David Simpson Portrait

David Simpson

Democratic Unionist Party - Former Member for Upper Bann

Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jul 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th May 2015 - 6th Nov 2019
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills)
8th May 2015 - 14th Jul 2017
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government)
6th May 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills)
1st Jun 2009 - 30th Mar 2015
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
26th Jul 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow Spokesperson (Education)
1st Jun 2007 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Spokesperson (International Development)
1st Jun 2007 - 6th May 2010
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
10th Nov 2008 - 6th May 2010
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
25th Oct 2005 - 9th Nov 2009
Statutory Instruments (Select Committee)
24th Oct 2005 - 9th Nov 2009
Shadow Spokesperson (Transport)
1st Jun 2007 - 1st Jun 2009
Transport Committee
12th Jul 2007 - 10th Nov 2008
Shadow Minister (Trade and Industry)
1st Jun 2005 - 1st Jun 2007


Division Voting information

David Simpson has voted in 1533 divisions, and 6 times against the majority of their Party.

8 Sep 2015 - Finance Bill - View Vote Context
David Simpson voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 3 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 3 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 310 Noes - 245
25 Jun 2014 - Private Rented Sector - View Vote Context
David Simpson voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party No votes vs 3 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 226 Noes - 276
24 Oct 2012 - Onshore Gas - View Vote Context
David Simpson voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 3 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 3 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 260 Noes - 206
16 Oct 2012 - Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill - View Vote Context
David Simpson voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 2 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 295 Noes - 215
14 May 2008 - Muscular Dystrophy - View Vote Context
David Simpson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party No votes vs 4 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 240 Noes - 158
9 Jan 2008 - Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill - View Vote Context
David Simpson voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 3 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 3 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 481 Noes - 46
View All David Simpson Division Votes

All Debates

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
Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
(153 debate interactions)
Theresa Villiers (Conservative)
(57 debate interactions)
David Cameron (Conservative)
(24 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Northern Ireland Office
(153 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(67 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(53 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(52 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all David Simpson's debates

Latest EDMs signed by David Simpson

29th October 2019
David Simpson signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 31st October 2019

Shop protests and religious freedom

Tabled by: Gregory Campbell (Democratic Unionist Party - East Londonderry)
That this House notes the recent campaign and picketing by LGBT+ rights protesters of the US-owned fast food chain chick-fil-A, founded by Christians, in the Oracle shopping centre in Reading; further notes that the store has been informed that their lease will not be renewed; notes that after the announcement …
3 signatures
(Most recent: 31 Oct 2019)
Signatures by party:
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
29th October 2019
David Simpson signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 29th October 2019

30th anniversary of the murder of Maheshkumar Islania and his daughter Nivruti

Tabled by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)
That this House remembers, with great sadness, the murder of Nivruit Islania who was just six months old when killed by the IRA whilst at a petrol station in the car with her father RAF Corporal Maheshkumar Islania who was also instantly killed; extends sincere sympathy to the rest of …
8 signatures
(Most recent: 31 Oct 2019)
Signatures by party:
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 2
Labour: 1
View All David Simpson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by David Simpson, 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.


David Simpson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

David Simpson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

David Simpson has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


923 Written Questions

(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
19 Other Department Questions
14th May 2018
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to ensure people who have autism are given equal opportunities in employment.

We are committed to improving conditions for disabled people and those with related conditions in their private lives, in their communities and in employment.

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection from discrimination for people with particular protected characteristics, such as disability, in relation to work. This covers all aspects of employment including advertising and applying for posts, the interview process, promotion, training and dismissal. This applies to anyone who meets the Act’s definition of disability.

Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments for employees they know have disabilities to ensure that they are not put at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled. Failure to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled person could amount to disability discrimination and a breach of the Act.

Building on these statutory protections, the Government is committed to getting one million more disabled people into work over the next 10 years. Improving Lives: the Future of Work, Health and Disability, published last year, sets out the Government’s strategy for helping people with disabilities or health conditions, including learning difficulties and autism, enter and remain in employment. Other support includes:

  • Disability Confident: the campaign to work with employers to challenge attitudes towards disability, including learning difficulties and autism. A Disability Confident Autism Toolkit has been developed to provide comprehensive information on autism and hidden impairments, as well as guidance on employment and local authority services.
  • Access to Work: the discretionary grant scheme which offers advice and practical and financial support above the level of reasonable adjustments to disabled people who are in work or about to start work. Access to Work has a Hidden Impairment Specialist Team that gives advice and guidance to help employers support employees with conditions such as autism.
Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
28th Mar 2018
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what her policy is on salary equality between male and female staff carrying out the same role.

Paying men and women unequally for the same work has been unlawful for nearly 50 years. Employees who are concerned that they may not be being paid fairly can seek authoritative and free advice from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), before deciding whether to bring a claim before an Employment Tribunal. Where an employer is found to have breached equal pay law, an Employment Tribunal can order them to carry out an equal pay audit. Our requirement for all larger employers to publish their gender pay gap will help increase transparency of all the factors underlying the endemic differences in pay between men and women.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he is taking to attract more manufacturing jobs to the UK.

The Government is creating a highly competitive business environment that makes the UK an attractive location for new manufacturing investment and drives strong productivity growth and export success. We have invested £300m over five years in the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to support the commercialisation of the innovation and new technologies that will be crucial to the future of manufacturing in the UK.

UK Trade and Investment works to attract foreign manufacturing companies to set up and grow in the UK. The recently published EY report (EY’s Attractiveness Survey 2016, UK) put the UK ahead of Germany for a second year running in terms of attracting manufacturing related foreign direct investment.

3rd Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that increases in the number of foreign, high-fee-paying students does not jeopardise access by UK students to places at their local university.

International students are not in competition for places with British students. The UK is the second most popular destination for international students, and those coming here to study count towards our education exports. International students pay fees to fund their places, and also bring other benefits including providing diversity on our campuses.

10th Nov 2015
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he raised the issue of persecution and human rights abuse of Christians living in China during the recent state visit by President Xi Jinping.

I was clear during my wide-ranging discussions with President Xi Jinping of the importance that the UK attaches to human rights as part of our wider relationship with China. The joint statement reconfirmed our commitment to the Human Rights Dialogue, an important part of our engagement.


We raise the range of our human rights concerns directly with China, including during the annual UK-China Human Rights Dialogue, most recently in April 2015. We also highlight them publicly in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Annual Report on Human Rights. We will continue to pursue our concerns both privately and in public fora.


We believe that freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental human right. I remain concerned by the restrictions placed on Christianity in China. We are aware of reports of the closure or demolition of churches, the removal of crosses from buildings, and that individuals are being harassed or detained for their beliefs.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what plans his Department has to strengthen links between the engineering industry and universities providing degree courses in subjects relevant to engineering.

My Department provides grant funding for the Royal Academy of Engineering to support initiatives that encourage collaboration between industry and university engineering departments, for example through the provision of Research Chairs. We invited the President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Professor Dame Ann Dowling, to review how to strengthen research collaboration between business and universities. The review has met with an engaged response from both industry and universities and we look forward to its published recommendations in the coming weeks.

I welcome the supply of students with degrees in subjects relevant to engineering. This year there has been a 6.5% increase in new students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics at university, following an 8% rise in 2013. Employer engagement in higher education is also a matter for the engineering sector itself and I applaud the initiative shown by the engineering profession, in particular through the work of Education4Engineering and the Engineering Professors’ Council. Both Education4Engineering and the Engineering Professors’ Council have brought engineering employers and universities to work together in response to the Perkins Review of Engineering Skills, for example to improve the visibility of employers on campus to ensure that students are aware of the exciting opportunities available in the engineering sector.

20th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps the Government has taken to tackle the movement of counterfeit clothing into the UK.

This Government takes intellection property (IP) crime very seriously and is working closely with law enforcers and rights holders to tackle criminality, including the sale of counterfeit goods. The Intellectual Property Office continues to support Trading Standards, Police and partners with intelligence in support of enforcement operations. Locally, the National Markets Group is active in tackling IPR trade at our markets. Nationally, the UK Border Force is targeting importers using intelligence to enhance container seizures – these have increased year on year for the last 3 years. In addition, work is ongoing with source countries to tackle production in countries abroad. In particular, work between the UK and Chinese authorities has already resulted in seizures and arrests. All this activity is supported by education programmes and a government/private industry partnership to provide IP training to enforcement officers and brands representatives to help stem the demand for counterfeit products.

20th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Department of Health on the link between toxic fumes and respiratory conditions.

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

25th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what discussions his Department has had with oilfield services company Archer on the plans of that company to reduce its UK workforce by 400 people.

While the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has not had any direct discussions with Archer on their plan to reduce their UK workforce by 400 people, the appropriate bodies are taking this forward as economic development is a devolved issue: Skills Development Scotland has contacted Archer to offer support to the workforce through Scottish Government’s Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative, and DWP officials are liaising with PACE counterparts on any cross-border issues.

10th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the use of renewable energy in Northern Ireland.

My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State met with the Northern Irish Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster on 2 February. They discussed the future of the renewable electricity support scheme in Northern Ireland.

10th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what his Department's expenditure was in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Wales in 2014.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change's expenditure for the financial year 2013-2014 was in (a) England £2,445.6m, (b) Scotland £437.2m, (c) Northern Ireland £1.8m and (d) Wales £117.4m.

Expenditure that is incurred for the benefit of the UK as a whole and cannot be disseminated by individual country or region is excluded from these amounts.

The figures are published annually and can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/country-and-regional-analysis-2014

5th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what progress has been made in implementing his Department's Energy Efficiency Strategy, published in November 2012.

The UK has established itself as a world leader on energy efficiency. The 2012 Energy Efficiency Strategy outlined the Government’s ambition to realise the energy efficiency opportunity in the UK.

UK final energy consumption has fallen in eight of the last nine years. The Government’s energy efficiency policies have contributed to a 20% decline in household energy and since 2010 over 1 Million homes have recovered energy efficiency measures use since 2004. The overall energy intensity of the UK’s economy has fallen by 22% over the same period.

As a result the UK is now on track to achieve the energy saving targets established by the 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive.

5th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that employees working for companies with which his Department has contracted are paid more than National Minimum Wage.

Since 1 April 2014, the lowest paid contracted staff at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) offices across the UK have been paid £7.85 per hour, up £1.40 or nearly 22% from the previous £6.45 per hour rate. This increase restored and surpassed the real value of wages that had fallen in recent years. This means that BIS contractors are amongst the top 25% of contractors across Whitehall.

We absolutely encourage suppliers to pay above the National Minimum Wage where affordable and without cutting jobs - but this is a decision that must be taken by the suppliers themselves. We will always award contracts on the basis of the best value for money for the taxpayer most often following a competitive process, making use of the Crown Commercial Frameworks to ensure a consistent application with the rest of Government.

14th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he is taking to promote the engagement of higher education colleges with the agri-foods sector.

The Government recognises the importance of preserving and developing skills in the agri-foods sector and we are pleased to see that the number of students in agriculture-related subjects has been increasing in recent years.

We are taking an employer-led approach to skills delivery and funding.

The Agri-Tech Strategy:

• maps the funding of research by private and public sector organisations including support for studentships; and

• works alongside the Agri-Skills Forum in England to help deliver their Skills Strategy.

The Strategy can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-agricultural-technologies-strategy

The Government has a number of initiatives to encourage employers to work with colleges and other educational bodies to ensure that we have the skills that we need as a country to compete in the global marketplace. For example, in England, the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink is running a new Industrial Skills Partnership with £2m of funding from the (BIS/DfE) Employer Ownership of Skills Fund. This new industry-led partnership will take forward work across a broad front including improving the perception of jobs in the industry, creating clear career pathways and addressing specific skills shortages in the sector.

Innovate UK (sponsored by the Department) also delivers a number of programmes that allow Higher Education Institutions to work with businesses on innovative projects across all sectors, including agri-food (www.innovateuk.org).

24th Nov 2014
To ask the Ministers for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to tackle discrimination of disabled people in the UK workforce.

The Government is fully committed to the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits employers from discriminating against their disabled employees and job applicants with a disability. Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees so that they can work on a similar basis to employees that do not have a disability. Where an employee or potential employee believes that they have experienced disability discrimination, they can make a claim to an employment tribunal within six months of the alleged discrimination taking place.

The Government is committed to ensuring that all disabled people have the opportunities, chances and support that they need to gain and remain in employment, and there is a range of available provision to help them.

The Equality Ac 2010 only applies to England Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland has its own disability discrimination legislation - Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended).

9th Sep 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the relationship between the construction industry and colleges in providing courses that meet the skills requirements of employers within the construction industry.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) works with other stakeholders to set the skills priorities for the sector ensuring that vocational qualifications delivered by the further education sector and private training providers are fit for purpose and meet the needs of employers. It also collects labour market intelligence through the Construction Skills Network which helps identify trends in the demand for skills by occupation and region.

The Government supports a demand led approach to skills, with employers at the centre of decisions. CITB is undertaking work to better understand the supply of skills and qualifications in the further and higher education sectors, and how this matches employer demand.

30th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what discussions his Department has had with bodies in Northern Ireland on addressing climate change.

Ministers and officials in the Department engage with their counterparts regularly in the Northern Ireland Executive on a wide range of issues including work related to the transition to a low carbon economy and tackling climate change. This includes, for example, discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive on the Electricity Market Reform programme, which is designed to decarbonise our electricity generation, and updating them on international climate change policy developments, such as United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he is taking to educate adults in literacy, numeracy and ICT skills.

Skills policy is devolved so this answer refers to policy in England only.

One of the Government's priorities is to ensure that all adults have the level of English, maths and digital skills to help them find and sustain employment, as well as achieving other positive outcomes such as improved health and well-being.

We are implementing a major programme of reform to raise the quality and standards of these vital subjects in adult education which will improve the quality of the teaching workforce, reward the best providers and ensure learners are stretched to achieve the best they can.

We are investing £30m this year and next to attract the best graduates to teach in further education (FE) and to provide opportunities for existing teachers to improve their skills. As part of a £15m bursary scheme between 2013-15 we are offering up to £20,000 to the best and brightest graduates to teach in FE. In January 2014 we announced further measures to improve the workforce including; a golden-hello scheme offering a bonus of £7,500 to maths graduates in their second year of teaching; a recruitment incentive scheme offering £20,000 to providers for taking on a specialist maths graduate teacher; and a subject knowledge enhancement scheme to enable highly qualified graduates who have the skills and aptitude to teach but need to develop some specific maths skills before they start teacher training.

We have put English and maths at the heart of all our major programmes. From 2014/15 all intermediate Apprentices will be required to work towards achieving a level 2 in English and maths and young people undertaking a traineeship will be required to study English and maths unless they already have a level 2 qualification in English and maths.

We fully fund all adults to achieve their first English and maths GCSE as well as other qualifications which help them get to that level. Our reforms to English and maths GCSEs will make them more rigorous and help ensure that young people and adults develop the skills most relevant to employers. The reformed GCSEs will be available for first teaching from September 2015 and our ambition is for them to become the gold-standard measuring achievement at level 2 for all ages and ability levels.

We encourage and support a wide range of different and flexible types of provision so that adults can learn in a way that suits them, for example, learning in the workplace, Community Learning including Family English, Maths and Language (FEML) provision, through traditional college courses and using technology and online learning.

We are making sure jobseekers on benefits have the best chance of finding employment by helping them improve their literacy and numeracy skills. From April 2014, those with poor spoken English which is preventing them from finding work have been expected to train in English, with the possibility of losing their benefit if they choose not to participate. In December 2014, we will launch the 18-21 Work Skills pilot which will test different approaches to teaching and learning and the outcomes of mandating new 18-21 year-old Jobseekers' Allowance claimants with English and maths below Level 2 to English and maths training for up to 16 hours per week, alongside their jobsearch.

We have a substantial programme of research to identify the most effective approaches to teaching and learning. In April, I announced the launch of a new research centre with the Behavioural Rights Insight Team to bring the latest findings from behavioural science to bear on the challenges of improving adult literacy and numeracy.

Basic digital skills are now seen to be as vital as literacy and numeracy, not just for employment but for all aspects of life. The Government's recent Digital Inclusion Strategy set what actions we will take to ensure everyone has these skills. The Strategy can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-digital-inclusion-strategy/government-digital-inclusion-strategy

For its part, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has committed over £30m over the last 5 years to UK online centres to help more people develop the basic digital skills needed to use a computer, and to get online safely and securely. This has so far helped over 1.25 million people, most of whom were adults, get online. A £1m extension to the current programme will help another 43,000 people to get online. This is aimed at hard to reach groups, many who are socially excluded. We are currently in the process of tendering a new programme with the aim to get another 1million people online in the next 3-5 years.

4th Dec 2018
To ask the Attorney General, whether his Department will publish the full legal advice on the EU Withdrawal Agreement before the House votes on the Motion to approve that Agreement on 11 December 2018.

A copy of the final advice that the Attorney General provided to Cabinet on 14 November on the legal effect of the Withdrawal Agreement was published on 5 December. Copies have been placed in both libraries of the House and can be found online here.

24th Oct 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many government contracts have been awarded to companies based in Northern Ireland since June 2017.

Since January 2011, details of central government contracts above the value of £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder.

Contracts published prior to 26 February 2015 can be viewed at: https://data.gov.uk/data/contracts-finder-archive

Those published after 26 February 2015 can be viewed at:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
25th Jun 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many graduates are currently in part-time work.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st May 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his policy is on the provision of paper copies of (a) information and (b) application forms to people who do not have the requisite skills to access that information online.

For the services it provides the Government has committed to ensuring that assistance is always available for those who are not online. To ensure that an appropriate offline route is available the Government Digital Service mandates government departments to provide assisted digital (offline) support for their services, where it is required, and assures this via its service assessment process.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
16th Apr 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people are registered self-employed.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Nov 2017
To ask the Minister of the Cabinet Office what the total number of Northern Irish workers currently employed by the public sector across the rest of the UK is.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

11th Apr 2016
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many events hosted by newspaper proprietors (a) the Prime Minister has and (b) members of the Cabinet have attended in each of the last three years.

Details of Ministerial meetings with proprietors, editors and media executives are published routinely, and can be found on Gov.uk.

25th Nov 2015
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information his Department holds on the number of people who have lost money through telephone scams (a) in each region and (b) in each of the last five years.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

20th Jan 2015
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people left jobseeker's allowance because they reached the state pension age in each of the last three years.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

22nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to help businesses expand through the use of digital platforms.

We want the UK to be the best place in the world to start and grow a business. Government is taking action to support businesses to take advantages of the opportunities to expand through digital platforms in several ways:

As businesses and consumers increasingly use digital platforms, it is important that competition works well in these markets. That is why the Government commissioned Professor Jason Furman to identify how to unlock competition in digital markets. The Government is considering his proposals and will respond in due course.

Government’s Exporting is GREAT campaign supports UK businesses with free expert e-commerce export support. DIT’s E-Exporting Programme’s Selling Online Overseas Tool, that sits on great.gov.uk, is a free to use online service that helps UK companies identify and sell on global marketplaces.

We are acting to support SMEs to adopt basic digital technology, including using e-commerce software. For example, we recently announced the third wave of funding through our Business Basics Programme to test innovative ways of encouraging SMEs to adopt basic technologies. This round of funding will include up to £1m focusing the adoption of payment technology, including ecommerce technologies.

The Digital Skills Partnership (DSP), announced in the UK Digital Strategy 2017, aims to improve digital skills across the skills spectrum and the Digital Enterprise Delivery Group, led by Lloyds Banking Group, is working to increase the digital capabilities of SMEs. The group is now working with partners on a programme aimed at increasing efficiency and productivity through greater tech adoption among SMEs.

22nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the cost of electricity to consumers.

Energy policy is largely devolved to Northern Ireland, including energy price regulation. Across the island of Ireland the Single Electricity Market (SEM) is designed to put downward pressure on consumer electricity prices, facilitate the integration of renewables and provide continued security of supply.

The Government is committed to ensuring fair energy prices for consumers and has a range of policies in Great Britain. The Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Act requires the energy regulator to cap standard variable and default energy tariffs. Ofgem estimate this could save consumers around £75-100 per year.

There are around 60 domestic suppliers in the GB energy market with a range of innovative tariffs for consumers to choose from. Switching in early 2019 hit historic highs, with the total number of domestic switches in the 12 months up to July 2019 was 10% higher than over the same period last year. In August 2019, customers could save up to £408 a year by switching.

Over 2 million low income and vulnerable households receive £140 off their electricity bills each winter through the Warm Home Discount.

Improving the energy efficiency of a home is the best way of reducing energy bills for the long-term. Since 2013, over 2 million homes, including those with electric heating, have had their energy efficiency improved under the Energy Company Obligation.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support shared parental leave.

In 2018 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Government Equalities Office funded a £1.5m campaign to raise awareness of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme amongst parents. This was followed by further communications activity, aimed at employers, in 2019. Both campaigns were underpinned by improved tools and guidance for parents which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/shared-parental-leave-and-pay-guidance-and-tools-for-parents.

7th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help small businesses to grow.

Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are making the UK one of the best places in the world for businesses to start up and grow.

The Government-owned British Business Bank is supporting nearly 78,000 small businesses with over £5.5 billion of finance; and we’ve extended funding for the Start Up Loans Company until 2021, supporting 10,000 more entrepreneurs.

We’re also providing £56m of funding to boost business productivity, including £11m to create a Small Business Leadership Programme.

Business across England can also access tailored advice and support through one of the 38 Local Growth Hubs, one in each Local Enterprise Partnership Area. These bring together public and private sector partners to deliver business support, making it easy for business to access the help and advice they need.

We have launched the £9 million Business Basics Programme, as announced in the Industrial Strategy, to test innovative ways of encouraging SMEs to take up the good practices that can help them to become more productive.

In addition, Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), drives productivity and growth by supporting businesses to realise the potential of new technologies, develop ideas and make them a commercial success.

7th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has allocated funding for new research on clean energy.

The Government has committed to spending over £2.5bn on research into low carbon innovation, including clean energy, between 2015 and 2021. This includes £505m of spending on BEIS’s Energy Innovation Programme, which aims to accelerate the commercial deployment of clean energy technologies and processes into the coming decades, and up to £1.2 billion of funding from UK Research and Innovation, including funding for the Energy Systems Catapult and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. Recent announcements of funding have included £102m for the Prospering from the Energy Revolution challenge, to develop future smart energy systems and prove their use at scale, and up to £170m for decarbonising Industrial Clusters.

Further information

Prospering from the Energy Revolution: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prospering-from-the-energy-revolution-full-programme-details

Decarbonising Industrial Clusters: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/world-first-carbon-net-zero-hub-of-heavy-industry-to-help-uk-seize-global-economic-opportunities-of-clean-growth

7th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps is his Department taking to help people that are not computer literate to (a) compare and (b) switch energy company tariffs.

The Government created the Big Energy Saving Network, to provide face to face support for vulnerable consumers to switch and save, led by Citizens Advice and delivered by third sector organisations and community groups. In addition many Ofgem accredited price comparison sites offer a free telephone service.

We are also working closely with Ofgem to deliver midata in energy, which will streamline tariff comparisons by allowing switching companies to access key energy data, with customers’ consent, and include a telephone access route for those consumers who are less confident using computers.

19th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support high street retailers increase footfall.

This Department is clear that we want all types of retail to thrive now and in the future, and wants to support the sector as it responds to change. This is why in March we established the industry led Retail Sector Council to bring Government and industry together to boost the sector’s productivity and promote its future.

In addition, in Autumn budget 2018, we announced a number of measures as part of an Action Plan, led by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to support the sustainable transformation of our high streets. This plan includes:

  • A £675m Future High Streets Fund, to support local areas in England to invest in town centre infrastructure, including to increase access to high streets and support redevelopment and densification around high streets. The Fund will also support the regeneration of heritage high streets (up to £55m of the overall Fund). MHCLG has published a fact sheet setting out more details about the Fund

  • Supporting local leadership with a High Streets Taskforce, giving high streets and town centres expert advice to adapt and thrive. This will provide hands-on support to local areas to develop data-driven innovative strategies and connect local areas to relevant experts

  • A planning consultation to help support change on the high street. This will aim to make it easier for high streets to adapt for the future, with a wider range of retail, residential and other uses. A second consultation will be published in 2019, including how to support the more effective use of tools such as Compulsory Purchase Orders and Local Development Orders

  • Piloting a register of empty commercial properties to support wider regeneration of our high streets and town centres

  • Launching an ‘Open Doors’ pilot in five town centres to bring empty properties back into use by matching landlords of vacant premises with local community groups looking for space.

This Action plan is in addition to existing measures including:

  • An expert panel chaired by Sir John Timpson, whose recommendations informed the budget package. The panel are drawing on existing evidence and their own experiences to investigate the challenges facing our high streets and town centres and to advise on the best practical measures to help them thrive now and in the future. We look forward to receiving their full recommendations.

  • The Future High Street Forum, chaired by the Minister for High Streets. The Forum consists of developers, investors and retailers. It provides joint business and government leadership to better enable our high streets and town centres to adapt and compete in the face of changing consumer and social trends.

  • Government support for Business Improvement Districts, recognising the important role they play in allowing local businesses to work together to shape and improve their high streets and towns.
30th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with large clothing companies based in the EU who have stores in the UK on their future relationship with the UK after the UK leaves the European Union.

This department engages regularly with businesses across a range of sectors including clothing retailers who have stores in the UK. Many of these businesses also have a European base, and we understand their concerns about retaining frictionless trade.

This is why Government has been clear that the best outcome is for the UK to leave the EU with a deal and why, following months of intensive work and detailed discussions, we proposed a third option for our future economic relationship, based on the frictionless trade in goods.

At March European Council, the UK and EU agreed that during the implementation period, the UK would be treated as a Member State for the purposes of international agreements, including trade agreements.

This provides certainty and confidence that there will be no disruption to existing relationships underpinned by international agreements as we move into the Implementation Period.

29th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions has he had with his counterpart in the Republic of Ireland on the shared electricity network between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after the UK leaves the EU.

The Government is committed to facilitating the continuation of the Single Electricity Market (SEM) between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and is keen to work with the Irish Government and the EU to ensure that the SEM is maintained in any future scenario.

The Department has a strong relationship with counterparts in Ireland and officials hold regular discussions on both EU exit and other issues of common interest. For example, the Permanent Secretary visited Ireland on 26 October and met with his counterpart at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

29th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage people to install a smart meter in their home.

The Government established a regulatory framework requiring industry to establish an independent organisation (Smart Energy GB) to undertake consumer engagement.

Smart Energy GB is responsible for the national public engagement campaign for the roll-out of smart meters in Great Britain, including advertising campaigns on TV, print, online and radio. They have made progress in ensuring that households across Great Britain understand the benefits of smart meters and have generated significant levels of consumer demand to upgrade from analogue meters to smart meters.

Their recent research, published in October, showed that consumer demand for smart meters is strong, with 98% of people in Great Britain now aware of smart meters and their benefits.

16th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to increase access to the natural gas network in Northern Ireland.

The Government acknowledges the value that a gas connection can bring to households and businesses. However, as energy is a devolved matter, any extensions to the gas network in Northern Ireland would be a matter for a restored Northern Ireland Assembly.

16th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives of European car manufacturing companies on their plans to retain manufacturing bases in the UK after the UK leaves the EU.

There has been cross-government engagement with key automotive businesses operating in the UK and EU since the referendum. Ministers meet regularly with senior automotive executives, both through the Automotive Council and individually, to discuss investments. As part of the Industrial Strategy, in partnership with the Automotive Council, an ambitious Automotive Sector Deal has been agreed. The Government is determined to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the most competitive locations in the world for automotive manufacturing.

16th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many windfarms were built in each of the last three years.

The Information requested can be found online in the Renewable Energy Planning Database (REPD), which can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/renewable-energy-planning-database-monthly-extract

The REPD tracks all renewable energy projects, including onshore wind and offshore wind projects, equal to or greater than 1MW as they progress through the planning system to when they become operational.

4th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions has he had with representatives of car manufacturers in the EU on continuing to use British made car parts after the UK leaves the EU.

There has been cross-government engagement with key businesses operating in the UK and EU across the automotive sector since the referendum.

The Department is working closely with the Department for Exiting the EU to understand the impacts that withdrawal from the EU will have on businesses, consumers and other economic actors on both sides of the channel. As my rt. hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said we will work hard to get the best deal for Britain.

25th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what financial support his Department provides to the construction industry.

The Government is committed to investing £600m in infrastructure over the next decade and providing £15.3bn in new financial support for housing in this Parliament.

We are driving economic growth and improving people’s lives in the long term by investing £170m through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) in the Transforming Construction: Manufacturing Better Buildings programme. The programme will improve productivity through supporting the development and commercialisation of digital, manufacturing, energy generation and storage technologies for the construction and built environment sectors.

25th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage utilities providers to offer discounts to customers purchasing two or more utilities from a company.

In Great Britain, it is a commercial decision for individual energy supply companies as to whether to offer incentives for consumers to purchase more than one of their services. In Northern Ireland, energy policy is largely a devolved matter. The UK Government is working to ensure the resumption of stable devolved government in North Ireland.

19th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many meetings he has had with the Federation of Small Businesses Northern Ireland since the referendum on the UK leaving the EU.

My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy meets with the National Policy Director and the National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses most weeks and they regularly discuss the issues that are affecting businesses in Northern Ireland.

Various officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have had meetings with the Federation of Small Businesses Northern Ireland and continue to do so.

The Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility has not received any requests to meet with the Federation of Small Businesses Northern Ireland.

19th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with local authorities in Northern Ireland on city deals.

The Government has set out its commitment to work towards a ‘comprehensive and ambitious’ set of City Deals across Northern Ireland.

Officials across Whitehall are engaged with Belfast City Region as they develop their proposals for a City Deal, which my rt. hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer committed to taking forward at last year’s Budget.

I look forward to seeing Belfast City Region’s proposals for a City Deal that can drive growth and productivity across the region.

19th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had any meetings with Invest Northern Ireland on the challenges which face Northern Ireland after the UK leaves the EU.

Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting roundtable on 19th April in Belfast where he met the CEO of Invest NI, who chaired the meeting, BEIS also engages with Invest NI in a range of fora, including:

  • Invest NI helped arrange and joined a business roundtable hosted by the BEIS Permanent Secretary during the Industrial Strategy Green Paper Consultation on 27 October 2017, this touched on EU Exit and its relevance to economic planning such as the Industrial Strategy.
  • Officials have engaged with Invest NI directly as part of the Four Nations Enterprise meeting, most recently on 3rd May.
  • Invest NI are due to be part of BEIS engagement on the Business Productivity Review in Northern Ireland at the beginning of July.

BEIS officials also have regular engagement with the Northern Ireland Civil Service on key issues related to EU Exit and Northern Ireland.

5th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance his Department issues to (a) retailers and (b) consumers to raise awareness of the threat of online scams.

There is guidance on how to spot and avoid scams available to retailers and consumers from organisations including Citizen’s Advice, Trading Standards, banks, UK Finance, Action Fraud, and the FCA.

In addition, we are currently in the first week of Scams Awareness Month (SAM) – an annual campaign which BEIS supports bringing together organisations nationally and locally to take a united stand against scams and fraud. The campaign which runs until the end of June aims to raise awareness with both consumers and business about all types of scams – online, telephone, mail and at the doorstep – with a focus on encouraging victims to speak up and report to the appropriate authorities.

In the 2017 campaign last July over 360 organisations participated reaching over 1/3rd million consumers face to face and offline and saw a 17 percent increase during the campaign in people accessing online advice about scams through the Citizens Advice website. We hope to increase on those numbers this year.

1st Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that employers comply with the national minimum wage.

The Government is committed to fair pay by ensuring workers are paid at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW). In 2017/18, HMRC secured a record volume of pay arrears (£15.6 million) for a record number of workers (201,800).

In 2018/19, we have increased the enforcement budget for the NMW to £26.3 million. This additional resource will allow HMRC to proactively target those employers judged most at risk of not paying the minimum wage. As part of this, we will spend £1.48 million raising awareness of workers’ entitlement to the NMW.

Employers found to be breaking the rules could face penalties of 200% of arrears owed to the worker to a maximum of £20,000 per worker. Anyone concerned they are being underpaid should call the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) Helpline (on 0300 123 1100) for free and confidential advice. HMRC respond to 100% of complaints made.

21st May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many wind farms have been established in each of the last five years.

The table below sets out how many onshore and offshore wind farms have been established in the UK in each of the last five years for which full year data is available.

Table 1: UK onshore and offshore wind farms that have become operational between January 1 2013 and 31 December 2017

Technology

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Onshore wind

91

69

56

69

77

Offshore wind

4

1

4

0

5

Source: Renewable Energy Planning Database (April 2018 extract) BEIS: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/renewable-energy-planning-database-monthly-extract

Note: extensions to existing sites have been counted as new sites.

18th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on encouraging consumers to source their energy from providers of renewable energy.

There are a number of suppliers in the GB energy market that offer electricity tariffs backed 100% by renewables sources. Consumers can make an active choice to sign up to these green energy tariffs. Energy is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland.

18th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much financial support his Department provided to help people start up businesses in 2017.

Our Industrial Strategy aims to make Britain the best place to start and grow a business. Programmes operated by the government-backed British Business Bank (BBB) are supporting £4 billion of finance to over 65,000 smaller businesses (as at end Sept 2017).

This includes funding from the Start Up Loans programme which made 8,551 loans in the 2017-18 Financial Year, totalling £104m. Since its inception in 2012, the Start Up Loans programme has lent over £400m, making over 54,000 loans. We also offer support for SMEs across a broad range of sectors to tackle barriers to growth.

The Government also provides support to start-up businesses across England through GOV.UK and the Business Support Helpline. In addition, in 2017-2018 we have provided £12m of funding to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to enable them to provide tailored support and advice to start-ups and existing businesses through their network of Growth Hubs.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department plans to take to help women get back into work after maternity leave.

A woman has the right to return to the same job if she has taken 26 weeks of maternity leave or less. If she has taken more than 26 weeks of maternity leave, she has the right to return to the same job or another job which is suitable and appropriate, if it is not reasonably practicable to give her the same job.

It is also possible for a woman to work up to 10 days during a period of maternity leave (with her employer’s agreement) without bringing her maternity leave or entitlement to statutory maternity pay to an end. These days are called ‘keeping in touch days’.

The Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme can make it easier for a mother, if she wishes, to return to work sooner by curtailing part of her maternity entitlement to provide for shared parental leave and/or pay for the father or her partner to take, subject to eligibility and compliance with the correct notification requirements. The Government is currently running a communication campaign to promote the scheme.

Flexible working can also help a returning mother balance her work with other responsibilities. In addition to the statutory right to request flexible working, we have established a Flexible Working Taskforce to work with groups representing business, workers and relevant interests, to respond to the Prime Minister’s call to businesses to make flexible working a reality for all employees by advertising all jobs as flexible from Day 1, unless there are solid business reasons not to.

15th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Construction Supply Chain Payment Charter; how many companies have signed up to that charter; and what steps he is taking to ensure that 30 day payments become standard across the industry.

The Construction Supply Chain Payment Charter is a voluntary measure which sets standards for payment practices within the industry and aims to create a more collaborative culture and ensure a strong, resilient and sustainable supply chain. To date there are 42 signatories to the Charter.

Unjustified late and non-payment of any amount owed is unacceptable. These practices cause particular problems for small businesses in the construction sector. The Government is committed to tackling them and a number of steps have been taken to improve payment performance including through its own procurement activities, introducing reporting requirements on payment policies and practices and other voluntary measures such as the Prompt Payment Code that promotes 30 day payment terms as the norm for acceptable behaviour in the UK. At the Spring Statement my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer also announced that BEIS will lead on a call for evidence, which will consider evidence to ensure unfair payment practices are eliminated for small business.

15th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what information his Department holds on the number of foreign companies that have moved their headquarters to the UK since 23 June 2016.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy does not collate information on foreign companies that have moved their headquarters to the UK.

27th Nov 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the cost to the public purse has been of energy subsidies to private energy companies in each of the last five years.

There are no direct Government energy subsidies to private energy companies.

The costs of renewable energy schemes for electricity are funded through consumer energy bills rather than from general taxation.

The Government provides financial support to non-domestic renewable heat generators and producers of biomethane through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The RHI payments made to all participants including energy companies are to bridge the cost differential of installing renewable plant over fossil fuel alternatives.

The Department publishes data of renewable heat generation (or equivalent energy for biomethane injected to the gas grid) broken down by Standard Industry Classification Code (SIC) but does not hold data on payments by SIC code.

This information may be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/rhi-deployment-data-october-2017

9th Oct 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many grants have been awarded to the owners of electric and hybrid vehicles.

From January 2011 to the end of June 2017 more than 100,000 purchasers of ultra low emission cars have received support from the plug-in car grant (currently up to £4,500) and more than 3,000 purchasers of ultra low emission vans have received up to £8,000 support from the plug-in van grant. Since its launch last year the plug-in motorcycle grant has also supported the purchase of a small number of zero emission motorcycles. In addition more than 37,000 installations of domestic chargepoints have been supported by the electric vehicle homecharge scheme since September 2014.

16th Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish the outcome of the statutory review of the Groceries Code Adjudicator.

The public consultation for the statutory review of the Groceries Code Adjudicator ran from 18 October 2016 to 10 January 2017. Responses are currently being analysed and the outcome will be published by the end of May.

1st Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the effectiveness of the work of the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance in driving investment in developing countries.

The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (“the Lab”) is regularly assessed as part of standard programme evaluation. It has performed well and scored an “A” in the last Annual Review (which is publicly available). The Lab has so far catalysed $600million of investment in mitigation and adaptation instruments to climate change in developing countries.

Link to last Annual Review: https://aidstream.org/files/documents/CMCI-Annual-Review-Aug14-Jul16-20160823090802.pdf

30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government has any plans to introduce a scheme similar to the Science and Society Community Challenge grant scheme in the next 12 months.

The Science and Society Community Challenge grant scheme offered support for pilot projects in any part of the UK engaging local communities in science. The Department has no current plans to introduce a similar scheme.

30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much government funding has been invested in the Capital Markets Climate Initiative since the launch of that initiative.

To date, we have invested £2.57million in the Capital Markets Climate Initiative. This was set up to help us understand the barriers to investment in renewable energy projects in developing countries and facilitate the quick transition of such projects from talk to action, with a particular focus on unlocking flows of private finance. The CMCI programme includes the Global Innovation Lab (the ‘Lab’), which has been endorsed by the Leaders of G7 countries. The Lab has so far catalysed $600million of investments through the instruments it has developed.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much (a) grant aid and (b) other financial support was provided to tech start-ups in the UK in the last five years.

In the last financial year (2015-16) 27% of Innovate UK’s £547m core budget was spent to support business-led innovation in micro organisations. British Business Bank programmes have provided more than 110 tech Start-ups with investment in excess of £245m during the last 5 years.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to prevent a brain-drain of UK young tech talent moving to find employment outside the UK.

The UK has a strong history in science, research and innovation, with an eco-system that fosters talent by providing opportunity in both industry and academia.

We are committed to ensuring that Britain is the best place in Europe to innovate, patent new ideas and start a business, including tech businesses. Our academic base holds 16% of the world’s most highly cited papers, generated from only 1% of the world population. Innovate UK provides support to innovative businesses to help them develop ideas and recruit and retain tech talent.

25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with representatives from the BBC on the BBC's decision to charge people aged over 75 for TV licences.

Since the BBC took its decision, I have met with the Chairman of the BBC Board and the Director-General of the BBC and I have asked them to do more to help the most vulnerable groups affected by the decision.

25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the growth of technology firms in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

We are confident the digital technology sector and its startup community will continue to go from strength to strength. Our ambition is to ensure the UK is the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business - and that ambition remains after we leave the EU. Tech Nation and Dealroom have released figures showing that investment in UK tech reached £6.8 billion ($8.7bn) last year and has already reached £3.8 billion ($4.8bn) in the first half of 2019, showing that the UK tech ecosystem is world-leading and in a strong position.

We are investing in the areas the sector needs: adequate access to both finance and talent. That is why for finance, Government announced a new £2.5 billion British Patient Capital programme, which is expected to attract a further £5 billion in private investment, in order to support UK companies with high growth potential to access the long-term investment they need to grow and go global. To continue to attract international talent, we have doubled the number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas to 2,000, and taken doctors and nurses out of the Tier 2 visa cap, freeing up many more skilled worker visas to other sectors, including tech. At the end of March this year, we also launched the new Start-Up and Innovator visa routes for entrepreneurs.

In addition, at London Tech Week in June the PM launched a study into tech competitiveness - this will identify key opportunities and support mechanisms for business growth in the digital tech sector. And Tech Nation supports businesses across the UK to enable continued growth of the digital tech sector. Government funding will help Tech Nation support 40,000 entrepreneurs and up to 4,000 start-ups as they scale their businesses across the UK including Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Newcastle.

25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has consulted on safe standing in English football stadiums.

We believe that all-seater stadia are currently the best means to ensure the safety and security of fans at designated football matches in England and Wales. I meet a wide range of football stakeholders and discuss standing at football with them amongst other issues.

We commissioned an independent review of the existing evidence relating to the all-seater policy and are considering an appropriate date for the report’s release.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the hosting of major sporting tournaments in the UK.

The Government recognises the wide-ranging benefits that hosting major sports events can bring.

My Department works closely with UK Sport and the national governing bodies of sport, as well as local, regional and devolved partners, to ensure that the UK successfully bids for and stages a wide range of the world’s biggest sporting events.

The 'Gold Framework' publication sets out the processes as to how the Government and UK Sport work together with our sports bodies in bidding and staging major sports events. Our approach has been successful, with over 100 major international sporting events secured for the UK since the London 2012 Games.

We have a strong programme of events to look forward to, including the Cricket World Cup, Netball World Cup and Cycling Road World Championships this year, the EURO 2020 men's Championships next year, and the EURO women's Championships and Rugby League World Cup in 2021.

We are also looking forward to hosting the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, welcoming thousands of athletes and officials from around the world and showcasing the best that the UK has to offer to a global audience of 1.5 billion.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much Heritage Lottery funding has been allocated to First World War commemoration events in each of the last three years.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund invested £18,429,100 in 863 First World War Centenary projects over the last three financial years. National commemoration events to mark significant events during the First World War were delivered and funded by HM Government.

Financial Year

Projects Awarded

Grant Awarded

2016-17

265

£6,478,100

2017-18

248

£8,174,200

2018-19

350

£3,776,800

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with phone companies on potential cyber attacks on mobile phone devices.

The security and resilience of the UK's telecoms networks is of paramount importance. The UK government works with telecoms companies to manage cyber security risks while ensuring the UK can continue to benefit from new technology. Ministers and officials have regular discussions with mobile phone companies on a range of matters, including covering potential cyber attacks. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) provides simple advice and guidance to help individuals and organisations be more resilient to cyber attacks. In addition, The Government advocates for strong security to be built into internet-connected products via the secure by design programme.

29th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to improve mobile phone coverage in Northern Ireland for those who cannot receive any phone reception.

We want the UK to have high quality mobile coverage where people live, work and travel. We are committed to extending geographic mobile coverage further to 95% of the UK by 2022, as well as providing an uninterrupted mobile signal on all major roads.

Coverage in Northern Ireland continues to improve. Ofcom report that 98% of the landmass has 4G coverage from at least one Mobile Network Operator, up from 95% a year ago. However, while there have been significant improvements in coverage, the Government recognises there is more to do.

We welcome the proposals set out in Ofcom’s consultation on awarding the 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz spectrum bands to improve coverage in rural areas across the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland. We continue to work with industry to support investment and deliver coverage improvements.

29th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to prevent social media platforms accessing individual's personal data and internet history for the purposes of generating advertising revenue.

The use of personal data for the purpose of targeted online advertising is subject to safeguards found in the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations 2003.

The Data Protection Act imposes strict obligations on organisations to process people’s data fairly and lawfully and to ensure that any data collected is held securely. As part of this, organisations must ensure they have a legal basis for processing data, are clear and transparent about how personal data will be handled, and ensure that the data is processed in a way which individuals would expect. Organisations which fail to comply may be subject to enforcement action by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

29th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the BBC on the Corporation increasing the number of programmes it broadcasts on television to appeal to people in the 15-30 demographic.

Ministers have not discussed this issue with the BBC. The BBC is independent of government and editorial decisions such as television content for younger people is a matter for the BBC, not government.

28th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle racism in sport.

There is absolutely no place for racism in sport or anywhere in society. Sport clubs and fans must continue to embrace diversity and tackle racism whenever they encounter it. As I announced in the House on 4 February 2019, I will be bringing together football authorities and other organisations with an interest in the coming weeks, to agree what action must be taken to stamp out all forms of discrimination at sports events.

Sport is a devolved issue but the cross-government sport strategy ‘Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation’ seeks to ensure that access to sport is equal for all. Government is supportive of anti-racism initiatives from grassroots to elite sport, including Show Racism the Red Card and Kick It Out. Grassroots sport also receives support in tackling racism from our national sport council, Sport England, who provide free support and learning through its "Club Matters" programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the volume of advertising of fast food companies on television after school hours.

We know that despite current advertising restrictions for products high in fat salt or sugar (HFSS) on TV around children’s programming, children’s viewing time peaks between 6-9pm and half of their viewing takes place during adult commercial programming where restrictions on HFSS advertising are weaker.

That is why, in the second chapter of the Government's Childhood Obesity Plan, we committed to consult on introducing a 9pm watershed on TV advertising of HFSS products and similar protection for children viewing adverts online - with the aim of reducing children’s exposure to HFSS advertising, and incentivising sugar and calorie reduction.

We will be launching the consultation at the earliest opportunity.

28th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions has he had with music promoters on the ability to bring musicians from (a) EU and (b) other countries to the UK after the UK leaves the EU.

While the government is clear that free movement will end when we leave the UK, we are aware that continued access to international talent to work and tour in the UK is a key concern for the music industry.

As part of our wider preparations for EU Exit, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working closely with the music industry to understand potential impacts and opportunities of EU Exit for the sector. The Department will continue to build on this engagement.

The government takes into account the needs of the whole of the UK, including the music industry, when setting migration policy. The new system will be rolled out once we have left the EU and after the implementation period ends in 2021.

4th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his Department's policy is on limiting gambling advertising during televised sports events.

There are strict controls on the content of all gambling advertisements, including broadcast adverts. Gambling operators who advertise in the UK must comply with the advertising codes, which aim to ensure gambling advertising does not appeal particularly to children or young people or exploit vulnerable people.

We considered advertising as part of our Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility and our response set out a package of measures to strengthen protections further. These include strengthened guidance from the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) on protecting vulnerable people, tougher sanctions for operators who breach advertising codes and a multi-million pound safer gambling advertising campaign.

The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling has announced that it will extend its voluntary commitment not to advertise on TV before 9pm to include advertising during sporting events. Its industry-wide code for socially responsible advertising also requires all TV adverts to feature a responsible gambling message for the duration of the advert. These are welcome moves and we encourage all those who benefit from gambling advertising to think about how they can promote safer gambling

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions has he had with Huawei regarding security concerns from other nations.

The UK government works with Huawei and other telecoms suppliers to manage cyber security risks while ensuring the UK can continue to benefit from new technology. The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has met with Huawei on a range of matters.

4th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with mobile phone networks on preventing under-18s accessing inappropriate material.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with mobile network operators on a range of issues, including safeguarding children. Details of ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) provide a filter to restrict access to content that is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18. This has been the practice since the trade association, Mobile UK, first published a UK code of practice in 2004. The MNOs set these filters in accordance with a framework developed by the British Board of Film Classification.

Through the Digital Economy Act (2017), we are introducing the requirement for commercial providers of online pornography to have robust age verification controls in place to prevent under 18s accessing pornographic material. These controls will be at network level and effective regardless of the type of device being used.

29th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of the UK leaving the EU on mobile roaming charges in the EU.

Ministers have a range of meeting with their Cabinet colleagues on a range of issues, including the effect of the UK leaving the EU on mobile roaming charges in the EU.

3rd Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has plans to encourage advertisers to promote healthy body images.

We recognise that the pressure on young people to achieve an idealised body image is a serious issue, with wide-reaching consequences for their mental and physical wellbeing.

As set out in in the recently published Government response to the Internet Safety Strategy Green Paper, we are taking forward work on positive body image. This work will build on the commitments made in the Government response to the recent Youth Select Committee report which highlighted that increased time spent online can lead to increased exposure to images of unattainable and unrealistic beauty. The Government is also developing a package of work to tackle harmful gender norms which can occur both online and offline. This will include work with the advertising industry to encourage stereotype-free advertising.

3rd Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has plans to encourage sports clubs to offer family package deals on match tickets.

The cost of attending live sport for all ages is something that must be kept under constant review, and we support a fair deal for fans, but respect that ticket-pricing policies should remain a matter for event hosts.

The Government's sport strategy, Sporting Future, recognises how attending live sporting events can benefit individuals, communities and the wider sporting economy. Ten major sporting events supported by UK Sport saw over 1.1 million people attend in 2017, including the IAAF World Championships in London, where over 100,000 children under 16 attended at a ticket price of £9.58, signifying Usain Bolt's 100m world record. The World Para Athletics Championships similarly saw over 100,000 schoolchildren attend, with 30,000 children being transported free of charge by Transport for London as part of a two session ring-fenced school project. The men's and women's World Series Triathlons held in Leeds in June also attracted over 50,000 spectators who were able to enjoy the events for free.

Football clubs are also offering concessions on ticket prices and associated costs for all fans, including younger supporters, which the recent BBC Price of Football 2017 study highlighted. Overall, English Football League (EFL) figures show that junior season ticket sales have increased by 37% over the past 10 years with 20% of all EFL club match attendees now under 16 years old. Premier League clubs have capped the cost of away tickets to £30 up until 2019, and clubs are helping more with concessions on travel.

25th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the expansion of the hospitality sector.

We are committed to supporting the continued growth of the Tourism and Hospitality industry. We continue to work closely with key stakeholders in the sector to develop initiatives that will share the economic and job creation benefits of this vibrant sector across the UK.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
19th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had any discussions with (a) UEFA and (b) the Football Association on the transfer of players from non-UK teams to UK teams after the UK leaves the EU.

The Government recognises the contribution that international talent makes to UK sport. We are in ongoing discussions with the Football Association (FA), Premier League and English Football League to better understand the potential impacts and opportunities that our exit from the EU may bring for football, including in relation to changes to freedom of movement after the end of the implementation period.

As the European Federation for Football, UEFA liaises directly with its members - including the FA - rather than with the UK Government on matters affecting European football.

12th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding from the heritage lottery fund was allocated to projects in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years.

The table below outlines the funding per year and the number of projects that Heritage Lottery Fund have awarded to projects in Northern Ireland:

Financial Year

Projects Funded

Amount Awarded

2015-16

59

£15,029,700

2016-17

58

£15,155,500

2017-18

64

£15,617,200

Grand Total

181

£45,802,400

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
12th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what meetings he has held with (a) television and (b) film production companies on the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the UK film and TV industry in the last 12 months.

The government has engaged extensively with TV and film production stakeholders on the impact of exiting the EU. Over the past year, DCMS has organised a number of ministerial roundtables as well as bilateral meetings with broadcasters, and television and film production companies on the topic of Brexit and related issues, including the potential effects of our exit from the EU for these companies.

12th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will introduce legislative proposals on limiting the time for which a user can be active on an online gambling site or app.

Online gambling operators are required under the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) to give players the option to set time and spend limits online. The Government is also working with the Gambling Commission on a clear plan to further protect children, young people and the vulnerable as discussed by the Gambling Commission’s review of online gambling in March 2018 (http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/Online-review-March-2018.pdf) and the Government’s response to the consultation of changes to gaming machines and social responsibility measures in May 2018 (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/707815/Government_response_to_the_consultation_on_proposals_for_changes_to_gaming_machines_and_social_responsibility_measures.pdf )

This will include ensuring operators set limits on consumers’ spending until affordability checks have been conducted; banning operators from providing free-to-play demo games until a consumer’s age has been determined and improving the speed and effectiveness of age verification processes.

Other measures include tackling unacceptable marketing, advertising and unfair terms and improving complaints and dispute procedures and strengthening requirements to interact with consumers who may be experiencing problems with their gambling and looking at the issue of whether gambling on credit cards should continue to be permitted.

6th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the announcement of 1 July 2014 ,Details of £5 million fund to repair, protect, and conserve First World War memorials revealed, how much and what proportion of that funding has been spent.

Of the £5 million fund announced in July 2014 for the conservation and protection of war memorials, £3,435,000 had been spent by the end of FY 2017/18, with the remainder projected to be spent by March 2019.

The majority of this funding (£4.5 million) has gone towards the First World War Memorials Programme which sees Civic Voice, Historic England, the Imperial War Museums (IWM), and War Memorials Trust (WMT) working in partnership with the public on a programme of recording, research, conservation and listing to ensure war memorials across the country are protected and the people they commemorate are remembered.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
5th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding his Department has allocated from the public purse to youth theatre projects in each of the last three years.

Culture is a devolved competence, therefore policy and funding decisions are the responsibility of the respective devolved nations and their arts funding bodies. Arts Council England (ACE) are responsible for distributing funding to arts and culture organisations on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in England. Funding that is specifically directed to 'Youth Theatre' is not recorded; however, ACE funding statistics do highlight funded organisations that include 'youth theatre' as part of their provision under their funding contract.

Investment in each of the last three years, where the ACE award has been at least partially classified with ‘Youth Theatre’ is outlined in the table below.

Funding stream

2015/16 £

2016/17 £

2017/18 £

National Portfolio Organisation (NPO)

7,583,458

7,583,458

7,583,458

Grants for the Arts (GfTA)

756,240

N/A*

N/A*

Other

215,330

365,437

421,622

*GfTA programme closed

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to encourage sports clubs to have disability teams.

The importance of increasing participation in sport and physical activity by underrepresented groups was highlighted in the government’s sport strategy 'Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation', published in December 2015.

Sport England is investing £1.6m from 2017 - 2020 into the seven National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) who represent specific impairment groups. Part of their work is to promote opportunities to their members, and to provide advice to clubs and coaches to enable more disabled people to participate in sport. Sport England also invests in International Mixed Ability Sports (IMAS), an inclusion model based on disabled and non-disabled people taking part in sport together, and embedding these teams into existing club structures. It has invested approximately £162,000 into IMAS to expand the delivery of their mixed ability model into seven new sports, and reach over 900 disabled and non-disabled players over the 2 years of this investment.

Sport England also supports clubs to promote disability sport through its free Club Matters resource. It includes insight about different impairments and health conditions, and practical advice about making clubs accessible and inclusive for disabled people. The Activity Alliance (formerly known as EFDS) are currently working with Sport England to update the resources available to clubs through Club Matters.

14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his policy is on home nation sports events being televised on free-to-air television.

It is important that people are able to watch national sporting events on free to air television. That is why the law ensures that certain national sporting events are shown to the widest possible audience through the listed events regime. The list of protected events contains a range of competitions in which home nations teams feature including the World Cup Finals and the Six Nations. There are no plans to amend the list.

9th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals to mandate actions to be taken by online bookmakers to tackle problem gambling .

As the statutory regulator for gambling in Great Britain, the Gambling Commission has powers under the Gambling Act 2005 to determine the rules under which gambling companies operate.

The Gambling Commission has identified a number of key areas where it plans to consult on changes to its regulatory requirements to enhance the protections afforded to online gambling customers.

In particular, the Gambling Commission is proposing to require operators to set limits on players’ spending until affordability checks have been completed, and to introduce stricter licence requirements for gambling companies to know their customers and intervene at an earlier stage before players experience harm.

9th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department issues guidance to sports colleges and teaching coaches on recognising the dangers of concussion; and if he will make a statement.

We are acutely aware of the potential effects of concussion and serious head injuries in sport. Baroness Tanni Grey- Thompson produced a report into Duty of Care in Sport and the report dedicated an entire chapter to safety, injury and medical issues. DCMS have been regular attendees at and contributors to the Forum on Concussion in Sport and Physical Education chaired by the Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA). This Forum has produced guidelines for the education sector, which was praised by the Duty of Care report.

Expert advice is available for schools and colleges to help them assess activities and ensure they are safe for pupils. The Association for Physical Education and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents provide advice to schools on how to manage activities safely and reduce the risk of injuries and accidents, including concussion.

1st May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his policy is on the provision of electronic books by libraries.

We are committed to encouraging the availability of e-books for lending from public library services. When commenced, section 31 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 will extend the Public Lending Right to include the remote lending of e-books and audiobooks, where such lending takes place away from library premises.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
30th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding was allocated from the public purse to museums in 2017-18.

In terms of allocation, the fifteen museums and galleries directly funded by DCMS were allocated £327 million for Financial Year 2017-18 under the current Spending Review term.

Other major public funders of museums include Local Government, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Arts Council England. In addition, the Mendoza Review published last year identified twelve other sources of government investment in the museums sector, from universities and higher education, to grants and tax breaks. Together, these sixteen sources of public funding have on average invested £844 million a year into museums over the past decade.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
24th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much National Lottery funding has been allocated to projects in Northern Ireland in 2017.

National Lottery good cause money is allocated by expert bodies at arm’s length from Government, taking account of their own priorities and the need for equitable distribution. The devolved Lottery Distribution Bodies have their policy directions set by the devolved administrations.

National Lottery good cause monies are distributed in Northern Ireland by Sport Northern Ireland and Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Sport Northern Ireland receives 0.52% of the total National Lottery

Distribution Fund; Arts Council of Northern Ireland receives 0.56%. This amounts to an estimated £17.7m in 2017/18 (subject to audit).

In addition to this, the UK-wide Lottery Distributors (UK Sport, Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and British Film Institute) also distribute parts of their allocation to projects in Northern Ireland. Proportions will vary by distributor.

16th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to take steps to (a) introduce and (b) support courses to improve computer literacy.

We are introducing, from 2020, fully-funded basic digital skills training for adults. Adults will have the opportunity to take improved basic digital courses based on new national standards setting out the basic digital skills needed to participate effectively in the labour market and day–to-day life. The Government will consult on these new standards in the autumn.

We also fund the Future Digital Inclusion programme managed by the Good Things Foundation and delivered through the 5,000 strong Online Centres network. To date this programme has supported over 800,000 adult learners to develop their basic digital skills, many of whom are socially excluded. In the 2017 Autumn Budget the Government announced a National Retraining Scheme which will have an early focus on digital.

As part of the Digital Strategy over half of the 4 million digital skills training opportunities pledged by industry have now been delivered. Creation of the Digital Skills Partnership, also highlighted the Digital Strategy and support for Local Digital Skills Partnerships to ensure that partners across public, private and third sectors work collaboratively to design, develop and deliver innovative digital skills programmes will also help improve digital inclusion.

28th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his policy is on companies that sell personal data to third parties.

The Government takes both the protection of personal data and the right to privacy extremely seriously. We expect all organisations to abide by the law when processing (including sharing or selling) personal data.

The Data Protection Act 1998 has served us well and placed the UK at the front of global data protection standards. With the new Data Protection Bill, Government are modernising the data protection laws in the UK to make them fit for purpose for our increasingly digital economy and society. It will set new standards for protecting general data, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), giving people more control over use of their data, and provide new rights to move or delete personal data. This new data protection regime will come into force on 25 May 2018.

27th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has a policy to attract the television and film industry to work in the UK.

The strength of the UK’s production sector is rooted in international confidence in the film-friendly policies of this government, including funding for the British Film Institute and British Film Commission, as well as the attractive fiscal environment created by the government’s creative sector tax reliefs. Such support, along with the world-class excellence of UK talent, crews and locations, continues to cement the UK’s reputation as a leading global destination for film and TV production. 2017 saw a new record for expenditure on inward investment film and television production with £1.69 billion for film, a 23% increase on the previous year, and £684 million for high-end television production, a 27% increase on 2016.

27th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department plans to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The final year of the Government's four year programme to commemorate the centenary of the First World War will see a series of events to commemorate the end of the War, and the path to peace.

On Monday 26 March an event was held to commemorate the centenary of the appointment of Marshal Foch as Supreme Allied Commander on the Western Front, at the statue of the Marshal in Lower Grosvenor Gardens. It was attended by the French Ambassador, and the French Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance.

On 8 August we will commemorate the centenary of the the Battle of Amiens and the subsequent 'Hundred Days' Offensive with an event in Amiens Cathedral in Northern France. It is being delivered in partnership with the governments of Australia, Canada, France and the United States of America. The public ballot for tickets to attend the event opened on 9 March, and will close on 9 April. Members of the public who wish to attend can apply via the web-page or in writing to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The government’s programme of centenary events will culminate on 11 November 2018 with a series of events across the UK to mark the centenary of the Armistice. The National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph will follow traditional lines, to respect its wider purpose in remembering the fallen of all conflicts. The traditional veterans’ parade will then be followed by a civilian procession made up of 10,000 members of the public who wish to show their thanks to a generation who gave so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. An announcement regarding the public ballot for tickets to participate in this procession will be made in May. During the day, church and other bells will ring out as they did in 1918 to mark the end of the war. The government is supporting the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers to recruit 1,400 bell ringers (the number that were lost during the war) to create a national peal that will echo the impromptu outpouring of relief and joy that took place 100 years ago.

The commemorations will conclude in the evening with a national service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in London. Similar services will also take place in Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.

In addition to the national events, the other elements of government programme, such as the Schools' Battlefields Tours, the schools 'Great War Debates', the Victoria Cross Paving Stones, and funding for the repair and restoration of War Memorials will continue to ensure that the final year of the War and the Armistice are commemorated appropriately.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
21st Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will consider replacing the BBC licence fee with an alternative funding model.

We have committed to maintain the licence fee funding model for the BBC for the duration of this 11 year Charter period.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department plans to provide funding for small sports clubs to renovate their stadiums.

Government's Sporting Future strategy makes clear that investing in the right facilities in the right places is key to encouraging more people to take part in sport and physical activity and to improving the experience for those who already do.

Sport England's Strategic Facilities Fund was opened in 2014/15. The aim of the fund is to provide capital investment into a number of key community projects. So far, £42 million has been invested in 33 new state of the art leisure facilities.

Sport England also run the Community Asset Fund which will provide up to £15 million per year to enhance the spaces in local communities that help people to be active.

Responsibility for grassroots sport is devolved and each country has a Home Nation Sports Council, sportscotland, Sport Wales and Sport NI in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively

7th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support programmes tackling the misuse of drugs in professional sport.

The UK has always taken a strong stance on doping in sport, but we are not complacent. DCMS recently published a Tailored Review of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), which committed an additional £6.1m of funding. This will support further the important work carried out by UKAD, as well as the implementation of the recommendations set out within that Review.

6th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his Department's policy is on expanding broadband provision in rural areas.

The Government’s policy is to ensure world-class broadband connectivity across the UK, including in rural areas.

To date, we have invested £1.7 billion of public money to deliver 95% superfast broadband coverage of the UK by the end of 2017, and are continuing to support delivery with at least a further 2% coverage likely to be achieved. In Northern Ireland, this will have provided superfast coverage to 41,000 premises.

In addition to this, the UK Government allocated a further £150 million for ultrafast broadband in Northern Ireland as part of the June 2017 funding agreement.

The Local Full Fibre Networks programme includes a £190 million Challenge Fund designed to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks in both rural and urban locations across the UK, including Northern Ireland.

Defra has also allocated £30 million of grant funding from the Rural Development Programme for England, targeted at helping to connect businesses with broadband in hard to reach rural areas.

To ensure no-one is left behind, the Better Broadband Scheme ensures all UK premises have access to an affordable broadband service delivering at least 2Mbps. From 2020 we are also introducing a broadband Universal Service Obligation so everyone across the UK will have a clear, enforceable right to request high-speed broadband.

Beyond these actions, the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review will assess the policy conditions that will best encourage the long-term investment needed to deliver the next generation of digital infrastructure in different areas of the UK, including hard-to-reach rural areas.

27th Nov 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans she has to help small and medium-sized enterprises to improve cyber security training and competency.

We are committed to making the UK the safest place in the world to live and do business online. This includes ensuring all UK organisations - including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - are resilient to cyber threats. A number of Government online cyber security training packages are available free of charge, including one specifically for SMEs. In addition, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) launched a new Cyber Security Small Business Guide in October 2017, which provides quick, easy and low-cost cyber security advice to small businesses. A series of short videos, based on the guide, will be released shortly and further campaigns will follow next year. Cyber Essentials, the Government-backed certification scheme, has also refreshed its website to make it more accessible to SMEs.

27th Nov 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans she has to extend Youth Development Fund grants to deprived areas beyond England.

Government is investing £40 million through the Youth Investment and #iwill Funds to increase opportunities for young people to develop skills and undertake social action. This money is being matched by the Big Lottery Fund to create an £80million investment in young people. As this is a devolved policy area the UK Government only has the legal authority to fund projects that benefit England.

30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has any plans to introduce grants to support low-income families to access broadband.

BT provides a subsidised landline and broadband tariff (BT Basic + Broadband) for people in receipt of certain Government benefits. Other providers also offer services to support those on low incomes.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what research her Department has undertaken or assessment on links between the use of technology and (a) human behaviour and (b) productivity.

DCMS commissioned the UK Broadband Impact Study from SQW consultants, formerly known as Segal Quince Wicksteed, in 2013, which examined the impact of broadband rollout on the UK economy. The Link can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/257006/UK_Broadband_Impact_Study_-_Impact_Report_-_Nov_2013_-_Final.pdf

3rd Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what amount has been invested in grassroots sport in each region and constituent part of the UK in each year since the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Sport England National Lottery and Exchequer grant investment in grassroots sport, broken down by constituency, is publicly available on Sport England’s website: www.sportengland.org/funding/investments-weve-made.

Policy for grassroots sport is devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each country has a sports council which is responsible for funding of grassroots sport.

3rd Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when the Government plans to achieve its goal of a minimum broadband speed of 10Mbps nationwide.

The Government has committed to putting in place a new broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) by the end of this Parliament. We have made clear our ambition that access to fast broadband should be on a similar footing as other basic services, giving everyone a legal right to request a connection of 10Mbps.

11th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what progress has been made on part two of the Leveson Inquiry.

Criminal proceedings connected to the subject matter of the Leveson Inquiry, including the appeals process, have not yet completed. We‎ have always been clear that these cases must conclude before we consider Part 2 of the Inquiry.

10th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the accessibility of defibrillators for sports clubs.

We take player safety in all sportsseriously, and it was one of the main themes of the recent sports strategy consultation.DCMS is considering the responses and the new strategy document will be published in due course.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what representations his Department has received on the removal of archery from the sports included in the Commonwealth Games for 2018; and what discussions his Department has had with the Commonwealth Games Federation about the decision not to include archery in those Games.

DCMS has received no representations on archery's exclusion from the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The inclusion of which certain sports that may participate in the Commonwealth Games is a decision entirely for the Commonwealth Fund and the host city.

4th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what information his Department holds on how many Facebook profile pages based in the UK were closed down in 2014 following reports of online abuse and blackmail.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport does not hold any information on the number of Facebook pages based in the UK closed down in 2014 following reports of online abuse and blackmail. We are working with social media companies to improve online safety and ensure they put appropriate measures in place to protect their users.

4th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to take steps to utilise the success of the 2015 UK Open Golf tournament to increase participation in that sport.

I am committed to ensuring that sport has the opportunity to thrive in this country. Golf is a sport for a wide range of people and it is important that it is promoted to as broad an audience as possible. The current Active People Survey results show that 727,700 people aged 16+ are playing golf each week. Major sporting events, like the Open, are a fantastic opportunity to get more people playing sport.

The England Golf Partnership is working with partners including England Golf and Sport England to increase the numbers of people playing golf. In July 2014 England Golf launched its new strategic plan, ‘Raising our Game’, which focuses on getting more people involved. The England Golf Partnership has also joined up with Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign and recently launched its own ‘This Girl Can Golf’ initiative to get more women playing golf

4th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department plans to have with the Football Association on eliminating racist chanting and abuse by football spectators.

The Football Association’s Inclusion Advisory Board, chaired by Heather Rabbatts, reports to the Sports Minister regarding progress on Football's Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Plan, including actions taken to improve the reporting and analysis of in-stadia offences.

More generally, racist chanting or abuse is a criminal offence under the Football (Offences) Act 1991 and Public Order Act 1986. It is a matter for the police and the courts to determine each case's merits.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of (a) trends in participation in disabled sport and (b) the implementation of the Government's Paralympics 2012 legacy.

We remain committed to delivering a lasting sports participation legacy from London 2012 and support disabled people to realise their potential in sport. Figures from Sport England’s Active People Survey released on 11 June 2015 show that 1.56 million disabled people play sport regularly. This is an increase of almost 200,000 since 2005.

Since 2012 Sport England has made disability sport a key focus of its strategy and 42 of the National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) it invests in have specific targets for increasing the number of disabled who play their sport. Sport England is currently investing over £171 million to make sport a practical and attractive lifestyle choice for disabled people and to get more disabled people playing sport.

Government is committed to ensuring a strong legacy from the London 2012 Paralympic Games. That is why the Government, in partnership with the Greater London Authority, established the Paralympic Legacy Advisory Group to help challenge and steer legacy plans.

In addition to Sport England's investments, Government is helping to deliver a legacy from the Paralympics through work such as:

· the Built Environment Professional Education Project, which aims to make sure built environment professionals have the knowledge, skills and attitude to deliver inclusive environments.

· the cross-government "Fulfilling Potential" strategy, which set out steps being taken to help disabled people realise their aspirations

· the Disability Confident campaign, which aims to remove barriers to disabled people gaining employment.

· the disabled sports fans' survey, part of joint working between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to investigate and address inequalities in provision for disabled sports spectators."

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department provides to assist in protecting small and medium-sized enterprises from cyber abuse and online security breaches.

The UK Cyber Security Strategy published in November 2011 stresses the importance of partnership with industry to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business in cyber space. Through the National Cyber Security Programme, which is backed by £860 million, and in partnership with a range of industry partners we have taken steps to understand issues and have put in place initiatives to improve cyber security practice amongst SMEs.

We have launched a Home Office-led awareness campaign, Cyber Streetwise, which aims to increase cyber confidence and improve online safety of SMEs, measured by the National Cyber Security Tracker. The mass media campaign directs to an internet portal with a dedicated SME section for trusted advice and guidance.

We have also published “What you need to know about Cyber Security” guidance for small businesses and launched the Cyber Essentials scheme. Cyber Essentials sets out five key controls for businesses to protect themselves against the most common cyber threats. So far, 650 badges have been awarded under the scheme and there are more in the pipeline.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues in other departments on steps to reduce online bullying and blackmail of children.

My Noble Colleague, the Minister for Internet Safety and Security, meets on a quarterly basis with her Ministerial co-Chairs of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS). UKCCIS focuses on keeping children safe online, and discusses topical issues, such as cyber-bullying and blackmail. Members represent organisations who are actively involved in helping to overcome these issues, including teaching young people on how to stay safe online and tackling those who seek to use the internet to bully and blackmail children.

20th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to increase participation of blind people in sport.

Between 2014 and 2017 Sport England is investing £296,636 in British Blind Sport to get more blind people playing sport. The funding will provide impairment-specific support to National Governing Bodies and deliver programmes designed to increase the number of blind people who regularly take part in sport. In addition, Sport England is investing over £90 million between 2013-17 in National Governing Bodies to get more disabled people playing sport through the delivery of inclusive and impairment-specific programmes, including programmes for blind people.

20th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department has taken to increase participation of people with cerebral palsy in sport.

Between 2014 and 2017 Sport England is investing £265,882 in Cerebral Palsy Sport to get more people with cerebral palsy playing sport. The funding will provide impairment-specific support to National Governing Bodies and deliver programmes designed to increase the number of people with cerebral palsy who regularly take part in sport. In addition, Sport England is investing over £90 million between 2013-17 in National Governing Bodies to get more disabled people playing sport through the delivery of inclusive and impairment-specific programmes, including programmes for people with cerebral palsy.

20th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games includes:

· 1.6 million more people, including over 260,000 more disabled people, are playing sport once a week than when we won the bid for the Games back in 2005

· over £14 billion of economic benefits have been realised in terms of trade and investment following the Games and Games-time promotional activity

· all permanent venues on the Park have a secured legacy use, more than 4.5 million people have visited Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park since it re-opened, and over 4,500 people are now living in the former Athletes' Village

· volunteering in England increased in 2012 after a period of decline, with an increase from 65% to 72% of the population who had volunteered at least once in the previous 12 months, an increase that has been maintained since.

I have reported to Parliament regularly on the sporting legacy from the 2012 Games. My most recent report was made in a written ministerial statement on 5 March 2015, Hansard columns 72-76/WS.

In addition government and the Mayor of London produce joint annual reports on the Games' legacy. The most recent report, 'Olympic and Paralympic legacy: inspired by 2012 - second annual report' is on the gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-olympic-and-paralympic-legacy-inspired-by-2012-second-annual-report .

20th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what progress his Department has made on providing 95 per cent of rural areas with superfast broadband by 2017.

Current superfast broadband coverage is over 80% of UK premises and the Government remains committed to providing 95% coverage to homes and businesses by 2017.

9th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to detect and tackle doping in British sport.

UK Anti Doping continues to provide a prevention through education programmes, intelligence-led athlete testing across more than 40 Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports, investigations and exclusive results management authority for the determination of Anti-Doping Rule Violations.

The tougher sanctions set out in the recently revised World Anti-Doping Code will act as a deterrent to those that believe doping in sport to be an option.

25th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the participation of teenage girls in out-of-school sports clubs.

Sport England invests £49 million in Satellite Clubs which bring community sports clubs into schools and colleges. There are over 4,000 clubs already up and running, of which over 500 are girls-only. Sport England estimates that over 20,000 girls are now playing sport in girls-only Satellite Clubs.

Sportivate is a £56 million Sport England programme which gives 14-25 year olds (male and female), who are not particularly sporty, access to six to eight weeks of free or subsidised coaching in a range of sports. Over half a million young people have taken part in Sportivate, of which over 40 per cent were girls. Over 80 per cent of these young people successfully completed their coached sessions.

25th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on plans to reduce funding for Libraries NI in 2015-16.

There have been no discussions between the DCMS and the Northern Ireland Executive on plans to reduce funding for Libraries NI in 2015-16. The remit of the DCMS is to superintend, and promote the improvement of, the public library service provided by local authorities in England. Funding for Libraries NI is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive.

11th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what progress has been made on the provision of superfast broadband to rural businesses in all parts of the UK.

In 2010 nearly half of UK premises could access superfast broadband. Current superfast broadband coverage is almost 80% of UK premises and the Government remains committed to providing 95% coverage by 2017. This will benefit rural businesses across the UK.

BDUK works with local authorities and the devolved administrations to determine how funding for broadband projects is deployed and where the roll out of superfast broadband is carried out.

20th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what progress his Department has made on refurbishment projects and national events announced in 2012 to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The DCMS leads the Government’s programme to mark the centenary of the First World War. We organised three major events on 4 August 2014: the Service for the Commonwealth at Glasgow Cathedral; an Act of Reconciliation at St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium and a Service of Commemoration at Westminster Abbey.

We have recently announced our plans to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign on 24/25 April 2015. We are planning a further 4 national events to commemorate anniversaries: 31 May/1 June 2016 Battle of Jutland; 1 July 1916 Battle of the Somme; Summer 2017 Passchendaele and the end of the conflict.

In addition Government has:

· Helped fund the refurbishment of the Imperial War Museum London which opened its iconic new First World War Galleries in July 2014;

· Made funding available to restore the graves of Victoria Cross recipients buried in the UK and funding for restoration and repair of First World War Memorials and graves;

· Provided £1.6m for the restoration and enhancement of the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme;

· Established a £20m First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund to ensure that these buildings are in good repair to play their significant role in the First World War Centenary commemorations;

· Developed a programme to lay Commemorative Paving Stones in the home localities of Victoria Cross recipients;

· Established 14-18 NOW, a three year cultural programme which will deliver UK wide events that has so far included Dazzle Ships and Lights Out on the 4 August 2014;

· Developed with the football authorities the Football Remembers education programme to commemorate the 1914 Christmas Truce;

· Created a £5.3m educational programme to send two pupils and a teacher from every maintained school in England to the battlefields of the Western Front; and

· Facilitated the British Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities to run a programme of activities to honour the contribution of troops from the Indian subcontinent, focusing on the centenary of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

In addition, The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded a £12.2m grant to conserve and interpret HMS Caroline, Britain’s last surviving warship that saw service at Jutland. This will be opened in time for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland in 2016. Since April 2010 HLF has also awarded over £60 million to more than 1000 projects to enable communities to mark the Centenary.

9th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Rugby Football Union on Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland jointly hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

There have been no discussions with the Rugby Football Union about Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland bidding to jointly host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. England will host the Rugby World Cup next year and I am sure that the RFU will be happy to share lessons learned with the All-Ireland bid.

3rd Dec 2014
3G
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to expand the use of 3G communications throughout the UK.

Mobile coverage in the UK is among the best in Europe. Ofcom’s Infrastructure Report 2014 notes that 84% of the UK (outdoors) and 71% of the UK (indoors) has 3G coverage from all operators, with mobile services among the cheapest in Europe. The UK is also experiencing one of the fastest rollouts of 4G mobile broadband services in Europe – with over 70% of premises already having 4G services available from at least one operator and with the operators aiming to reach 98% of premises by the end of 2015.

18th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps his Department has taken to encourage local stakeholders to invest in sport.

This Government is committed to the sporting industry. I am pleased that Sport England always seeks to leverage in support from local stakeholders where possible. To encourage local investment in sport, Sport England has produced a range of tools which not only demonstrate the economic and social value of sport for local communities, but also the health benefits of physical activity. This data and insight, which shows that sport offers a good return on investment for local communities, is shared with local authorities and other potential investors. Sport England also encourages applicants to its National Lottery award programmes to seek matched funding from local stakeholders such as local authorities, educational institutions, local businesses and sports clubs.

3rd Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to increase participation in out-of-school sports clubs.

Sport is a devolved policy area. The national sports councils of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are therefore responsible for delivering the sporting strategies set out by their respective Governments. This response solely relates to the position in England.

DCMS is investing almost £450 million through its 2012-17 Youth and Community strategy through Sport England. One of the key aims of this strategy is to get more young people playing sport regularly. Specific targets for young people have been agreed with each national governing body of sport (NGB).

Further to this, 25 NGBs have targets agreed with Sport England to deliver Satellite Clubs - Sport England’s £49 million programme that brings community sports clubs into schools and colleges. Every secondary school in England will be offered the chance to host a satellite club by 2017 and there are already over 3,600 satellite clubs up and running (including nearly 500 which are only for girls) with almost 150,000 young people taking part.

21st Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Northern Ireland's Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure on the future of the Ulster Orchestra.

The Northern Ireland Minister for Culture Arts and Leisure has not raised this matter with me. Questions surrounding the funding of the Ulster Orchestra are matters for the Northern Ireland Executive.

8th Jul 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the benefits to (a) tourism and (b) the economy following the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Tourism is a devolved matter, so we have not made a specific assessment. However a lot of work is being done to promote the Commonwealth Games. VisitBritain are working with Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and VisitScotland to operate two media centres in Glasgow – the Main Press Centre and the Destination Media Hub. VisitBritain has also been working with the FCO to fully engage international media.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage primary school children to become active and involved in local sports organisations.

Over 17,500 schools are voluntarily taking part in the Sainsbury's School Games—over 70% of all schools in England—including approximately 13,000 primary schools. Participating schools can choose from sports formats developed by 31 National Governing bodies for sport. Schools are supported by 450 School Games organisers across the country, who are connecting School Games to community sports clubs to help ensure activity is sustained beyond school.

In addition, through the primary PE and sport premium, we are investing over £450 million across government (up to and including the academic year 2015/16) to improve physical education and sport in primary schools. Heads are free to choose how they use the funding to secure the greatest impact, which may include working with local sports organisations and/or increasing pupils' participation in the School Games.

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department issues guidance to sports colleges and teaching coaches on recognising the dangers of concussion; and if he will make a statement.

We are acutely aware of the potential effects of concussion and serious head injuries in sport. Baroness Tanni Grey- Thompson produced a report into Duty of Care in Sport and the report dedicated an entire chapter to safety, injury and medical issues. DCMS have been regular attendees at and contributors to the Forum on Concussion in Sport and Physical Education chaired by the Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA). This Forum has produced guidelines for the education sector, which was praised by the Duty of Care report.

Expert advice is available for schools and colleges to help them assess activities and ensure they are safe for pupils. The Association for Physical Education and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents provide advice to schools on how to manage activities safely and reduce the risk of injuries and accidents, including concussion.

19th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many secondary school pupils were suspended due to violence-related issues in the last two years.

The National Statistics releases ‘Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England’ includes information on the number of permanent and fixed period exclusions. The releases are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-exclusions.

In the National tables, table 4 gives exclusions by main reason. The guide to exclusion statistics gives descriptors for each reason category in section 4.4.2, and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exclusions-statistics-guide.

11th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on increasing the apprenticeship rates of the National Minimum Wage.

As Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, I work with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the annual remit for the Low Pay Commission (LPC), who are responsible for making recommendations to the government about minimum rates of pay including the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage.

The government implemented in full the LPC’s 2019 recommendations. These included an apprentice rate as well as taking into account the long-term benefits that apprentices derive from training, the needs of employers and individual sectors and wider labour market pressures.

The current Apprentice National Minimum Wage rate rose to £3.90 per hour in April 2019, up from £3.70 per hour. This is a 5.4% increase and the apprentice rate is now at a record high in nominal and real terms. The LPC estimate that this rise will benefit up to 36,000 apprentices.

11th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to provide financial support to schools that are in deficit.

The department is working with the sector to continue building capacity and expertise in financial management, particularly the prevention of a deficit. This includes supporting effective school resource management in trusts with three-year financial forecasting and developing buying hubs and recommended deals for all schools. We are also continuing to work with local authorities, as appropriate, to help them identify potential financial health issues and support schools. We have worked with them to understand how they work with maintained schools, share good practice and use the financial data available to them.

In particular, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have introduced Schools Resource Management Advisers (SRMAs) to provide help and support to trusts and maintained schools. SRMAs are sector experts who will work with schools and trusts to provide tailored advice on how to make best use of their revenue and capital resources, and reduce non-staff spend, to deliver educational outcomes and contribute to whole-school improvement, prioritising those schools which will benefit the most.

In the case of academy trusts, an academy trust having an in-year deficit is not in and of itself a negative thing. Schools can draw on their reserves for a range of planned and sensible reasons, for example, to spend on capital projects or whole-school improvements. This is prudent financial planning and not at the expense of educational delivery. The academies sector is stable with fewer than 2% of trusts subject to a Financial Notice to Improve.

Where an academy trust does require additional support to manage a deficit, the ESFA will work with them to help them reach a stronger position. Where there is a risk to public funds, the ESFA will intervene in a way that is proportionate to the risk and preserves education provision. This can include issuing an Financial Notice to Improve, or in the most serious cases, termination of the Funding Agreement.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many parents have been fined as a result of the truancy of their children in each of the last two years.

Penalty notices are issued to parents by schools, local authorities or the police for failing to ensure that if their child is of compulsory school age, they regularly attend the state-funded school where they are registered or at the place where alternative provision is provided for them.

The statistical publication 'Parental Responsibility Measures in England: 2017 to 2018' includes the numbers of penalty notices issued in England in table 1. The release is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/parental-responsibility-measures-2017-to-2018.

The data shows the number of penalty notices issued to parents; if a parent has received more than one penalty notice then each penalty notice would be counted. The number of parents who have received a penalty notice is not available.

Collected information contains reasons for why penalty notices are issued and is broken down by 'unauthorised family holiday absence', 'arriving late' and 'absence due to other unauthorised circumstances'. Data is not collected specifically on the number issued due to truancy.

15th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much money has been repaid to the Student Loans Company in each of the last three years.

Statistics covering student loans, debt and repayment are published annually by the Student Loans Company (SLC). The statistics are published separately for each government administration. Information on repayments by financial year can be found in table 1 of each of the publications:

https://www.slc.co.uk/official-statistics/student-loans-debt-and-repayment.aspx.

The next release in the student loans, debt and repayment series is confirmed for 13 June 2019, which will include repayment statistics for the financial year 2018-19.

8th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to introduce Essential skills Maths and English for students with lower levels of attainment in respect of the GCSE curriculum.

The government recognises the importance of English and maths both in work and everyday life. In England, we want to ensure that pupils benefit from reformed GCSEs, which are the gold standard qualification at 16. The new GCSEs are better at equipping young people with the literacy and numeracy required for further study and employment.

Students in England who leave school without a GCSE grade 4/C or above in English and maths have to continue studying these subjects.

Post-16 students with prior attainment of a GCSE grade 2 or below have a choice of which qualification to study including GCSEs and functional skills qualifications. We are reforming functional skills qualifications to improve their rigour and relevance, as well as improving their recognition amongst employers.

8th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle racist behaviour in schools.

Schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy that outlines measures to prevent racist and other forms of bullying. The Department produces guidance for head teachers and school staff on developing school behaviour policy. The full guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/488034/Behaviour_and_Discipline_in_Schools_-_A_guide_for_headteachers_and_School_Staff.pdf.

Under the Equalities Act 2010, schools are under a duty take steps to eliminate harassment, foster good relations, and advance equality of opportunity.

Ofsted considers how a school complies with its statutory duties and promotes equality of opportunity, and holds schools to account for racism or other behaviour issues.

9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to increase funding for special educational needs.

The funding of children with special educational needs (SEN) is a devolved issue.

In December 2018, the government announced that it would allocate an additional £250 million in revenue funding for pupils with complex SEN across England, across the financial years 2018-19 and 2019-20. The allocation to each local authority can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-needs-funding-arrangements-2019-to-2020.

We will also, of course, be making a strong case in the next spending review to ensure that the high needs budget provides the funds for schools to make the right provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department is taking to encourage parents to help their children with their homework and education.

Teachers are best placed to determine the homework that best supports pupils in their education. Whilst parental support is important if their children are to gain maximum benefit, homework is generally designed to foster independent study.

Ultimately, the responsibility for a child’s education is a shared one. Parental involvement makes an important difference, from the very earliest stage. In the early years, parents can support their child’s development through, for example, storytelling, reading or singing together. In the school years, parents should take a full interest in their children’s education. Parents also have an important role in developing their children’s character traits such as conscientiousness, drive and perseverance, to help them succeed both in and out of school.

9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking so that classes are not overcrowded and children get the attention they need in the classroom.

In 2018, overall, there were 340 fewer schools that were at or over capacity compared with 2010.

Delivering new school places is a top priority for the Government. The Department has committed £7 billion to deliver new school places between 2015 and 2021, on top of investment in the free schools programme. 921,000 additional school places were created between May 2010 and May 2018 and one million places are on track to be created this decade (2010 to 2020), the largest increase in school capacity for at least two generations.

9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students had their university degree award rescinded due to cheating or plagiarism in each of the last three years.

The information requested on degrees rescinded because of academic offenses is not held centrally. In 2016, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) found there were approximately 17,000 instances of academic offences per year in the UK.

The use of companies that sell bespoke essays to students who pass the work off as their own undermines the reputation of the education system in this country, and devalues the hard work of those succeeding on their own merit.

The government expects that educational institutions do everything in their power to prevent students being tempted by these companies. The most recent guidance from the QAA highlights the importance of severe sanctions of suspension or expulsion if ‘extremely serious academic misconduct’ has been discovered.

On 20 March, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education challenged PayPal to stop processing payments for ‘essay mills’ as part of an accelerated drive to preserve and champion the quality of the UK’s world-leading higher education system. PayPal is now working with businesses associated with essay-writing services to ensure its platform is not used to facilitate deceptive and fraudulent practices in education.

Google and YouTube have also responded by removing hundreds of advertisements for essay writing services and promotional content from their sites.

In addition, the department published an Education Technology strategy on 3 April which challenges tech companies to identify how anti-cheating software can tackle the growth of essay mills and stay one step ahead of the cheats. This strategy can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/realising-the-potential-of-technology-in-education.

We are determined to beat the cheats who threaten the integrity of our higher education system.

9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plan to introduce first aid to the national curriculum.

The Government wants all young people to be happy, healthy and safe; equipping them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. That is why we are making Relationships Education compulsory for all primary pupils, and Relationships and Sex Education compulsory for all secondary pupils from September 2020.

The updated draft guidance sets out that as part of health education, primary school pupils will be taught how to make a clear and efficient call to the emergency services and basic first aid, for example dealing with common injuries including head injuries. Secondary school pupils will build on the primary level knowledge. They will be taught how to administer CPR at an appropriate age, what a defibrillator is and when it should be used. The updated draft guidance can be accessed via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/relationships-and-sex-education-and-health-education.

27th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many university scholarships for the full value of tuition fees were awarded in the last two years in each constituent part of the UK.

The information requested is not held centrally.

27th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is his Department taking to increase student accommodation on campus for universities located in rural areas.

Higher education providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government; government plays no direct role in the provision of student residential accommodation. Each institution will be best placed to identify the needs of their particular student body.

The Unistats website provides information about all university courses and includes links to individual websites with details of the student accommodation available at a higher education provider.

I recently called on rogue private landlords to stop exploiting students and face justice when they are failing tenants – especially when they leave students living in squalid conditions. New milestone regulations came into force on 20 March, which give students and renters across the country greater protections and rights if there are serious defects in accommodation.

25th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to allocate funding from the public purse to the procurement of defibrillators by schools.

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are currently available for schools and other education providers in the UK to purchase through the NHS Supply Chain at a reduced cost. These arrangements are available to all UK schools, including academies and independent schools, sixth-form colleges, further education institutions and early years settings (including holiday and out-of-school providers).

There is no legal requirement for schools to purchase an AED, but the government encourages them to do so as part of their first aid equipment.

The government has produced guidance for schools on buying, installing and using an AED, which can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/automated-external-defibrillators-aeds-in-schools.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department provides financial support to schools for student counselling following incidents of a tragic nature.

Schools need to respond to tragic incidents, which vary widely in nature. The Department’s Mental Health and Behaviour guidance includes links to sources of information and support, including on bereavement and other traumatic events. This includes MindEd, which provides online advice and training on mental health for all professionals working with children and young people. Where children need more specialist support, it is important that other services work together with schools to provide the right support. The NHS Long Term Plan sets out how specialist mental health support will be increased including through to access crisis care 24 hours a day by 2023/24, and support for at least an additional 345,000 children and young people who will be able to access support via NHS funded mental health services, including mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges.

While the Government does not routinely provide additional funding to schools to respond to specific incidents, it will look at whether adequate support is available in specific cases. In response to incidents in Manchester and at the Grenfell Tower the government provided funding to enable local authorities to provide additional support to schools, colleges and children affected. The planning of mental health support across education, health, local authorities and the voluntary sector is a critical element in the response to such major incidents, such as the terrorist events in Manchester and London.

21st Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many teachers in UK schools are EU nationals.

The Department does not collect information on nationality in the school workforce census for teachers in England. In the Migration Advisory Committee’s European Economic Aarea (EEA) migration report, published in September 2018, it was estimated that there are 11,400 and 13,100 EEA-born primary and secondary school teachers, respectively, working in the UK. This accounts for 2.6% (primary) and 3.0% (secondary) of the total numbers. This compares to around 5% of the general population. The full report can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/741926/Final_EEA_report.PDF.

For the first time in the 2018-19 Initial teacher training (ITT): trainee number census, the Department published data on the nationality of ITT trainees. In academic year 2018-19, there were 28,570 postgraduate new entrants to ITT whose nationality was known. Of these, 93% were UK nationals (26,525), 5% were EEA nationals (1,405) and 2% were nationals of other countries (635). These are the same proportions as in academic years 2017-18 and 2016-17. The census results can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/initial-teacher-training-trainee-number-census-2018-to-2019.

21st Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that teachers feel safe from violence at their schools.

All schools should be safe environments in which staff and pupils feel happy and able to fulfil their potential. Any form of violence in schools is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Where a violent incident constitutes a criminal offence, the school should report it to the police.

The Government is committed to ensuring that all teachers are equipped with the skills to tackle both the serious behavioural issues that compromise the safety and wellbeing of pupils or school staff. To support schools in ensuring that they remain safe and disciplined environments we have produced a range of guidance materials.

Guidance is provided to schools to help them develop behaviour policies to manage disruptive and poor behaviour within the classroom and, in doing so, reduce the likelihood of violent attacks on teachers or pupils.

This guidance material includes guidance on controlling access to school premises. This helps schools understand that it is a criminal offence for a person who is on school premises without lawful authority to cause or permit a nuisance or disturbance and the action they can take in response.

Searching, screening, confiscation guidance for schools makes clear that staff can search pupils and their possessions, where they believe a pupil is carrying a dangerous item which could endanger pupils or staff.

In addition to current guidance, the Department has worked with the Home Office, and other key stakeholders, including the police, Ofsted and the Health and Safety Executive, to produce new school security guidance. New draft guidance includes references to help schools deal with violent crime and encourages them to develop policies and culture to help reduce and address violent related incidents in schools. A public consultation on the guidance closed last month and the guidance will be published later in the year.

20th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from the higher education sector on reducing tuition fees.

The Review of Post-18 Education and Funding is considering how we ensure funding arrangements across post-18 education and training are transparent and do not act as barriers to choice or provision, and how best to promote value for money for students and taxpayers.

As part of the review, an independent panel, chaired by Philip Augar, has undertaken an extensive programme of engagement with stakeholders and experts, including the higher education sector, students and recent graduates.

19th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle bullying in schools.

The Government has sent a clear message to schools that bullying is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

All schools are legally required to have a behaviour policy with measures to prevent all forms of bullying. They have the freedom to develop their own anti-bullying strategies appropriate to their environment and are held to account by Ofsted.

The Department issues guidance to schools on how to prevent and respond to bullying as part of their overall behaviour policy. The guidance outlines the Government’s approach to bullying; the legal obligations and powers schools have to tackle bullying; and the principles which underpin the most effective anti-bullying strategies in schools. In our drive to tackle bad behaviour, we have strengthened teachers' powers to enforce discipline and promote good behaviour. Additionally, the Respectful School Communities tool supports schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline.

The Department is also providing over £2.8 million of funding between September 2016 and March 2020, to four anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. This is in addition to £4 millon that the Government Equalities Office are providing, over the same period, to help schools prevent and respond to Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic bullying.

The new mandatory subjects of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education, will enable schools to deliver high-quality teaching including about acceptable ways to behave, both off and online. The draft guidance sets out that pupils should know about the different types of bullying, the impact it has, the responsibility of bystanders and how to get help. The consultation closed on 7 November 2018 and we are currently analysing the responses, which will help to finalise the regulations and guidance.

19th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has a policy to help tackle stress experienced by teachers.

The Government is clear that there are no great schools without great teachers.

In January 2019, the Department launched the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy. This includes commitments to radically simplify the accountability system, limit the amount of change that schools have to deliver, and provide extra support to tackle challenging pupil behaviour. The Department is also introducing an Early Career Framework for teachers, which includes mentor support so that newly qualified teachers receive the support they need. The strategy can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-recruitment-and-retention-strategy.

The strategy sets out the areas where Government can make the most difference as quickly as possible. It also marks the beginning of a conversation with headteachers about how the Department can support them to set a culture in their school that reduces unnecessary planning, marking and data requirements; supports teachers to deal with disruptive behaviour; and establishes a culture that values continued professional development and flexible working at all career stages.

The Department continues to work with unions, teachers and Ofsted to challenge and remove unnecessary workload and a joint letter from my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, and other key national organisations was sent to school leaders in January confirming their support to help reduce workload in schools.

The Department has accepted all the recommendations of the ‘Making Data Work’ report and published a workload reduction toolkit as part of an ongoing programme to tackle excessive workload in schools. The report and Government response can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-workload-advisory-group-report-and-government-response.

19th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of universities on the proposed introduction of two year degree courses.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State meets with representatives of universities regularly to discuss the Department for Education agenda. I have discussed 2 year degree courses, in the context of discussions about accelerated degree courses, with representatives of several universities -including most recently Middlesex University and St Mary’s University Twickenham, both of whom are publicly funded providers of accelerated degrees.

19th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to help university graduates secure graduate job roles.

Employment outcomes for graduates are strong and, due to demand from employers, healthy increases have been seen in recent years. In 2016/17, over 90% of UK and other EU domiciled leavers were in work or further study 6 months after graduating and, of those employed, 79% were employed in highly-skilled and professional occupations. This compares to 89% and 73%, respectively in 2012/13.

The government’s Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term plan to boost productivity by backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure. £120 million was provided to fund collaboration between businesses and universities to stimulate local innovation through the Strength in Places Fund.

The Graduate Talent Pool is a government initiative which is designed to help new and recent graduates gain real work experience. This allows employers to advertise paid internships to new and recent graduates, free of charge.

The higher education regulator, the Office for Students’ (OfS), primary aim is to ensure that higher education delivers positive outcomes for students and it has a regulatory focus to ensure that students are able to progress into employment or further study. The OfS supports graduate employment outcomes in a number of ways, including a Challenge Competition to boost local employment outcomes and the Institute of Coding which aims to boost UK digital skills and graduate outcomes.

The government has been improving the information available to students to help them make informed choices when making decisions on higher education providers and subject choice. For example, Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Frameworks, Longitudinal Education Outcomes data and the Higher Education Open Data Competition we are running, which all provide information to prospective students.

24th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support children who are learning English as a second language.

​Every child, regardless of their background or family circumstances, deserves the opportunity to progress and succeed in school and beyond. Schools are responsible for ensuring that each of their pupils is engaged, challenged and has opportunity to achieve their full academic potential. The government’s ongoing education reforms have given headteachers considerable flexibility over their use of the funding allocated to their schools, as they are best placed to support and address the specific needs of their pupils – including those who are classed as having English as an additional language (EAL).

​We recognise that having a large intake of EAL pupils can present challenges for a school. Through the national funding formula (NFF) for schools, introduced in April 2018, state-funded schools attract funding for pupils with EAL who have been in the school system in England for up to 3 years. This funding equates to an additional £515 per primary school pupil and an additional £1,385 per secondary school pupil by the time the formula is fully implemented. Schools in which more than 10% of pupils joined mid-way through the school year also attract funding through the mobility factor in the NFF if their local authority uses this factor in their local formula. Furthermore, schools are also able to use their pupil premium funding to support pupils with EAL who are classed as disadvantaged, through having been eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years, or through being looked after or previously in local authority care.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children were taken into care due to parental drug and alcohol related issues in 2017.

The department does not collect this level of detail on the reason why a child becomes looked-after.

The available information on the primary need of children starting to be looked-after is published annually in table C1 of the statistical release ‘Children looked-after in England including adoption: 2017 to 2018’ at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2017-to-2018. The category ‘Parental disability or illness’ includes children whose main category of need was due to the capacity of their parents to care for them being impaired by the parents’ disability, physical or mental illness or addictions.

We know that parental drug and alcohol related issues can be a common factor in families with children in need of help and protection. We are working to ensure that families receive the right help at the right time to promote the welfare and outcomes of children and enable them to stay together where it is safe to do so.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much money was paid back from student loan repayments in each of the last three years.

Statistics covering student loans, debt and repayment are published annually by the Student Loans Company. Separate statistics are published for each administration. Information on repayments by financial year can be found in table 1 of each of the publications available below:

https://www.slc.co.uk/official-statistics/student-loans-debt-and-repayment.aspx.

14th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help provide classes for students with special needs in the schools of their choice.

In England, the Children and Families Act 2014, the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Regulations 2014 and SEND Code of Practice make clear that all schools should use their best endeavours to meet the needs of all children with a special educational need.

The Children and Families Act requires local authorities to keep the provision for children with SEND under review, including its sufficiency, and to publish a local offer, outlining the services available in their local area for children and young people with SEND.

We have announced that local authorities will receive an additional £250 million over the next two years on top of the £6 billion already provided for the high needs budget this year, to provide much needed support for children and young people with complex SEND. Families will also benefit from more choice for their child’s education through an extra £100 million for facilities and places; taking our total capital investment from 2018 to 2021 to £365 million. This funding will improve facilities and create more specialist places in mainstream schools, colleges and special schools, giving more children and young people access to a good school or college place that meets their individual needs.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students have taken up apprenticeships in each region in each of the last three years.

The department collects apprenticeships data for England. The attached table shows the number of apprenticeship starts in each English region in each of the last three years.

14th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students did not get a grade 9-4 in their GCSE results in the 2017-18 academic year.

In 2018, pupils sat a combination of the 23 reformed GCSEs graded on a 9-1 scale and the remaining legacy GCSEs graded on an A*-G scale. The bottom of grade 4 is aligned with the bottom of grade C, so a grade 4 or above marks a similar achievement to the old grade C or above.

The number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 in 2018 who did not achieve any grades A*-C/9-4 across all their GCSE and equivalent subject entries[1], [2] are as follows:

Pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 in 2018 who did not achieve any grades A*-C/9-4 across all their GCSE and equivalent subject entries

Type of school

Total number of pupils
at the end of Key Stage 4

Total number
of pupils not
achieving grades
A*-C or 9-4[3]

Percentage pupils not
achieving grades A*-C or 9-4 (%)

All schools[4]

585,377

94,436

16.1

State-funded school

523,757

76,168

14.5

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/gcse-and-equivalent-results-2017-to-2018-provisional.

[2] Cambridge International Certificates and Edexcel Level 1/2 Certificates were classed as GCSE equivalent awards in 2017/18. If GCSE equivalents were excluded from the analysis, the number not achieving any 9-4/A*-C passes would go up by 283 in all schools, and 121 in state funded schools.

[3] From 2017, new reformed GCSEs in English language, English literature and mathematics are graded using a new 9-1 scale. Unreformed subjects continue to be graded using the A* to G system. See the statistical first release (SFR) ‘Quality and methodology’ document for further information.

[4] Discounting has been applied where pupils have taken the same subject more than once and only one entry is counted in these circumstances. Only the first entry is counted, in all subjects, in line with the early entry guidance (see SFR 'Quality and Methodology' document).

14th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department is taking steps to provide counselling for students in schools.

School based counselling by well-qualified practitioners can play an effective role as part of a ‘whole school’ approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing. The Department’s England-wide representative survey of school provision, published in 2017, indicated that 61% of schools offer counselling services, with 84% of secondary schools providing their pupils with access to counselling support. To support more schools to do so, the Government has provided advice on how to deliver high quality school-based counselling, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/counselling-in-schools.

NHS England will fund new mental health support teams, working in schools and colleges, which will be rolled out to between one fifth and a quarter of England by the end of 2023. This will start with 25 trailblazer areas which will be fully operational by the end of 2019. Next steps for this roll out are being considered as part of the NHS long term plan, published on 7 January, and will be informed by the evaluation of the initial trailblazers. These new teams should work closely with services which are already being provided in local areas, including other professionals who work closely with schools and colleges, such as school counsellors.

18th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children were adopted in each of the last three years.

The number of adopted children who were formerly looked-after by the local authority in each of the last three years was published in Table E1 in the statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2017 to 2018’ available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2017-to-2018. The department does not estimate the number of adopted children who were not previously looked-after.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of foster and kinship carers that undertook training for those roles in 2017.

The information requested on the number of foster carers and kinship carers that undertook training in 2017 is not held centrally.

The statutory framework, Fostering Services Regulations 2011, clearly sets out that all foster parents, including kinship foster carers, must receive the training and development they need to carry out their role effectively. All foster parents are required to complete the Training, Support and Development Standards within 12 months of approval as a foster parent and maintain a training and development portfolio. Over and above this, it is up to local fostering service providers to determine what training their foster parents undertake in order to meet local need.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children are currently in foster care.

At 31 March 2018, there were 55,200 looked-after children in England in foster placements. Further information on the number of looked-after children by their placement is published in table A2 of the statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2017 to 2018’: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2017-to-2018.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that children who need one on one classroom assistance are able to receive such assistance.

There are a number of reasons why a child may benefit from one on one classroom assistance; for example a child might need extra support for a short period of time to help them catch up.

Teachers and head teachers are responsible for making decisions about how staff are deployed, based on their knowledge of children’s needs.

12th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many classroom assistant job positions have been removed in each of the last three years.

The full time equivalent (FTE) number of teaching assistants in state funded schools in England in each of the last 3 years is shown in the table 1 below.

Table 1: Teaching assistants in all state funded schools in England, 2014 to 2017

Census year

FTE number of teaching assistants

Difference in FTE from previous year

Percentage difference from previous year

2014

255,100

2015

263,000

7,900

3%

2016

265,600

2,600

1%

2017

262,800

-2,800

-1%

Source: School Workforce Census

The School Workforce Census does not collect information on vacancies for teaching assistants.

The data above is taken from Table 2b of the publication, School Workforce in England 2017. This publication includes underlying data at school level and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-school-workforce.

12th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much central government funding has been spent on school transport in each of the last three years.

The majority of central Government funding for home to school transport is made available to local authorities through the local Government finance settlement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

This funding is not ring fenced. It is for local authorities to decide how they spend the total amount of funding available to them, through this and other sources.

Data showing how much local authorities spend on home to school transport during 2017-18 can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/la-and-school-expenditure-2017-to-2018-financial-year.

Data for previous years is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/section-251-materials.

10th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many school closures there were in each of the last three years.

The attached table shows the number of school closures for all reasons in England in each of the last three calendar years.
In the majority of instances, a closure is a procedural event marking the ending of one legal entity immediately followed by the opening of a successor establishment under a new legal entity, for example where a school ceases to be maintained by its local authority and becomes an academy.

The actual number of schools that are recorded as closing without being replaced by a successor establishment are set out in the table below.

Number of schools that are recorded as closing without being replaced by a successor establishment

Type of establishment

Calendar year

2016

2017

2018 (to 11 December)

Academies

2

6

6

LA maintained schools

25

18

16

Free schools*

8

11

10

Independent schools

83

50

55

* including University Technical Colleges and Studio Schools.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help newly qualified teachers who have been unemployed for two or more years to find work.

A new national Teaching Vacancies service is being rolled out nationally and can be found at: https://teaching-vacancies.service.gov.uk/.

By April 2019, all schools will be able to list their vacancies on the site. This will help newly qualified teachers and established teachers find their next teaching role.

The Department is also committed to improving the quality of support for newly qualified teachers. In response to the consultation on strengthening qualified teacher status and improving career progression for teachers, the Department committed to a number of proposals. These proposals include ensuring teachers have the right support in place at the beginning of their careers, have access to high-quality professional development, and have improved progression opportunities throughout their careers.

The key decisions set out in the response, published on 4 May 2018, include introducing an extended induction period of two years supported by an early career framework, strengthening the mentoring provision for early career teachers, and developing new specialist qualifications. The consultation response is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/strengthening-qualified-teacher-status-and-career-progression.

The response to the consultation was the first stage in a longer-term programme of work and will form a core part of the Department’s recruitment and retention strategy. The Department will continue to work with the profession and will publish further details in due course.

10th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will provide funding for extracurricular activities for schools to help tackle childhood obesity.

The government firmly believes in the importance of physical education (PE), sport and extra-curricular activities to teach children the importance of physical activity to improve their physical and mental health as well as their overall wellbeing.

Since 2013, the government has invested over £1 billion of ring-fenced funding through the primary PE and sport premium to improve PE, sport, physical activity and extra-curricular activities for all pupils in England. We encourage schools to use this funding to support their least active pupils achieve the Chief Medical Officers' guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity each day, of which 30 minutes should be during the school day.

Under the Childhood Obesity Plan chapter 2 update the government is promoting a national ambition for every primary school in England to embrace an active mile, such as the Daily Mile, as a fun, inclusive and engaging way for all pupils to develop healthy exercise habits from a young age. Schools have the freedom to use the funding to determine which activities will improve participation, especially for their least active pupils.

The government has also allocated £100 million from the Sugar Industry Direct Levy through the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund in England to improve pupil access to facilities for physical activity, healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing and medical conditions. Schools have used this fund to improve their facilities which can be used to provide extra-curricular activities for pupils. Examples how this funding has been spent include, resurfacing playgrounds, refurbishing swimming pools and building changing rooms.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the level of workplace skills of university students in the UK and other countries.

The department provides data for the annual Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Education at a Glance Report, which provides international comparisons on the skills levels of university graduates. The report confirms that UK graduates have a strong employment rate in line with many other developed European countries. The report is publicly available.

Furthermore, the UK Employer Skills Survey 2015 found that the large majority (83%) of employers surveyed who had recruited a university leaver found their recruits to be well or very well prepared for the world of work. Overall, employers appear to be satisfied with recruits from UK universities, with only 5% of employers reporting a 'lack of required skills or competencies' and an overall lower incidence, compared to other educational leavers groups, of 'lack of skills or attitude' in general.

28th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will take steps to reduce the time taken for autistic children to receive a statement of special educational needs.

All local authorities in England are required to follow the guidance set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 years: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25.

This requires them to meet a statutory deadline of 20 weeks for completion of an Education, Health and Care plan from the time that they receive a request for an assessment. This applies to all children and young people, including those on the autism spectrum.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
27th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to establish a regulatory body for foster agencies.

Fostering is a devolved matter. All fostering agencies registered in England are subject to regulations relevant to the placement of children in foster care including the Fostering Services (England) Regulations (2011) and the Care Standards Act (2000). These regulations provide the legal framework for the conduct of fostering services and sit alongside the national minimum standards in fostering. Ofsted take this framework into account in the inspection of fostering services in England but has no remit in the devolved administrations.

The department believes that the current system is robust and have no plans to introduce a separate regulatory body at this time.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Permanent Secretary in the Department of Education in Northern Ireland on the financial situation of schools in Northern Ireland.

Education is a devolved matter, and there have been no recent discussions between the Secretary of State for Education and the Permanent Secretary in the Department of Education in Northern Ireland on the financial situation of schools in Northern Ireland.

19th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage large businesses to offer work placements to school leavers.

The government’s careers strategy for England, which was published in December 2017, introduces a new expectation that secondary schools should follow the Gatsby Foundation’s Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance. This means that schools should offer every young person at least one encounter a year with employers from year 7 through to year 13.

The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) is recruiting up to 150 employers as ‘cornerstone’ employers committed to increasing the number of encounters and workplace experiences offered. The CEC’s network of 125 Enterprise Coordinators and over 2000 Enterprise Advisers (who are business volunteers) is also helping to increase employer encounters and work experience. For example, in East Sussex, John O’Connor Ltd. has arranged multiple work experience placements for pupils at Saxon Mount Community Special School so that students can gain a practical understanding of grounds maintenance work.

Every 16 to 19 year old student following one of the new T levels in England will be entitled to a high quality industry placement. Industry placements are structured periods in employment that are expected to last a minimum of 45 days. We are putting in place measures to directly support employers such as providing a ‘one stop shop’ for guidance and support from the National Apprenticeship Service. This includes a simple referral platform so that employers only have one place to go to be put in touch with providers in their area. We are also investing significantly through the Capacity and Delivery Fund to help providers put in place the systems to organise placements so that the burden is taken off employers.

6th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) parents and (b) guardians of children who are high on the spectrum of autism who have accessed respite care in each of the last three years.

The department does not collect specific information on the numbers of parents/guardians who access respite care. However, The Children and Families Act (2014) provides a framework to ensure that children with autism are identified early and receive the support they need. A disabled child would fall under the category of a child in need and parents, guardians or professionals could make a referral to the local authority children’s services who are best placed to assess the needs and priorities of disabled children in their area.

Information regarding how much local authorities have planned to spend on their short breaks/respite provision through the authorities’ annual section 251 returns can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-local-authority-school-finance-data.

Giving children and young people with autism the right start in life is hugely important in ensuring that they can have successful and rewarding lives. We want all children, no matter what their special educational need or disability, to be able to reach their full potential and receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life. That is why we have put in place significant reforms, aimed at making the system less confrontational and promoting better involvement of parents and a real focus on outcomes and transition to adult life.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to require schools to provide advice on mental health to pupils.

Schools will be required to teach mental health as part of the Department’s plans to make health education compulsory. The Government is currently seeking views on the draft guidance and regulations, which will support the new subjects of relationships education in primary, relationships and sex education in secondary, and health education in all schools. The consultation includes questions on what support schools will need to deliver high-quality teaching. The consultation closed on the 7 November. https://consult.education.gov.uk/pshe/relationships-education-rse-health-education/.

The draft statutory guidance sets out core content that schools will teach. The draft mental health content includes teaching pupils how to recognise and talk about their emotions, how to judge when they or someone they know needs support and prevention, including the benefits of physical exercise.

Schools will decide what further advice to provide to their pupils. To support schools, the Government will fund the training of a Designated Senior Lead for mental health in every school, to put in place a whole school approach to mental health and well-being. This can cover activities as part of pastoral support and advice for individual pupils with specific needs.

24th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many child refugees are being schooled in the UK.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Information on refugee status is not collected within the school census. All children in the UK aged between 5-15 are required to be in education, including refugee children.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to encourage school leavers to start up their own business ventures.

The Business GCSE (first taught from 2017) should help pupils to become commercially minded and enterprising. Financial literacy is statutory within the national curriculum as part of Citizenship for 11 to 16 year olds. Schools are also free to cover enterprise education within personal, social, health and economic education. Personal characteristics like resilience and problem-solving are crucial for setting up a business. Good schools offer a range of opportunities for pupils to develop these attributes through activities such as debating, sport, volunteering, the National Citizen Service or the Cadets.

The government’s careers strategy for England, published in December 2017, aims to give young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to learn from employers about work and entrepreneurship. It introduces a new expectation that every school should offer every young person at least seven encounters with employers, including those who are self-employed. Multiple encounters will inspire young people and give them the opportunity to learn about what work is like and what skills are important to successfully run a business and succeed in work.

The Careers & Enterprise Company’s network of Enterprise Advisers of senior volunteers from business help schools and colleges to work with local businesses. Over 40 per cent of Enterprise Advisers come from businesses with less than 50 employees. Investment funding delivered by The Careers & Enterprise Company to support schools and colleges has already provided more than 540,000 employer encounters for young people in England. This funding scales up proven programmes with track records, for example Young Enterprise. A new £2.5 million employer encounters investment fund has been launched and activity in schools and colleges will start from January 2019.

16th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many fines were issued to parents for taking their children out of school during term time in 2017.

The statistical publication “Parental Responsibility Measures in England: 2016 to 2017” includes the numbers of penalty notices issued in England in table 1. The release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/parental-responsibility-measures-2016-to-2017-academic-year.

The most recent figures cover the 2016/17 academic year.

The Department collects and reports on parental responsibility measures information from schools in England only. Education statistics for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are available from the relevant departments.

16th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to increase funding for after school activities.

On 9 October 2017, the former Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the member for Putney, announced plans for a project to enable disadvantaged children and young people living in some of the most deprived parts of the country to participate in regular extra-curricular activities. This includes after school and holiday provision.

The project involved £22 million of funding during the remainder of the Government’s current spending period to enable children and young people to develop essential life skills and to have the best start in life. It can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-launched-to-drive-social-mobility-in-opportunity-areas.

The project, the Essential Life Skills programme, is making an important contribution to the Department’s vision for an education system that prepares young people for life in modern Britain, regardless of their background or where they live.

The Essential Life Skills programme is targeting disadvantaged children aged 5 to 18 across 12 Opportunity Areas during academic years 2017-18 and 2018-19. Within each Opportunity Area, local authorities are receiving grants to develop their own Essential Life Skills programme to meet the needs of pupils and young people in their communities.

Funding that schools receive, including the pupil premium, can be used in whichever ways are appropriate for their pupils within and after the school day. It is a matter for schools to decide how best to meet the needs of their pupils.

16th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students resat their (a) maths and (b) English GCSEs in the academic year 2017-18.

The Department requires students who leave Key Stage 4 without a GCSE grade 4 or above in English and mathematics to continue to study these subjects as part of their 16-19 study programme. Students with prior attainment of grade 3 enrol on GCSE courses; students with prior attainment of a grade 2 or below can enrol in a range of stepping stone qualifications, including Functional Skills.

It is up to providers to decide if and when students are ready to retake an examination. There is no requirement to repeatedly resit examinations.

The number of students entered for an approved English GCSE (or equivalent) qualification in 2018 was 105,521; the number entered for an approved mathematics GCSE (or equivalent) qualification in 2018 was 136,204.[1]

This information is available as part of the ‘A level and other 16 to 18 results: 2017 to 2018 (provisional)’ national statistics, which were released on the 16th October 2018.

Students who are continuing to study English and mathematics who are not yet at the end of 16 to 18 study, or who had previously achieved a grade 4/C or above in these subjects, will not be included in these figures.

[1] at the end of 16-18 study.

16th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many examining boards are using the (a) A* to E and (b) numeral grading system.

There are four exam boards that offer GCSEs and A levels in England and Wales: AQA, Pearson, OCR, and WJEC. In Northern Ireland, GCSEs and A levels are also offered by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

Exam boards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland all use the A*-E grading scale for A level qualifications.

For GCSE qualifications, the grade scale varies across the three countries. In England, the four exam boards are all using the 9-1 grading scale for reformed GCSEs as they are rolled out. Most GCSEs in Wales and Northern Ireland use an A*-G grading scale. A full explanation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gcse-and-a-level-differences-in-england-wales-and-northern-ireland/statement-from-the-qualification-regulators-on-changes-to-gcses-as-and-a-levels#availability-of-reformed-gcse-as-and-a-levels-in-england-wales-and-northern-ireland.

12th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has a policy on helping students with children to study at university while providing childcare support.

The government recognises the value of parents continuing in, or returning to, education and provides support to those enrolled on recognised education courses.

Eligible student parents may be able to claim a Childcare Grant, which offers support with up to 85% of their childcare costs, depending on their household income.

The maximum Childcare Grant for the 2018 to 2019 academic year is:

  • Up to £164.70 a week for one child.
  • Up to £282.36 a week for two or more children.

Parents' Learning Allowance is additional funding to help students who are also parents. This can be used for everyday costs of study, such as books, study materials and travel.

12th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on ensuring that UK students have opportunities to attend universities abroad for a year through (a) the Erasmas Programme and (b) other programmes once the UK leaves the EU.

The government has made clear that we value international exchange and collaboration in education and training as part of our vision for a global Britain. We support initiatives for our young people to gain international experience, both through study and work placements abroad, to increase their language skills and cultural awareness, and improve their life chances and employability.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will continue to benefit from all EU programmes, including Erasmus+, until the end of the current budget plan. In the government’s white paper on the future relationship between the UK and the EU we propose that the UK and the EU should continue to give young people and students the chance to benefit from each other’s world leading universities. The UK is therefore open to exploring participation in the successor scheme to Erasmus+, on the basis of a fair ongoing contribution.

Ultimately, future UK participation in the successor Erasmus programme is a matter for negotiations to come about our future relationship with the EU.

12th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding has been allocated for new school builds and extensions in the next two years.

The Government has committed to invest around £23 billon in the school estate between 2016-17 and 2020-21 to deliver new school places and rebuild and replace buildings in the worst condition. This includes funding for new buildings and school expansions in England.

A large proportion of this funding is delivered through annual allocations to local authorities (LAs) and larger multi-academy trusts (MATs), which then prioritise investment in their estates based on detailed local knowledge. This includes basic need funding to LAs to meet their duty to ensure there are enough places for children in their areas. In response to the needs of LAs, the Department has allocated £1.7 billion in funding to LAs for 2018-19 and 2019-20. They can then use this funding to build new schools or to expand a school within their area, depending on local priorities.

Since 2015, the Department has allocated a total of £5.6 billion to schools and those responsible for school buildings to maintain and improve the condition of the estate, including £1.4 billion in 2018-19. Smaller and stand-alone academy trusts bid for condition funding from the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) each year and in 2018-19, we allocated £524 million through the CIF main round. Published data on current and future capital allocations is available on the GOV.UK website.

Alongside these allocations, the Department also delivers major building programmes centrally. This includes the £4.4 billion Priority School Building Programme, which is rebuilding or refurbishing more than 500 school buildings in the poorest conditions across the country, and the free schools programme.

12th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the timescale is for the introduction of student bus passes in the academic year 2018-19.

Local authorities in England have a statutory duty to provide free home to school transport for all eligible pupils. It is for local authorities to decide how to fulfil that duty. They may, if they wish, provide pupils with bus passes, but timescales are not mandated by the government.



12th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taken to improve the (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills of children in England.

The Department has reformed the National Curriculum, to ensure pupils gain a firm foundation in literacy and mathematics, benchmarked against expectations in high performing jurisdictions.

The Department has already seen that literacy and numeracy have improved since 2010. 81% of pupils met the expected standard in the Phonics Screening Check in 2017 up from 58% in 2012. The results of the 2016 Pupils in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) saw England’s nine year old pupils achieving their highest average score since PIRLS began in 2001. These are the first pupils to take part in the PIRLS study since the Government’s education reforms in 2010. In addition, 61% of students reached the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics at Key Stage 2 in 2017, an increase from 53% in 2016.

To improve standards further, the Department is creating a national network of 35 English Hubs, and a Centre of Excellence for Literacy Teaching, backed by a £26.3 million investment. The hubs will focus on raising standards and sharing effective practice in early language and literacy in reception year and Key Stage 1. We have also established a network of 35 Maths Hubs across the country to lead transformational change in maths teaching from primary to age 18. They are delivering the £74 million Teaching for Mastery Programme which emphasises whole class teaching that builds mathematical knowledge systematically and in depth. Teaching for Mastery will reach over 11,000 primary and secondary schools by 2023.

12th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools take part in the Duke of Edinburgh award.

The Department for Education does not hold this information. However, data from the Duke of Edinburgh award’s annual report indicates that, in 2017 to 2018, there are 438,329 active Duke of Edinburgh award participants. The annual report also provides more detailed information on the number of new Duke of Edinburgh’s award entrants and the type of centre that they attend. The report can be accessed here: https://www.dofe.org/statistics.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Big Lottery Fund have committed £1 million to the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme via the #iwill Fund. This will help more disadvantaged young people take part in the scheme by supporting individuals, youth groups or the schools that they attend.

The Department for Education is working closely with DCMS to help to ensure that all children and young people can have the opportunity to participate in high-quality programmes such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s award and the National Citizen Service.

12th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he last met with representatives of the National Union of Students.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has not met representatives of the National Union of Students (NUS). As the Minister for Higher Education, I last met the NUS Executive and members of the Senior Leadership team on 22 February 2018.

5th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many substitute teachers are registered for teaching in England and Wales.

Data on the number of substitute teachers is not collected because the School Workforce Census does not show which teachers are replacing another teacher on a temporary basis.

The School Workforce Census collects the number of “occasional” teachers who are on a contract or service agreement with a school for less than a month and who are in school on the day of the census. There were 12,800 “occasional” teachers in service in state-funded schools in England in November 2016. This is the most recent month for which this information is available. November 2017 figures will be available on 28 June 2018.

The information provided is publicly available from table 3a in the Statistical First Release ‘School Workforce in England, November 2016’. This is available at the following weblink: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-school-workforce.

Information for Wales is a matter for the devolved administrations. This information is available at the following link: https://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/key-education-statistics/?lang=en.

1st Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many fines were issued by his Department for non-attendance at school by children in 2017.

Penalty notices are issued to parents by schools, local authorities or the police for failing to ensure that their child, if of compulsory school age, regularly attends the state-funded school where they are registered or at the place where alternative provision is provided for them.

The statistical publication “Parental Responsibility Measures in England: 2016 to 2017” includes the numbers of penalty notices issued in England in table 1. The release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/parental-responsibility-measures-2016-to-2017-academic-year.

The most recent figures cover the 2016/17 academic year.

The Department collects and reports on parental responsibility measures information from schools in England only. Education statistics for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are available from the relevant departments.

1st Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support children in rural areas who do not have access to free school transport.

Local authorities must provide free home to school transport for eligible children. This includes providing transport for those who attend their nearest suitable school where it is beyond the statutory walking distances of 2 miles for children under 8 years old and 3 miles for those aged 8 to 16. They must also provide transport where there is no safe walking route.

Local authorities also have discretionary powers to provide transport to children who are not eligible. It is for them to determine whether and how to use these powers taking account of local circumstances and affordability.

21st May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support families in adopting children from overseas.

The Department for Education provides a service to process intercountry adoption cases in accordance with the legislative framework. We provide prospective adopters with information and guidance on the intercountry process but do not provide legal advice on individual cases and independent legal advice may need to be obtained. Prospective adopters habitually resident in the UK, who wish to undertake an intercountry adoption need to be assessed and approved by a registered adoption agency, which will support them through the process.

Information on the intercountry adoption process can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/child-adoption/adopting-a-child-from-overseas.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to prevent cheating in examinations.

In relation to examinations in England this is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write directly to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Regulation of qualifications in Northern Ireland is a matter for the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.

14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has any plans to increase the time pupils participate in physical education.

Physical education (PE) is a compulsory subject at all four key stages in the National Curriculum. All schools in England are expected to teach PE as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. It is up to schools to decide how much time to dedicate to PE and the government does not set central expectations.

The Chief Medical Officers have recommended that primary school pupils should be active for 60 minutes a day. The government’s ‘Childhood Obesity: Plan for Action’ recommends that least 30 minutes should be delivered in school every day, partly through PE but also through active break times, extra-curricular clubs, active lessons, or other sport and physical activity events. The department is supporting this through initiatives such as the Primary PE and Sport premium- doubling the premium to £320 million a year from September 2017 using revenue from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. Schools must use the funding to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of PE and sport they offer and make improvements now that will benefit pupils joining the school in future years.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote mental health amongst students.

Mental health is a priority for this government. The Children and Young People’s Mental Health green paper, published on 4 December 2017, outlined the government’s plans to set up a new national strategic partnership focused on improving the mental health of 16 to 25 year olds. One recommendation in the green paper is for the partnership to improve awareness and early intervention for students.

As independent organisations, it is for each higher education institution to determine which welfare and counselling services they need to provide for their students. There is, however, much work underway to improve the provision of mental health services for students alongside services provided by the NHS. Universities UK’s Step Change programme has been developed to support higher education senior teams to adopt a whole university approach to mental health: http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/stepchange/Pages/framework.aspx.

8th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many households received a grant to buy school uniforms in 2017.

The information requested is not held centrally.

The Department publishes best practice guidance which makes clear that it is for a school’s governing body or academy trust to decide whether there should be a school uniform policy. The guidance emphasies the need for schools to give highest priority to cost considerations. It also sets out that local authorities and schools in England may choose to provide school clothing grants or to help with the cost of school clothing in cases of financial hardship.

The guidance is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-uniform.

30th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will assess the potential merits of recommending adding to the school curriculum financial education which includes advice on filling out tax forms.

The Department has introduced a rigorous new mathematics curriculum, which provides young people with the knowledge and financial skills to make important decisions about mortgages, loan repayments, the importance of personal budgeting, money management and financial risks.

In 2014, for the first time, financial literacy was made statutory within the national curriculum as part of the Citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year olds. Pupils are taught the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting, money management and the need to understand financial risk. Schools can include teaching about completing tax returns should they wish to, based on the needs of their pupils.

30th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to tackle educational underachievement in working class areas.

Educational achievement, irrespective of background, is at the heart of our commitment to make this a country where everyone can go as far in life as their hard work will take them.

We recognise that children from poorer backgrounds may face additional challenges to realising their potential. Accordingly, we have spent over £13 billion since 2011, almost £2.5 billion this year alone, through the pupil premium to provide schools with extra resources to overcome barriers to learning that children from disadvantaged backgrounds can face. This complements our work to raise standards through much-needed reform to school curriculum, assessment and accountability. Since 2011, against a background of rising standards, the disadvantage attainment gap in England has narrowed by 10% at the end of both primary and secondary education.

We look to schools to use this extra funding effectively. Research shows that a personalised approach, drawing on well-evidenced effective practice, generally produces good results. We commissioned the research published by the National Foundation for Educational Research and the Education Endowment Foundation to support school leaders’ decision-making. We have highlighted examples of effective practice through the national Pupil Premium Awards.

We know there is more to do and, through our £72 million Opportunity Areas programme, we are targeting local and national resource in twelve areas facing social mobility challenges. We intend to drive up educational achievement and improve social mobility for the children and young people who live there. We will learn the lessons from this approach to share with other areas, so that children growing up in areas facing similar challenges have an opportunity to flourish and create a secure future for themselves.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support newly registered teachers to find employment.

Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers are required to demonstrate that their trainees go on to secure employment; employment rates are one of the outcome measures that Ofsted uses to grade ITT providers.

The latest data shows that 95% of postgraduate trainee teachers who were awarded Qualified Teacher Status were employed in a teaching post within six months of qualifying.[1]

The Department is developing a free national digital service for schools to publish teacher vacancies and for teachers to search for them. This new service will assist newly registered teachers to find posts.

[1]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/632451/SFR38_2017_Text.pdf

18th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many grammar schools he is responsible for.

There are 163 state-funded grammar schools.

16th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's policy is on encouraging working class students to attend university.

Widening participation to higher education is a priority for this government. It is vital that everyone with the capability to succeed in higher education has the opportunity to benefit from a university education, regardless of background.

University application rates for 18-year-olds to full-time study remain at record levels, including those from disadvantaged areas.

Our first guidance to the Office for Students, asked them to encourage providers to make further progress in ensuring that students from areas of low higher education participation, low household income and/or low socio-economic status, can access, participate and succeed in higher education.

A new transparency condition will require higher education providers to publish application, offer, acceptance, non-continuation and attainment rates by socio-economic background, gender and ethnicity, which will provide greater transparency and help drive fairness on admissions and outcomes

13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to increase the maintenance loan for students to help prevent them going in to overdrafts.

The government has announced an increase of 3.2% to the maximum loans for living costs for full-time students starting their courses in the 2018/19 academic year – the highest levels on record.

In addition, new students attending honours degree courses (and other level six courses) from academic year 2018/19 on a part-time basis will, for the first time, qualify for loans for living costs.

The Review of Post-18 Education and Funding will consider how we can provide a joined up system that is accessible to all students. It will consider how learners receive maintenance support, both from government and from universities and colleges. The review will receive input from an expert independent panel who will publish their report at an interim stage, before the government concludes the overall review in early 2019.

28th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to introduce a right for parents to send their children to the same school.

It is for admissions authorities in England to decide whether to give priority to siblings in their admissions arrangements, where the school is oversubscribed, and many schools do choose to do this. The Department expects schools to balance prioritising siblings with ensuring places are also available for other local children who do not have a sibling at the school.

The Deparment routinely reviews the English school admissions system and seeks regular feedback from stakeholders. Any changes to the School Admissions Code will require a full statutory process, including consultation and parliamentary scrutiny.

28th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on the number of children who were fostered in 2017.

At 31 March 2017, there were 53,420 looked after children in England in foster care.

This information is already in the public domain and further information on the number of looked after children by their placement is published in Table A2 of the statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2016 to 2017’ at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2016-to-2017.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
27th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on the number of children who receive free school transport.

The information requested is not held centrally. Local authorities in England have a statutory duty to provide free transport to eligible children and will hold information about the numbers of eligible children in their areas.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provides to children in care to help them integrate into new families.

Before placing a child, local authorities are required to draw up a placement plan detailing how the placement is intended to contribute to meeting the child’s needs. As set out in Volume 2 of the Children Act 1989 Guidance, an effective placement plan will provide the carer with essential information about the child, including their emotional and educational needs, how these may affect the child’s daily routine and strategies for responding to them. The placement plan helps the carer to support the child in their new home and can reduce the likelihood of placement breakdown.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to facilitate the resolution of the ongoing industrial action in response to changes to pensions.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is a private pension scheme, and government has no role in relation to the USS beyond regulation as applied to all work-based pension schemes by The Pensions Regulator. The government remains deeply concerned about the impact of industrial action called in response to proposed reforms to the USS. I have called on all parties to redouble their efforts to reach a constructive agreement, as this is the most appropriate route towards resolving the dispute.

Our new regulator, the Office for Students, will have wide-ranging powers to ensure students’ interests are protected, and will be working closely with universities to avoid or minimise disruption to students caused by strike action. In the event that a student’s experience has been seriously affected, I expect universities to offer compensation.

14th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children are eligible for free school meals.

The number and proportion of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals in England is published at the annual ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ statistical release, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2017.

Data for each school is available in the Underlying data: SFR28/2017 of the annual ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ statistical release, contained in file ‘SFR28_2017_Schools_Pupils_UD’. The figures can be filtered by school phase (column N), school type (column O), number of pupils taking a free school meal on census day (column EB) and Free School Meal eligibility (column ED).

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Oct 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans she has to review her Department's policy on fining parents whose children are absent from school because of term-time vacations.

Parents should avoid taking their children out of school during term-time, except in exceptional circumstances. The evidence shows every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances.

We have a robust local control regime to enforce this, which enables the school or local authority to issue a penalty notice that where parents have failed to secure their child’s regular attendance at school, including if they take their child out of school for a vacation without permission.

Every local authority must draw up a Code of Conduct for issuing penalty notices, in consultation with governing bodies and head teachers in their area. The Code will set out the occasions when it will be appropriate to issue a penalty notice. This can, for example, include circumstances where a pupil is persistently late to school without a valid reason. A penalty notice must be issued in accordance with that Code.

In April 2017 the Supreme Court unanimously agreed with our position that no child should be taken out of school without good reason.

7th Sep 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to increase the study of foreign languages in schools.

The Government recognises the importance of providing pupils with the opportunity to take a core set of academic subjects, including modern languages. Learning a foreign language provides an opening to other cultures; fosters pupils’ curiosity; deepens their understanding of the world; and equips pupils to study and work in other countries.

Evidence suggests that children can better be taught the sounds of new languages when they are younger. That is why the Government introduced a new foreign language for Key Stage 2 as part of the new National Curriculum, which came into force in September 2014.

The Government took action in 2010 to halt the decline in the number of school children taking language GCSEs by introducing the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), which requires secondary school pupils to take GCSEs in English, maths, science (including computer science), a language and history or geography. This has had a positive effect on the take up of languages in schools since introduced in 2010.

The Government published a response to the consultation on proposals to implement the EBacc on 19 July 2017. It set out that 75% of Year 10 pupils in state funded mainstream schools will start to study GCSEs in the EBacc combination of subjects by September 2022. This is as an important step to reaching 90% of Year 10 pupils studying GCSEs in the EBacc combination of subjects by 2025.

7th Sep 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many under 18-year olds enrolled on computer or IT-based (a) training and (b) degree courses in each of the last five years.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes statistics on enrolments at UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The numbers of enrolments on higher education courses in computer science subjects by age since the academic year 2011/12 have been provided in table 1.

Statistics on participation in apprenticeships for the Information and Communication Technology sector subject area of learners aged under 19 since the academic year 2011/12 have been provided in table 2.

Table 1: Full-person Equivalent Computer Science Enrolments broken down by age

UK Higher Education Institutions

Academic Years 2011/12 to 2015/16

Age1

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

Under 18 years old

675

585

665

715

705

18

9,285

8,540

9,720

10,605

11,295

19

12,920

12,565

12,970

14,335

15,140

20

13,765

13,810

14,025

14,410

15,480

21 to 24 years old

28,955

27,925

28,275

27,760

28,385

Over 24 years old

30,055

26,080

25,915

25,410

25,245

Unknown

5

5

5

5

5

Total

95,670

89,505

91,575

93,240

96,250

Source: DfE analysis of HESA student record 2011/12-2015/16

Notes:

* Figures are given in terms of Full-Person Equivalents. Where a student is studying more than one subject, they are apportioned between subjects that make up their course.

* Figures are enrolments across all years of study.

* Figures are rounded to the nearest 5.

1 Student age is as at 31 August in the reporting period.

Table 2: Apprenticeship Participation in Information and Communication Technology, Learners Aged Under 19

English Apprenticeship Providers

Academic Years 2011/12 to 2015/16

Age1

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

Under 19 years old

11,000

9,320

9,350

10,600

11,800

Source: DfE analysis of Individualised Learner Record 2011/12-2015/16

Notes:

* A learner is participating in an academic year if their learning aim is active at any point during the relevant period.

* Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

1 Learner age is as at 31 August in the reporting period.

Learners may take training in computer science subjects as part of other qualifications. Table 2 does not show learners participating on these types of courses.

Participation in apprenticeships in other UK administrations should be requested from the respective governments.

7th Sep 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to encourage more young people to train in computer-based industries.

The department is taking action at all stages of the education and training pipeline to help encourage young people into digital-related careers. We have introduced computing as a statutory national curriculum subject at all four key stages, in addition to a new Computer Science GCSE and A Level. The content was developed with industry experts to better equip pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to become active creators of digital technology.

We have supported employers to develop new apprenticeships in digital occupations across different levels, including in data analysis, digital marketing, network engineering and cyber security. We also established Ada, National College for Digital Skills. Driven by employers, Ada will train up to 5,000 students over the next five years for a wide range of digital careers and we are investing £500 million in reforming the technical education system, which includes the development of a specialist digital route with a clear pathway to employment.

Young people also need information on the range of jobs and careers, as well as opportunities to engage with employers. Information on careers, courses and training in computer-based industries is available from a number of sources such as the National Careers Service who provide independent, professional advice on careers, skills and the labour market, in addition to the legal requirement on educational establishments to provide guidance.

5th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government plans to take to increase the number of (a) young people and (b) young men from deprived areas entering further education and taking up apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are a great way for people of all ages and backgrounds to progress in work and life.

We are encouraging a wider range of young people into apprenticeships including a commitment to increasing the proportion of BAME apprenticeship starts by 20% by 2020.

Traineeships are available to help 16-23 year olds become ‘work ready’. They include work preparation training, English, Maths and work experience, which all help the trainee to enter the world of work, including apprenticeships. They are flexible so providers can adapt them to the needs of the trainee by including additional support such as mentoring.

In addition to apprenticeships and traineeships, the Adult Education Budget supports those aged 19 and over who are unemployed, low-skilled, or socially disadvantaged, to enable them to develop the skills they require to progress towards wider learning and employment.

The local commissioning of adult skills by the Combined Authorities will make it easier to create new, more effective packages of support tailored to the needs of individuals, including adults in deprived areas.

5th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of graduate teachers secured a permanent teaching post within a year of graduation in each of the last five years.

The table below shows final year postgraduate trainee award status and employment outcomes for the last five years. The statistics on employment outcomes are collected within six months of trainees being awarded qualified teacher status (QTS).

Trainee cohort

Total trainees awarded QTS1

Total in a teaching post, within 6 months of gaining QTS2

Percentage in a teaching post, within 6 months of gaining QTS 2

2014/15

22,738

21,579

95%

2013/14

23,730

22,380

94%

2012/13

23,145

21,488

93%

2011/12

23,845

21,895

92%

2010/11

25,163

21,971

87%

1) Excludes those with unknown employment outcome

2) This refers to posts in England and includes maintained, non-maintained schools and sector not known.

This table is derived from Table 6a of the main tables in the ‘Initial teacher training performance profiles: 2014 to 2015’ statistical release which was published on 28 July 2016 and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/initial-teacher-training-performance-profiles-2014-to-2015

5th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many one-on-one classroom assistant tuition hours were provided on average each week for children with special educational needs in state schools in each of the last five years.

The Department does not collect data on the number of hours tuition provided to children with special educational needs by teaching assistants.

Schools, as the employers, decide how to deploy teaching assistants within their school structure in a way that reflects local priorities and circumstances.

3rd Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children with autism in each region attend (a) mainstream schools and (b) specialist provision.

The Department publishes information at regional and local level on pupils with Special Education Needs (SEN) support, a statement or Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan with autism spectrum disorder as their primary type of need on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england-january-2015.

As this is a devolved matter, we are only able to provide information about England. This information is for pupils with autism spectrum disorder listed as their primary type of need. Pupils with autism spectrum disorder as a secondary type of need, or who are not recorded as having SEN support, a statement or EHC plan, will not be included in these figures.

3rd Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to improve provision to meet the educational needs of children with autism.

This reply covers support for the needs of children with autism in England. The Northern Ireland Assembly has devolved responsibility for education policy.

The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced significant reforms to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) system in England which better supports children and young people with autism in the education system. The new statutory framework ensures that support is focused on needs and aspirations, enabling all pupils, including those with autism, to achieve better outcomes in education and adult life.

Since the Act came into force in September 2014, there have been a number of significant changes to the SEND system in England which benefit children and young people with autism. This includes the publication of ‘local offers’ of SEND services by local authorities, the introduction of streamlined education, health and care needs assessments and plans, and new statutory protections for young people aged 16-25 in further education.

The Act also makes provision to ensure that parents, children and young people are able to access impartial information, advice and support about the SEND system. This is available through a local, dedicated and easily identifiable service which includes help to prepare them for meetings with schools, health professionals or other agencies that may be supporting them in their education.

Under the Department’s Free Schools programme, there are now 19 special free schools open across England, including several that are specifically for children with autism, such as the Rise free school in Hounslow, the Lighthouse free school in Leeds and the National Autistic Society’s Church Lawton free school in Cheshire. There are a further 14 special free schools due to open in the future, seven of which will specialise in provision for children with autism, including the Heartlands Autism free school in Haringey and a second National Autistic Society free school, the Vanguard free school in Lambeth. Several of the other schools will offer some places for children with autism.

The Department has contracted with the Autism Education Trust to deliver autism training to education professionals in England. The Trust has now trained approaching 100,000 education staff since 2012. The training offered by the Autism Education Trust incorporates the learning from previous work by Ambitious about Autism on strategies for supporting transition from school to college and the contract also covers a service provided by the National Autistic Society which provides information and advice to parents and professionals on exclusions.

3rd Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress her Department has made on including training on autism in initial teacher training.

All initial teacher training (ITT) courses must ensure that trainee teachers can meet the Teachers’ Standards. They must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Teachers must be able to adapt teaching to the needs of all pupils, including pupils with autism.

Following the publication of the independent review of ITT by Sir Andrew Carter in 2015, the Government commissioned an expert group, chaired by Stephen Munday CBE, to develop a framework of core ITT content. The Carter Review had found variability in the quality of course content, identifying SEND as one area for improvement.

Stephen Munday’s group, which includes SEND experts, have considered how the new framework of core content for ITT will have a focus on SEND, including conditions such as autism. The Secretary of State for Education has confirmed that autism training will form part of the new core content for ITT. Ministers are currently considering the recommendations of the group and the report is expected to be published in due course.

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the cost has been of provision of free school meals by region in each of the last three years.

Schools in England fund free school meals out of the overall resources available to them. Since September 2014, all infant pupils in maintained schools in England have been entitled to free school meals, regardless of parental income. The government does provide specific funding to schools to pay for meals for infant pupils who are not eligible for benefits-related FSM. The breakdown of this funding is available at school level for financial year 2014-15 at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-provisional-funding-allocations-2014-to-2015; and for financial year 2015-16 at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-funding-allocations-2015-to-2016.

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions her Department has had with social media providers on steps to combat cyber bullying.

The Government continues to work closely with social media companies to make sure they are committed to protecting children who use social media platforms. Ministers from the Department for Education, the Department for Culture Media and Sport, and the Home Office meet quarterly with social media providers and other key stakeholders at the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) executive board meetings, to discuss important issues relating to child safety online, including cyberbullying.

Recently, Ofcom led a social media working group on behalf of UKCCIS, with representation from Twitter, Facebook, Google, Ask.FM, and MindCandy. The group developed best practice guidance aimed at encouraging responsible practice from industry to ensure children using their services are able to do so in a safe and protected way. The guidance was issued by UKCISS in December 2015 and can be found on their website.

To help schools prevent and tackle bullying, we are providing £1.3m this year (2015-16) to anti-bullying charities to tackle all forms of bullying including cyberbullying, on top of the £4m provided in 2013-15. We are also providing £2m this year (2015-16) to organisations to specifically tackle homophobic bullying, which includes cyberbullying.

We do not want to make any form of bullying a criminal offence as to do so would risk criminalising young people. In some circumstances that may be justified, but probably only in a limited number of very serious cases, for which there are already laws in place to protect people. Internet providers, schools and parents all have a role to play in keeping children and young people safe online.

The Government Equalities Office is funding the UK Safer Internet Centre to produce advice for schools on how to keep children safe online. This is scheduled for publication this spring.

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much her Department has spent on steps to tackle cyber bullying in each of the last three years.

The Government continues to work closely with social media companies to make sure they are committed to protecting children who use social media platforms. Ministers from the Department for Education, the Department for Culture Media and Sport, and the Home Office meet quarterly with social media providers and other key stakeholders at the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) executive board meetings, to discuss important issues relating to child safety online, including cyberbullying.

Recently, Ofcom led a social media working group on behalf of UKCCIS, with representation from Twitter, Facebook, Google, Ask.FM, and MindCandy. The group developed best practice guidance aimed at encouraging responsible practice from industry to ensure children using their services are able to do so in a safe and protected way. The guidance was issued by UKCISS in December 2015 and can be found on their website.

To help schools prevent and tackle bullying, we are providing £1.3m this year (2015-16) to anti-bullying charities to tackle all forms of bullying including cyberbullying, on top of the £4m provided in 2013-15. We are also providing £2m this year (2015-16) to organisations to specifically tackle homophobic bullying, which includes cyberbullying.

We do not want to make any form of bullying a criminal offence as to do so would risk criminalising young people. In some circumstances that may be justified, but probably only in a limited number of very serious cases, for which there are already laws in place to protect people. Internet providers, schools and parents all have a role to play in keeping children and young people safe online.

The Government Equalities Office is funding the UK Safer Internet Centre to produce advice for schools on how to keep children safe online. This is scheduled for publication this spring.

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of criminalising cyber bullying.

The Government continues to work closely with social media companies to make sure they are committed to protecting children who use social media platforms. Ministers from the Department for Education, the Department for Culture Media and Sport, and the Home Office meet quarterly with social media providers and other key stakeholders at the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) executive board meetings, to discuss important issues relating to child safety online, including cyberbullying.

Recently, Ofcom led a social media working group on behalf of UKCCIS, with representation from Twitter, Facebook, Google, Ask.FM, and MindCandy. The group developed best practice guidance aimed at encouraging responsible practice from industry to ensure children using their services are able to do so in a safe and protected way. The guidance was issued by UKCISS in December 2015 and can be found on their website.

To help schools prevent and tackle bullying, we are providing £1.3m this year (2015-16) to anti-bullying charities to tackle all forms of bullying including cyberbullying, on top of the £4m provided in 2013-15. We are also providing £2m this year (2015-16) to organisations to specifically tackle homophobic bullying, which includes cyberbullying.

We do not want to make any form of bullying a criminal offence as to do so would risk criminalising young people. In some circumstances that may be justified, but probably only in a limited number of very serious cases, for which there are already laws in place to protect people. Internet providers, schools and parents all have a role to play in keeping children and young people safe online.

The Government Equalities Office is funding the UK Safer Internet Centre to produce advice for schools on how to keep children safe online. This is scheduled for publication this spring.

10th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to tackle racism in secondary schools.

All forms of bullying and discrimination are unacceptable and all schools are required to have in place a behaviour policy with measures to tackle bullying, which includes racist bullying. They are held to account by Ofsted and inspectors will look at records and analysis of bullying, discriminatory and prejudicial behaviour, either directly or indirectly. This includes racist, disability and homophobic bullying, use of derogatory language and racist incidents.

In addition, all schools are required to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faith and beliefs. Our guidance published in November 2014 says that British values include accepting that others of different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour.


All publicly funded schools are required to promote community cohesion and teach a broad and balanced curriculum. The curriculum provides many opportunities to foster tolerance and understanding. As part of the history curriculum, pupils can learn about different cultures, and about how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain. The citizenship programme of study sets out a requirement for pupils to be taught about ‘the diverse national, regional, religious, and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding’. PSHE can teach young people about the rights and responsibilities of living in a diverse community and how to respect others.

4th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assistance her Department provides to primary school teachers to support pupils with severe depression.

We recognise that schools have a vital role to play in helping to promote good mental health for all their pupils as well as providing early support where mental health problems have been identified.

To support them we have funded the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Association to produce guidance and key stages lesson plans on teaching about mental health and emotional wellbeing. The primary level lesson plans include topics such as teaching children how to describe emotions, talk about anxiety and worries, and develop coping strategies

We have issued advice on mental health and behaviour which clarifies the responsibility of the school, points to tools that can be used to help them identify pupils that may be experiencing a mental health problem such as depression, and outlines what they can do to provide a stable environment that builds good mental health in all pupils. This can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2

The department has also supported the development of MindEd, a free online portal funded by the Department of Health, which enables all adults working with children and young people to learn more about specific mental health problems and how to support them.

However, teachers are not mental health professionals and schools need to have timely access to appropriate specialist support where pupils have clinical conditions. In order to help them with this, we are contributing £1.5 million to a joint training pilot with NHS England. This aims to improve the knowledge of mental health issues with key schools and Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services staff as well as develop effective ways for pupils who need access to specialist mental health services.

£1.25 billion additional funding is also being made available over the next five years to transform children and young people’s mental health services to deliver more integrated and accessible services.

25th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking in schools to tackle childhood obesity.

This government has made a manifesto commitment to tackle childhood obesity. Many of the Department for Education’s polices make a direct contribution to tackling obesity in school age children. The School Food Plan was published in 2013 to encourage and promote a positive healthy food culture in schools. New food standards were introduced earlier this year and universal infant free school meals have been implemented so that we now have an average of 85% of children in reception, Year 1 and Year 2 eating a healthy and nutritious lunch. Pupils in primary and secondary schools are taught about the importance of leading healthy and active lives, including diet, nutrition and exercise through the new national curriculum. Food and nutrition education is now compulsory from Key Stage 1 to 3 – this is the first time it has been compulsory in secondary schools. Over £300 million of ring-fenced funding has been allocated to primary schools through the primary PE and sport premium since 2013 to help pupils develop healthy lifestyles.

In addition, the department is actively engaged in work across government to develop a national obesity framework by the end of this year.

25th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will bring forward legislative proposals preventing people aged under 18 years old from being categorised as intentionally homeless.

Joint guidance from the Department of Education and the Department of Communities and Local Government reminds Housing Services that applicants cannot be considered to have become homeless intentionally because of failing to take up an offer of accommodation. Homelessness is only capable of being ‘intentional’ where the applicant has ceased to occupy accommodation that it would have been reasonable for him or her to continue to occupy. The guidance sets out how Children’s Services should follow a clear and comprehensive assessment of the child’s needs to determine whether they are homeless and therefore in need of accommodation.

The statutory guidance on the provision of accommodation of 16/17 year olds who may be homeless or require accommodation can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/8260/Provision_20of_20accommodation.pdf

The department has invested £500 million in homelessness services since 2010, including working with the voluntary sector to develop the ‘Youth Accommodation Pathway’ service model, designed to support young people to remain in the family home, or offer tailored support options for those who cannot. This includes supported accommodation as a starting point for 16 & 17 year olds. The pathway model has become common currency amongst local authorities and their partners and over half of English authorities now have a pathway in place.

The government has no immediate plans to legislate in this area.

25th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) dyslexia and (b) other learning disabilities are tested for at an early age, and that the relevant support is given to make sure the child does not fall academically behind their peers.

All early years providers are required to have arrangements in place to identify and support children with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities, and to promote equality of opportunity for children in their care as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. Early years providers and educational settings should have arrangements in place that include assessment of SEN as part of the setting’s overall process for monitoring and assessing children.

All schools must use their best endeavours to make sure that children with SEN get the support they need. When deciding on the provision to be made for a particular child or young person with SEN or a disability, schools and local authorities must refer to the SEND Code of Practice. Teachers, and others working in schools, will work closely with their local Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) when supporting children with SEN and disabilities, including those with dyslexia. Support and intervention should be provided to meet the outcomes identified for each pupil, and the quality of teaching for SEN pupils and the progress they make should be embedded in schools’ performance management arrangements.

Where a child’s special educational needs cannot be met by their school the local authority can carry out an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment, and where necessary issue a EHC plan to provide additional support.

The department is working with dyslexia organisations to facilitate better support for children with dyslexia, including funding of £204,000 in 2015/16 to the Dyslexia - Specific Learning Difficulties Trust to provide expert advice, information and training on literacy difficulties, speech and language difficulties and dyslexia to schools and parents. This includes training teachers to deliver quality teaching and Special Educational Needs (SEN) support for pupils with dyslexia.

The department has also given a grant of £550,000 in 2015/16 to the British Dyslexia Association to fund a project to address issues around early identification and effective provision. The project will develop a certification framework which provides a graduated route towards a whole school policy for supporting children with literacy difficulties.

Furthermore, the department has placed phonics at the heart of early reading, since a large body of research evidence concludes that phonics the most effective way of teaching literacy for all children, including those with dyslexia and specific learning difficulties. The phonics screening check, administered at the end of year one, identifies children’s decoding ability, so that those who need further help can be identified and supported by the school.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to increase the female uptake of in-school sporting activities.

The Department for Education has committed to support primary school sport with £150 million a year, paid directly to head-teachers, until 2020. The previous government provided over £300 million of cross-government ring-fenced funding for academic years 2013/14 and 2014/15, to improve PE and sport.

The department is evaluating the impact of the funding and schools’ use of the premium through the independent research company, NatCen. The interim report will be published in the autumn 2015 and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pe-and-sport-premium-an-investigation-in-primary-schools

The department has been working with Sport England to promote the hugely successful ‘This Girl Can’ campaign that has received worldwide media coverage and promotes the female participation in sport. The department has promoted the resources produced by the Association for Physical Education in order to help schools deliver fun and informative sessions to increase female uptake of sporting activities.

Improvement in the provision of sport in primary school is supported across government and external activity in a range of areas, from health to physical activity and from initial teacher training to encouraging pupils to try new sports.This includes Sport England’s £49 million programme funding satellite clubs to create new opportunities for young people to create lifelong sporting habits. Satellite clubs are based on school or college sites and create outposts of existing community sports clubs. By 2017, every secondary school in England will have been offered the opportunity to host a satellite club on its site, with the aim of creating 5,000 clubs. In total 11,000 girls have gone through satellite clubs.

The Sainsbury’s School Games is the government’s framework for competitive school sport. The school games are delivered through Department for Culture Media and Sport, who have overall policy leadership, and Department of Health. The games have been extremely successful in engaging girls. At level 3 (county level), 52% of the competitors are girls. This is the only youth programme that has a higher rate of female participation than male.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information her Department holds on strategies adopted by secondary schools to educate young people in coping with poor mental health and suicidal thoughts.

We recognise that schools have a vital role to play in helping to promote good mental health for all their pupils, as well as providing early support where mental health problems have been identified. It is important that schools can develop approaches to supporting pupils which suit their particular circumstances. While we do not collect information on the approaches taken, the department has produced a number of pieces of guidance which reflect practice in schools.

We are providing nearly £5m in funding this year to a number of voluntary and community sector projects supporting the mental health needs of children and young people, as well as supporting Childline, which provides a free 24-hour, UK wide counselling service supporting young people with issues causing distress or concern, including suicidal feelings. We also funded the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Association to produce guidance to improve teaching about mental health in PSHE in March 2015. More information can be found online here: https://www.pshe-association.org.uk/news_detail.aspx?ID=1435

In June 2014 we issued advice on mental health and behaviour which clarifies the responsibility of the school, points to tools that can be used to help them identify pupils that may be experiencing a mental health problem and outlines what they can do to provide a stable environment that builds good mental health in all pupils. This advice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2

The cross-government suicide prevention strategy was published in September 2012. The objectives are to reduce suicide and support people bereaved or affected by suicide. Much of the planning and work to prevent suicides is carried out locally. It is for local agencies, including working through health and wellbeing boards, to decide the best way to achieve the overall aim of reducing the suicide rate.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to prevent young people in schools and colleges from developing racist mindsets.

All schools are subject to the Equality Act 2010, and are required to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. This includes challenging prejudices or statements which counter British values. All state-funded schools are required to promote community cohesion, and the national curriculum for citizenship supports teachers to inform pupils about the diverse range of identities in the United Kingdom, and the importance of respecting others.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what her policy is on using the school curriculum as a means of educating young people about the effects of unhealthy eating and obesity.

The government supports a whole school approach to educating young people about the effects of unhealthy eating and obesity.

Both the science and PE curriculum, which are compulsory subjects in primary and secondary schools, recognise the importance of pupils being taught about healthy lifestyles. Diet, nutrition and exercise are covered in the new science curriculum, including at secondary school lessons about the consequences of imbalances in the diet, including obesity. The new PE curriculum aims to support pupils to lead healthy and active lives by enabling them to understand and apply the long term health benefits of physical activity. In secondary schools, food education is now compulsory in years 7-9 for the first time and equips children with knowledge about healthy eating.

Encouraging children to lead healthy and active lives is a key aim of the new PE curriculum which will enable pupils to develop the confidence and interest to get involved in exercise, sports and activities out of schools and in later life, and understand and apply the long term health benefits of physical activity.

4th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what training is offered to teachers and educational providers providing support to young people in dealing with (a) cyber-bullying, (b) trolling, (c) sharing information online and (d) other social media issues.

All teachers are expected to meet the Teacher Standards, which require them to be able to ‘manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment’ and establish ‘a safe and stimulating environment for students, rooted in mutual respect’. Providers of initial teacher training, headteachers and teachers are best placed to determine the types of training and development that will help teachers to meet these standards.

The Government is clear that there is no place for any form of bullying in our schools. To help schools tackle bullying the department has issued advice and case studies on preventing and tackling all forms of bullying, including online bullying. We have also issued advice on supporting bullied children’s social, emotional and mental health, and separate advice for parents on how to spot signs that their child is being cyberbullied and what to do if it happens. This advice is published online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying.

The department is providing £3.3 million this year to various anti-bullying charities to tackle all forms of bullying in school, on top of the £4 million provided in 2013-15. One of these charities, the National Children’s Bureau, has produced cyberbullying advice for teachers on supporting pupils with a special educational need and/or disability and we link to this in our advice. Furthermore, the department has spent over £3.5 million on programmes to support teachers to deliver the new computing curriculum. Some of these programmes include e-safety content alongside developing teachers’ knowledge and skills in computer science.

9th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to increase the information on display in schools on the nutritional standards of school meals.

We introduced new School Food Standards in England from 1 January 2015 and these have been communicated widely, including in schools. School governing bodies and caterers are responsible for the promotion of their school food services at a local level and able to decide what is best.

9th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what compulsory training is provided to auxiliary staff in schools to assist them in dealing with students suffering severe mental anxiety.

There is no compulsory training for school staff. Head teachers are best placed to make decisions about what professional development is required by school staff in order to meet the needs of their pupils. A report in 2014 by the independent Think Tank CentreForum found that, out of 750 schools surveyed, 91% had access to training and professional development opportunities on mental health issues.

In June 2014, in order to help school staff identify and support children and young people with mental health issues, the Department for Education issued advice for schools and staff on pupils’ mental health and behaviour: www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2. This provides information, guidance and practical tools on how to build resilience and support good mental health. This guidance highlights that schools can use MindEd www.minded.org.uk, an online resource funded by the Department of Health that provides information and training on mental health issues for all adults who work with children and young people.

However, most school staff are not mental health professionals and need to have timely access to appropriate specialist support when necessary. We have been working with the Department of Health and NHS England’s Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce on how to improve child and adolescent mental health services, and develop the way services work with schools. The taskforce is due to report later this month.

Many schools provide pupils with access to counselling services. With the support of experts across the sector, the Department for Education is developing advice on what makes for good quality counselling services in primary and secondary schools. This will be published in March 2015.

25th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether primary school staff receive compulsory training on assisting students with epilepsy; and if she will make a statement.

All those training to be teachers must meet national standards. The standards require teachers to have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with medical conditions, to be able to adapt their teaching to the needs of all pupils, and to have an understanding of the factors that can inhibit learning and how to overcome them.

Statutory guidance specifies that any member of school staff providing support to a pupil with medical needs must have received suitable training. Governing bodies of maintained schools, proprietors of academies (excluding 16–19 academies) and management committees of pupil referral units are required to have regard to this guidance. It recommends that this training should be sufficient to ensure that staff are competent and have confidence in their ability to support pupils with medical conditions. The guidance advises that staff will need an understanding of the specific medical conditions they are being asked to deal with, the implications of these conditions and preventative measures.

Schools are also advised that policies in place to support pupils with medical conditions should set out arrangements for whole-school awareness training so that all staff are aware of the school’s policy for supporting pupils with medical conditions and their role in its implementation.

The guidance can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3

11th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what comparative assessment she has made of the effects of compulsory school starting ages in Sweden and the UK.

The Department for Education has not made any comparative assessment of the effects of compulsory school starting ages in Sweden and the UK.

5th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure that teaching staff receive training on how to recognise and deal with bullying from when it begins.

The Government is clear that there is no place for bullying in schools and no child should suffer the unnecessary stress caused by it. Teachers play a critical role in tackling bullying and ensuring the safety of their pupils. Providers of initial teacher training, head teachers and teachers themselves are best placed to determine the types of training and development that will help teachers to meet these standards, including any appropriate training required to identify and eradicate bullying. The Teachers’ Standards require teachers to “establish a safe and stimulating environment for students, rooted in mutual respect”.

We are also providing around £4 million to anti-bullying organisations which covers training for teachers to help them prevent and tackle bullying. In addition, in conjunction with the Government Equalities Office, we are currently considering bids for a £2 million fund to support schools to tackle homophobic bullying; as well as a £25 million voluntary and community sector grant programme which covers work to combat bullying. We have also produced guidance to help schools prevent bullying and support children who are being bullied which is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying

14th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government plans to take to support newly-qualified teachers in seeking employment.

The Department for Education has reformed initial teacher training so that schools can now play a much greater part in selecting and training new teachers, ensuring that they are well prepared for life in the classroom.

Newly qualified teachers working in the maintained school sector are entitled to a period of statutory induction, which helps to build a bridge between their initial training and a career in teaching. In 2014, the annual newly qualified teachers survey reported that 94% of both primary and secondary trainees rated their induction experience as helpful.

Overall, teacher vacancy rates remain very low (vacancy rate of 0.2% as of November 2013). The Government provides access, through the gov.uk portal, to the ‘Universal Jobmatch’ website, which helps teachers (amongst others) to identify appropriate vacancies. Schools and local authorities (in the maintained sector) are responsible for recruiting their staff and it is their responsibility to select the teacher they consider is best for the post available.

3rd Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many cases of abuse against children in which alcohol was a causal factor were reported in the last 10 years.

The available data relates to the number of assessments carried out, in England, by children’s social care where ‘alcohol abuse’ has been identified as being a risk factor. This information was collected for the first time in 2014, covering April 2013 to March 2014.

The data is available in the statistical first release ‘Characteristics of children in need in England, 2013 to 2014’ and is available in table A6 in the National and local authority tables at: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need-2013-to-2014

3rd Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of children with Down's syndrome are in mainstream (a) primary and (b) post-primary schools.

The Department for Education does not collect information on the numbers of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in England.

Information is collected on the type of special educational need for children in England in the School Census, however, we do not include ‘Downs syndrome’ as a category within the data collection.

The available information on children with special educational needs in England is published in the Statistical First Release ‘Special educational needs in England: January 2014’ [1]

Health and Social Care Information Centre are commencing a new collection in 2015 ‘The Children and Young People’s Dataset’ which will include information on disabled children. Within this data collection there is expected to be a category of ‘downs syndrome’.

[1] Special educational needs in England: January 2014:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england-january-2014

3rd Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that young people gain key transferable skills in order to increase their employment opportunities.

This Government has focused on improving literacy and numeracy, the most transferable skills of all, whilst giving young people the advice, guidance and opportunities they need to learn about, and experience, the workplace.

Maths and English are vital, basic skills which are valuable across a range of careers. More young people now achieve a GCSE in maths and English post-16 and those that have not done so by the age of 16 are now continuing to work towards them as part of their 16-19 education. The funding of 16-19 provision has been reformed so that activities such as work experience and the development of personal and employability skills are funded at the same level as qualifications. Additionally, traineeships now help thousands of young people to enter employment or an apprenticeship.

To improve the quality of careers advice and guidance available to young people, we issued revised statutory guidance, underpinning the duty to secure independent careers guidance and strengthening the requirement for schools to build links with employers to inspire and mentor students. Ofsted also look at this provision as part of their inspection of schools.

The Secretary of State for Education announced today (10 December) the creation of a new employer-led careers company to improve the extent and quality of the careers experiences that young people receive in schools and colleges. The company will operate independently of government and will be tasked with supporting engagement between employers on the one hand, and schools and colleges on the other. This will ensure that young people aged 12-18 receive the inspiration and guidance they need for success in working life, and will ensure stronger links between employers and schools.

18th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps her Department has taken to reduce variations in standards of education.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Belfast North on 21 October 2014 (210718).

18th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps her Department has taken to encourage initiatives to promote science, engineering and maths in local primary schools.

We are promoting science, engineering and mathematics in primary schools in a number of ways. From September this year, we introduced a new primary curriculum which aims to align England with those countries that have the highest-performing school systems in the world. Our new primary curriculum sets out the essential knowledge pupils need to progress. There is a greater emphasis on the acquisition of scientific knowledge, an increased focus on practical work, and more emphasis on written methods of calculation. To ensure the focus on written and mental arithmetic, we have also removed the use of calculators from the end of Key Stage 2 tests.

The Department funds several programmes to support the teaching of science and maths at primary including funding 50 local Science Learning Partnerships that deliver professional development to science teachers. In mathematics, we have established a network of 32 new Maths Hubs across England backed by £11 million of funding. These centres of excellence will implement the Shanghai-style mastery approach to mathematics. Central to this is a Shanghai teacher exchange programme. The hubs will also lead a project to trial the use of textbooks at the core of a mastery teaching approach in selected primary schools.

9th Sep 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many fully qualified teachers who have completed their studies within the last three years in England have not obtained a permanent teaching post.

In the academic year 2011/12, there were 1,520 people who had received Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and were still seeking a teaching post within six months of completing their training. Data for the academic year 2012/13 will be published on 23 October.

The table attached gives a breakdown of the total number of trainee teachers who have been awarded QTS and have reported to be seeking a teaching post, and those that were in employment within six months of completion of training.

Further information is published online at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-performance-profiles-2013-management-data

9th Jul 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to reduce regional variations in standards of education.

We are improving the accountability framework to improve standards across the country. In addition, Ofsted has implemented a more rigorous inspection framework, with performance data being used to target inspections on the weakest schools and a recognition that any school less than ‘good' is not performing well enough.

From 2016 we will introduce new measures that focus on the progress made by every child aged between 4 and 19. By focusing on progress, we will be able to identify high- and low-performing schools more accurately. Primary schools will report pupils' progress between the age of 4 and 11 and the proportion reaching the demanding new standard at age 11. Secondary schools will be judged on pupils' attainment and progress between the age of 11 and 16 across 8 subjects, as well as the proportion of pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate, English and maths qualifications.

Some schools are still not performing well enough. We issued revised statutory guidance[1] to local authorities in May that makes very clear our expectations that they should take swift and robust action when maintained schools are performing poorly. This includes our expectation that their assessment should include the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and that poorly performing schools should become sponsored academies.

Finally, to address the unfair distribution of funding between local authorities, we propose to allocate an additional £350million to the least fairly funded local authorities in 2015-16. This is the biggest step towards fairer schools funding in over a decade, and we will be able to confirm how much each local authority will receive once we publish our final allocations later this summer.

[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-causing-concern--2

8th Jul 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the uptake of foreign languages in schools.

The new national curriculum in England introduces the teaching of a foreign language to key stage 2 (ages 7 to 11) from September 2014. This will increase the take-up of foreign languages in both primary and secondary schools. By starting languages earlier, pupils will have longer to develop their skills to a high level before continuing with language learning in secondary school.

The English Baccalaureate is also already encouraging more young people to study a language at GCSE level. Take-up by key stage 4 pupils in England of a modern foreign language increased by over 20% between 2012 and 2013.

To support the introduction of languages at key stage 2, the Department for Education has allocated £350,000 this year to fund training on the new national curriculum for teachers of modern foreign languages in primary and secondary schools. The Department has also allocated £1.9 million to teaching schools to lead curriculum change across and within their teaching school alliances.

Approximately 46 of the projects being supported involve languages.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
8th Jul 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of qualified teachers who completed their studies in the last three years have a permanent teaching position.

The information that the Department for Education holds will be published on 23 July as additional tables to the Statistical First Release ‘School Workforce in England, November 2013'. The information will be available in table C3. The Statistical First Release is published at the following web link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-workforce-in-england-november-2013

19th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that primary school children are safe inside the school building and in the surrounding area.

All schools have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and secure environment. Under health and safety legislation, schools are required to conduct a health and safety risk assessment and put in place an appropriate policy to ensure that staff and pupils are not exposed to risks. This applies to activities on or off the school premises.

Schools are also required to undertake a range of employment and criminal record checks when making appointments and supervise visitors to the school building. Guidance is made available to schools to help them meet these legal requirements.

12th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure a high standard of teaching in numeracy and literacy.

We have published a more rigorous curriculum for English and mathematics. The new national curriculum sets expectations that match those in the highest-performing education jurisdictions in the world, challenging pupils to realise their potential in an increasingly competitive global market. It increases the level of demand from an early age, with greater emphasis on arithmetic, including learning times tables to 12 x 12 by age 9 and removing calculators from key stage 2 tests in mathematics, and on phonics, grammar and vocabulary development in English. GCSEs in English language and mathematics are also being reformed to be more challenging and give stronger guarantees of literacy and numeracy, with the mathematics GCSE in particular covering more than the current GCSE.

We are confident that our reform to the national curriculum will give teachers greater flexibility and freedom, which will help to raise standards and expectations for all pupils. It has been significantly slimmed down and will free-up teachers to use their professional judgement to provide support that best meets the needs of their pupils.

We have invested in and reformed initial teacher training (ITT) to focus on attracting the very best graduates with the right qualities for teaching into the profession through making more scholarships available; using bursaries to attract more of the most talented graduates in key subjects such as maths and physics and supporting the expansion of the highly-successful Teach First programme. Teach First is now the largest graduate recruiter in any sector in the United Kingdom.

In 2013/14, we recruited 96% of the overall number of trainees we set out to recruit and the proportion with first-class or 2:1 degrees has risen 3 percentage points (74%) – a record compared to last year (71%). We have raised the bar for entry into ITT by making skills tests tougher, limiting candidates to two re-sits and making passing the tests in literacy and numeracy a requirement before entering, rather than exiting, ITT.

Sir Andrew Carter has been appointed to lead an independent review about the effectiveness of ITT. As part of this, the review will look at ITT courses for both primary and secondary teaching to consider how well trainees are equipped to become outstanding teachers.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
12th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that children at primary and secondary schools have access to a healthy and balanced dinner each day.

The independent School Food Plan, published in July 2013, is designed to increase the quality and take-up of school meals in England and ensure that the food available conforms to healthy standards. As part of the School Food Plan, we are introducing new statutory food-based standards for schools in England from January 2015 and funding three organisations to increase take-up in junior and secondary schools.

From September 2014 we are introducing free school meals for every child in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools in England, to ensure that every child in those year groups has access to a nutritious lunch. We are targeting infants in order to help establish good eating patterns early. Our intention is that by providing a meal when children start at school, they and their parents will see the benefits of school meals and continue to choose them throughout their education.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many examining boards are using the (a) A* to E and (b) numeral grading system.

There are four exam boards that offer GCSEs and A levels in England and Wales: AQA, Pearson, OCR, and WJEC. In Northern Ireland, GCSEs and A levels are also offered by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

Exam boards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland all use the A*-E grading scale for A level qualifications.

For GCSE qualifications, the grade scale varies across the three countries. In England, the four exam boards are all using the 9-1 grading scale for reformed GCSEs as they are rolled out. Most GCSEs in Wales and Northern Ireland use an A*-G grading scale. A full explanation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gcse-and-a-level-differences-in-england-wales-and-northern-ireland/statement-from-the-qualification-regulators-on-changes-to-gcses-as-and-a-levels#availability-of-reformed-gcse-as-and-a-levels-in-england-wales-and-northern-ireland.

22nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has had recent discussions with the large supermarket chains on reducing the amount of single-use plastics they sell in favour of reusable containers.

The Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) sets out our approach to reducing the use of single-use plastics. The Secretary of State met with major supermarket retailers on 25 September and discussed the impact of the reforms set out in the RWS, including a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers and reform of packaging waste regulations.

In April last year, the Waste and Resources Action Plan and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched their world-leading UK Plastics Pact, with support from the Government, and all major supermarkets have signed up to it. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated. This includes action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items. Our proposed reforms will support supermarkets in achieving those targets.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to encourage the public to (a) reduce and (b) recycle food waste.

Food waste is a financial, environmental and moral issue. The UK currently produces 10 million tonnes of food waste every year, and 70% of food waste comes from households who waste 1/5 of what they buy. This amounts to a £810 per year cost to an average family.

(a) Action needs to be taken to reduce waste in our homes. The Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December 2018, outlined our continued support for the Waste and Resources Action Programme’s citizen food waste strategy to reduce food waste in our homes, for example through the Love Food Hate Waste campaign. In addition, the Food Waste Action Week will run between 13 - 19 January 2020. The week will focus on raising awareness of the impacts of food waste as an urgent issue.

b) Following support at consultation, the draft legislation in the Environment Bill (https://services.parliament.uk/Bills/2019-20/environment/documents.html) stipulates that a core set of materials, including food waste, is to be collected for recycling from households by all local authorities in England from 2023. This legislation also stipulates that businesses and other organisations will be required to separate food waste from residual waste for recycling from 2023. Alongside clear communication, this will reduce the quantity of food waste sent to landfill and increase the amount recycled.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it is his policy that payments to farmers in Northern Ireland will be comparable to Common Agricultural Policy payments after 2022.

Following the Bew Review, the Government has confirmed that it will not simply apply the Barnett formula to changes in Defra funding beyond this Parliament and has committed to developing an approach on future (i.e. after 2022) funding allocations, recognising that agriculture policy is and will remain devolved. Longer term discussions between the Government and the devolved administrations will be about ensuring allocations are fair and that no farmers in any part of the UK gain an unfair competitive advantage.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
22nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial support the Government will provide to farmers in Northern Ireland in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

As a responsible Government, we have been working with our DAERA colleagues to minimise any disruption to farmers in the event of a no deal.

We have made it clear that we will support vulnerable sectors through Government intervention in a no deal, should this be necessary. We will be monitoring the sectors which may be exposed to short-term difficulties as a result of Exit closely to identify early signs of market disturbance, allowing us to intervene swiftly if necessary.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions she has had with her Cabinet colleagues on the introduction of 40 per cent tariffs on meat products from the EU in the event that the EU introduces such tariffs on UK meat products when the UK leaves the EU.

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

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it is his policy to allocate payments to farmers that are comparable to Common Agricultural Policy payments after 2022.

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

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to safeguard agricultural jobs after the UK leaves the EU.

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

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
18th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent domestic animals being harmed and exploited in circuses.

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 regulations) came into force on 1 October 2018. The regulations require anyone in England who is in the business of keeping or training animals (regardless of whether they are domestic or wild kept animals) for exhibition, educational or entertainment purposes, including within a circus, to be licensed by the relevant local authority.

The regulations include powers for local authorities to inspect the premises where the animals are kept to ensure minimum welfare standards are being maintained. In addition, all kept animals including those in a circus are protected by the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. If anyone considers that an animal in a circus is suffering or its welfare is being compromised then they should report it to the local authority who have powers under the 2006 Act to investigate, or to the RSPCA who will also investigate such matters.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent people giving away dogs online to tackle the dog fighting industry.

The Government abhors the mistreatment of animals, including organised dog fighting. It is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to be involved in or to promote animal fighting including dog fighting. The Government has announced it will increase the maximum custodial penalty for animal cruelty, including animal fighting, from six months to five years’ imprisonment and legislation will be introduced as soon as possible.

In relation to online advertising of pets and other animals, the Government has worked with the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG - a group of animal welfare, veterinary and animal keeping interests) who promote the responsible advertising of pet animals. Five online animal adverting platforms have adopted PAAG’s minimum standards for advertising animals which are endorsed by the Government. The minimum standards include that the websites run automated checks for key words and terms such as banned dog breeds, and filter for misleading or inappropriate adverts which are then removed. The websites must exclude any advert where there is a reasonable concern for the health and welfare of the animal involved and provide a clearly visible function for purchasers to report illegal or inappropriate adverts. The Government will continue to work with PAAG to encourage more online advertising platforms to sign up to PAAG’s minimum standards.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dogs were microchipped in 2018.

The Government estimates, from figures provided by the relevant microchip databases, that around 8.1 million dogs in the UK were microchipped in 2018. This represents around 90% of all dogs in the UK.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on tariffs for UK meat exports.

Under the deal negotiated between the UK and the EU, there would be no tariffs or quotas on UK exports of meat to the EU, either during the implementation period or in the context of the future economic partnership to be negotiated.

By contrast, we expect that the EU’s most favoured nation (MFN) tariff regime would apply to UK exports in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, and there is no indication that the EU would modify its tariff regime as a result of our departure.

As the Secretary of State said at the NFU conference in January, nobody can be blithe or blasé about the real impact on food producers of leaving without a deal.

1st Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with farmers on water pollution from fertilisers.

Policy relating to water pollution from agricultural activity is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Secretary of State meets farmers regularly to discuss a variety of important issues, including water pollution caused by agriculture.

Defra has recently run several public consultations relevant to water pollution from agriculture, including from fertiliser use. Farmers have been invited to contribute to the Dame Glenys Stacy review of farm inspections and the Clean Air Strategy. Farmers will also play a crucial part in delivering the next River Basin Management Plans and will be engaged throughout the process.

The Secretary of State will continue to meet farming and agricultural representatives to discuss the future role they can play in protecting the water environment.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
1st Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help support the profitability of sheep farming.

The Government remains committed to a successful and resilient sheep sector and is confident of the sector’s ability to thrive outside of the EU.

We are confident that the measures contained within the Agriculture Bill will enable the sheep industry and other farming sectors to improve their productivity and competitiveness, while also improving our environment.

As any responsible Government would, we are preparing for the possibility of no deal, which is why we have contingency plans in place to minimise disruption for the sheep sector as much as possible in that eventuality.

25th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to encourage people to purchase locally-sourced food.

The Government is keen to see an increase in the amount of locally grown seasonal produce consumed in the UK. The Plan for Public Procurement, published under the 2010-2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition Government, includes a balanced scorecard to help define the criteria of bids for food and catering contracts.

The scorecard rewards tenders which commit to serve locally sourced food and those that highlight the benefits of seasonal increases in the availability of certain types of produce. Use of the balanced scorecard is mandatory for central Government departments and executive agencies, and Defra is working to increase its uptake in the wider public sector.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage food manufacturers to reduce the use of plastic.

The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out the Government’s ambition to maximise the value we get from resources and to minimise waste. We are committed to being the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it, and to eliminating avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan.

The Government is currently consulting on reforming existing packaging waste regulations to financially incentivise packaging producers, including those who package food products, to take greater responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products. Our plans for Extended Producer Responsibility include requiring producers to pay the full cost of recycling and disposing of their packaging waste and making producers pay more if their products are not easily recyclable. Current packaging waste regulations operate on a UK-wide basis. The benefits of continuing with a UK-wide approach are recognised and our consultation on reforming the regulations is being undertaken jointly by the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments. As the Northern Ireland Assembly is not sitting, the UK Government has agreed to consult on behalf of Northern Ireland.

Industry is already taking action. Last year, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation published their Plastics Pact with support from the Government and more than 80 businesses, including major food manufacturers such as Birds Eye, Quorn, and McCain Foods GB. The Pact brings these organisations together to aim to meet four key ambitions by 2025, including making 100% of plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable. The Government welcomes voluntary initiatives aimed at tackling plastic pollution and will continue to seek opportunities to support such work through policy solutions.

Plastic packaging can have a role to play in reducing product damage, increasing shelf life and reducing food waste. However, there are opportunities where offering food loose may help to reduce plastic waste while not impacting on shelf life. The Government is working with retailers and WRAP to encourage their efforts to reduce waste and to explore the introduction of plastic free supermarket initiatives in which fresh food is sold loose, giving consumers more choice. WRAP has published a technical report on the evidence for providing fresh produce loose. This report will inform future published guidance.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
25th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to maintain funding for Private Storage Aid schemes after the UK has left the EU.

European regulations concerning private storage aid are being retained under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, should the Secretary of State choose to operate a scheme in England after we leave. This is a devolved matter and similar powers to operate private storage aid will exist for Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh Ministers.

The Agriculture Bill contains powers which would allow the Secretary of State to amend the retained EU legislation on private storage aid, with the aim of eventually phasing the schemes out in England. It also gives the Secretary of State the ability to amend the schemes’ general operation, so they can be run in a way appropriate for the domestic market while the Government consults on phasing the scheme out. While for the most part there is a weak economic case for market intervention, there may be very specific circumstances in which granting private storage aid will make overall economic sense. For this reason, powers to use private storage in response to exceptional market conditions are being retained in the Bill.

The Agriculture Bill extends similar powers to Welsh Ministers and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland. The Scottish Government is able to rely on the retained EU legislation regarding public intervention and private storage aid.

We are working with all the devolved administrations on common UK frameworks where coordination would be necessary or desirable and, with the agreement of the devolved administrations, we expect market intervention schemes of this nature to be part of such a framework.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to support farmers after the UK leaves the EU.

We have pledged to continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of this Parliament.

In England we are planning an ambitious new system based on “public money for public goods”. A seven year transition period will make sure there is a gradual transition from the current system to the new.

It will be for a future Northern Ireland Executive to determine its own policy. However, in the absence of an Assembly, DAERA’s approach to the Bill is to maintain the status quo and preserve flexibility for a future Executive to modify legacy CAP schemes.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
21st Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with dairy farmers in Northern Ireland on the (a) cost of production and (b) the sale price of milk.

The Secretary of State and I have frequent discussions with representatives of the UK farming sector on a wide range of matters which have included recent discussions involving the Ulster Farmers Union on agricultural policy.

Defra actively monitors the UK farm-gate price of milk, and information collected in our Farm Business Survey for England allows an assessment of the cost of milk production. The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs collects similar data on farm incomes in Northern Ireland. This information is available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-milk-prices-and-composition-of-milk

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/farm-business-survey

https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/farm-incomes-northern-ireland-2004-2014

We want to support farmers to get a fair price for their products. Our Agriculture Bill will provide ministers, and the devolved administrations where appropriate, with a suite of powers to improve supply chain fairness supporting farmers to get a fair price for their produce.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
21st Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to support farmers after the UK leaves the EU.

We have pledged to continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of this Parliament.

In England we are planning an ambitious new system based on “public money for public goods”. A seven year transition period will make sure there is gradual and smooth implementation of the new system.

It will be for a future Northern Ireland Executive to determine its own policy. However, in the absence of an Assembly, DAERA’s approach to the Bill is to maintain the status quo and preserve flexibility for a future Executive to modify legacy Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect children from the effect of toxic air on their health.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, on 27 November 2018, PQ UIN192868.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
19th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with fishermen in Northern Ireland on the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

There have been extensive, positive and productive discussions between Defra and representatives of the fishing industry in Northern Ireland, most recently following the launch of Defra’s White Paper, Sustainable fisheries for future generations, and following the introduction of the Fisheries Bill.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
19th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what checks his Department takes to ensure that no insects or pesticides are brought into the UK through food imports.

In EU food law, the expectation is that food is not contaminated. Food must be safe and fit for human consumption. This applies to all food placed on the market (i.e. supplied for profit or not) in EU Member States.

Consumers should be provided with information about food which enables them to make safe and informed food choices.

Even where foreign bodies found in food which might not in themselves be harmful to health, including insects or other foreign bodies that should not be in the food, or are not described as being part of the food, the food would still likely be deemed ‘unfit for human consumption.’

Food imported into the EU for placing on the market within the EU must comply with the relevant requirements of food law.

Importers, distributors and retailers of food are under a statutory obligation to comply with maximum residues levels set for pesticides in food. They must put in place appropriate quality controls to ensure this. This requirement is backed up by a substantial UK Government programme of testing for residues in food and drink; results are published on the GOV.UK website.

Controlled plant products are inspected for quarantine pests on a risk basis.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's policy will be on time limits for farmers to spread fertiliser after the UK leaves the EU.

We are committed to meeting our legal obligations, including having set dates for fertiliser spreading under the requirements of the Nitrates Directive. Leaving the EU provides us with an opportunity to review agricultural policy to support farmers and deliver environmental benefits in a way that better reflects UK circumstances, in line with the terms of any future agreement with the EU.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
19th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's policy is on financial support for farmers affected by heavy flooding.

It is the long-standing policy of successive Governments that compensation is not paid for losses due to damage caused by flooding or coastal erosion. This is because, except in very limited circumstance, no-one has a right to flood or coastal erosion defences or, if defences are provided, there is no legal requirement to provide any particular standard of defence.

Farms are businesses and, like all businesses, should take actions to try and limit the impacts of flooding on their property or assets, and aim to have insurance in place for any losses incurred by a flood.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
19th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many people were employed by his Department on 19 November 2018.

The number of staff employed by the department as at 31 October 2018 was 4146. This will be consistent with data due to be published by 7 December 2018 at Data.Gov.UK - Dataset Workforce Management Information Defra, in line with Cabinet Office arrangements.

We are unable to provide this data as at 19 November 2018 without incurring disproportionate cost.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
29th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has plans to introduce legislative proposals to regulate food prices after the UK leaves the EU.

No. It is not the Government's role to set retail food prices or to comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by companies. Our research has found that consumer food prices depend on a range of factors, including commodity prices, currency exchange rates, and oil prices, and this will continue to be the case when we leave the EU.

We work closely with industry to promote transparency for consumers and internationally to promote open global markets. The work we are doing helps to support a competitive domestic market so producers and retailers can offer the best prices.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on the importation of food from EU countries after the UK leaves the EU.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the DExEU Secretary and other Cabinet colleagues about our readiness for leaving the EU. In recent weeks the Government published a range of technical notices which provided information on preparations for leaving the EU, including importing and exporting.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's policy is on the provision of financial support to farmers that are unable to hire seasonal workers in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a no deal.

We firmly believe it is in the interests of both the EU and the UK to strike a deal, and we remain confident we will agree a mutually advantageous deal with the EU.

We do not want or expect a no deal scenario. It is however the duty of a responsible Government to continue to prepare for a range of potential outcomes including the unlikely event of no deal. Defra are taking necessary steps to ensure the country continues to operate smoothly from the day we leave.

Defra understands the importance of seasonal labour in supporting a successful and effective agricultural sector, and is considering how best to support the needs of the sector both before and after the UK leaves the EU. Defra is working closely with the Home Office to ensure that there is a long term strategy for the food and farming workforce as part of the future immigration policy.

The Government will introduce a new pilot scheme for 2019 and 2020 enabling up to 2500 non-EEA migrant workers to come to the UK to undertake seasonal employment in the edible horticultural sector.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
29th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to prevent fly tipping in rural areas.

Policies to tackle fly-tipping are devolved. In England, the government is committed to tackling fly-tipping in rural and urban areas. Local authorities and the Environment Agency have a wide range of enforcement powers to tackle fly-tipping and we have recently strengthened these. In 2016 we gave local authorities the power to issue fixed penalty notices for small scale fly-tipping and enhanced local authorities’ and Environment Agency’s ability to search and seize the vehicles of suspected fly-tippers.

This year we consulted on the power to issue fixed penalty notices to householders who fail in their duty of care and pass their waste to fly-tippers. Two thirds of fly-tipping incidents involve household waste so this will help address the main source of the crime. Subject to parliamentary approval this new power will be available to local authorities and the Environment Agency later this year. We will also support local authorities in increasing householders’ awareness of their duty of care to ensure their waste is disposed of properly.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
22nd Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is his Department taking to ensure that butchery skills are included as a classification in the Government's immigration framework after the UK leaves the EU.

Defra is working closely with the Home Office to ensure that the food and farming sector, including meat processing, has access to the workforce it needs, as part of the future immigration policy.

After we leave the EU, we must have an immigration system which works in the best interests of the UK; controlling immigration whilst continuing to welcome those who make a contribution.

A White Paper on the future border and immigration system is expected to be published in the autumn.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
22nd Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the meat sector is able to recruit adequate levels of labour after the UK leaves the EU.

Defra is working closely with the Home Office to ensure that the food and farming sector, including meat processing, has access to the workforce it needs, as part of the future immigration policy.

After we leave the EU, we must have an immigration system which works in the best interests of the UK; controlling immigration whilst continuing to welcome those who make a contribution.

A White Paper on the future border and immigration system is expected to be published in the autumn.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
22nd Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the maintenance of the UK’s (a) meat processing sector and (b) other agriculture industries in the Government's immigration policies after the UK leaves the EU.

Defra is working closely with the Home Office to ensure that the food and farming sector, including meat processing, has access to the workforce it needs, as part of the future immigration policy.

After we leave the EU, we must have an immigration system which works in the best interests of the UK; controlling immigration whilst continuing to welcome those who make a contribution.

A White Paper on the future border and immigration system is expected to be published in the autumn.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
22nd Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the development of the UK’s immigration policy after the UK leaves the EU.

It is a key priority of this Government to enable an innovative, productive and competitive food supply chain, which invests in its people and skills. To help achieve this, we will ensure that there is access to enough appropriately skilled labour to drive continued industry growth and productivity.

Whilst the UK prepares to leave the EU, Defra is working closely with the Home Office to ensure that the food and farming sector has access to the workforce it needs as part of the future immigration policy.

The Home Office and Defra recently jointly announced a pilot scheme to bring seasonal migrant workers to UK farms.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
22nd Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support agricultural industries in the training of domestic workers after the UK leaves the EU; and if he will make a statement.

Enabling an innovative, productive and competitive farming sector which invests in its people and skills is a priority for this Government.

Agricultural technologies are transforming farming and creating new types of jobs and requirements for new kinds of skills. The Government is working with industry and the Food and Drink Sector Council to develop a long term action plan for a world class workforce for all sectors of the food chain, including agriculture. The target is to transform the skills agenda and raise awareness of agriculture as an exciting and attractive career path.

The Government is also reforming post-16 technical education to provide clear routes to skilled employment in agriculture and other sectors. A key part of this is the introduction of new T levels programmes which will sit alongside apprenticeships, including for agriculture, environmental and animal care.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
9th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that farmers in Northern Ireland are able to continue to sell their livestock to the Republic of Ireland after the UK has left the EU; and if he will make a statement.

As part of the Future Economic Partnership negotiations the UK is proposing a UK-EU free trade area for goods. This would avoid friction at the border, protect jobs and livelihoods, and ensure that the UK and the EU meet their commitments to Northern Ireland and Ireland through the overall future relationship.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
9th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the safety of wildlife when trees are being felled.

The Forestry Commission is responsible for the regulation of tree felling in England and woodland managers must apply for a felling license from the Commission to fell trees, unless an exemption applies. For example, a tree which poses a danger life or property can be felled without a license.

Any tree felling must comply with regulations and legislation protecting wildlife species and habitats, including the European protected species (EPS) listed in the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

In England, all wild birds, their eggs and their nests are protected, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it an offence to kill, injure or take wild birds or to take or damage their eggs and nests. There are provisions within the 1981 Act that permit derogation from these protections for specific reasons for example for the purposes of preserving public health or public or air safety.

The Forestry Commission works with Natural England, the statutory body for protected species, to provide good practice guidance on how to minimise impacts on protected wildlife and circumstances where a licence may be required. When submitting an application, landowners are required to evidence how they propose to manage the impact of felling on wildlife, including sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). It is an offence to carry out an activity that has an impact on a protected species without a wildlife management license.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on food safety regulations after the UK leaves the EU.

Food safety policy is the responsibility of the Food Standards Agency in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Food Standards Agency, the Department for Health and Social Care, Defra and the Department for Exiting the European Union meet regularly to discuss food safety issues in relation to the UK’s departure from the EU.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's strategy is on reducing the amount of plastic going to landfill.

The tonnage of waste collected by local authorities and sent to landfill has fallen by 81% since in the introduction of the landfill tax in 1996/97. This is a devolved matter but the Government will publish a new Resources and Waste Strategy for England this year, which will explain how we will double resource productivity and achieve zero avoidable plastic waste.

Since we introduced the carrier bag charge in 2015, the seven key retailers have reported that they have distributed approximately 15.6 billion fewer carrier bags. I have also written to English councils with recycling rates below 30% to encourage them to collect more materials including plastics for recycling.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his department has a policy on the protection of horses during racing.

As with all kept animals, racehorses are protected by the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This means that owners and keepers must not cause their animals unnecessary suffering and must provide for their welfare. Failure to do so could result in an unlimited fine, or up to six months’ imprisonment, or both. We have already announced that the custodial maximum penalty will be increased to five years’ imprisonment.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is responsible for horse safety at racetracks in Great Britain. The BHA works with the RSPCA to ensure that racecourses are as safe as possible. The percentage of racehorse fatalities at racetracks is low (0.18% of runners in 2017), however, as I have previously made clear, there is more work to be done to reduce that number further.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish the draft Agricultural Bill.

The Government published the Agriculture Bill on 12 September 2018.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
25th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Irish Environment Minister on the movement of food products after the UK leaves the EU.

We place huge value on maintaining the UK’s unique arrangements with Ireland and the friendly cooperative relationship we have built in recent years. We want the best deal for the food, fishery and farming sectors, including making sure we have a continuing range of high quality, affordable food products. Defra Ministers have met their counterparts in the Irish Government on a number of occasions to discuss the future EU-UK relationship.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
19th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has a strategy to prevent large quantities of food waste; and if he will make a statement.

Preventing food waste is environmentally and financially beneficial for households and businesses.

The Government is taking a multi-pronged approach to prevent food waste involving householders and food businesses across the food chain. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), supported by Defra, launched the Courtauld Commitment 2025 in March 2016. The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is an ambitious ten-year voluntary agreement that brings together organisations across the food system to identify priorities, develop solutions and implement changes at scale, both within signatory organisations and by spreading new best practice across the UK. The Commitment goes further than ever before with ambitious industry targets to be reached by 2025. One of these is a 20% per capita reduction in food and drink waste arising in the UK.

The new phase will focus on providing a more targeted approach, focused on the most wasted food products and the people who generate the most waste.

Government will continue to play a central role in food waste reduction and the Resources and Waste Strategy will set out further policies in this area later in the year.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dogs entered the UK in 2017.

The total number of dogs entering Great Britain under the Pet Travel Scheme in 2017 was 287,016, and the total number of dogs entering for commercial reasons was 39,998

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) do not hold data regarding dogs moving to Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
12th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last met with representatives of the RSPCA to discuss animal welfare.

Ministers meet the RSPCA regularly to discuss animal welfare issues. Most recently, Lord Gardiner met them on 11 June 2018. I also attended their parliamentary drop-in on 13 June 2018.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
12th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children have taken part in the tractor driving for 13-15 year olds course in each of the last three years.

Tractor driving courses for 13 to 15 year olds are delivered by private training providers. Information on the number of children that have participated on these courses is unavailable because Defra does not collect data on these courses.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
6th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that (a) pesticides and (b) chemicals do not enter rivers.

Pesticides are strictly regulated and are only authorised for use if the relevant information shows no unacceptable risks to the environment. This assessment takes account of the likelihood that the pesticide might enter water and the effects on aquatic organisms that might result. When a pesticide is authorised, conditions may be set to ensure the protection of water, such as buffer zones between the watercourse and the sprayed area.

Chemical releases to rivers are controlled by a number of mechanisms. The manufacture and use of chemicals is initially regulated through legislation such as the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation which requires companies to register the chemicals they supply and assess their risks so they can recommend risk management measures in their supply chain. Higher risk substances may be subject to authorisation or restrictions on manufacture or use to reduce environmental exposure and therefore minimise risks. Direct discharges of chemicals to rivers are controlled by environmental permits. Where necessary these include specific limits for concentrations of particular chemicals that can be discharged to a river to ensure that risks are managed and the environment and human health is protected. Discharge quality is monitored and enforcement action taken if permit limits are exceeded. We work closely with business, infrastructure and emergency service providers to provide advice to reduce the chance of accidental releases.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent deforestation in the UK.

As forestry is a devolved matter this answer relates to England only.

The Government is committed to accelerating new woodland planting and has a number of manifesto commitments to support afforestation in England, including the planting of eleven million trees and a further one million trees in our towns and cities by 2022.

The Government also has a number of schemes to support afforestation including the Woodland Creation Grant under Countryside Stewardship, the Woodland Carbon Fund, and the Woodland Creation Planning Grant.

In January the Prime Minister announced through the 25 Year Environment Plan the support of the new Northern Forest, which will see 50 million trees planted by 2042.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many cattle tested positive for bovine tuberculosis in 2017.

During 2017, 32,416 cattle were compulsorily slaughtered in England because they responded to the tuberculin skin test or interferon-gamma test in a way that was consistent with being infected with Mycobacterium bovis. Official statistics on TB in cattle in Great Britain can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bovine-tb.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
21st May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to encourage young people to work in agriculture.

Having a skilled workforce in place and attracting young talent to agricultural careers is vital for the future of UK food and farming. There is a wide breadth of exciting technical and highly skilled careers in agriculture from primary production to research, engineering, agronomy, animal welfare and plant health.

The Government is reforming post-16 technical education to provide clear routes to skilled employment in agriculture and other sectors. The changes we have made to the apprenticeship system are transforming lives. We are helping employers to create high quality apprenticeships at all levels that give people of all ages and backgrounds the skills they need. Employers are designing new high quality standards to ensure apprenticeships are more responsive to their needs. Apprenticeship standards are available in a broad range of sectors including agriculture, with Land Based Service Engineer and Arborist approved for delivery, with more in development.

In addition, we currently provide extra support for young farmers starting out in farming through the EU Basic Payment Scheme. Eligible farmers aged between 18 and 40 can claim a 25% uplift on up to 90 hectares of their Basic Payment Scheme payments for the first five years of their new business.

Defra also provides grant funding support to the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs to provide mentoring, training and development opportunities for young people across England who are interested in food and farming.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
21st May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to increase the number of Blue Flag beaches in the UK.

Blue Flag is an international award of the Foundation for Environmental Education for beaches and marinas which meet a range of criteria. Blue Flag is independent of Government and in England is administered by Keep Britain Tidy. There are four criteria for a Blue Flag:

  • Water quality - beaches must be classified as Excellent under the Bathing Water Directive

  • Environmental education and information

  • Environmental management

  • Safety and services

    The Government has made clear that we will keep working to improve our environment and make sure it is protected for future generations. The 25 Year Environmental Plan sets out our commitment to continue to improve the cleanliness of our waters.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has met representatives of the Ulster Farmers' Union since the referendum on the UK leaving the EU; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers and officials are in regular contact with stakeholders from all of the devolved administrations. Last year the Secretary of State met representatives from the Ulster Farmers’ Union at the Antrim Show in July. The Secretary of State also chaired a roundtable discussion on 28 September, attended by stakeholders including those from the Ulster Farmers’ Union.

I also met with representatives from the devolved administrations on 21 March, at one of a series of roundtable meetings held during our consultation, Health and harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit, which closed on 8 May. A report of the findings of the consultation will be published in due course.

The Government has committed to work closely with the devolved administrations and stakeholders to deliver an approach that works for the whole of the UK and reflects the individual needs of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require all animal owners to hold a licence to own an animal.

The Government has taken many steps to improve the welfare of animals, such as introducing legislation that will make it compulsory for all slaughterhouses to have CCTV; compulsory microchipping of all dogs; new laws to improve welfare standards in pet shops, dog breeding establishments, riding establishments, boarding establishments and in the exhibiting of animals; updating codes of practice for the welfare of cats, dogs, horses and meat chickens; and we will also be increasing the maximum penalty for animal cruelty offences tenfold from six months’ imprisonment to five years’ imprisonment. The Government therefore considers that there is no need to introduce a licensing scheme along the lines proposed.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
24th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much revenue has been raised by the plastic carrier bag levy since the introduction of that levy.

In total the charge has raised approximately £95 million from retailers since it was introduced in October 2015. The vast majority of the proceeds have been donated to a range of good causes covering the arts, education, environment, health, heritage and sports as well as local causes chosen by customers or staff.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
16th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has a policy on supporting food manufacturers to sell their produce abroad.

The Government is committed to working with the food and drink industry, both in the UK and overseas, to raise the international profile and reputation of UK food and drink. In 2016 we launched a strategy entitled ‘International Action Plan for Food and Drink 2016 – 2020’, and last year we introduced the Food is GREAT campaign. This campaign is focused on helping food and drink companies of all sizes from across the UK to export. It runs campaigns in a range of priority markets and aims to ensure strong global recognition of UK excellence in food and drink. Food is GREAT is delivered in partnership with the Department for International Trade, VisitBritain and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In 2017 UK food, feed and drink exports were worth £22 billion, an increase of 7.7% on 2016. In recent years UK food and drink exporting has been a success story and it will continue to be a Government priority. We see exports as an important driver of growth in the food and drink sector, allowing it to become more resilient, competitive and profitable.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many farmers received the Single Farm Payment in 2017.

The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) replaced the Single Payment Scheme from 2015. We have interpreted the question as relating to a BPS scheme year, rather than calendar year.

The payment window for making payments under BPS 2017 opened on 1st December 2017 and runs until the end of June 2018.

Of the 86,015 applications received for BPS 2017, 85,039 are deemed valid for payment. As of 27 March 2018, 81,079 claims had been paid. Of these, 76,911 were paid in December 2017.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many recycling centres are there in (a) England and (b) Wales.

The numbers of household waste recycling centres reported to Government by local authorities in a) England is 685 and in b) Wales is 84.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
27th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to support the removal of graffiti tagging to clean up (a) towns and (b) cities in the UK.

We have recently increased the fixed penalties that local authorities can issue for littering, graffiti and fly-posting. From 1 April 2018, the maximum fixed penalty will nearly double from £80 to £150, and the default penalty will increase from £75 to £100. From April 2019, the minimum fixed penalty will also increase from £50 to £65.

Councils retain the income from these Fixed Penalty Notices, which must be spent on their functions relating to keeping land and highways of litter and refuse (including enforcement), and enforcement against graffiti and fly-posting offences. We are clear that any enforcement action must be proportionate and in the public interest.

Graffiti removal is also typical of the types of projects assigned to offenders taking part in Community Payback schemes. Community Rehabilitation Companies are responsible for assigning offenders who have been sentenced to carry out unpaid work as part of their community sentences to specific work assignments, so it would be for local councils to work with the relevant Community Rehabilitation Company to arrange this.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
21st Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to support the reduction of excess packaging when purchasing products online.

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations already place a legal obligation on UK businesses that make or use packaging to ensure that a proportion of the packaging they place on the market is recovered and recycled. This creates an incentive for all companies to minimise their packaging as this will reduce their costs in complying with the Regulations.

However, we have committed to exploring changes to the packaging producer responsibility scheme. This will look at all aspects of the regime, including mechanisms to incentivise better design for packaging and minimise its use.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to help farmers affected by heavy falls of snow in March 2018.

The Government recognises the challenges faced by farmers during the recent adverse weather conditions. The main difficulties appear to have been with feed deliveries, milk collections and collection of fallen stock. To assist farmers, Government authorised extensions to the normal driving time limits and agreed that the collection of fallen stock could be delayed. We continue to monitor the situation with the National Fallen Stock Company.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
9th Oct 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to introduce a vehicle scrappage scheme.

In July this year the Government launched the UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. The Government has required local councils to produce local air quality plans which reduce nitrogen dioxide levels in the fastest possible time.

The Government is considering how to support people impacted by local plans and will consult in the autumn on measures to support affected motorists, residents and businesses. This could, for example, include retrofitting vehicles, support for car clubs, improved public transport offers or targeted vehicle scrappage.

A number of vehicle manufacturers have recently launched their own national scrappage and trade in schemes that offer substantial discounts off the purchase of a new vehicle.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to ensure that funding for the promotion of agricultural products continues to be made available at the level of that currently provided by the European Commission after the UK leaves the EU.

EU funding for the promotion of agricultural products is available to all member states and will continue to be available until the UK’s exit from the European Union.

We are determined to get the best deal for Britain, including for our food and farming industry which generates over £110 billion a year for our economy.

We will need to consider our longer-term approach to funding as part of a future domestic agricultural policy and we will ensure we consult with stakeholders in relation to any future scheme for the UK.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much has been invested in the protection of honey bees in the UK in each of the last five years.

Defra has spent between £1.5 million and £2 million on protecting honey bees in England in each of the last five years.

Our programme aims to protect honey bees from pests and diseases, including tackling disease outbreaks and monitoring for exotic pests such as the Asian hornet.

Defra also contributed an additional £2.5 million to the £10 million Insect Pollinator Initiative carried out between 2010 and 2015. This was a joint initiative to look at different aspects of pollinator declines. Of the nine projects funded, two were specifically about honey bees and six were aimed at benefiting both honey bees and bumble bees.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to address the change in Britain's self-sufficiency rating.

The government has a manifesto commitment to introduce a 25 year plan to grow and produce more food, both to increase consumption of British food in the domestic market and to export more.

The UK Food Production to Supply ratio in 2015 was 61% for all food and 76% for indigenous-type food. This compares with 62% and 76% respectively in 2014. This has remained steady over the last decade.

Global food security is dependent on a number of factors including increasing production sustainably, reducing waste and ensuring open markets around the world to facilitate trade.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the conclusion in the Flood Resilience Review, published in September 2016, that a 20 to 30 per cent increase in winter rainfall is possible over the next 10 years.

The National Flood Resilience Review identified that over the next 10 years we could see extreme rainfall events that could be up to 20-30 per cent higher than recent past extreme rainfall events.

The Environment Agency will use 20 and 30 per cent extreme rainfall scenarios with local detailed models used to design new flood risk management schemes.

The scenarios will also be considered for wider flood incident planning and operational readiness that might be needed by relevant responders.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
7th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how her Department plans to encourage more farmers to submit their Basic Payment Scheme payments applications online.

For the Basic Payment Scheme 2016 over 80% of farmers chose to apply online.

For the Basic Payment Scheme 2017 the Rural Payments Agency will have a planned campaign of activity to encourage as many as possible of the remaining 20% of customers that applied on paper to apply online.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
7th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many cases of avian influenza there were in the UK in 2016.

There has been one confirmed case of notifiable avian influenza in poultry during 2016 to date; Low Pathogenic H5N1 at a poultry farm near Dunfermline, Scotland.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
7th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions she has had with her Northern Ireland counterpart on control of bovine TB in Northern Ireland.

Bovine TB policy is a devolved matter. The UK Chief Veterinary Office and other Defra officials have regular discussions with their counterparts in Northern Ireland on the eradication of bovine TB.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
7th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent changes her Department has made to licensing criteria for badger control in England.

Following a public consultation, the following changes to licensing conditions were published on 17 December 2015:

  • Enabling Natural England to keep the duration of annual badger control operations under review rather than limiting them to six weeks.

  • Reducing the minimum size of an area from 150km2 to 100km2.

  • Removing the requirement for at least 70% of the land in candidate areas to be accessible but retaining a requirement that approximately 90% of the land in the control area be either accessible, or within 200m of accessible land.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
7th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with the Rural Payments Agency to resolve the backlog of 2015 Basic Payment Scheme payments.

I have regular discussions with the Rural Payments Agency on the progress of Basic Payment Scheme payments.

As of 3 July 86,760 (99.6%) farmers have received a payment on their 2015 BPS claim. The Rural Payments Agency continues to focus on making top up payments to those farmers who have already received a bridging payment.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
20th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the disparity between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK in the price farmers are able to achieve when selling livestock.

We are part of a single market across Europe and as such we should not dictate what a fair price is for farmers and consumers. We support the farming industry by reducing red tape, funding research to foster innovation, extending the tax averaging period for self-employed farmers and working to open up new export markets.

In recognition of the difficulties faced by Northern Irish dairy farmers, the UK government pressed for additional money to be paid to Northern Irish dairy producers as part of the support payments. 71% of Northern Irish dairy farmers have now received their payment.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
10th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to encourage the sale of UK produce to new global markets.

In October 2013 we launched the ‘Food and Drink – International Action Plan’. This has resulted in over 4,000 companies receiving Government support and contributed to securing nearly £1bn of business for these companies. We have opened over 100 new markets for exports of animal and animal products to non-EU markets and created a faster, more efficient electronic health certification process. We are in the process of developing a new Exports Action Plan with the industry, which is due to be launched early next year.

Defra Ministers continue to champion our excellent food and drink overseas. I visited Anuga (the world’s largest food and drink trade show) earlier this year and the Secretary of State has recently been to China to further market access discussions and support the launch of the ‘Food is GREAT’ campaign there. Earlier this month she also set out our plans for Great British Food, which will celebrate the wonderful food and drink the UK has to offer.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
10th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will publish a financial assessment and analysis of the effectiveness of badger culling in the first three quarters of 2015.

The expected benefits of the policy remain in line with those in the ‘Measures to address bovine tuberculosis in badgers’ impact assessment published in 2011.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
10th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take to encourage Chinese investors to invest in the UK dairy industry.

China is one of the UK’s priority markets for investment. The Government is providing increased funding to UKTI across its China network and in the UK. The state visit last month demonstrated China’s recognition that the UK is one of the most open markets in the world for foreign investment and there is significant appetite from Chinese companies to invest here.


UKTI has a dedicated Food and Drink sector team and proactively works with potential Chinese investors. The UK offers Chinese investors strong proposals for milk powder, cheese (Cheddar) and butter production due to the vibrant dairy research sector, temperate climate and increasing milk production volumes.


Last week the Secretary of State was in China supporting the Food is GREAT campaign there; dairy is a key focus area allowing participating British companies to meet potential Chinese investors and buyers looking to invest in the UK and source UK dairy products.



George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
10th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions her Department has had with the British Veterinary Association on the control of bovine TB.

Defra has frequent dealings with the British Veterinary Association on bovine TB matters. One example is the meeting with the Association’s President and CEO on 21 September to discuss a number of consultation exercises in progress at that time.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will bring forward legislative proposals for stricter laws dealing with people who abuse animals.

There are a number of existing laws, most notably the Animal Welfare Act 2006, that already provide enforcement agencies and courts with suitable powers to investigate and deal with people who are found to have abused animals.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many prosecutions there have been for abandoning or neglecting dogs in each of the last five years.

We do not hold information about species specific prosecutions. However, the table below provides numbers of prosecutions made under the Animal Welfare Act for each of the last five years.


Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts under sections 4 and 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, England and Wales, 2010-2014(1)(2)

Offence

Section

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014








Causing, permitting or failing to prevent unnecessary suffering

SS.4 & 32(1)

1,077

1,277

1,385

1,266

1,016








Failing to ensure needs of animal are met as required by good practice

SS.9 & 32(2)

266

362

481

485

391








(1) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice.

[Ref: PQc 12028 4083]


George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
25th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how her Department plans to reduce the disposal level of edible food in the UK.

In accordance with the waste hierarchy, voluntary agreements with business and the Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP’s) Love Food Hate Waste campaign encourage action by households, food manufacturers, retailers and the hospitality and food service sectors to prevent food waste in the first place.

If surplus food cannot be prevented, the next best option is to ensure it is redistributed for human consumption. The Courtauld Commitment 3 supply chain target includes action on both prevention and redistribution. This dual target approach encourages redistribution as the most desirable route for any surplus food suitable for human consumption.

Defra convened a Ministerial round table in July 2012 and requested WRAP to lead an industry working group to follow up on recommendations. As a key output of the group, WRAP published research, guiding principles and good practice case studies to help industry take action. http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/foodredistribution.

Building further on this work, Defra convened a round table meeting in January this year with representatives from food retailers, manufacturers, trade associations and the food redistribution sector to discuss how more surplus food can be put to good use. Progress has been good, with an increase of 80% in the food redistributed under Courtauld between 2012 and 2013. To continue this momentum a Courtauld working group has been set up and tasked with looking at further ways to increase the redistribution of surplus food. Further research will look at where and why waste and surpluses occur in the supply chain, which should provide further opportunities to identify and redistribute surplus food.

Since there will always be some unavoidable food waste, the Government’s Anaerobic Digestion Strategy is in place to reduce the amount of organic material going to landfill and drive the waste that is produced into energy recovery or recycling.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department has taken to prevent slurry being illegally dumped into rivers.

Water quality is a devolved issue and I can only respond with respect to England.

Slurry is a highly polluting organic effluent generated by livestock and is strictly controlled through regulations. Illegal dumping of slurry in a river could kill fish and aquatic life and cause bacterial contamination of drinking water supplies.

Under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, it is an offence to discharge polluting material to a watercourse without a permit. The use of properly constructed and maintained stores greatly reduces the risk of significant pollution events. The Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) (England) Regulations 2010 as amended in 2013 set minimum requirements for the construction of these facilities. The Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2015 prohibit the spreading of slurry where there is a significant risk that it may get into surface water. The Code of Good Agricultural Practice sets out guidance for the management of slurries.

Details of how to comply with all these regulations are published on GOV.UK.

The Environment Agency uses data it gathers from its monitoring networks and the evidence it gathers from its catchment walkovers to identify potential risks. It advises operators on managing their effluents safely. Where required, the Environment Agency can also take enforcement action ranging from warning letters through to formal notices and prosecution to bring people back into compliance with the law.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to prevent the illegal culling of seals in UK coastal waters.

Seal conservation is a devolved issue so I can only respond with respect to England. Approximately 85% of the UK seal population is in Scotland and the Scottish Government has its own legislation concerning the protection of seals.

Seals in England are primarily protected by the Conservation of Seals Act 1970. Under this Act, it is an offence to take or kill common and grey seals out of season or to use certain methods to kill or take, unless permitted to do so by a licence issued under the Act.

No licences have been issued for the culling of seals in England in the last five years.

The Act also allows the Secretary of State to provide year round protection in any specified area. Such a ‘Conservation Order’ currently protects grey and common seals on the east coast of England. Given the distribution of seal populations in England, this Order has the net effect of providing year round protection for almost all common seals and the majority of grey seals in England.

Fishermen are only permitted to kill or take, without the need for a licence, to protect their fishing equipment or fish therein if the seal is in the vicinity of the equipment at that time.

20th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of waste collected has been recycled in each year since 2009-10.

The most relevant recycling data which is regularly measured relates to waste collected and managed by local authorities. This is reported on a quarterly basis and data for England is published each quarter by Defra in statistical releases with accompanying datasets. The latest data for 2013-2014 for England was published in November last year and is available on the GOV.UK website. UK data on the waste from households recycling rate is also available but only up to 2012. This data is also available on the GOV.UK website.

The proportion of ‘waste from households’ recycled in England and the UK, on a calendar year basis from 2010 to 2012 or 2013, is shown in table 1 below:

Table 1 Waste from households recycling rate for England and the UK

2010

2011

2012

2013

England

41.2%

43.3%

44.1%

44.2%

UK

40.3%

42.9%

43.9%

not available

The recycling rate for all local authority collected waste for England for the financial years 2008/9 to 2013/14 is shown in table 2 below:

Table 2 Recycling rate for all local authority collected waste for England

2009/10

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

38.7%

40.4%

42.1%

42.4%

42.8%

14th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to protect red squirrels in the UK.

The Government is committed to protecting and expanding red squirrel populations and tackling the threats that grey squirrels in particular pose to them.

In particular, Defra is contributing a total of £50,000 between 2014 and 2016 to research into the Squirrel Pox Vaccine that will help to secure the long term future of red squirrels in the UK.

Additionally, the Forestry Commission continues to support Red Squirrels Northern England, a partnership project between the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, Natural England, the Forestry Commission and the Wildlife Trusts, which is helping to protect and expand the biggest population of red squirrels left in England. Seventeen reserves have been identified where long-term survival of the species is considered most likely. Targeted control of grey squirrels is carried out in the reserves and surrounding buffer zones. In addition, the reserves and surrounding areas are being managed in ways that favour red squirrels. In the south of England, where there are secure populations on the Isle of Wight and Poole Harbour Islands, there is an action plan in place to respond to the appearance of grey squirrels.

In 2014 the Forestry Commission reviewed our approach to grey squirrels. As a result of the review, the Forestry Commission has updated the action plan for grey squirrels in England.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
9th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the 6th Report of the Environmental Audit Committee, Action on Air Quality, HC212, what steps her Department plans to take to tackle the health risks posed by air pollution.

We are considering the recommendations in the recently released report from the Environmental Audit Committee. We are already taking steps to tackle poor air quality and have committed £2 billion since 2011 to reduce emissions from transport. We are currently revising our air quality plans for the UK to bring us into compliance with EU air quality targets in the shortest possible time.

9th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department plans to take to tackle global deforestation.

Defra supports action to prevent deforestation and address the drivers of deforestation through our £140 million contribution to the UK’s £3.87 billion International Climate Fund (ICF). Defra ICF investments include support for low-carbon agriculture and action to prevent deforestation in Brazil, and the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund. The ICF as a whole has committed over £500 million to forestry projects.

Defra also supports deforestation-free supply chains. For example, by implementing the EU Timber Regulation which prohibits the placing on the EU market of illegally harvested timber and timber products; through the UK’s Timber Procurement Policy, which requires central government departments and their agencies to source sustainable timber and wood-products; and by working with business towards achieving 100% sourcing of credibly certified sustainable palm oil in the UK.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
24th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to encourage exports of powdered milk to China.

The Chinese market for powdered milk is very valuable and represents a significant opportunity for UK businesses. UK Government support and encouragement is assisting them to capitalise on this: last year UK exports of powdered milk to China reached £5.9 million, an increase in value of 89% from 2010.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
24th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to encourage supermarkets to better support the UK dairy industry.

I understand the concerns over the current pressures on milk prices which is why I brought forward and chaired a meeting of the Dairy Supply Chain Forum last week.

Members, which include retailer representatives, discussed the recommendations made in the recent independent review of the dairy industry voluntary Code of Practice, one of which was to explore the possibility of expanding adoption of the Code within the supply chain to include retailers. Ideas are being actively explored by Members and I have asked for an update on progress in the New Year.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
18th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking in response to bird flu.

Immediate and robust action was taken as soon as suspicions of disease emerged. Tried and tested procedures for dealing with avian flu outbreaks are being followed.

A 10km restriction zone has been introduced and all 6,000 birds on the affected farm have been culled to prevent any potential spread of infection.

Defra is working closely with Public Health England which is responsible for human health and the Food Standards Agency, responsible for food safety.

Detailed investigations to discover the origin of the outbreak are ongoing.

The Secretary of State gave an oral update in the House on 17 November and gave more details on the action taken.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has had discussions with representatives of the dairy industry in Northern Ireland on financial difficulties facing dairy farmers; and if she will make a statement.

The Secretary of State chairs regular meetings with the Devolved Administrations on issues of mutual interest. The next meeting is currently being arranged and will provide an opportunity to discuss the dairy industry.

Defra officials also maintain regular contact with their counterparts in the Devolved Administrations on a range of dairy issues.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
9th Jul 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what guidance his Department provides to local authorities on reducing vermin levels in public parks.

Defra does not provide specific advice on reducing vermin levels in public parks. However, the usual good principles of wildlife management apply. Namely, to remove or reduce, as far as is practicable, the factors that attract vermin: access to food, water and shelter. If further action is necessary then the services of properly trained pest controllers should be employed.

12th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the effective implementation of regulations (a) relating to storage of slurry and (b) in general for safety in farm yards.

Implementing safety regulations in farm yards is the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE recognises agriculture as a priority industry and has a programme for measurable and sustainable changes to the industry's health and safety performance.

The regulation of slurry storage is a devolved matter. In England it is controlled by the Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) Regulations 2010 (the SSAFO regulations), with the Environment Agency as the main regulator. From this year the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is including slurry storage in its cross compliance inspections. Both the RPA and Environment Agency work closely with the HSE on farm safety.

Slurry storage and management in England has been reviewed recently by a Joint Industry and Government Working Group and this included a review of the SSAFO regulations. The Group's report was published on 21 November 2013 and is available online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/slurry-management-and-storage-joint-government-and-industry-report.The report recognised the risks involved in managing slurry and included a recommendation about developing regular assessment of the condition of slurry stores to provide assurance that stores both prevent environmental pollution and meet health and safety requirements.The Government and industry continue to work in partnership to implement the recommendations.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of his Department's preparations for the UK leaving the EU on 31 October 2019 without a deal.

As a responsible government we have been preparing for the UK’s exit from the EU in all scenarios for nearly three years. A no deal exit remains the legal default at the end of the extension period on 31 October unless a deal is agreed.

DExEU has a vital coordination role to play in these preparations. We maintain a single picture of workstreams, policy proposals and delivery implications across government to inform policy development. This allows us to scrutinise domestic policy solutions and delivery plans that departments develop - ensuring coherence and recommending cross-cutting solutions to drive delivery forward.

Over 300 work-streams to prepare for ‘no deal’ continue to be advanced across Government, to minimise disruption to industry, to our vital services, and to the daily lives of the people of the United Kingdom. In light of the extension, departments are making sensible decisions about the timing and pace at which some of this work is progressing and what further action can be taken, but we will continue to prepare for all EU Exit scenarios.

We continue to make good progress - for example:

  • Since December 2018, HMRC has issued 74,000 new EORI numbers to traders (as of 23 June).

  • We have published approximately 750 pieces of communications on no deal since August 2018, including 106 technical notices explaining to businesses and citizens what they need to do to prepare.

  • The EU Settlement Scheme is now fully opened with over 800,000 applications so far.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, if he will publish his Department's no deal preparation documents.

The Government has published a number of documents to support public and parliamentary scrutiny of our preparations for leaving the EU.

The Government continues to report regularly to the House and its Select Committees in person and by responding fully to inquiries and reports. In addition to regular statements by the Prime Minister, DExEU Ministers have given evidence to a broad range of committees on 49 occasions and have made 187 written statements to both Houses.

In addition, the Government published a robust, objective assessment of how exiting the EU could affect the economy of the UK in November 2018, as part of its commitment to providing Parliament with appropriate analysis. In addition, all legislation is accompanied by explanatory documents. This information is available online.

We have also taken extensive steps to provide businesses and citizens with advice on helping them mitigate the potential impacts of a no deal exit, publishing approximately 750 pieces of communications on no deal since August 2018, including 106 technical notices explaining to businesses and citizens what they need to do to prepare.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on using Border Force technology to solve the customs issues when the UK leaves the EU.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union regularly meets with Cabinet colleagues to discuss preparations for leaving the EU. Similarly, ministers and officials from the department meet regularly with other government departments to discuss a variety of issues.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what the Government's policy is on a second referendum on EU membership.

The Government has been clear that it does not support a second referendum. The priority of the Government is to deliver on the result of the first referendum by trying to find a deal that could command majority support in Parliament.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether mobile roaming charges will be reintroduced in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

In the event that we leave the EU without a deal, the costs that EU mobile operators would be able to charge UK operators for providing roaming services would no longer be regulated by the EU. This would mean that surcharge-free roaming when UK consumers travel to the EU, and EU consumers travel to the UK, could no longer be guaranteed. However, the four mobile operators - O2, EE, Three and Vodafone - have all stated they have no current plans to change their approach to mobile roaming for their customers roaming in the EU.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on visa-free holiday trips for (a) UK citizens to their countries and (b) citizens of EU countries to the UK; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with EU counterparts to discuss issues related to our exit.

The Political Declaration makes clear that both the EU and the UK will aim to provide visa-free travel for short-term visits as part of our future relationship.

The European Commission proposed to grant UK nationals visa-free travel to the EU, even in the event of a no deal, subject to reciprocity from the UK. This proposal is currently passing through the EU’s legislative process. This would mean that UK nationals would not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in every 180-day period. The UK has also said that we do not intend to require visas for tourists from the EU.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
12th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what position in the hierarchy of negotiators Olly Robbins holds.

The Prime Minister retains personal overall responsibility for the negotiations on the UK side and is supported by her Europe Advisor, who heads up the official-level negotiating team.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the UK is not forced to stay in a customs union by the EU.

The agreed Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, in the Withdrawal Agreement, guarantees that even in the event that the UK’s future relationship with the EU is not in place by the end of the Implementation Period, there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. The Withdrawal Agreement provides for a single customs territory between the UK and the EU. This ensures that Northern Ireland remains in the same customs territory as Great Britain, while meeting our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland to ensure no hard border on the island of Ireland. Both sides have been clear that the backstop is an insurance policy which we do not expect to use, and if needed, is explicitly temporary.

The Political Declaration is clear that there will be an economic partnership between the UK and the EU with no tariffs or quotas, with ambitious customs arrangements that build and improve on the Withdrawal Agreement. In building and improving on the arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement, the Political Declaration is clear that the UK and EU will act in line with the objectives and principles of the agreement, including the development of an independent UK trade policy beyond the economic partnership with the EU.

Preparatory organisational work for the formal negotiations on the future relationship will begin as soon as the Withdrawal Agreement is concluded, and before the UK leaves the EU, focusing on key issues such as the development of alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland on a permanent footing.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether the Withdrawal Agreement will allow the UK to negotiate trade deals with third countries.

As set out in Article 129 of the Withdrawal Agreement, during the Implementation Period the UK will be able to negotiate, sign and ratify our own free trade agreements with new partners, and bring them into force after the implementation period.

Furthermore, the text of the Political Declaration is clear that whatever is agreed in the future partnership must recognise the development of an independent UK trade policy beyond this economic partnership.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, how many people were involved in negotiating the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Negotiating the Withdrawal Agreement required a cross-government effort, supporting the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU in delivering the negotiations.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what assurances can be given to UK citizens living in the EU that they will not be deported in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

On 6 December the Government published the policy paper Citizens’ Rights - EU Citizens in the UK and UK Nationals in the EU setting out the details of our offer to EU citizens in the UK in the unlikely event of a no deal scenario. This confirms EU citizens resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be able to work, study, and access benefits and services as now and that. The Home Office will continue to run the EU Settlement Scheme, with no changes to the basis for qualifying under the scheme.

This demonstrates the UK Government’s ongoing commitment to citizens and removes any ambiguity over their future.

We are calling for EU Member States to offer the same protections to UK nationals in the EU. Some countries have committed already to do so, and we hope others will do the same shortly. We have instructed our Ambassadors to engage with EU counterparts to urge them to make the same commitment to protect the rights of UK nationals in the EU.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
5th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether he has had discussions with the leaders of the political parties in Northern Ireland on the Government’s plan for Northern Ireland in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Over the past months, UK Government Ministers and officials have met a range of stakeholders in Northern Ireland, including representatives of political parties, and made clear that while we are confident that we will agree a deal with the European Union, which remains by far the most likely outcome, it is the responsibility of the Government to continue preparations for the full range of potential outcomes, including no deal. As we do, and as decisions are made, we will take full account of the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.

In the event there was no deal, the UK Government is clear that we must respect our unique relationship with Ireland, with whom we share a land border and who are co-signatories of the Belfast Agreement. The UK Government has consistently placed upholding the Agreement and its successors at the heart of our approach and we will continue to do so while safeguarding the integrity of the United Kingdom and respecting the principle of consent.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
5th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what progress he has made with his counterparts in the EU on the prevention of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as a result of the UK leaving the EU without remaining in (a) a customs union or (b) the single market.

We are working at pace with the European Commission to secure a future relationship that meets in full the commitments we made in the December Joint Report on Northern Ireland. This is reflected fully in our White Paper proposals, which would avoid a hard border, preserve the integrity of the UK internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it, and preserve North-South cooperation in line with the Belfast Agreement.

It is rightly the priority on all sides that those issues should be resolved through our future partnership. But we remain absolutely committed to agreeing a legally operative backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement alongside a framework for that future relationship. We have already agreed legal text with the EU on maintaining the Common Travel Area and associated rights and on protecting North-South cooperation. We have put forward an alternative proposal on the customs elements of the backstop, the Temporary Customs Arrangement, that would only come into force in specific and narrow circumstances. We are now intensifying discussions on both fronts as we look ahead to reaching agreement in the autumn.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
5th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, how many civil servants are working on his Department's papers to prepare for the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Department for Exiting the European Union now has over 650 staff based in the UK plus the expertise of over 120 officials in Brussels working on EU exit work.

The Department continues to recruit the brightest and the best from across the civil service, the wider public sector and the private sector. We regularly review headcount to ensure we are appropriately resourced to deliver the Department’s objectives to secure the best possible deal on the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU; and build a deep and comprehensive future partnership between the UK and the EU.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on travel requirements for EU and UK holiday-makers after the UK has left the EU.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with Michel Barnier to discuss the issues related to our exit.

We are discussing all of the issues set out in the White Paper with the EU and have said that we want to enable UK and EU tourists to continue to travel visa-free in the future, maintaining the close links between our people.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, how many business owners he met during his visit to the Northern Ireland border in April 2018.

Details of formal Ministerial meetings on Departmental business are published in the Department’s Quarterly Transparency Returns, which are publicly available on GOV.UK.

The Secretary of State undertook a private, low-key visit to Northern Ireland on 23 April to deepen his understanding of one of the key issues of Brexit. He met a range of stakeholders in Northern Ireland, including representatives from the agriculture and agrifood sectors and assured them that the Government will uphold our commitments made to the people of Northern Ireland and the Belfast Agreement.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent meetings he has held with representatives of technology firms on the use of technology at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Our policy is clear – we are committed to ensuring that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and to ensuring the same unfettered access for Northern Ireland's businesses to the whole of the UK's internal market. We have said categorically that there will be no physical infrastructure or related checks and controls at the border.

In the course of meetings across a variety of sectors and industry groups, the Secretary of State discussed the UK’s proposed customs arrangements following our exit from the EU, the Northern Ireland and Ireland land border has also been discussed.

Since the referendum, HMRC officials and the Border Delivery Group have also met with over 300 businesses and representative bodies covering a wide range of sectors and interests as well as engaging with a wide range of suppliers in relation to UK border arrangements both for EU Exit and longer term future border arrangements.

My department has been coordinating work with HMRC, Border Force and the cross-government Border Delivery Group on this issue. They are working on finding technological facilitations in relation to the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and ensuring that the UK has a functioning customs regime when we leave the EU.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, how many meetings has he held with the heads of the devolved institutions since the creation of his Department.

The Government has been engaging with the devolved administrations throughout the negotiation process. The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union has spoken to Ministers from the Scottish and Welsh governments on a number of occasions to update them on the negotiations, including through the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations. In the absence of an Executive, we have also engaged at an official level with the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

There have now been nine meetings of the JMC(EN), most recently on 2 May 2018. Following our commitment to further engage with the devolved administrations, the UK Government has established a new Ministerial Forum on EU Negotiations to discuss a range of issues in relation to negotiations on the UK's Future Relationship with the EU. The Ministerial Forum is jointly chaired by the Minister for the Constitution and myself, and met for the first time on 24 May 2018. Senior officials from the Northern Ireland Civil Service attend both the JMC(EN) and Ministerial Forum in the absence of an Executive.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what the Government's policy is on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland when the UK leaves the EU.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed her commitments to the Northern Ireland and Ireland border in her speech at Mansion House, recognising the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland, and our shared commitments to avoiding a hard border.

The Joint Report also made clear that it is our intention to avoid a hard border and any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland through our overall UK-EU relationship. If this does not prove possible, we will then propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the UK will maintain full alignment with those rules of the internal market and the customs union which, now or in the future, support North-South co-operation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 [Belfast] Agreement. We have always been clear that we will not agree anything that threatens the constitutional or economic integrity of the UK.

We have pledged to translate all of the commitments made in the Joint Report we published with the EU Commission in December into a legally binding Withdrawal Agreement. This includes all of those on Northern Ireland and Ireland. We remain absolutely committed to doing so.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
27th Nov 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent representations he has made and discussions he has held with the EU on the future of the UK-Ireland land border.

The UK has made extensive representations on this issue throughout all negotiating rounds with the European Commission. There is much agreement between the UK and the EU on the proposals for how to address the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland and Ireland in light of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The joint report between the UK and the EU makes clear our steadfast commitment to the Belfast (‘Good Friday’) Agreement, including the principle of consent; the continuation of the Common Travel Area and associated rights; and the vital objective of avoiding any physical infrastructure on the land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. We are committed to finding a practical solution that recognises the unique economic, social and political context of the land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. We are clear that we will not agree anything that threatens the constitutional or economic integrity of the UK.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much of the UK's annual aid budget was spent on direct food aid globally in 2015.

In 2015 over £300 million of UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) delivered by DFID was directed towards food aid. A further £200 million was delivered through multi-lateral organisations that work in humanitarian response to tackle poverty and hunger and £80 million directed towards Basic Nutrition programmes and Food Aid for Livestock.

In addition in 2015 over £600 million was spent on Material Relief for humanitarian responses, which includes cash transfers. This provides flexible assistance to those struggling in humanitarian crises, enabling them to buy food and meet the medical and shelter needs of themselves and their dependents.

30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much government funding is provided for climate action in developing countries.

Over the last five years, the UK Government has provided £3.87 billion for climate action in developing countries. This has, amongst other things, supported 21 million people to cope with the effects of climate change and helped 6.6 million people access clean energy.

30th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the implications are for her policies on her Department's assistance for the training of teachers in the developing world to meet 2030 educational targets of UNESCOs Policy Paper 19 of April 2015, The challenge of teacher shortage and quality.

We welcome the educational targets of UNESCO's Policy Paper. Well trained, motivated and empowered teachers are central to a quality education and this is where we are focusing our efforts; in the period 2011 – 2015 we helped to train 380,000 teachers and improve the effectiveness of teacher development. Through our ongoing bilateral education programmes and support to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), we assist 65 developing countries to develop and finance education sector plans for teacher training.

5th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what progress her Department has made on meeting the target of committing 0.7 per cent of national income to international aid.

The UK has met the international commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on Official Development Assistance in recent years and we will continue to do so

20th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how her Department is using international aid to tackle poverty in Rwanda.

DFID Rwanda’s 2011-2016 Operational Plan (OP) supports the Government of Rwanda’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy 2 (EDPRS2 2013-2017/18). In 2014/15 DFID will spend around £67 million supporting delivery of basic services, in particular education and social protection; private sector and economic development; and the strengthening of domestic accountability and Rwandan civil society.

By 2016, DFID support will seek to help 723,600 of the poorest people in Rwanda to get a job, or financial support to meet their basic needs; 44,200 children to complete basic education and ensure it is of a quality which enables them to pass their national exam at the age of 14; 4.7 million land parcels to be registered as legally owned, allowing owners to be able to invest in it to raise their incomes; and help 1.8 million people to have a greater say in their own development and to hold decision-makers to account.

20th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how her Department is using international aid to tackle the water shortage in Bangladesh.

The UK government is providing up to £23.5 million over five years (2012-17) through the South Asia Water Governance Programme to facilitate regional collaboration over shared rivers in South Asia, including in Bangladesh, in order to address challenges around water resource management, development and climate change.

The UK Government is also supporting a multi-country study (including Bangladesh) on groundwater resilience to climate change and abstraction in the Indo-Gangetic basin. The study is being undertaken by the British Geological Survey (BGS) in association with several local partners.

25th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what reports she has received on the situation between the government of Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwandan Hutu rebels.

It is vital that progress is made towards ensuring all armed groups no longer pose a threat in DRC. We welcome the government of DRC’s announcement that military action against the FDLR (the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) has begun. However, we are keen to see meaningful action on the ground.

11th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what additional support her Department is providing for Royal Navy personnel assisting with the aftermath of the Caribbean tsunami.

The Royal Navy is not responding to a tsunami in the Caribbean.

27th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effect of financial aid provided to Argentina.

DFID does not provide financial aid to Argentina.

27th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effect of the Government's efforts to alleviate food shortages in Eastern Africa.

The Government helps to alleviate food shortages in East Africa through both emergency support and longer-term development. The UK’s multi-year humanitarian programmes give agencies more capacity to prepare, plan and respond in a timely way. We invest in risk monitoring, early humanitarian response, safety nets protecting vulnerable people and the development of agricultural productivity and markets. The impact of our interventions is regularly evaluated including by independent organisations.

For example, in South Sudan, United Nations’ analysis found that the 2014 emergency food security response, to which the UK was a very significant contributor, was a critical factor in averting the widely-predicted outbreak of famine in 2014. In Kenya, UK funding ensures that over 1.3 million people, of which two thirds are women, now have a bank account and can receive emergency cash transfers during a drought. DFID’s FoodTrade Eastern and Southern Africa programme aims to develop the regional market in grains, and is expected to help reduce acute food shortages in East Africa in the long term, while directly benefiting 1.8 million people by 2018.

24th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what reports she has received on the humanitarian situation within the civilian population of eastern Ukraine.

DFID humanitarian advisors undertook reporting missions to Ukraine in March, June, August and October 2014 and a UK humanitarian adviser has been posted to Kiev for three months to work with the Government of Ukraine and other donors to respond to the deepening humanitarian crisis.

18th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the implication for its policies of the figure in the Global Slavery Index of 0.5 per cent of the world's population living as slaves.

Modern slavery affects people from all over the world, including here in the United Kingdom. This Government is committed to stamping out this abhorrent crime, building on the UK’s strong track record in supporting victims and fighting the perpetrators.

12th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment she has made of the humanitarian situation in Syria.

The humanitarian crisis in Syria has reached catastrophic proportions. The UN estimates that 9.3 million people are in dire need of humanitarian aid within Syria. At least 6.5 million people in Syria have been forced to flee their homes to other areas of the country and there are now over 2.8 million refugees in the region.

29th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps his Department is taking to increase food and drink exports from Northern Ireland to (a) Asia (b) South America and (c) Africa.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) collaborates closely with Invest Northern Ireland both here in the UK and overseas to support companies from the region to export globally. We encourage companies to take advantage of overseas opportunities via initiatives such as our Exporting is GREAT campaign, our Tradeshow Access Programme, bespoke “Meet the Buyer” events alongside providing financial support to exporters via UK Export Finance.

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners, including those for South Asia, Latin America and Africa provide a wealth of export opportunities on Great.gov.uk for companies to access.

29th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions has he had with his counterparts overseas on the export of UK pharmaceutical products.

The United Kingdom pharmaceutical sector is a major exporter with exports of £24.8 billion in 2018. Support to exports by United Kingdom pharmaceutical companies is co-ordinated by the Department for International Trade. We work closely with the sector to identify when Ministerial or official discussions with overseas counterparts are required and there is regular senior level engagement with the major UK pharmaceutical exporters.

29th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase foreign direct investment into Northern Ireland.

I refer the Hon. Member for Upper Bann to the answer given by my Hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Trade Policy, on 12 March to the Hon. Member for Strangford, UIN: 228744.

29th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how much his Department has spent on advertising in each of the last two years.

The total advertising expenditure by the department for each of the last two years is:

2018/19: £0

2017/18: £93,000

These figures exclude campaigns run as part of the Government’s GREAT programme, recruitment advertising costs (not held centrally), and advertising costs by UK Export Finance which is a separate legal entity to the Department for International Trade.

25th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the US Administration on confectionery trade between US and UK after the UK leaves the EU.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with US officials about all aspects of UK-US trade. In addition, the UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group, which is dedicated to strengthening the bilateral trade and investment relationship, has now met five times since it was first convened in July 2017. These meetings include discussions on trade across a broad range of sectors relevant to US and UK economies, including the food and drink sector. They are designed to strengthen the current trading relationship and lay the groundwork for future negotiations for a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement after EU exit.

25th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what his Department's trade policy will be if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Our priority remains getting approval for the deal we have negotiated with our European partners. Alongside this, the Government will continue to do the responsible thing and prepare for all eventualities with partner countries, including a ‘no deal’ scenario.

Regardless of how we leave, for the first time in more than four decades, the UK will have an independent trade policy once we exit from the EU. We will deploy all the tools at our disposal and tailor our trade policy to the strengths and requirements of the UK economy.

The Government is preparing for an ambitious programme of trade negotiations and enhanced market access. We have consulted on our first four potential free trade agreements (FTAs), with Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

While we are looking to forge new agreements, the Government is also seeking continuity for our existing EU trade agreements as we leave the European Union. We have made good progress, signing agreements with Chile, Switzerland, the Faroe Islands, the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) states, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the Pacific states, and CARIFORUM. We are also due to sign an agreement with Iceland-Norway shortly.

25th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many countries in the Commonwealth have not agreed a trade deal with the UK for when the UK leaves the EU.

The UK enjoys excellent trading relationships with our Commonwealth partners and the Government is committed to strengthening these further.

As we leave the EU, the Government is seeking continuity for our existing EU trade arrangements, including those with Commonwealth countries. The best way to provide continuity and stability of these agreements is to have a deal with the European Union so that the UK can remain covered by all existing trade agreements during the Implementation Period. Nevertheless, the Government is working to have bilateral agreements in place ready for when we need them, whether that is in the event of no deal, or after the proposed implementation period.

The UK has signed trade agreement continuity agreements with Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean, Pacific and Eastern and Southern Africa. The list of countries is available on Gov.uk (LINK).

The Government has also published a list of those agreements that both may and will not be in place by 12 April 2019 in order that businesses and individuals ensure that they are prepared for every eventuality. (LINK) This advice will be updated regularly. Many discussions with other Commonwealth countries are at an advanced stage. As with all such discussions, they tend to go down to the wire, and we would expect nothing less from these agreements.

We will implement a UK trade preferences scheme for developing countries, including those in the Commonwealth, which will provide the same level of access as the current EU trade preference scheme. This includes maintaining duty-free, quota-free access for the world’s least developed countries.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will be free to negotiate, sign and ratify new trade agreements during the time-limited implementation period, and to bring them into force from January 2021. We have completed public consultations on possible UK trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, and potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which includes six members of the Commonwealth. In addition, we are building stronger relationships with large economies, such India, through a series of Joint Trade Reviews (JTRs).

25th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps his Department is taking ensure that the maintenance of food of comparable quality from overseas without tariffs after the UK leaves the EU.

In the event that the UK leaves the EU under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, there will be an implementation period during which tariffs remain unchanged. Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, the UK will implement a temporary tariff as announced on 13 March 2019. This is a balanced tariff policy which aims to minimise costs to business and mitigate price impacts on consumers, while also supporting UK producers as far as possible.

The applied tariff does not affect what food is eligible be imported into the UK. The Government is committed in all exit scenarios to upholding the UK’s high food safety, environmental, and animal welfare standards.

7th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions his Department has had with UK businesses whose biggest trading partners are EU countries on preparations to leave the EU.

DIT leads the strategic relationship management (SRM) of major investors and exporters, works through the International Trade Adviser network across England to advise businesses and has established an enquiry service for UK businesses to receive answers to their queries on the trade and investment, and export related aspects of EU Exit.

DIT teams in Europe continue to work with UK companies to promote their high-quality British goods and services, to identify and create demand in European markets and to facilitate UK exports to the EU.

The government has published extensive advice on the step’s businesses may need to take to prepare for Brexit. Businesses should visit gov.uk/euexit to access the information they need.

27th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on UK trade with the US after the UK leaves the EU.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade has spoken on numerous occasions to the United States Trade Representative, and there have been five meetings of the UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group to date, involving discussions between representatives of the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States on a range of matters. We cannot negotiate any trade agreements whilst we are still members of the EU.

27th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in other countries on the benefits of manufacturers operating in those countries basing their manufacturing operations in the UK.

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State regularly promotes manufacturing excellence and the benefits of investing in the UK, including with his counterparts from other countries. Recent examples include the Secretary of State’s visit to China, where he discussed investment in the UK technology sector, and his visit to Germany, where he met with Siemens.

The recent EY publication on FDI into Towns and Cities in the UK has shown that 57% of manufacturing FDI projects were attracted to places outside Core Cities or Large Towns, helping address geographic imbalances between cities and other locations benefits.

16th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on the UK trading on WTO terms after the UK leaves the EU.

We firmly believe it is in the interests of both the EU and the UK to strike a deal. That remains the goal on both sides and we are confident that this will be achieved. But it is the job of a responsible Government to prepare for all scenarios, so we have already carried out very significant ‘no deal’ preparations for the unlikely event that we reach March 2019 without agreeing a deal and trade with the EU reverts to WTO terms.

Consequently, no deal planning and trading on WTO terms forms a necessary part of the discussions across Whitehall between all members of Cabinet, including the Department for Exiting the European Union.

5th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans his Department has in place to include the devolved administrations in UK trade negotiations in the future.

In due course, Britain will be leaving the EU. This offers us an opportunity to forge a new role for ourselves in the world: to negotiate, in time, our own trade agreements and to be a positive and powerful force for free trade. The Prime Minister has established the Department for International Trade to promote British trade across the world and ensure the UK takes advantage of the huge opportunities open to us. The Government is currently reviewing its trade policy. We will engage fully with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments and with a broad range of stakeholders over the coming weeks and months as we prepare for negotiations with our international partners.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to introduce 3D baggage screening equipment at UK airports.

As announced by the Prime Minister on 25 August, all major UK airports have been instructed to introduce new 3D cabin baggage screening equipment by 1 December 2022.

19th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the cost of replacing diesel trains with hybrid and electric trains.

The Department has not made an estimate of the cost of replacing diesel trains. The Government has set out its ambition to remove all diesel-only trains from the network by 2040, and the rail industry are producing a decarbonisation report which will set out how it can achieve this objective.

18th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the provision of public transport in rural areas.

The Government recognises the importance of public transport in rural areas.

All local authorities in England have powers to subsidise socially necessary bus services. The Department provides £43 million per year to local authorities to support this.

The Bus Services Act 2017 provides tools for local authorities to work more effectively with bus operators to improve bus services.

A number of projects from the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund will provide new community transport links to support people at most risk of isolation.

On rail, the Department’s Community Rail Development Strategy, published in Nov 2018, looks for ways to make it easier for the rail industry and local community rail partnerships to improve services and stations on local branch lines.

18th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to introduce electric charging points for cars at petrol stations.

The Government has had a number of discussions with petrol service station operators about the provision of electric vehicle charge points. We want to encourage and leverage private sector investment to build and operate a self-sustaining public network supported by the right policy framework. In many cases, the market is better-placed than government to identify the right locations for chargepoints and it is essential that viable commercial models are in place to ensure continued maintenance and improvements to the network. Already, the vast majority of chargepoints now being installed are funded with private money and we want to see this trend continue. The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act gives the Government new powers to mandate provision of chargepoints at Motorway Service Areas and large fuel retailers. The Government will continue to monitor the market and will bring forward regulation using these powers if the market fails to deliver the infrastructure required.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce congestion on the roads during rush hours.

This Government is determined to improve journeys for all motorists which is why we are spending more than £50 billion between 2015 and 2025 to tackle congestion and maintain the condition of roads in England.

On England’s Strategic Roads, our motorways and main ‘A’ roads, the Government is spending £17.6 billion between 2015 and 2020 which includes a dedicated Congestion Relief Programme, as part of the first Road Investment Strategy. A further £25.3 billion is expected to be spent between 2020 and 2025 to deliver the second Road Investment Strategy.

On local authority roads, £420 million in the 2018/19 financial year was allocated for the repair of roads (including potholes), bridges and local highways infrastructure generally, on top of the £6.2 billion allocation for maintenance between 2015 and 2021.

Between 2015/16 and 2020/21 the Government has provided local highway authorities with £1.29 billion from the Integrated Transport Block which is for small scale transport improvements, including schemes to ease congestion.

Between 2020 and 2025, £3.5 billion has been announced for the Major Road Network and Large Local Majors programme which will provide increased focus and funding certainty to the most important local authority roads.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
15th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the cost of rail fares to the EU from the UK will be affected by the UK leaving the EU.

Fares for international passenger services between the UK and the EU are set by the relevant train operator on a commercial basis. Any potential change in fares is therefore a commercial matter for the operators concerned.

15th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce congestion of lorries going to the port of Dover after the UK leaves the EU.

The Government remains focused on ensuring the UK’s smooth and orderly withdrawal from the EU with a deal as soon as possible. As a responsible government, we’ve been preparing to minimise any disruption in the event of no deal for over two years.

The Department for Transport has worked closely with the Kent Resilience Forum on developing plans, also known as Operation Brock, to be used as a contingency in the event of cross-Channel travel disruption at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel, whatever the cause.

Operation Brock has been designed to ensure that the M20 will be kept open and traffic will continue to flow in both directions. It consists of three phases: a contraflow queuing system on the M20, between Junctions 8 and 9; temporary holding areas at Manston Airfield for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) heading to Europe via the Port of Dover; and, if necessary, temporary holding areas on the M26 (Brock M26) for HGVs heading to Europe via Eurotunnel. The M20 contraflow element will allow non-port traffic to continue to use the M20 in both directions when HGVs are stored on the coast-bound carriageway.

The Government has also been taking steps to minimise the number of hauliers and other vehicles arriving at Dover and Eurotunnel without the essential documentation for EU border controls in a no deal scenario. This should help to reduce the risk of significant disruption at ports and on the Kent road network from the introduction of new EU customs processes.

20th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance his Department has provided to car insurance companies on the potential for a fee to be charged in respect of driving from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.

There has been no such engagement with car insurance companies; my Department is not aware of any plans for a fee to be charged by car insurance companies in respect of driving from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland, which is a commercial matter for those companies.

12th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with airlines on additional charges to fly from the UK to EU member states after the UK has left the EU.

The Secretary of State and officials from the Department have and will continue to engage with stakeholders from across the aviation industry on all issues relating to EU Exit.

12th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase customer satisfaction in (a) rail and (b) other forms of public transport.

Customer satisfaction is an absolute priority for the Department. In rail, we are investing £48 billion to help modernise the network and deliver significant improvements in performance, punctuality and capacity across the country. We are upgrading the East Coast and Great Western Mainlines and introducing brand new trains across the network with orders for over 7,800 new carriages placed since 2010. We have also introduced new measures on compensation, an independent rail ombudsman and commissioned an independent root and branch review of the railway.

Buses already enjoy high customer satisfaction with the latest Transport Focus Bus Passenger Survey revealing that almost nine out of ten passengers saying they are satisfied with their bus service. The Bus Services Act 2017 introduced a number of new tools to help local authorities improve local bus services. Through partnership arrangements we have enabled local authorities and bus operators to work constructively to provide better services for passengers.

12th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he is taking steps to prevent continual fare increases in public transport; and if he will make a statement.