s (EA’s) maintenance regime. However the effectiveness of dredging in managing flood risk varies substantially for each stretch of river, depending on local conditions, and can actually make flooding worse if flows are quickened to towns and villages downstream. The EA assesses its value on a location-by-location basis, in consultation with local communities and organisations such as Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) where appropriate.

The merits of dredging to tackle flooding in South Yorkshire are limited. The surrounding land and bed of the lower reaches of the river Don are flat with a very low gradient, meaning water drains slowly, and they are at or below sea level, which further slows drainage. If riverbeds were dredged lower than sea level, they would simply fill with water and would not reduce flood levels.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans she has to improve flood defences in South Yorkshire following the floods in November 2019.

Following the recent flooding in South Yorkshire, the Environment Agency (EA) have identified approximately £30 million of work on EA owned or maintained assets to return the assets to their target condition and improve the resilience of those assets against flooding. The EA have also identified an initial £50 million of work to make further new improvements works to flood defences in South Yorkshire.

In addition to this and prior to the recent floods, the Environment Agency’s existing flood programme in South Yorkshire from 2020/21 to 2026/27 showed that there is a need to invest £106 million to improve flood defences in the area. Under current partnership funding rules this would generate £42 million of Grant in Aid funding from Defra and leave the remaining balance to be found from other sources. The EA is aware that £44 million has potential sources of funding identified but not yet secured, with the balance of around £19 million still to be identified.

The Environment Agency is working with all the South Yorkshire Lead Flood Authorities and Sheffield City Region in a catchment wide approach to see how it can find the additional funding needed to secure a strong flood programme and recover from the November 2019 floods. The EA looks forward to strengthening these relationships as we work together to deliver increased flood resilience through engineering and nature based solutions for communities across South Yorkshire.

Government is investing £2.6 billion between 2015 and 2021 to better protect the country from flooding. This will attract more than £600 million of additional investment through partnership contributions, funding over 1,000 flood defence schemes to better protect 300,000 homes by 2021.

The Government are looking at current funding arrangements and an assessment of funding needs beyond 2021. We will continue to work with the EA to consider future investment needs and Government’s role in supporting the resilience of communities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) guidance and (b) support her Department provides to local authorities to help tackle with fly-tipping.

Tackling fly-tipping is a Government priority. It blights local communities and the environment wherever it occurs and we are committed to tackling fly-tipping.

Guidance for local authorities can be found on the Gov.uk website. It includes information and links on local authority responsibilities, investigations, penalties and prosecutions, claiming costs, keeping records and preventing fly-tipping. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fly-tipping-council-responsibilities

In August 2019 we published a research project on public awareness of and adherence to the household waste duty of care. We also published related publicity materials that have been provided to the Local Government Association to circulate to local authorities. They are available on the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group’s (NFTPG) website: http://www.tacklingflytipping.com

With the support of local authorities, the NFTPG, chaired by Defra, has published a Fly-tipping Partnership Framework outlining best practice for the prevention, reporting, investigation and clearance of fly-tipping. It has also published a series of fly-tipping prevention guides for householders, businesses and landowners.

We have also committed to the development of a fly-tipping toolkit, hosted by the NFTPG. This will be a web-based tool to help local authorities and others work in partnership to tackle fly-tipping. It will cover, for example, the use of new technology to report fly-tipping, sharing of intelligence within and between partnerships, dealing with unauthorised encampments and promoting the duty of care to individuals and businesses.

In addition to the above, we have given local authorities a range of powers available to tackle fly-tipping. These include the power to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) of up to £400 for fly-tipping offences, including to those caught fly-tipping and householders who pass their waste to a fly-tipper. Local authorities also have enhanced powers to search and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers. Powers to issue FPNs provide local authorities with an efficient mechanism to hold fly-tipping perpetrators to account without having to go to court, which can be a time consuming, resource-intensive and expensive process. Additionally, the ability to issue FPNs can deter potential fly-tippers from fly-tipping in the first place.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to support the Northern Forest initiative.

As part of the 25 Year Environment Plan, we are providing £5.7 million to support the existing Northern Forest Partnership of the Community Forests and the Woodland Trust to accelerate and further develop the Northern Forest. Specifically, this kick-start investment is funding the planting of at least 1.8 million new trees across the Northern Forest by 2022.

We continue to work with the Northern Forest Partnership to identify, develop and implement delivery models to ensure new trees are planted in the places of greatest need and that these trees are well managed and maintained for current and future generations to enjoy and benefit from.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department plans to (a) review the funding strategy for de-mining in Afghanistan through the UN and (b) commit to holding the United Nations Mine Action Service to the same level of scrutiny as de-mining non-governmental organisations.

The current Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Afghanistan runs until the end of March 2021. We are currently reviewing our approach to Mine Action in Afghanistan beyond March 2021.

We remain committed to holding all Mine Action partners to the same level of scrutiny, in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world. UN partners are asked to provide frequent, detailed evidence that demonstrates progress and value for money for the UK taxpayer. UNMAS meets regularly with DFID officials to review results and discuss actions to mitigate programme risks.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she plans to allocate aid to the Maldives to support policy in relation to (a) rising sea levels and (b) human displacement.

The UK does not have a bilateral aid programme related to climate change in the Maldives. Most of our support to the Maldives is provided through multilateral institutions and key climate change funds.

The UK is acutely aware of the unique vulnerabilities that climate change poses to small island developing states, such as the Maldives, and we are actively using our influence in the UN and multilateral development banks to raise their concerns on issues such as natural disasters and climate change.

We are the largest contributor to the Green Climate Fund and the World Bank’s International Development Association, the largest European donor to the Asian Development Fund, and a significant contributor to the Green Environment Facility, which are all helping the most vulnerable countries like the Maldives adapt to climate change, including human displacement and risks related to rising sea levels.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she plans to allocate aid to Kiribati to support policy in relation to (a) rising sea levels and (b) human displacement.

The UK does not have a bilateral aid programme in Kiribati. Most of our support to Pacific Island Countries (PICs), including Kiribati, is provided through multilateral institutions and key climate change funds, which have a strong presence and deep expertise in the region.

The UK is acutely aware of the unique vulnerabilities that climate change poses to Kiribati and other PICs and we are actively using our influence in the UN and multilateral development banks to raise their concerns on issues such as natural disasters and climate change.

The UK is the largest contributor to the Green Climate Fund and the World Bank’s International Development Association, and the largest European donor to the Asian Development Fund, which have all provided a significant increase in support to the Pacific over recent years. This support is helping the most vulnerable countries like Kiribati adapt to climate change, including to human displacement and risks related to rising sea levels.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment he has made of the role of (a) Gavi and (b) Nutrition for Growth in helping to end preventable child deaths by 2030.

The UK’s ambition to end the preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns and children by 2030 is supported by our commitment to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and addressing malnutrition through Nutrition for Growth.

The UK’s £1.44 billion of support to Gavi between 2016-2020 has saved 1.4 million lives from vaccine-preventable diseases in 68 of the world’s poorest countries. The UK hosted pledging conference for Gavi on 3-4th June 2020, is an opportunity for the UK to use its global leadership to secure Gavi the funds it needs to reach 300 million more children and save at least 7 million lives between 2021 and 2025.

The 2020 Nutrition for Growth Summit will be an important opportunity to secure new commitments to nutrition, to set the world on a better track to achieve the Global Goals and to help achieve our ambition of ending preventable deaths by 2030.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will make it his policy to allocate funding from the public purse to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s work is critical to the delivery of the UK’s objective to end preventable deaths, having helped save 13 million lives since its inception in 2000. The UK remains deeply committed to supporting this vital work, including through the provision of significant funding to Gavi and hosting the upcoming replenishment event in June 2020.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of ruling out investor-state dispute settlement provisions in future trade agreements.

The precise details of any future Free Trade Agreement are a matter for formal negotiations, and we would not seek to pre-empt these discussions.

HM Government recognises the important role that Investment protections with Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) can play in protecting British investors abroad, including pensioners across the country through their pension funds and SMEs. Where ISDS is included in future agreements, we will seek to ensure fair outcomes of claims and high ethical standards for arbitrators, with increased transparency and efficiency of proceedings.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to issue guidance to transport providers on the protection of workers who are vulnerable to infection from covid-19 because they (a) have an underlying health condition, are (b) immunocompromised or (c) immunosuppressed.

The Department will continue to provide clear guidance to transport operators on how to provide safer workplaces, based on The Health and Safety Executive guidance on protecting vulnerable workers. This includes measures that can be taken to assess and address the risks of COVID-19. This also includes guidance to operators that they should continue to support workers in high risk groups and discuss any concerns individuals may have around their particular circumstance.

The Department will also encourage transport operators to consider the reasonable adjustments needed for staff with underlying health conditions and how these fit with other obligations to workers arising from employment rights and equality legislation.

The Government has published guidance for those people who have been identified by the NHS as being clinically extremely vulnerable. There is different guidance for people living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason it is the Government's policy that people travelling from amber list countries during covid-19 travel restrictions who take a PCR test to release at Day 8 with a negative result are not allowed to leave quarantine whereas those that pay for a PCR test on Day 5 and test negative are allowed to leave quarantine.

Testing remains an important part of our toolkit to manage the risk of imported cases of Covid-19, as well as identifying variants of concern.

The timing of all post-arrival tests is based on data modelling from Public Health England which shows that, due to the limited number of travellers taking up the scheme and the smaller differential between levels of infection at Days 5 and 8, Test to Release has minimal impact on infection rates but supports essential travel for businesses and individuals where appropriate.

However, even the most accurate test can only detect the virus in a person when the viral load is high enough to do so. Therefore, the day 8 test is necessary to ensure that Amber arrivals who are due to end self-isolation no longer pose a threat of infecting others. This applies even if you have opted into Test to Release and tested negative on day 5. If your day 8 test is positive you must self-isolate for a further 10 days.

We will continue to regularly review the measures in place to take account of the domestic and international health picture.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to increase the number of HGV drivers.

We are supporting the development of apprenticeships, including a standard to train lorry drivers. A revised standard will be available in August attracting £7,000 in apprenticeship levy funding.

The Department for Work and Pensions is developing a scheme to train jobseekers in HGV driving. The Flexible Support Fund is available to help the unemployed or those in receipt of Universal Credit renew their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

The Department has provided a grant for the non-profit initiative Road to Logistics to train military service leavers, ex-offenders and the long term unemployed to move into jobs in the logistics sector, including lorry driving.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the impact of the introduction of IR35 on the number of HGV drivers; and if he will make a statement.

The IR35 off-payroll working rules ensure that individuals working like employees but through their own limited company, or other intermediary, pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions as individuals who are directly employed.

Non-compliance with these rules was widespread and would have cost the Exchequer an estimated £1.3 billion per year by 2023/24 if not addressed.

The Government delayed the introduction of the rules to April 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. HMRC will be providing support to organisations to enable compliance with the changes to the off-payroll working rules.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support he is providing to the haulage sector following the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

The Department for Transport’s assessment is that the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) allows for the vast majority of UK haulage operations to and from the EU to continue as they did before the end of the transition period.  In addition, the Department has worked closely with the sector to prepare for the end of the transition period on areas such as market access and border readiness. Ministers continue to meet regularly with the sector to discuss implementation of the agreement.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of making specific financial support available for coach operators during the covid-19 outbreak.

Coach operators are able to access a range of financial support measures available to UK businesses.

In April, the Government granted an additional £425 million to local authorities in England through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund. ARG funding is aimed at supporting businesses which are experiencing a severe impact on their business due to public health restrictions. While this funding is allocated at the discretion of local authorities, the Government has issued guidance to councils encouraging them to consider tour operators among the businesses eligible for support.

The Government has also launched a Recovery Loan Scheme, which ensures that businesses of any size can continue to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business.

As we progress safely through the steps of the Roadmap, the Government will continue to engage with coach operators and with tourism stakeholders to assess how it can support the coach sector’s recovery in the long-term.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions officials in his Department have had with officials in HM Treasury on removing VAT from the price of covid-19 PCR tests.

My officials have discussed a number of options with HMT officials to reduce the cost of testing for international travel, which have seen significant reductions over the last few months. Decisions on tax policy rest with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will convene an urgent meeting of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council to discuss the work of the Manchester Recovery Task Force.

I will convene a meeting of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council to take place once local elections have taken place. I have asked my officials, including the Acceleration Unit, to arrange a date.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness that owners of tax-free vehicles must register their vehicle with the DVLA.

By law, all mechanically propelled vehicles that are used on public roads must be registered and licensed. Information about registration and licensing is available on GOV.UK and can be found https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-registration

In 2019, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency introduced a vehicle excise duty reminder form specifically for vehicles that are subject to a zero rate of vehicle excise duty. The reminder is sent shortly before a vehicle needs to be relicensed and it advises vehicle keepers that they are responsible for making sure that their vehicle is licensed even where there is no payment required. Information on how to relicense a vehicle, including those that attract a zero rate of vehicle excise duty, can be found on GOV.UK Tax your vehicle - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of proposals to introduce Graduated Driving Licensing for people aged over 70 on the independent personal mobility of older drivers.

The Government has no plans to introduce graduated driving licenses for drivers aged 70 or over.

It is the law that all drivers must tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency about any medical conditions which might affect their driving. This rule remains unchanged.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of creating a Department for Transport North.

The Department is exploring options for expanding its presence in the regions and nations of the UK as part of the Government’s commitment to move 22,000 civil service roles out of London by 2030. These options include locations in the north of England. We will announce our plans once finalised.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many civil servants working in his Department are based outside of Greater London, and at which locations; and what plans he has for the further relocation of civil servants in his Department to outside of Greater London.

Across the Department for Transport Group (the core Department and its four Executive Agencies) 79% of staff are based outside of London.

The core Department has 427 staff (of a total workforce of 3,457) outside of London in the following locations:

  • Aldershot
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Derby
  • Guildford
  • Hastings
  • Leeds
  • Liverpool
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Nottingham
  • Southampton
  • Swansea
  • Woking

The Department’s Executive Agencies have 12,064 staff (of a total workforce of 12,433) outside London.

DVSA has over 100 locations outside of London with its largest bases in Bristol, Swansea, Nottingham, Tyneside, Leeds, Birmingham and Staffordshire.

VCA is predominantly based in Bristol and Nuneaton.

MCA has 38 locations outside of London with its largest bases in Southampton and Portsmouth.

DVLA is predominantly (over 6,000 staff) based in Swansea.

The core Department is exploring options for expanding its presence in the regions and nations of the UK as part of the Government’s commitment to move 22,000 civil service roles out of London by 2030. We will announce our plans once finalised.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2021 to Question 133858 on City Deals: Sheffield City Region, what proportion of the City Deal allocation he plans to make available in the next financial year.

The next multi-year Spending Review will consider Sheffield City Region’s remaining indicative City Deal funding. The first £600 million funding round of the new £4 billion Levelling Up Fund will be launched later this year and will be open to all local areas.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to reduce the backlog of driving tests due to covid-19 public health restrictions.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has several measures in place to increase the number of driving tests available, once it is safe for tests to resume. These include offering overtime and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to carry out tests (warrant card holders) to do so, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays).

A recruitment campaign is underway to increase the overall number of driving examiners available for testing and the DVSA continues to assess further options for increasing testing capacity and reducing the backlog as quickly as possible. Ensuring a COVID-secure service is maintained for its staff and candidates remains a priority.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the National Bus Strategy.

The National Bus Strategy, England’s first-ever long-term bus strategy, will be launched in the coming months to ensure buses are prioritised into the future.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the remaining £50 million awarded to the Sheffield City Region as part of its City Deal has been approved.

The remaining funding of £50 million from the City Deal for the Sheffield City Region was agreed on an indicative basis up until 2024/25 and will be considered through the next multi-year Spending Review. The recent Spending Review in November last year focussed on supporting the Government’s response to Covid-19 and funding for the next financial year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the benefits of the eastern leg of Phase 2b of High Speed Two on the economies of (a) the north of England, (b) Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) the Sheffield City Region.

The High Speed Two (HS2) Phase Two business case, published in July 2017, sets out the benefits of the phase 2b route from the West Midlands to Leeds (Eastern Leg), including an assessment of the value for money of the route. On the Eastern leg, the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) will consider how to sequence its delivery to ensure benefits are realised sooner and to ensure it is integrated with plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and other rail investment projects, to get the best out of the significant investment in rail.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the economic effect of delays to the eastern leg of Phase 2b of High Speed Two.

The last economic assessment of Phase 2b was in the 2017 Phase 2 Business Case. The IRP and future business cases will lay out the economic benefits of Phase 2b/ Eastern leg including the impacts of delays to the scheme.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of delays to High Speed Two on Northern Powerhouse Rail.

The Department for Transport and Transport for the North are continuing to make good progress in developing a revised Strategic Outline Case for Northern Powerhouse Rail, which is due to be submitted in 2021 as planned. The Integrated Rail Plan for the Midlands and the North will consider the scoping and sequencing of HS2 alongside other major rail investment, including NPR, to ensure transformational rail improvements are delivered as quickly as possible.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with train operating companies on refunding rail tickets purchased before the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown was imposed.

Off-Peak, Anytime and season tickets are already refundable in accordance with the National Rail Conditions of Travel.

In October we agreed with the rail industry that, where a passenger with an Advance ticket is prevented from travelling due to COVID-19 restrictions, change of journey administration fees will be waived and, if they purchased their ticket directly from a train operator, they will be able to apply for a Rail Travel Voucher. Independent rail retailers can use their discretion to offer a credit note if they have the ability to do so, or a fee-free change of journey.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what criteria were used to define a permitted reason for the purposes of an overnight stay in the UK during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown; and if he will make a statement.

The criteria used to define a permitted reason for the purposes of an overnight stay in the UK during the November 2020 Covid-19 lockdown are set out in the Cabinet Office guidance. This can be found via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on (a) UK transport infrastructure and (b) the logistics sector of the UK and EU not agreeing a deal on their future relationship by the end of the transition period.

The Government is undertaking a range of preparations, led by the Border and Protocol Delivery Group in the Cabinet Office, to mitigate risks relating to new border arrangements; arrangements that will apply whether or not a trade agreement is agreed with the EU.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he is taking steps to extend Government guidance on face coverings to include privately run school transport.

The regulations relating to the use of face coverings on public transport do not apply to school transport services. Government guidance already strongly recommends face coverings in any enclosed spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, subject to exemptions. The Department for Education’s guidance on school re-openings further recommends that local authorities advise children and young people aged 11 and over to wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated transport from the autumn term, whether on the public network or procured by the local authority, schools or parent groups.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that passengers are financially compensated for cancelled flights as a result of changes to Government travel advice during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is in regular contact with industry and has encouraged businesses to act fairly during this unprecedented event. The Government has been clear that airlines and travel agents should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) undertook a review of the refund policies of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The CAA has utilised this review to influence airlines to change their processes and practices in order to improve performance in providing refunds. The CAA’s actions have led to an improved quality of service and performance from most airlines. The CAA continues to work with carriers to drive down waiting times, but balancing the support businesses need during this unprecedented situation.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the email correspondence to British Airways staff of 2 June 2020 on the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, what discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) representatives of the International Airlines Group on proposed redundancies and changes to terms and conditions of employment.

The Government recognises that, despite the measures put in place to protect the economy, there remain serious challenges for the aviation sector, and we are working at pace to ensure the recovery of the aviation sector. Departments across Government, including the Department for Transport, are working together to progress options to support individuals affected.

I appreciate that this is a very worrying time for BA’s loyal and devoted airline staff and their families. Although these are commercial decisions for companies, they are decisions which I nevertheless profoundly regret. It would not be appropriate to comment on any individual discussions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Civil Aviation Authority on supporting airlines to decrease the time taken to process and issue refunds for flights cancelled due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The department regularly engages with the Civil Aviation Authority and industry groups. The government has been clear that airlines should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner.

The Civil Aviation Authority undertook a review of the refund policies of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The CAA has utilised this review to influence airlines to change their processes and practices in order to improve performance in providing refunds. The CAA’s actions have led to an improved quality of service and performance from most airlines. The CAA continues to work with carriers to drive down waiting times, but balancing the support businesses need during this unprecedented situation.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2020 to Question 67659 on Taxis: Coronavirus, what plans he has to review the rules on making face coverings in taxis compulsory, following updated guidance on compulsory face coverings in shops from 24 July 2020.

The Government has published safer transport guidance on the safe provision of transport services during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance to passengers says that passengers should wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles. Taxi drivers are able to refuse carriage to passengers where it is reasonable to do so, and private hire vehicle operators can make wearing a face covering a condition of hiring. We are aware of private hire vehicle operators that are doing this and requiring the driver they work with to do the same. We are continually reviewing the guidance for safer transport in line with scientific advice.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the DVLA is meeting its service standards for (a) driver services, (b) drivers medical services and (c) vehicle services.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has remained open throughout the pandemic and its online services have operated as normal.

The DVLA’s 6,000 staff are predominantly based in one office in Swansea and to adhere to social distancing requirements there is a greatly reduced number of staff on-site at any one time. As a result, there are delays in dealing with paper applications that have been posted to the DVLA as these have to be dealt with in person.

The DVLA is working to process applications across all its vehicles and drivers’ services as quickly as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to ensure that drivers aged over 70 are able to drive whilst their licences are being renewed by the DVLA.

The quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence at 70 is to use the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service at www.gov.uk/renew-driving-licence-at-70.

Drivers who have made an application to renew their driving licence may be able to continue to drive while their application is being processed, provided they meet certain criteria. More information can be found online at www.gov.uk/government/publications/inf1886-can-i-drive-while-my-application-is-with-dvla

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to make the use of face coverings in taxis compulsory in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State’s announcement that from 15 June face coverings will be required while using public transport in England does not cover taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs); both are already able to implement measures to protect drivers and passengers including a requirement for passengers to wear a face covering (clearly taking account of those who cannot do so, such as people with disabilities). Taxi drivers are able to refuse carriage to passengers where it is reasonable to do so, this might include those that are able but refuse to wear a face covering. PHV operators can make the wearing of face covering a condition of hiring. We are aware of PHV operators that are doing this and requiring the drivers they work with to do the same.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Transport Secretary's statement on coronavirus (COVID), published on 4 June 2020 on gov.uk, whether the exemption from wearing a face mask on public transport for people with breathing difficulties applies to people with asthma.

We expect everyone to wear a face covering if they can, but recognise reasonable adjustments are necessary for some people. Exemptions will apply to those with breathing difficulties and other respiratory conditions including asthma, as well as other groups.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, at what stage of the covid-19 recovery strategy will in-vehicle driving lessons be permitted to resume.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recommends that, currently, approved driving instructors (ADI) should only provide lessons to candidates who have an essential need.

When providing driving lessons, all ADIs should put in place appropriate measures, in line with the latest Public Heath England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is the responsibility of the ADI and the pupil to consider the risks to their health and to decide if the driving lesson is essential.

Using the latest Government guidance, the DVSA is working closely with the Approved Driving Instructors National Association Strategic Partnership (NASP) to develop appropriate plans and control measures that will enable the resumption of non-essential driving lessons.

The DVSA will provide further updates on providing driving lessons and driving tests as soon as it can.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the private coach sector.

The Chancellor announced £330 billion of loans and guarantees, to financially support businesses, such as coach operators, through this time. The measures include the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Time to Pay and VAT deferral. The Department continues to work closely with the coach sector to understand what the ongoing risks and issues are, and how these could be addressed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to extend the Bus Services Support Grant beyond the 12 week period announced by his Department on 2 April 2020.

The Department is working urgently to provide further support to the bus sector to enable operators to ramp up service provision for people returning to work whilst observing social distancing, and will confirm the details of this further support as soon as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has given of the effect on the revenue of (a) bus and (b) light rail operators of the transport guidance for passengers and operators published on 12 May 2020.

The Department has been working closely with bus and light rail operators to understand the issues they face in providing services whilst ensuring social distancing for both passengers and staff. We are also working urgently to provide further support to the bus and light rail sectors to enable them to ramp up service provision safely for people returning to work.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he is taking steps to issue guidance on wearing (a) face masks and (b) other personal protective equipment on public transport as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Keeping transport workers and passengers safe is of paramount importance, and we are working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care at Ministerial and official level to ensure that we continue to take an evidence-based approach to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The UK continues to be led by the evidence on the use of face masks by the general population and is in alignment with the World Health Organization who do not currently recommend the wide spread use of face masks in the community. We will of course keep this under review, which includes considering advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the potential merits of wearing (a) face masks and (b) other personal protective equipment to reduce the transmission of covid-19 on public transport.

Keeping transport workers and passengers safe is of paramount importance, and we are working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care at Ministerial and official level to ensure that we continue to take an evidence-based approach to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The UK continues to be led by the evidence on the use of face masks by the general population and is in alignment with the World Health Organization who do not currently recommend the wide spread use of face masks in the community. We will of course keep this under review, which includes considering advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing additional funding for (a) walking and (b) cycling routes to increase active travel capacity in response to the challenges of operating public transport networks during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government agrees that reallocating road space to give pedestrians and cyclists more room can be a good way of enabling more people to move around safely while maintaining social distancing, thus helping to relieve pressures on public transport as well as delivering other benefits. It supports the steps many local authorities are taking to deliver this, but decisions on where and how to do it are a matter for local authorities who are responsible for managing their roads, and who already have the necessary powers. The Government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to local authorities to help them respond to coronavirus (COVID-19) pressures across all the services they deliver, and will continue to consider the case further support.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether a member of a household may drive another member of the same household, who is a key worker and cannot work from home, to work to prevent that household member from having to use public transport during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department encourages compliance with social distancing guidelines set out by Government. Where a key worker cannot work from home, a member of the same household may drive them to work.

When using a private vehicle to make a journey that is essential, cars should only be shared by members of the same household. Those who normally share a car with people who are not members of their own household for a journey that is essential, e.g. getting to work, should consider alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport where you maintain a distance of 2 metres from others.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Written Statement of 23 March 2020 on Rail Update, what plans he has to extend similar emergency measures agreements to bus services.

The Government has announced a package of measures to help the bus industry weather the current situation. These include maintaining central and local government grants and payments at similar levels to those pre-coronavirus, even if services are reduced or cancelled. It also includes allowing local authorities to use the additional £30 million from the £220 million ‘Better Deal for Bus Users’ package to support operators to run essential services for key workers where these are impacted by COVID-19.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to introduce a public transport concession scheme for key workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

There are no current plans to introduce a concessionary travel scheme for key workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, local authorities have the power to offer discretionary concessions, such as free or discounted travel for groups of people, such as key workers, based upon their assessment of local needs and funding priorities.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to remove time restrictions on England National Concessionary Travel Scheme smart permits during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are acutely aware of the issues around the time restrictions of the current concessionary travel scheme and are considering next steps as a matter of urgency.

The Government is very pleased to see that some local authorities and operators have already agreed to provide free morning travel to concessionary pass holders due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition, free or discounted travel before 9.30am is the most commonly offered discretionary concession, with 68 of the 89 Travel Concession Authorities in England outside London (predominantly local authorities) already offering free or discounted morning travel to older person’s and/or disabled person’s concessionary pass holders.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the number of Penalty Charge Notices issued within different local authority areas.

Local authorities are responsible for issuing Penalty Charge Notices in their area and the Department for Transport does not hold information on the number that are issued by different local authorities.

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Veterans' Railcard will include the dependants of veterans.

Yes, the Department will make good on our promise to ensure that spouses and dependent children will also be able to benefit from discounts when traveling with the railcard holder.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what identification veterans will need to provide to receive the veterans railcard.

Whilst those who have left the Armed Forces since December 2018 are likely to have a Veteran’s Recognition Card and will be able to use this to verify their status, not everyone will. We will accept a range of documents that a veteran is likely to have, and the specific details will be set out as part of the railcard application process.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on what date he plans to publish the Oakervee Review into High Speed Two.

The Government has made clear its intentions to publish the report of the Oakervee review and the Transport Secretary has met Doug Oakervee to discuss the review. The Government will set out the next steps for High Speed 2 in due course.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason (a) statutory maternity pay is treated as earned income and (b) maternity allowance is treated as unearned income for the purposes of calculating universal credit.

Universal Credit is a means tested system of support and where an individual claims Universal Credit, their award is adjusted to take account of any other financial support that the claimant is already receiving – including earnings, income and benefits.

Maternity Allowance is a benefit paid by the State which is unearned income for Universal Credit purposes. Unearned income that is available to help meet daily living costs is taken fully into account in determining the amount of Universal Credit that an individual can be paid. As such, in determining the amount of Universal Credit that is available, Maternity Allowance is deducted pound for pound from the total value of the award.  This principle applies to other benefits, such as new style Jobseeker’s Allowance and new style Employment and Support Allowance.

Maternity Pay (SMP) is more akin to earnings and is treated as a form of earnings in common with other statutory payments paid by employers. As a result, when adjusting the Universal Credit award, as with other earnings SMP is subject to the work allowance and tapering rules that are built into Universal Credit. Claimants retain 37p for every pound of earnings (or more if they are entitled to a work allowance).

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending the Bereavement Support Payment to include unmarried partners.

It is our intention to take forward a Remedial Order that will extend eligibility for Bereavement Support Payment to cohabitees with children. We are currently considering the detail and implementation of the draft Remedial Order, which will be laid shortly before the House.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to amend the employment and support allowance eligibility to include claimants who have been unable to pay National Insurance contributions as a result of shielding.

We have no plans to amend the National Insurance (NI) contributions conditions for contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals advised to ‘shield’ in line with public health guidance were eligible for ESA and would have received NI credits as part of their award. Where an individual required further financial assistance they may have been eligible for Universal Credit.

In addition, employers could and still can furlough clinically extremely vulnerable employees, who remain eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) even whilst shielding guidance is not in place. Individuals continue to pay NI contributions as normal as part of CJRS.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans the Child Maintenance Service has to change payment plans to reflect fluctuations to gross weekly income; and if she will make a statement.

The Service uses gross income information provided by HMRC in the first instance. This approach is consistent for all clients regardless of their employment type and ensures the calculation process is fair, simple and efficient.

The scheme is designed so that liabilities remain consistent over the year, with limited changes. The calculation is reviewed annually, and generally only changes during the year if a parent’s income increases or decreases by at least 25 per cent.

Where the paying parent has fluctuations in gross weekly income the Service will calculate a liability based on the weekly average of the amounts paid over a period preceding the effective date of the relevant calculation.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has in place to support claimants who currently receive payments to Post Office card accounts and who will be unable to provide new banks details by November 2021.

An alternative Payment Exception Service will remain in place to ensure claimants and pension recipients who are not able to access a standard account can continue to receive their benefit and pension payments.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department will provide to vulnerable claimants to manage the transition away from benefits being paid into Post Office card accounts.

The Department is committed to supporting claimants to access their benefit and pension payments as we transform our payment exception services. Nobody will be left without a means to access to their benefits or pension.

The Department has put in place a dedicated team, the Financial Inclusion Customer Contact Centre, to support all Post Office Card Account customers. The Team can help customers update their payment details to a standard account; answer questions about the payment change and; signpost customers to impartial financial advice available through the Money and Pensions Service where they need help to identify a suitable alternative account.

We are working closely with Post Office Limited on the support that their teams can provide to Post Office card account customers. For example, we have recently launched leaflets in some Post Offices to support Post Office card account customers, together with details of how they can update their payment details to a standard account.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect on claimants of no longer being able to receive benefits through their Post Office card accounts.

The Department has been encouraging Post Office card account customers to transfer to a standard account since 2016. Paying claimants into a standard account is the most efficient and safest payment method for the customer, and the Department.

Standard accounts have many advantages for the individual, for example, the ability to use direct debits and to pay for goods and services using a debit card. A standard account allows customers to access cash payments via a wide range of outlets and settings. The Post Office delivers personal banking services for a wide range of banks, building societies and other financial institutions, including cash withdrawal with a debit card.

The Department has continuously gathered insight from customers who contact us to discuss the closure of their Post Office card account to better understand their needs. This insight identified that some customers are unable to open or use an alternative account and for these customers we will pay through an alternative payment exception service to ensure that nobody will be left without access to their benefits or pension.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans he has to remove the reasonable expectation of death within six months provision under the Special Rules for Terminal Illness for benefit claimants who are terminally ill with motor neurone disease.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for all claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. I remain committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation; a consensus to change the six-month rule; improving ​consistency with other services used by people nearing the end of their lives; and raising awareness of the support that is available.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to extend eligibility for the Kickstart Scheme to include sole traders.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme is open to employers of all sizes.

Sole traders can apply to Kickstart through an organisation offering the ‘Gateway Plus’ model, which enables young people to be placed on the Gateway’s PAYE system for the duration of their placement; there are a number of organisations that will offer this model.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the average response time to hon Members' offices regarding Child Maintenance Support enquiries; and if she will make a statement.

The Department does not measure timings as described in the question and to determine this request, we would need to examine each individual case, which the Department considers to be cost prohibitive to provide.

The Department has a 15 working day target for MP to Director General Correspondence and a 20 working day target for Private Office correspondence. These timescales are in line with Cabinet Office directives.

As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department had to make changes to its complaints and MP correspondence model to allow staff to be deployed to support processing benefit claims and payments. From 9 July 2020, the Department now triage complaints and MP Correspondence giving priority to vulnerable claimants who may be at risk, and those with benefit payment issues.

We continue to look into all complaints and MP correspondence as quickly as we can and, as part of the triage process used to determine priority, we write or call those customers and MPs where there may be a delay in answering their complaint or enquiry.

We are reviewing the effectiveness of the approach we have taken throughout the pandemic as part of an ongoing review into complaints and MP correspondence handling.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to announce its decision on whether the £20 uplift to universal credit and working tax credits will be extended beyond April 2021.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of ending the £20 uplift to universal credit and working tax credits on (a) universal credit claimants and (b) the economy.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to ensure that personal independence payment claimants with incurable illnesses are only reassessed when there is a change in their condition.

Once someone has been awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which can be paid at one of eight rates, that award will usually be reviewed. Regular reviews are a key feature of the benefit and ensure that payments accurately match the current needs of claimants. The length of an award is based on an individual’s circumstances and can vary from nine months to an on-going award, with a light touch review after ten years.

In 2018 we introduced updated guidance for case managers and an updated PIP Assessment Guide in 2018 which ensures that those people who receive the highest level of support under PIP, and where their needs are unlikely to change or may get worse, will receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at the ten-year point. In line with PIP’s aim to be needs-based rather than condition-based, the change to the guidance is not condition specific. However, we believe the changes will ensure that those with severe and/or progressive conditions receive the most appropriate award duration that reflects their condition and the needs arising.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of removing the £20 per week uplift to universal credit and working tax credits on the Yorkshire economy.

The available information on the number of claimants on Universal Credit by Parliamentary Constituency is published and can be found at:https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of universal credit claimants who would be affected by the removal of the £20 per week uplift to universal credit and working tax credits in (a) Barnsley Central constituency, (b) the Sheffield city region and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber.

The available information on the number of claimants on Universal Credit by Parliamentary Constituency is published and can be found at:https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to mark National Workplace Day of Remembrance 2020 in Parliament.

Every year on 28 April the Health and Safety Executive joins with the Trade Union Congress and others to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day. The event remembers all those who have lost their lives at work, or from work-related injury and diseases. Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government.

The Health and Safety Executive welcomes any initiatives that will raise awareness of this important topic and help to reduce work related ill health, injury and death in the workplace.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on claimants on legacy benefits.

To support those on low incomes through the outbreak, we introduced a package of temporary welfare measures.

We increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants, so they now cover the lowest 30% of local rents. This increase, costing almost £1 billion, will mean 1.5 million households see an increase, on average, of £600 this year. We also increased the additional earnings disregard in Housing Benefit to ensure increases in the maximum rate of the basic element of Working Tax Credit did not impact on a claimant’s Housing Benefit award.

We legislated to allow access to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from day one of a claim for Covid-19 related cases and we have made it easier to access ESA by launching a portal for new style ESA online claims.

In addition to the above, legacy benefits were increased by £600m (1.7%) from April 2020 and will receive a further £100m (0.5%) increase from April 2021 as part of the Government’s annual up-rating exercise.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications her Department has (a) received and (b) approved for Kickstart Scheme funding in (i) each UK region and (ii) the Sheffield City Region.

I refer the honourable member to the Parliamentary Question HL10193, answered on 12 November. We are not yet able to break Kickstart data down by region.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many job placements have been (a) created and (b) filled through the Kickstart Scheme in (a) each UK region and (b) the Sheffield City Region.

I refer the honourable member to the Parliamentary Question HL10193, answered on 12 November. We are not yet able to break Kickstart data down by region.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of Kickstart Scheme applications are assessed within the stated timeframe of one month; and what the average time taken is for an employee to begin a placement after an application has been approved under that scheme.

We are not currently able to share this information. Our aim is to process applications within four weeks, although they may take longer if we have to seek additional information from the bidder.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential economic effect on self-employed workers claiming universal credit of the reintroduction of the minimum income floor.

After careful consideration of the ongoing public health situation and the national working environment, the current easement of the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit that was due to expire on 12th November 2020 has been extended to the end of April 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of universal credit claimants who would be affected by the reintroduction of the minimum income floor in (a) the Barnsley Central constituency, (b) the Sheffield city region and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber. .

After careful consideration of the ongoing public health situation and the national working environment, the current easement of the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit that was due to expire on 12th November 2020 has been extended to the end of April 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the National Insurance number application process for EU citizens; and if she will make a statement.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has continued to monitor all aspects of the National Insurance Number (NINo) process throughout recent months, as we continue to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our services.

When applying for a NINo, all applicants are required to have their identity verified. For those applicants whose identity has already been verified by another UK Government Department, primarily the Home Office, their applications are dealt with by post. For those who have not had their identity verified, primarily EU/EEA nationals, the current process requires them to attend a face to face interview with DWP to verify their identity.

Due to COVID-19, the face to face interview process was suspended from 17th March 2020. This enabled us to retrain and redeploy a large number of staff to help process the substantial number of benefit claims received during this period.

It is not possible, due to the requirement to examine customers’ ID documents, to offer a virtual service. However, we are working on a digital solution that should enable us to restart the process incrementally by the end of September 2020.

Employers are required to conduct mandatory Right to Work checks on all prospective employees. Having a NINo is not part of these checks, and the possession of a NINo does not prove that an individual has a right to work. Indeed, an individual can apply for a job and take up employment without a NINo and the HMRC standard process allows payment of salary and collection of tax and NI without a NINo.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to provide additional financial support to bereaved families where the principal earner has died as a result of covid-19.

DWP has a range of financial support available for bereaved families.

Bereavement Support Payment provides short-term financial support to working age people whose deceased spouse or civil partner has paid sufficient National Insurance contributions. It is intended to help with the immediate costs of bereavement and can be paid to both widows and widowers. Recipients with children can receive an initial payment of £3,500 and up to 18 monthly payments of £350, whilst those without can receive an initial payment of £2,500 and up to 18 monthly instalments of £100. It is not taxable and is paid on top of any income-related benefits the household receives thus not disadvantaging low income families. It can be paid regardless of whether the surviving spouse or civil partner is in work.

The Funeral Expenses Payments scheme provides an important contribution towards the cost of funeral for claimants in receipt of certain income based benefits or tax credits. The Funeral Expenses Payment pays for the necessary costs of a funeral including the burial or cremation fees in full and in April 2020 the additional element that can help with other costs, such as a coffin or the services of a funeral director, was increased from £700 to £1000.

For those that need support for ongoing living costs, from 6 April 2020 the Government increased the standard allowance in Universal Credit by £86.67 per month (equivalent to £20 per week) for one year on top of the planned annual uprating. This additional increase means that claimants may be up to £1040 better off, depending on their circumstances. This applies to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to increase personal independent payment in line with the temporary increase in universal credit during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced a suite of measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised to benefit those facing the most financial disruption during the pandemic. Personal Independence Payment (PIP), a tax-free extra costs benefit worth up to £151.40 a week, was not subject to the benefits freeze and was most recently uprated by 1.7 per cent from 6 April.

PIP can be paid in addition to other financial support that those with a health condition or disability may be eligible for such as Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit, additional amounts and premiums paid within the income-related benefits, Carer’s Allowance or financial help with NHS travel costs.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to provide additional financial support to personal independence payment claimants with cancer during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced a suite of measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised to benefit those facing the most financial disruption during the pandemic. Personal Independence Payment (PIP), a tax-free extra costs benefit worth up to £151.40 a week, was not subject to the benefits freeze and was most recently uprated by 1.7 per cent from 6 April.

PIP can be paid in addition to other financial support that those with a health condition or disability may be eligible for such as Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit, additional amounts and premiums paid within the income-related benefits, Carer’s Allowance or financial help with NHS travel costs.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of raising the local housing allowance to the fiftieth percentile to support renters during the outbreak of covid-19.

We increased Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local rents, providing additional financial support for private renters, further to lobbying from homeless charities. This significant investment of almost £1 billion, ensures over 1 million households will see an increase, on average, of £600 per year.

For renters whose circumstances mean they may require more support, Discretionary Housing Payments are also available. We have already provided £180m in Discretionary Housing Payment funding to local authorities to support vulnerable claimants with housing costs in the private and social rented sector in England and Wales for 2020/21. This includes an extra £40m announced at the spending round.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing carers who are in receipt of carer’s allowance with additional financial support during the covid-19 outbreak in (a) Barnsley Central constituency and (b) the UK.

The Government recognises and appreciates the vital role played by unpaid carers now more than ever. In November 2019 there were more than 1,900 carers in the Barnsley Central constituency that were receiving Carer’s Allowance (CA) and in 2018/19 we spent approximately £6.7 million on CA there.

We have focussed on ensuring carers do not inadvertently stop receiving CA because of changes to patterns of care during the current emergency. This includes allowing emotional support to count towards the 35 hours of care being provided by the carer as well as relaxing the rules around breaks in care. These changes aim to support carers whose role has, in many cases, become harder due to the need to self-isolate or shield the person they care for.

The rate of CA was also increased in early April as part of the annual uprating process. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning nearly an additional £700 a year for carers. We continue to support those carers in most need through additional amounts (premiums) in means-tested benefits and have also announced increases to the standard allowance in Universal Credit. Meaning claimants will be up to £1040 a year better off, which some carers receiving Universal Credit will benefit from.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional financial support her Department is providing to claimants of universal credit whose partners are in receipt of the state pension during the covid-19 outbreak.

Couples where one member is receiving state pension and the other is of working age, who are not already claiming Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit for pensioners, will be supported through Universal Credit where eligible.

The Government has announced a suite of measures to support those facing the most financial disruption during the pandemic. This includes increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit by £86.67 per month (equivalent to £20 per week), on top of the planned annual uprating. This means that claimants may be up to £1,040 per year better off, depending on their circumstances. We have also made a number of other changes such as increasing Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants; putting an average of £600 into people’s pockets.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of establishing a restart programme for 19-25 year olds entering the job market in 2020.

Jobcentres have already started to re-engage with new and existing claimants and are signposting them to appropriate support to support people through the economic recovery post Covid-19.

DWP is also engaging with a number of external stakeholders including the Youth Employment Group (set up by the Prince’s Trust, Youth Employment UK, the Institute for Employment Studies, the Youth Futures Foundation and Impetus) as well as continuing to work across Whitehall to develop appropriate support aimed at young people.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to implement a post covid-19 employment programme to address (a) youth unemployment and (b) long-term unemployment.

The Department is closely monitoring the evolving economic, labour market and public health situation to identify the most effective ways to help people stay in or close to work while considering the longer term labour market strategy.

We are engaging with a range of external organisations, and devolved and local partners, to better understand the impact of the pandemic, for example on particular places, sectors and groups.

This will ensure that the Department identifies the best measures to support economic recovery and that we put in place the best possible employment support offer.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on unemployment in the UK.

The independent Office for National Statistics’ latest estimate of unemployment and employment can be found at;

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

Since the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic the Government has made an unprecedented effort to protect jobs and livelihoods – with the package of measures the Government has put in place for employers, employees and the self-employed being amongst the most generous in the world.

The Chancellor has announced an unprecedented series of measures to support businesses and their employees to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

DWP is continuing to work with HMT and other Government departments to monitor the evolving economic and labour market situation to identify the most effective ways to help people stay in or close to work both now and in the future.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the suspension of post-mortems on patients with suspected cases of industrial chest disease following the outbreak of covid-19 on the ability of the families of those patients to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

.Where a posthumous claim is made for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, any relevant medical evidence will be considered to help determine eligibility for benefit. The dependants of the deceased may submit supporting evidence they feel is relevant, including medical evidence which suggests a diagnosis, even where this is not confirmed. In addition, healthcare professionals will contact the deceased’s GP or hospital specialist, to obtain further evidence if this is required, as part of their assessment of the claim.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants had their applications for universal credit (a) approved and (b) rejected in the (i) Sheffield City Region and (ii) Barnsley Central constituency since 1 March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available at constituency level and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants had their applications for an advance on their first payment (a) approved and (b) rejected in the (i) Sheffield City Region and (ii) Barnsley Central constituency since 1 March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available at constituency level and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what plans her Department has to change the process of applying for universal credit for people who cannot apply online so that claimants do not have to take proof of identity into their local JobCentre.

The Department takes seriously the need to support claimants during the COVID-19 outbreak, and wants Universal Credit to be easy to access. It is designed to be a ‘digital-first’ service, ensuring we make best use of technology to deliver a modern and effective working-age welfare system. This allows our staff to concentrate on those people who require additional support through different channels.

Although the Department offers comprehensive support for claimants to use our digital service, there will be occasions when people are unable to make their claim online, so telephone applications can be accepted through the Freephone Universal Credit Helpline.

Jobcentres are currently closed to claimants, except for the most complex cases where help can only be delivered face-to-face. As a consequence, new Universal Credit claimants will have their identity verified by telephone through the use of biographical questions generated by information already held by the Department.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has plans to publish guidance for people that have been made redundant as a result of covid-19 on the JobCentre Plus website in order to promote social distancing by reducing attendance at job centres.

All face to face appointments have been suspended so that jobcentres are closed to the public except for in exceptional circumstances to minimise risk to the public and staff. Gov.uk already contains information and guidance for people who are being made redundant. This information has been updated as appropriate to inform the public that face to face appointments are currently not required.

In addition, the pages that contain information about claiming benefits have been updated to say that customers do not need to attend interviews at the moment because of Covid-19, and that DWP will contact them should we require more information to enable us to process their claim.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the amount payable in housing benefit and the housing element of universal credit decreasing when a non-dependent's earnings increase, what recent representations he has received on reducing the bracket for non-dependents' earnings.

There are no income bands and only one deduction rate applied to Universal Credit claimants who have non-dependents living in their household.

There have been no recent representations to reduce the income bands for non-dependents’ earnings for people receiving Housing Benefit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on employment support for the visually impaired.

In recognition of the strong two-way relationship between work and health, in 2015 the Joint Work and Health Unit was established as a joint DWP and DHSC team; reporting to both Secretaries of State. The Unit informs the Government’s disability employment strategy, using a programme of trials and tests to identify effective models of health and employment support to help people with health conditions or disabilities to stay in work or return to work.

In addition DWP will be bringing forward a Green Paper on health and disability support in the coming months. The Green Paper will explore how the welfare system can better meet the needs of claimants with disabilities and health conditions now and in the future, to build a system that people trust and enables them to live independently and move into work where possible.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to make unmarried persons eligible for the bereavement support payment.

The legislation covering bereavement support payment confines eligibility to those who are married or in a civil partnership. We currently have no plans to change the eligibility criteria for bereavement support payment.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to allow postgraduate university students to claim universal credit.

Most full time students in education, including those undertaking postgraduate studies, do not qualify for Universal Credit.

Students are able to access funding to support their education courses through various loans and grants, which are the responsibility of the Department for Education. It is important that Universal Credit does not duplicate this support, which is designed for their needs unlike the social security system.

Exceptions are made where students have additional needs that are not met through the student support system. These provisions already allow a person undertaking a full-time postgraduate course of study to have entitlement to Universal Credit if they satisfy one of the exceptions or, where the course is not full-time, it is considered to be compatible with any work related requirements placed upon them.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to require facemasks to be worn on train carriages to help protect those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and need to travel.

The Government recommends people continue to wear face coverings particularly in enclosed and crowded spaces, including on public transport.

People who suffer with long-term conditions or who may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 should speak to their general practitioner for personalised advice. The standard guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people was updated to reflect the lifting of restrictions on 19 July, including guidance for travel and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to publish bespoke clinical guidance for the treatment of people who are (a) immunocompromised or immunosuppressed and become infected with covid-19 reflecting recent innovations in the treatment of covid-19 and (b) ensure patients in this situation receive the same treatment opportunities across England.

Specific clinical guidance for the treatment of immunocompromised patients may be developed if research identifies effective treatments in the future. Immunocompromised patients are a priority cohort for research into therapeutic and prophylaxis treatments such as monoclonal antibody therapies, novel antivirals, and repurposed compounds.

The Department works closely with the National Health Service to ensure treatments are made available on an equitable basis.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of an increase in covid-19 infections and hospitalisations over summer 2021 on the ability of patients who require a transplant to receive one.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and NHS Blood and Transplant are working closely with transplant units to optimise organ utilisation, including facilitating a patient’s move to an alternative unit where possible. NHS England and NHS Improvement have published guidance to local systems to support the restoration and recovery of solid organ transplants and regional teams have developed recovery plans. This includes streamlined pathways for the provision of solid organ transplantation and the associated critical care capacity, informed by different COVID-19 scenarios.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to support immunocompromised or immunosuppressed people who are not protected by covid-19 vaccines and are clinically extremely vulnerable to protect themselves after 19 July 2021 and until they are able to receive a booster immunisation.

Guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals was published on 12 July and outlines support for all clinically extremely vulnerable people, including those who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed, and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Those with any concerns should contact their general practitioner practice or specialist who can provide personalised support and advice on any additional precautions. Immunosuppressed individuals are a priority cohort for research into therapeutic and prophylaxis treatments such as monoclonal antibody therapies, novel antivirals and repurposed compounds.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support is available to ensure that where a person is clinically vulnerable they are able to interact safely in public after the lifting of covid-19 restrictions on 19 July 2021.

Guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals from 19 July was published on 12 July, outlining support that all clinically extremely vulnerable people can access, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

If a clinically extremely vulnerable individual has any concerns about their physical or mental wellbeing they should access the National Health Service website or contact their general practitioner practice or specialist who can provide them with nuanced and personalised support and advice on any additional precautions they should take.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing UK citizens returning from business trips in amber list countries during covid-19 travel restrictions to quarantine at home.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to ensure that UK citizens who are required to quarantine in a hotel after a business trip to an amber list country under covid-19 travel restrictions have access to adequate work-from-home facilities.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is making available to British citizens who are having to travel through covid-19 amber list countries to re-enter the UK for business purposes.

From 19 July, arrivals from ‘amber list’ countries who have been fully vaccinated through the United Kingdom vaccination programme do not have to quarantine or take a day eight test after arrival in England. Those who are not fully vaccinated and are returning from ‘amber list’ countries currently must quarantine for 10 days at home and take a polymerase chain reaction test on or before day two and after day eight. They also have the option to end quarantine early on day five, following a negative test result.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his plans are for making pain relief available for women when having an intrauterine device insertion.

This is a clinical issue. The current guidance on intrauterine contraception from the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare does not recommend the routine use of pain relief for improving ease of insertion or reducing pain during insertion of intrauterine methods. Local anaesthetic can be used in some circumstances. The Faculty’s guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.fsrh.org/standards-and-guidance/documents/ceuguidanceintrauterinecontraception/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to make the process of opting out of NHS Digital preference data sharing more accessible for the digitally excluded.

The national data opt-out provides digital, phone assisted and paper methods for patients to opt out.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to change the birth registration process so that both parents' names are included on the birth certificate where LGBT+ parents (a) are not married and (b) have not conceived via an officially registered clinic; and if he will make statement.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended in 2008, contains provisions for female same-sex couples to register a birth and gain legal parenthood if fertility treatment takes place at a United Kingdom licensed clinic.

The Government has no plans to change the legal parenthood provisions set out in the Act.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on making specific financial support available to (a) community and (b) residential care homes.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has regular discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a variety of issues, including funding for social care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the quality of the testing service provided by Qured; how many complaints his Department has received on that company's service relating to covid-19 hotel quarantine; and if he will make a statement.

Qured has demonstrated compliance with the relevant minimum standards for their commercial provision of testing. This includes progressing through the three stage United Kingdom Accreditation Service process for providing sample collection and/or test analysis services. The Department is continuing to monitor all providers, including Qured, including assessment of their delivery, customer service and testing services.

The information requested in the number of complaints is not held centrally. However, we are monitoring issues raised by the public about private test providers, raising complaints with the relevant provider.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to people trying to secure accommodation through the covid-19 hotel quarantine booking portal in response to increased demand for accommodation as a result of the increased size of the red list country list.

In addition to the web portal, Corporate Travel Management (CTM) have a large international call centre which is able to assist guests to make their booking. The call centre is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has multilingual capability. The capacity of the call centre is increased whenever there is a new addition to the ‘red list’. In addition to the regular call centre capability CTM have set up a separate call centre based in India with a local number to assist guests to book their hotel package.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the number of menopause clinics in South Yorkshire.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have a statutory responsibility to commission healthcare services that meet the needs of their whole population. Increasing the number of menopause clinics is a matter for the relevant CCG to consider.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect of his Department's proposals to introduce mandatory calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector for large businesses on (a) people with eating disorders and (b) the prevalence of eating disorders in the future.

Regulations were laid on 13 May that will require large businesses in England with 250 or more employees, including restaurants, cafes and takeaways, to display calorie information of non-prepacked food and soft drink items.

The Department has published an impact assessment detailing the likely effect the policy will have, including the potential effect of the policy on people living with eating disorders. This and the Government’s response to its public consultation on calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector, set out the evidence used to support the policy. The impact assessment and consultation response are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/calorie-labelling-for-food-and-drink-served-outside-of-the-home

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to women's sexual health of increasing the number of menopause clinics in South Yorkshire.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have a statutory responsibility to commission healthcare services that meet the needs of their whole population. Increasing the number of menopause clinics is a matter for the relevant CCG to consider.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the evidence for the decision to introduce mandatory calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector for large businesses; and if he will make a statement.

Regulations were laid on 13 May that will require large businesses in England with 250 or more employees, including restaurants, cafes and takeaways, to display calorie information of non-prepacked food and soft drink items.

The Department has published an impact assessment detailing the likely effect the policy will have, including the potential effect of the policy on people living with eating disorders. This and the Government’s response to its public consultation on calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector, set out the evidence used to support the policy. The impact assessment and consultation response are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/calorie-labelling-for-food-and-drink-served-outside-of-the-home

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been suspended from the NHS Blood and Transplant active transplant list for (a) less than one month, (b) one to three months, (c) four to six months, (d) seven to 12 months and (e) more than 12 months.

Patients can be suspended from the organ donation transplant waiting list for varying reasons, including a deteriorating condition, safety in relation to COVID-19 or transfer to a different transplant centre due to relocating or capacity issues as a result of the pandemic.

As of 13 May 2021, there were 4,264 patients on the suspended waiting list. Numbers by length of time patients were suspended is shown in the following table:

Less than one month

One to three months

Four to six months

Seven to 12 months

More than 12 months

347

312

725

840

2,040

Source: NHS Blood and Transplant

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many organ transplant operations have been conducted in each month since May 2020.

A table showing the number of organ transplant operations conducted in each month since May 2020 is attached.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 in increasing the number of organs available for donation; and if he will make a statement.

Initial data from NHS Blood and Transplant shows that in the first six months, 135 people donated their organs under deemed consent. This was 26% of all donations that took place during that time period, with a total of 341 organs transplanted.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to encourage people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to become organ donors in response to the implementation of the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019.

The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 introduced a new system of consent for organ and tissue donation in England, known as ‘opt-out' or ‘deemed consent, from 20 May 2020.

NHS Blood and Transplant launched a public awareness campaign in April 2019 to inform the public about the law change and the choices available to them. A second public awareness campaign in autumn 2020, reached 18 million people. In February 2021, NHS Blood and Transplant launched its Leave Them Certain campaign, to encourage people to talk to their family about organ donation. The campaign includes specific community media for black and South Asian audiences. In addition, NHS Blood and Transplant committed £600,000 in 2020-2021 to run the Community Investment Scheme for a third year, which has funded 35 projects to raise awareness of blood and organ donation in black and Asian communities.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to encourage people to better understand their organ donation choices in response to the implementation of the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019.

The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 introduced a new system of consent for organ and tissue donation in England, known as ‘opt-out' or ‘deemed consent, from 20 May 2020.

NHS Blood and Transplant launched a public awareness campaign in April 2019 to inform the public about the law change and the choices available to them. A second public awareness campaign in autumn 2020, reached 18 million people. In February 2021, NHS Blood and Transplant launched its Leave Them Certain campaign, to encourage people to talk to their family about organ donation. The campaign includes specific community media for black and South Asian audiences. In addition, NHS Blood and Transplant committed £600,000 in 2020-2021 to run the Community Investment Scheme for a third year, which has funded 35 projects to raise awareness of blood and organ donation in black and Asian communities.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 186168 on Kidney Diseases: Health Services, what processes are in place to ensure that the adult renal service specification is effective in meeting the mental health needs of people on dialysis.

The service specification for haemodialysis acknowledges the significant impact that renal failure can have on an individual’s mental health and advises that service providers should offer patients access to social worker advice and psychology services, as well as providing information about patient support groups.

There are monthly clinical quality review meetings with hospitals to discuss the quality standards, with all providers of specialised services asked to assess their service against the key requirements of service specifications on an annual basis. Trusts and regional commissioners will discuss where standards are not fully met to support local action, including standards around access to psychosocial support. The quality of specialised services is also assessed by regional teams who draw on information from different sources, including information from the Care Quality Commission.

Furthermore, NHS England and NHS Improvement specialised commissioning are undertaking a National Adult Renal Services Transformation Programme. The Programme has identified psychosocial support within renal services as a key theme for improvement. Further updates on this work will be made available as the programme develops.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 186168 on Kidney Diseases: Health Services, what plans his Department has to update the adult renal service specification.

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) Specialised Commissioning is undertaking a National Adult Renal Services Transformation Programme (RSTP). The RSTP has identified psychosocial support within renal services as a key theme for improvement and will consider the service model for adult renal services, including whether any amendments to the service specifications are required. Further updates on this work will be made available as the programme develops. The service specification does acknowledge the significant impact that renal failure can have on an individual’s mental health and advises that service providers should offer patients access to social worker advice and psychology services.

In March 2021 we launched the Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, backed by an additional £500 million for 2021/22, to ensure that we have the right mental health support in place over the next year. We remain committed to our ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan to expand and transform mental health services in England and to investing an additional £2.3 billion a year in mental health services by 2023/24.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 186168 on Kidney Diseases: Health Services, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that adults on dialysis are able to access psychosocial support under the adult renal service specification.

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) Specialised Commissioning is undertaking a National Adult Renal Services Transformation Programme (RSTP). The RSTP has identified psychosocial support within renal services as a key theme for improvement and will consider the service model for adult renal services, including whether any amendments to the service specifications are required. Further updates on this work will be made available as the programme develops. The service specification does acknowledge the significant impact that renal failure can have on an individual’s mental health and advises that service providers should offer patients access to social worker advice and psychology services.

In March 2021 we launched the Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, backed by an additional £500 million for 2021/22, to ensure that we have the right mental health support in place over the next year. We remain committed to our ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan to expand and transform mental health services in England and to investing an additional £2.3 billion a year in mental health services by 2023/24.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 186169 on Kidney Diseases: Young People, what processes are in place to ensure that the paediatric renal service specification is effective in benefiting the mental health of young people on dialysis.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s paediatric renal service specification sets out national standards for renal services, including the importance of mental health support for children. There are monthly clinical quality review meetings with hospitals on the quality standards, where providers of specialised services assess their service against the key requirements of the service specifications on an annual basis. Trusts and regional commissioners will discuss where standards are not fully met to support local action, including standards on mental health. The quality of specialised services is also assessed by regional teams.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 186169 on Kidney Diseases: Young People, what plans his Department has to update the paediatric renal service specification.

There are currently no plans to review the paediatric renal service specification.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 186169 on Kidney Diseases: Young People, what steps his Department is taking is to ensure that young people on dialysis are able to access psychosocial support under the paediatric renal service specification.

The NHS England and NHS Improvement national paediatric renal service specification specifies that having a multi-disciplinary team is essential to running a paediatric nephrology service and would include social workers, psychologists, play specialists and youth workers. It is expected that each specialised paediatric renal unit would have access to appropriate psychosocial support. Providers of all specialised services are asked to assess their service against the key requirements of the service specifications on an annual basis.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to people trying to secure accommodation through the covid-19 hotel quarantine booking portal in response to increased demand for accommodation as a result of the increased size of the red list country list.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is making available to young people on dialysis to improve their mental health.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published a national paediatric renal service specification in 2013 which sets out national standards for renal services including the importance of psychological support for children and is available at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/e03-paedi-medi-renal.pdf

In addition, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guideline ‘Renal replacement therapy and conservative management’, contains recommendations on how clinicians can support young people with dialysis and refer them to services, including clinical psychologists or psychiatrists where appropriate. The guideline is available at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng107

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the number of (a) social workers and (b) psychologists employed in kidney units.

We recognise the importance of social workers as a core professional group in adult and children’s social care and are committed to funding social work education, training, recruitment and retention, ensuring we have enough social workers with the right skills, knowledge and values to support workforce requirements across the range of setting these staff may work in. We continue to provide financial support to students to qualify as social workers, through the £58.5 million Social Work Bursary and £20 million Education Support Grant to deliver practice placements each year.

In line with the NHS Long Term Plan, Health Education England is intending to expand the number of clinical psychology training places by at least 25%, which will in turn, increase the pool of clinical psychologists that could be drawn into specialisms such as kidney units.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of increasing pay for all social care staff including direct care workers.

The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay, independent of central government. Local authorities work with care providers to determine a fair rate of pay based on local market conditions.

We are providing councils with access to over £1 billion of additional funding for social care in 2021-22 on top of the significant support provided over the last year to support the sector deal with COVID-19. This funding is designed to ensure key pressures in the system are met, including the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage. An increase in the rate of the National Living Wage means many of the lowest paid care workers will have benefitted from at least a 2.2% pay from 1 April. Additionally, we have ring-fenced over £1.8 billion to support adult social care providers for measures such as helping maintain the normal wages of staff who may need to self-isolate.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment her Department has made of the quality of the testing service provided by Qured; how many complaints his Department has received on that company's service relating to covid-19 hotel quarantine; and if he will make a statement.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the average length of time his Department has taken to respond to ministerial correspondence in the latest period for which figures are available.

We have made no specific assessment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the prevalence of drug misuse in (a) Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and (b) the UK in each of the last 10 years.

Drug misuse statistics for England and Wales are collected via the Crime Survey for England and Wales. The sample size is insufficient to estimate prevalence of drug misuse at lower geography levels, therefore prevalence of drug misuse statistics in Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council are not available.

The Office for National Statistics’ data on drug misuse in England and Wales for year ending March 2020 is available at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/articles/drugmisuseinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2020

Data for Scotland and Northern Ireland is not collected as this is a devolved matter.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients are waiting for operations postponed as a result the covid-19 outbreak in the Sheffield City Region.

Data on postponed care is not collected centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Minister for Woman and Equalities on the effect on women’s well-being of not having a partner attend due to public health restrictions on (a) maternity, (b) neonatal and (c) post-natal appointments for women in the UK.

There have been no recent discussions.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of average life expectancy for a person living in (a) Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, (b) South Yorkshire and (c) the UK.

While life expectancy at birth in 2017-19 was the highest ever observed in the United Kingdom, improvements in life expectancy have slowed since 2011. Generally, trends in South Yorkshire and Barnsley life expectancy trends have followed similar patterns to the UK.

In Barnsley, the average male life expectancy has slightly decreased from 78.2 years in 2014-16 to 77.8 years in 2017-19. The average female life expectancy has also slightly decreased from 81.9 years in 2014-16 to 81.8 years in 2017-19. In South Yorkshire, the average male life expectancy has increased slightly from 78.4 years in 2014-16 to 78.5 years in 2017-19 and the average female life expectancy has remained at 82 years between the same period. In the UK, the average male life expectancy increased from 79.2 years to 79.4 years between 2014-16 and 2017-2019 and the average female life expectancy also increased from 82.9 years to 83.1 years between the same period.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle health inequalities experienced by people living in (a) Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and (b) South Yorkshire.

Public Health England (PHE) work alongside the Director of Public Health in Barnsley as well as across the local authority and partners, to help provide evidence, specialist expertise and jointly developed programmes targeted at tackling health inequalities. PHE also carry out this work across South Yorkshire.

PHE is jointly leading on a programme of work to tackle health inequalities with the Yorkshire and Humber Association of Directors of Public Health, for example by providing additional specialist senior level capacity to lead on the inclusive economies’ agenda specifically in Barnsley and South Yorkshire.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2021 to Question 168937 on Health Services: South Yorkshire, when he plans to publish the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System boundary review.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently undertaking this boundary review exercise and no final decisions have yet been made. As this work progresses, engagement with local areas will take place including with National Health Service bodies, local authorities and other stakeholders in the affected areas in order to appropriately assess any potential effects a change of integrated care system boundaries in an area may have, this will include consideration of any potential impact on services, patient wellbeing and staff.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of changes to the Integrated Care System boundary in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw on (a) services, (b) patient wellbeing and (c) staff.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently undertaking this boundary review exercise and no final decisions have yet been made. As this work progresses, engagement with local areas will take place including with National Health Service bodies, local authorities and other stakeholders in the affected areas in order to appropriately assess any potential effects a change of integrated care system boundaries in an area may have, this will include consideration of any potential impact on services, patient wellbeing and staff.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people diagnosed with (a) cancer, (b) respiratory diseases, (c) motor-neurone diseases, and (d) type 2 diabetes in (i) Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and (ii) the UK in each of the last five years.

The data is not available in the format requested. Data is collected based on finished admission episodes, rather than the number of people.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the rate of pay for registered nurses who have come out of retirement to support the covid-19 vaccination programme.

Remuneration for nurses that have returned to the National Health Service via the Bring Back Staff Programme has been agreed locally between the employing organisation and the employee. The salary will be dependent on the role in which they have been employed.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his announcement of 5 March 2021 at the Downing Street briefing on covid-19 on additional funding to provide mental health support for children and young people, what plans he has to allocate some of that additional funding to help reduce waiting list times for patients on child and adolescent mental health services' referral lists.

The £79 million of additional funding announced on 5 March 2021 will be used to significantly expand children’s mental health services and will allow around 22,500 more children and young people to access community health services. This will enable community mental health services to provide more children and young people more timely care.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the one per cent pay rise for NHS staff announced in Budget 2021 on the (a) economy and (b) retention of nurses.

The Government has committed to providing National Health Service staff, including nurses with, a pay increase in 2021/22, in order to recognise the unique impact of the pandemic on the NHS. However, the level of pay award has not yet been set. We have submitted our written evidence to the independent pay review bodies, which sets out what is currently affordable and provides information on current levels of recruitment and retention in the NHS.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to make changes to the boundary of the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System area.

Following discussions between the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement, Integrated Care System (ICS) boundaries which are not aligned with local authority boundaries are being reviewed to ensure future arrangements can support effective partnership working between the National Health Service and local government. South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS has been identified as one of the areas included in this boundary review. NHS England and NHS Improvement will continue supporting any affected ICS to ensure they are able to achieve the greatest effectiveness and opportunity from their current working arrangements.

Along with placing ICS on a statutory footing, greater alignment of ICS and local authority boundaries will help bring together the delivery of health services, the delivery of social care and the delivery of local public health advice and services into and across shared geographical footprints. This will support areas to continue to address issues that rely on joined up approaches such as tackling health inequalities.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)