Diana Johnson Portrait

Diana Johnson

Labour - Kingston upon Hull North

Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (Joint)
27th Feb 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Health and Social Care Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Draft Health Service Safety Investigations Bill (Joint Committee)
17th Apr 2018 - 27th Jul 2018
Draft Health Service Safety Investigation Bill (Joint Committee)
17th Apr 2018 - 27th Jul 2018
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
18th Sep 2015 - 27th Jun 2016
Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)
8th Oct 2010 - 18th Sep 2015
Shadow Minister (Health)
12th May 2010 - 8th Oct 2010
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools)
9th Jun 2009 - 13th May 2010
Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)
2nd Jul 2007 - 10th Jun 2009
Public Accounts Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 5th Dec 2005


Oral Question
Monday 13th December 2021
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Topical Question No. 8
If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.
Save to Calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Monday 13th December 2021
16:20
Home Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Investigation and prosecution of rape
13 Dec 2021, 4:20 p.m.
At 4.30pm: Oral evidence
Max Hill QC - Director of Public Prosecutions at Crown Prosecution Service
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 15th December 2021
09:30
Division Votes
Wednesday 1st December 2021
Finance (No. 2) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 149 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 301 Noes - 206
Speeches
Wednesday 1st December 2021
Community Debt Advice Services

I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this important debate. She knows well the high levels of indebtedness in Hull. …

Written Answers
Thursday 2nd December 2021
Roads: Accidents
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of trends in the number …
Early Day Motions
Monday 16th October 2017
CONTAMINATED BLOOD INQUIRY
That this House welcomes the Prime Minister's announcement of an inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal; thanks the Rt. Rev …
Bills
Wednesday 9th December 2020
Sexual Exploitation Bill 2019-21
A Bill to criminalise paying for sex; to decriminalise selling sex; to create offences relating to enabling or profiting from …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 20th September 2021
1. Employment and earnings
26 August 2021, received £375 from the University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX, for speaking at a Centre …
EDM signed
Monday 12th October 2020
Debenhams redundancies
That this House condemns the way in which Debenhams has implemented the redundancies of thousands of workers during the Coronavirus …
Supported Legislation
Monday 6th July 2020
Tibet (Reciprocal Access) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report annually on restrictions on access by UK nationals to Tibet …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Diana Johnson has voted in 305 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Diana Johnson Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(28 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(24 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(22 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(37 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(28 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(25 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(24 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Diana Johnson's debates

Kingston upon Hull North Petitions

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

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

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

Diana Johnson has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Diana Johnson

12th October 2020
Diana Johnson signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 12th October 2020

Debenhams redundancies

Tabled by: Andrew Gwynne (Labour - Denton and Reddish)
That this House condemns the way in which Debenhams has implemented the redundancies of thousands of workers during the Coronavirus outbreak; notes that staff were told via conference call that they would be made redundant with 3 days’ notice and 3 days’ pay and that there was no consultation or …
29 signatures
(Most recent: 10 Nov 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 22
Scottish National Party: 2
Plaid Cymru: 2
Independent: 1
Green Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
14th July 2020
Diana Johnson signed this EDM on Wednesday 22nd July 2020

Restoration of online democracy and equal rights for MPs

Tabled by: Geraint Davies (Labour (Co-op) - Swansea West)
That this House believes that the decision to discontinue the ability of elected MPs to participate remotely in parliamentary debates, bill committees and by electronic voting is unlawful and discriminatory because it means that up to 250 elected MPs, who are clinically shielded to protect themselves or their families from …
66 signatures
(Most recent: 15 Sep 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 34
Scottish National Party: 15
Liberal Democrat: 8
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
View All Diana Johnson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Diana Johnson, 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.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Diana Johnson

Wednesday 24th November 2021

Diana Johnson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

7 Bills introduced by Diana Johnson


A Bill to criminalise paying for sex; to decriminalise selling sex; to create offences relating to enabling or profiting from another person's sexual exploitation; to make associated provision about sexual exploitation online; to make provision for support services for victims of sexual exploitation; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 9th December 2020
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to amend the law relating to abortion in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland; to remove criminal liability in respect of abortion performed with the consent of the pregnant woman up to the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy; to repeal sections 59 and 60 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861; to create offences of termination of a pregnancy after its twenty-fourth week and non-consensual termination of a pregnancy; to amend the law relating to conscientious objection to participation in abortion treatment; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 23rd October 2018
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Date TBA

A Bill to regulate the termination of pregnancies by medical practitioners and to repeal certain criminal offences relating to such terminations; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 13th March 2017
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to make provision to include education about sex and relationships, resilience against bullying and sexual abuse and ending violence against women and girls in the national curriculum; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 21st October 2014

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision for the statutory regulation of sex establishments; to amend the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982; to require local authorities to adhere to the existing voluntary licensing framework for sex establishments; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 28th January 2014

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to enable women to be consecrated as bishops in the Church of England; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 13th March 2013

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State to make provision to include relationship, drug and alcohol education in the national curriculum; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 17th October 2012

575 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
3 Other Department Questions
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 4 March 2021 to Question 160582, when he plans to respond to the letters from the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North, of 25 February 2021 and 11 March 2021, on changes in the level of funding for Transport for the North.

A reply has been sent.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to his oral contribution on 24 February 2021, Official Report, col 911, if he will make an assessment of the compatibility of his policies and the funding letter from the Department for Transport, sent to Transport for the North, dated 4 January 2021.

A reply will be sent in due course. Transport for the North’s overall funding means they will have access to over £70 million this coming financial year alone. We are building on the £29 billion we have invested in transport in the north since 2010 with: the Integrated Rail Plan bringing together HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, and our multi-billion-pound rail investment programme; our £5 billion investment into local bus and cycle links, including in the North; our £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund which will benefit communities across the region; and our £4.2 billion intra-city transport fund, benefitting bus, train, and tram services across our 8 largest city regions. And at Budget, we reaffirmed our commitment to northern infrastructure, with:

  • The launch of the UK Infrastructure Bank, headquartered in Leeds;
  • A new government economic campus in Darlington;
  • Investment in offshore wind port infrastructure in Teesside and Humberside;
  • And over £450 million in Towns Fund Deals for towns across the north – investing in infrastructure and culture from Middlesbrough to Bolton, to Rochdale and Scunthorpe.
Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to his oral contribution on 24 February 2021, Official Report, col 911, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North dated 25 February 2021 on changes in the level of funding for Transport for the North.

A reply will be sent in due course. Transport for the North’s overall funding means they will have access to over £70 million this coming financial year alone. We are building on the £29 billion we have invested in transport in the north since 2010 with: the Integrated Rail Plan bringing together HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, and our multi-billion-pound rail investment programme; our £5 billion investment into local bus and cycle links, including in the North; our £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund which will benefit communities across the region; and our £4.2 billion intra-city transport fund, benefitting bus, train, and tram services across our 8 largest city regions. And at Budget, we reaffirmed our commitment to northern infrastructure, with:

  • The launch of the UK Infrastructure Bank, headquartered in Leeds;
  • A new government economic campus in Darlington;
  • Investment in offshore wind port infrastructure in Teesside and Humberside;
  • And over £450 million in Towns Fund Deals for towns across the north – investing in infrastructure and culture from Middlesbrough to Bolton, to Rochdale and Scunthorpe.
Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people under 30 with pre-existing conditions who died from covid-19.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people under the age of 30 without pre-existing medical conditions who died from covid-19.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Written Statement of 25 March 2021 HCWS895 on Infected Blood Update, if he will publish the appeals processes to be used by the devolved Nations of the UK in respect of infected blood support schemes where people disagree with an assessment.

Discussions were held between officials from across the United Kingdom to understand the current non-discretionary support offered by the four support schemes and the changes that would be required to bring greater parity of support for those infected and affected by the contaminated blood tragedy. During discussions the principle of uplifting beneficiaries to the most generous support provided across the four schemes where possible was applied, resulting in the changes announced on 25 March 2021.

The support schemes are devolved and each scheme has its own appeals process, except for Northern Ireland, who use the English appeals panel. These processes are stated on their respective websites, which are publicly available. Northern Ireland has a bespoke process and the details are available directly from the Scheme manager.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Written Ministerial Statement on Infected Blood Update, published 25 March 2021, if he will detail the process that was used by the different nations of the UK infected blood support schemes to calculate parity payments.

Discussions were held between officials from across the United Kingdom to understand the current non-discretionary support offered by the four support schemes and the changes that would be required to bring greater parity of support for those infected and affected by the contaminated blood tragedy. During discussions the principle of uplifting beneficiaries to the most generous support provided across the four schemes where possible was applied, resulting in the changes announced on 25 March 2021.

The support schemes are devolved and each scheme has its own appeals process, except for Northern Ireland, who use the English appeals panel. These processes are stated on their respective websites, which are publicly available. Northern Ireland has a bespoke process and the details are available directly from the Scheme manager.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
18th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 140, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of adopting a zero covid-19 strategy; and whether the Government made such an assessment as part of its public health strategy.

On 22 February, the Government published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’, providing a roadmap out of lockdown restrictions in England. I refer the hon. Member to the Prime Minister’s statement when presenting this to Parliament, where he said that there is no credible route to a zero-covid Britain.

In the meantime, the vaccination programme continues at pace. However as we have set out in our roadmap, no vaccine is 100% effective and, even when vaccinated, there is still a chance people can contract the virus and pass it on. In time, scientists expect COVID-19 to become endemic, meaning the virus will reach a stable, and hopefully manageable level.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to provide additional funding to (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland to support improvements and equality in the infected blood support schemes.

Work is currently underway across government to address the concerns of people infected and affected by infected blood, and the House will be updated shortly.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress has been made in making long-term, specialist psychological support available to people infected or affected by the contaminated blood scandal.

Work is currently underway across government to address the concerns of people infected and affected by infected blood, and the House will be updated shortly.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department has taken to include bereaved parents and children in the infected blood support schemes.

Work is currently underway across government to address the concerns of people infected and affected by infected blood, and the House will be updated shortly.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress has been made on ensuring that access to the infected blood support schemes is fair and equal throughout the UK.

Work is currently underway across government to address the concerns of people infected and affected by infected blood, and the House will be updated shortly.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions his Department (a) has had and (b) plans to have with local authority leaders on ensuring that the May 2021 local elections are covid-secure.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and PCC elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not usually disclosed. Details of ministers' meetings with external organisations and individuals are published on gov.uk periodically.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what guidance his Department plans to issue to local authorities in the event that they are unable to secure insurance cover for covid-19 for volunteers and employees attending buildings used (a) as polling stations and (b) for counts during the local elections in May 2021.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and PCC elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not usually disclosed. Details of ministers' meetings with external organisations and individuals are published on gov.uk periodically.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the steps required to make buildings used (a) as polling stations and (b) for counts during the local elections in May 2021 covid-secure.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and PCC elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not usually disclosed. Details of ministers' meetings with external organisations and individuals are published on gov.uk periodically.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when his Department plans to publish advice for returning officers organising the counts of the local elections in May 2021.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and PCC elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not usually disclosed. Details of ministers' meetings with external organisations and individuals are published on gov.uk periodically.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the number of people who can safely attend the counts of the local elections in May 2021 in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and PCC elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not usually disclosed. Details of ministers' meetings with external organisations and individuals are published on gov.uk periodically.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Nov 2020
What plans the Government has to implement the recommendations of the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report on Russia.

The Government welcomed the ISC’s report on Russia. The Government's response to the report was published on the same day as its release.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to Answer of 2 June 2020 to Question 48959, when the Government plans to lift covid-19 restrictions to allow small, socially distant weddings to take place.

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

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many covid-19 deaths have been recorded in care homes in Hull since the start of the outbreak.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of easing covid-19 restrictions to allow weddings to take place with a limited number of attendees.

As stated in 'Our Plan To Rebuild', the Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, the Government is examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups to better facilitate small weddings.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she plans to take to support people in fuel poverty following the removal of the £20 uplift to the standard allowance of universal credit.

The Government recognises that approximately 3.1 million households in England are experiencing fuel poverty. This is why we have committed £1.3 billion this year alone to improving the efficiency of fuel-poor and other low-income homes through stimulus schemes such as the Local Authority Delivery Scheme, the Social Housing Decarbonisation fund and the Home Upgrade Grant.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that hospitality businesses in (a) Kingston upon Hull North constituency and (b) the UK do not close down as a result of covid-19 restrictions in advance of those restrictions being eased.

The Government has brought forward a substantial package of financial support for the hospitality sector over the last year. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer will be making further announcements on the next phase of our economic support package in his Budget on 3 March.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support Kingston upon Hull to become the location of Europe’s first rare earth processing plant.

On 26th January, Pensana Rare Earths plc submitted a planning application for a proposed rare earth oxide separation facility at the Saltend Chemicals Park, Humber, Yorkshire. This will create Europe’s first rare earth processing plant, generating 100 new jobs and establishing a UK source of critical materials for the powerful magnets needed for offshore wind turbines and electric vehicles.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government’s Covid-19 guidance for Performing arts and non-professional activities updated on 18 May 2021, what the scientific basis is for six-person capacity limits on non-professional singing indoors.

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

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

All of these studies highlight the key factors of physical distancing, ventilation and volume, which is why we have published the suggested principles of safer singing.

Since these studies and the work from SAGE, the COVID context has changed with the emergence of more transmissible strains. This would include the so-called Alpha variant B.1.1.7 which research suggests may be 70% more transmissible, and now the Delta variant B1.617.2 which looks to be even more transmissible. This means the risks associated with transmission have increased since these studies were undertaken.

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

1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government’s Covid-19 guidance for Performing arts and non-professional activities updated on 18 May 2021, what assessment his Department has made of the financial impact of six-person capacity limits for non-professional singing indoors on music directors who facilitate those groups.

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

Last year, the government announced the unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the culture sector which is now reaching organisations and individuals across the country. This funding is supporting the arts and culture sector to survive the pandemic and continue operating. To date, over £1.2 billion has now been allocated to over 5000 organisations and sites across the country. Many working in the sector also continue to benefit from the significant cross-economy package of support that has been made available throughout this pandemic, including the generous employment schemes, grants, loans, and business rates relief.

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

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on covid-19 case rates of spectators at (a) school sports days and (b) Euro 2021 football matches held at Wembley Stadium.

In order to gain entry to the EURO 2020 football matches held at Wembley stadium, all attendees must either provide proof of a negative NHS Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test taken within 48 hours of the time the stadium gates open; OR proof of two vaccinations with the second vaccination being given at least two weeks prior to entry of the event via the NHS App; OR have natural immunity, based upon a positive PCR test within 180 days of the event.

In addition to existing entry requirements, the FA will be conducting additional spot checks on ticket holders for the remaining matches at Wembley, and asking for additional LFD tests where necessary.

Public safety is our main priority, and we continue to work closely with the local authorities, DHSC, and PHE to closely monitor attendees; this includes monitoring any potential prevalence of COVID-19 as a result of the events. Where cases have been identified across Events Research Programme pilot events, public health teams have swiftly followed up on them. We are unable to comment on individual cases.

The Events Research Programme report was published on Friday 25 June and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/events-research-programme-phase-i-findings

In respect of school sports, as per our response to PQ21844, schools that are planning sports days this term should complete thorough risk assessments and ensure that they are run in line with their system of controls. These are the actions that have been in place since the autumn term and that all schools must take to reduce risks and create an inherently safer environment. The system of controls are set out in the Department’s guidance to schools, available to view here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls (opens in a new tab).

The Department for Education has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England (PHE) to develop guidance for schools. We work with PHE to continually review the measures, which are informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice, and update the guidance accordingly.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department (a) has made and (b) plans to make an assessment of how many video-on-demand platforms apply the BBFC age ratings framework; and what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on the proposed timeline for further platforms to adopt the BBFC classification system.

As the designated body for age classification of film content, the Government has great trust in the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) best practice age ratings.

A number of video-on-demand services currently use BBFC ratings for some of their content, including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Curzon Home Cinema and BFI Player. In December 2020, Netflix became the first video-on-demand service to achieve complete coverage of their content under the BBFC’s ratings.

We have not made an assessment of the number of services that use these ratings, though we have discussed with the BBFC and individual companies their current and potential future use of these ratings. We continue to engage with industry to encourage other platforms to adopt the BBFC’s ratings across all of their content, and will keep the evidence for legislation in this area under review.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a single, unified system of age labelling across all online streaming sites in line with the age labelling system used for cinema.

The British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) age ratings are currently used by a number of video on demand providers and, although adoption is voluntary, we welcome their use. Over the past year, we have been working with the BBFC and industry to drive the voluntary adoption of the BBFC’s age rating symbols to video on demand services. We were particularly pleased to see Netflix announce on 1 December 2020 that they have become the first video on demand service to achieve complete coverage of their content under the BBFC’s ratings.

The UK’s Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2020, which transposed the revised EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive, were made and laid in Parliament on 30 September 2020. Following Parliament’s approval, the video sharing platform regime, for which Ofcom is the regulator, came into force on 1 November 2020. UK-established video sharing platforms must now take appropriate measures to protect the public, including minors, from illegal and harmful material.

Video sharing platforms are not currently mandated to adopt BBFC ratings, nor is it expected that they will be mandated to do so under Ofcom’s regulatory regime for video sharing platforms. In order to comply with the video sharing platform regime, age assurance measures may be adopted by video sharing platforms along with other measures such as age ratings and parental controls. Age assurance measures comprise a broad range of technical measures which can be used by a service to establish the age of their users. Under the video sharing platform regime, services must take into account freedom of expression and should consider what measures are most appropriate and proportionate prior to introducing them.

Ofcom and the BBFC have a strong collaborative relationship when working on audience protection issues. The BBFC is engaging actively with both Ofcom and video sharing platforms to share their expertise on emerging technologies and the applicability of content ratings on those platforms.

Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda and of wider government priorities. Where sites host user-generated content or facilitate online user interaction such as video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming, then that content will be subject to the new duty of care to be introduced under the Online Safety Bill. The government is working at pace to prepare the Bill, which will be ready this year.

We will continue to engage with industry to encourage platforms to use BBFC ratings to keep children safe online. We will keep the evidence for legislation in this area under review.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to provide targeted support to (a) cinemas and (b) entertainment venues while they remain closed as a result covid-19 restrictions.

Throughout the Covid pandemic the government has recognised the significant cultural and economic value of cinemas and entertainment venues.

On February 19 2020, DCMS announced that more than 200 independent cinemas had received £21 million in the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas, part of the wider £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF). The CRF has also made over 690 awards to the music sector totalling £170 million, and within that over £54 million has been awarded to over 300 music venues. Funding was also allocated for a second round of support worth up to £14 million for cinemas, with other entertainment venues being able to apply for Arts Council England’s second round fund of £250 million.

Together with pan-economy measures, including the VAT cut on tickets and concessions and a business rates holiday, these measures have supported the sector and we hope enabled it to reopen in line with the Government’s roadmap.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on people’s access to broadband; and what steps the Government is taking to (a) ensure the affordability of broadband and (b) reduce the digital divide.

In response to Covid-19, the Government and Ofcom agreed a set of commitments with the UK’s major broadband and mobile providers to support vulnerable consumers during the pandemic. Providers committed to working with customers who are finding it difficult to pay their bill as a result of Covid-19 to ensure that they were treated fairly and appropriately supported. They also committed to removing fixed broadband data caps, in addition to providing new and generous landline and mobile offers, such as free or low cost mobile data boosts.

There are already social tariffs available which offer low cost landline and broadband services for those on certain means-tested benefits. However, in line with Ofcom’s recommendation in their Affordability Report published in December 2020, the Government is encouraging those providers who do not currently offer social tariff packages to do so.

In addition, Government and Ofcom have taken action to help support switching to more affordable services.

The Government has promoted the DevicesDotNow campaign, which worked with community organisations to distribute devices to vulnerable adults and help them get online. The aim was to enable elderly and vulnerable people, particularly those to who are shielding, to communicate with the outside world and get access to vital services.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring broadband providers to offer affordable tariffs for people on low incomes.

The government recognises the importance of digital connectivity, particularly during this difficult period. We have worked closely with industry to develop a number of voluntary commitments. Providers have committed to working with customers who are finding it difficult to pay their bill as a result of COVID-19, to ensure that customers were treated fairly and appropriately supported. This is in addition to lifting all fixed broadband data caps and providing new and generous landline and mobile offers, such as free or low cost mobile data boosts.

In line with Ofcom’s recommendation in their Affordability Report published in December 2020, the government encourages those providers who do not currently offer social tariff packages to do so and we will monitor the situation closely.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what long-term plans his Department is making to tackle inequalities throughout the UK in access to (a) broadband, (b) digital devices and (c) digital skills training.

Ofcom is reviewing affordability issues in the communications market, and intends to publish recommendations in the first half of this year. This will improve the evidence base of where households face difficulty, and inform any future Government interventions.

Public libraries are also a vital component in providing access to the internet. There are around 2,900 public libraries in England providing a trusted network of accessible locations offering free Wi-Fi, computers, and other technology. The library staff, supported by volunteers, have been trained on digital skills to enable them to provide library users with support in using digital. Their vital role has been recognised with the new regulations enabling libraries to continue some services during this lockdown period including access to public PCs for essential purposes.

The Government has introduced a new digital entitlement for adults with no or low digital skills to undertake specified digital qualifications, up to Level 1, free of charge. Essential Digital Skills qualifications (EDSQs) are funded under the digital entitlement and based on new national standards which set out the digital skills people need to get on in life and work. We also support the provision of basic digital skills training for adults in community settings through the Adult Education Budget.

In April 2020 we also introduced the Skills Toolkit, an online platform which is already providing free courses to help individuals build the skills that are most sought after by employers. We have recently expanded the platform so that people can now choose from over 70 courses, covering digital, adult numeracy, employability and work readiness skills, which have been identified as the skills employers need the most. These courses will help people stay in work, or take up new jobs and opportunities.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Tier Three covid-19 restrictions that will be in place from the 2 December 2020, whether an indoor sports facility that would be required to cease group activity and classes are permitted to (a) teach a one-on-one class and (b) hire out their facility for self-directed and socially distant practice.

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

As the Prime Minister said on 23 November national restrictions will end on Wednesday 2 December, and gyms and sport facilities will reopen across all tiers. Under Tier 3 you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues. Gyms and sports facilities will be open for individual exercise and exercise in single households or support bubbles only. Indoor group activities and exercise classes should not take place. You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in an outdoor public place in groups up to 6.

There are exceptions for the following, which can take place in any number:

  • disability sport

  • sports as part of the curriculum in education

  • supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s (including those who were under 18 on 31 August 2020)

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he had had with (a) Cineworld and (b) trade unions on financial support for staff affected by the planned partial closure of that company's cinemas.

The government deeply regrets the unfortunate news of Cineworld’s temporary closure and is in direct and regular contact with the screen industry, including distributors and exhibitors, as well as through the BFI Screen Sector Task Force.

The government has supported cinemas through the VAT cut on tickets and concessions, business rates holiday and Bounce back loans. Independent cinemas are also eligible for a share of £30m from our unprecedented £1.57bn Culture Recovery Rund, and funding has started to be allocated already.

We recognise that cinemas need an incoming stream of new releases to show and we are supporting production by establishing a £500 million in a UK-wide Film and TV Production Restart Scheme to help get productions back up and running again. This will support the creation of new content which can be released into cinemas of all sizes.

Unless subject to local restrictions, cinemas are open for business and Covid secure. We urge the British public to support their local cinema and save jobs by visiting and enjoying a film in accordance with the guidance.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the planned partial closure of Cineworld's cinemas during the covid-19 outbreak, what plans his Department has to work with HM Treasury to provide further financial support to the film and screen industry.

The government deeply regrets the unfortunate news of Cineworld’s temporary closure and is in direct and regular contact with the screen industry, including distributors and exhibitors, as well as through the BFI Screen Sector Task Force.

The government has supported cinemas through the VAT cut on tickets and concessions, business rates holiday and Bounce back loans. Independent cinemas are also eligible for a share of £30m from our unprecedented £1.57bn Culture Recovery Rund, and funding has started to be allocated already.

We recognise that cinemas need an incoming stream of new releases to show and we are supporting production by establishing a £500 million in a UK-wide Film and TV Production Restart Scheme to help get productions back up and running again. This will support the creation of new content which can be released into cinemas of all sizes.

Unless subject to local restrictions, cinemas are open for business and Covid secure. We urge the British public to support their local cinema and save jobs by visiting and enjoying a film in accordance with the guidance.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when ten pin bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen subject to social distancing arrangements as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. From 1 August, we will reopen bowling alleys.

The Government is committed to reopening leisure facilities and visitor attractions, including bowling alleys, as soon as it is safe to do so. The Sport Working Group and the Visitor Economy Working Group both feed into the Cultural Renewal Taskforce, and ensure strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidance. This will help ten pin bowling alleys become Covid-19 Secure and re-open as early as possible.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, our decisions will continue to be based on scientific evidence and public health assessments.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish guidance for dance studios, who are due to reopen on 25 July 2020, on (a) partner dancing if couples are from the same household and (b) differentiation in high, medium and low impact sports and the class size restrictions and space requirements for each.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. As announced on 9 July, from 11 July, outdoor swimming pools will be able to open and from 25 July indoor gyms, dance studios, leisure centres (including sports halls) and swimming pools in England should be able to reopen. These facilities will be able to offer on-site services to customers, provided they are COVID-secure and follow Government guidance.

Those dancing within their own household group should follow current guidelines on social mixing, and can refer to the Performing Arts guidance. The updated guidance can be found at the GOV.UK website.

Guidance for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities includes mitigating risk measures such as:

  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others).

  • Maximum capacity should be based on the government requirement for social distancing, nature of activities (i.e. if the activity is static vs. requiring a range of movement) and equipment layout and the configuration of facilities.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the different roles and facilities of (a) dance studios and (b) dance schools accredited by OFQAL in guidance issued on the covid-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. As announced on 9 July, from 11 July, outdoor swimming pools will be able to open and from 25 July indoor gyms, dance studios, leisure centres (including sports halls) and swimming pools in England should be able to reopen. These facilities will be able to offer on-site services to customers, provided they are COVID-secure and follow Government guidance.

The updated guidance can be found at the GOV.UK website and includes advice for providers of pool, gym and leisure facilities on cleaning, social distancing, and protection for staff to help venues get back up and running safely.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance can the Government plans to provide to charities, to allow them to operate their charity shops safely during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government is working with the charity sector to support it as it begins to recommence activities in line with government guidance on COVID-19 and social distancing. Alongside other non-essential retail, charity shops are planning to start reopening from 15th June. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published guidance on the reopening of non-essential retail which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches. In addition to this, the Charity Retail Association has produced guidance to specifically support the reopening of charity shops which can be found here: https://www.charityretail.org.uk/we-have-published-our-reopening-pack/.

16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with Ministerial colleagues in the Treasury on increasing the annual net earned income threshold for Free School Meals.

The department supports over 1.7 million pupils from the lowest income families to concentrate, learn, and achieve in the classroom through the provision of free school meals. An additional 1.3 million infants receive a free meal under the Universal Infant Free School Meals policy.

In 2018, the government introduced new eligibility criteria for families on Universal Credit, following a consultation in 2017. It was estimated that this will be more generous in its reach by 2022, in comparison to the legacy benefit system. Further to this, we included generous protections which mean any family eligible for free school meals transitioning to Universal Credit from a legacy benefit will continue to have access to free school meals even if they move above the earnings threshold.

The government will fully consider the recommendations of the National Food Strategy, which included recommendations around free school meal eligibility, and will respond in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of children whose parents are in receipt of Universal Credit who do not receive a free school meal.

The department supports over 1.7 million pupils from the lowest income families to concentrate, learn, and achieve in the classroom through the provision of free school meals. An additional 1.3 million infants receive a free meal under the Universal Infant Free School Meals policy.

In 2018, the government introduced new eligibility criteria for families on Universal Credit, following a consultation in 2017. It was estimated that this will be more generous in its reach by 2022, in comparison to the legacy benefit system. Further to this, we included generous protections which mean any family eligible for free school meals transitioning to Universal Credit from a legacy benefit will continue to have access to free school meals even if they move above the earnings threshold.

The government will fully consider the recommendations of the National Food Strategy, which included recommendations around free school meal eligibility, and will respond in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to increase the threshold for Free School Meals in line with the National Food Strategy recommendations.

The department supports over 1.7 million pupils from the lowest income families to concentrate, learn, and achieve in the classroom through the provision of free school meals. An additional 1.3 million infants receive a free meal under the Universal Infant Free School Meals policy.

In 2018, the government introduced new eligibility criteria for families on Universal Credit, following a consultation in 2017. It was estimated that this will be more generous in its reach by 2022, in comparison to the legacy benefit system. Further to this, we included generous protections which mean any family eligible for free school meals transitioning to Universal Credit from a legacy benefit will continue to have access to free school meals even if they move above the earnings threshold.

The government will fully consider the recommendations of the National Food Strategy, which included recommendations around free school meal eligibility, and will respond in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with HM Treasury on increasing funding for Free School Meals, in response to the recent increase in the National Living Wage.

The department supports over 1.7 million pupils from the lowest income families to concentrate, learn, and achieve in the classroom through the provision of free school meals.

The National Funding Formula (NNF) includes a free school meal factor value of £460 per eligible pupil. This factor value will increase to £470 per eligible pupil as part of the overall increase to the core schools budget for financial year 2022-23. Local authorities distribute this money to schools through their local funding formula, which must include additional funding for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as those eligible for free school meals.

The department is investing a further £4.7 billion by financial year 2024-25 for the core schools budget in England, over and above the Spending Review 2019 settlement for schools in 2022-23.

The £4.7 billion investment includes a further £1.6 billion in financial year 2022-23, on top of the year on year increase already announced as part of the 2019 spending round. This additional funding will help the school sector respond to the pressures we know they are facing.

The NNF continues to distribute this fairly, based on the needs of schools and their pupil cohorts. The department will make announcements on the breakdown of the financial years 2023-24 and 2024-25 core school budgets in due course, as well as the distribution of the additional £1.6 billion of funding confirmed for 2022-23.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential implications of (a) funding and (b) supply chain pressures in the school meals industry.

Department officials hold regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies.

The department routinely considers contingency arrangements and expect schools and catering companies supplying them to do the same.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. We are confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards.

There is no evidence to suggest widespread disruption to education as a result of issues with food supply but in the event of any disruption to supply, we will work with councils and the sector to ensure nutritious meals can continue to be provided.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues in the Treasury on funding challenges in the school meals industry.

Department officials hold regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies.

The department routinely considers contingency arrangements and expect schools and catering companies supplying them to do the same.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. We are confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards.

There is no evidence to suggest widespread disruption to education as a result of issues with food supply but in the event of any disruption to supply, we will work with councils and the sector to ensure nutritious meals can continue to be provided.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the new family hubs are able to meet the specific needs of disabled children, young people and their families.

The government announced £82 million to create a network of family hubs. This is part of a wider £300 million package to transform services for parents and babies, carers and children in half of the local authorities across England. The family hubs investment is in addition to the £34 million we had already committed to champion family hubs.

Family hubs are a way of joining up locally and bringing existing family help services together to improve access to services, connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and putting relationships at the heart of family help. Family hubs bring together services for families with children of all ages (0 to 19 years old) or those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from 0 to 25 years old, with a great Start for Life offer at their core. How services are delivered varies from place to place, but they can include services for disabled children, young people and their families. The decision on how best to meet the needs of the local population will be for the local council concerned. The SEND Review is looking at ways in which to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND. Proposals for consultation will be published in the first three months of next year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021, what steps his Department is taking to measure the progress of the restoration of disabled children’s social care services to pre-pandemic levels.

From day one of the COVID-19 outbreak, the government’s priority for vulnerable children has been to keep them safe, protect their welfare and put their best interests at the heart of every decision.

This is why we kept schools open for children with a social worker and children with special educational needs and disabilities, ensured that social workers observe those that do not attend, and that children needing social care support have continued to be identified. The government also provided more than £6 billion in non-ringfenced funding directly to councils during COVID-19 to support them with the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including children’s social care, further to their core spending power.

Local authorities set their own children’s services budget from this core spending power, based on local need and priorities. This year, councils have access to £51.3 billion for their services, including a £1.7 billion grant for social care.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced at Spending Review 2021 that the government will provide local authorities with £4.8 billion of new grant funding over the next Spending Review period, which is intended to help meet the costs of delivering care for our most vulnerable children. This will enable the sector to maintain vital frontline services, including disabled children’s social care services.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress has been made on the implementation of statutory relationships and sex education (RSE) in schools; how many schools have completed training; what quality assurance of providers has been undertaken; and how much funding has been allocated to schools for the delivery of that subject.

Since September 2020, it has been compulsory for schools to teach relationships education to primary school-aged pupils, relationships and sex education to secondary school-aged pupils and health education to all pupils in state-maintained schools. The department has been clear that, whilst it was appropriate last academic year for schools to prioritise relationship, sex and health education (RSHE) teaching to meet the needs of pupils, schools must deliver a full RSHE curriculum from September 2021.

The department does not collect information on how many schools in total have completed RSHE training. The department’s package of support to help develop teacher capability and competence to teach high quality RSHE included a training and peer support programme delivered by 20 lead teaching schools covering all eight regions in England. These teaching schools were appointed following a rigorous selection process based on an assessment of the quality of their training provision and experience and expertise. The programme was delivered in the last academic year and reached 3,800 schools. Provisional data for the fourth wave, which ended in July, shows that a further 1,000 schools have been supported. This is a cascade model of training whereby those trained are expected to share the training with other teachers in their school and wider school networks. Teaching schools’ training materials were based on the department’s training modules, which were developed with subject experts. Teaching schools have made their training materials and other resources freely available on their websites. We also published training modules which are freely available for all schools to download.

The department invested over £3 million in support for RSHE between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years, and is investing up to £250,000 in 2021-22 for an additional wave of training. As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver RSHE, so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils.

To support this flexibility, schools are also free to determine how they use their core funding allocated to them, including investing in RSHE training for teachers.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the finding of the Child Action Poverty Group's August 2021 report, Fixing lunch: the case for expanding free school meals, that one million children living in poverty are not eligible for free school meals, if he will take steps to broaden the eligibility criteria for free school meals.

We think it is important that free school meal support is targeted at those that need it most. Free school meals (FSM) are an integral part of our provision for families on low incomes and our wider actions to promote social mobility.

Under the benefits-related criteria, there are currently around 1.7 million pupils eligible for and claiming FSM. An additional 1.3 million infants receive a free meal under the universal infant free school meal policy.

We introduced new eligibility criteria in April 2018 in recognition of the transition to Universal Credit, the arrangements in place are forecasted to reach more children, notwithstanding the current economic circumstances in which more children will be able to benefit from FSM.

Further to this we included generous protections, which mean any family eligible for FSM transitioning to Universal Credit from a legacy benefit will continue to have access to FSM even if they move above the earnings threshold.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the Comprehensive Spending Review allows education, health and social care agencies to have the resources necessary to (a) meet the legal timescales for Education, Health and Care Plan assessments and (b) deliver the support for disabled children identified in those assessments.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 make clear that local authorities must complete an education, health, and care plan (EHCP) assessment within twenty weeks from when the request is received, unless certain prescribed exceptional circumstances that are spelt out in paragraph 9:42 of the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) code of practice, apply.

We use data to monitor local authority performance and to provide challenge and support to those local authorities where there are long-standing delays. Each year we also deliver a training programme to local authorities, health, and social care staff on their statutory duties for EHCPs and reviews, and we have continued to do this on a virtual basis.

In addition, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission re-started their revisit programme to areas that received a Written Statement of Action in May, with the full inspection programme re-starting in June. Our team of SEND advisers and colleagues in NHS England are continuing to work with authorities with a Written Statement of Action to help improve performance.

More broadly, The Department for Education is currently undertaking a review of the SEND system, which is making good progress in identifying the reforms needed to ensure that schools and colleges are able to deliver the support for disabled children identified through those assessments, with the appropriate interventions from health and social care agencies.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what timeline is for the development and delivery of the new National Plan for Music Education.

The Government is committed to ensuring that all children and young people have access to a good quality music education.

On 6 August 2021, the Department announced plans to work with a panel of experts from across the music education sector to develop a refreshed National Plan for Music Education. This will shape the future of music education, and follows the publication of the non-statutory Model Music Curriculum for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 on 26 March 2021.

The Department also published our music education consultation report, which will help to inform the refreshed National Plan. The plan will be published early next year. The timeline for the delivery will be published as part of the National Plan.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the arts premium for secondary schools will be included in the upcoming Spending Review.

Due to the focus on new priorities as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the arts premium is now subject to this year’s Spending Review.

Between 2016 and 2021, the Department has spent over £620 million on a diverse range of music and cultural education programmes. This includes Music Education Hubs, the Music and Dance Scheme and cultural education programmes such as Saturday art and design clubs, the National Youth Dance Company, and the British Film Institute’s Film Academy programme.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of falling numbers of GCSE and A-level music entries on the delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum.

Music education is a statutory subject from ages 5 to 14 in the National Curriculum, and pupils have an entitlement to study at least one arts subject at Key Stage 4 in maintained schools.

The proportion of pupils in state-funded schools in England taking at least one arts GCSE since 2010 has fluctuated across years, but has remained broadly stable.

It is up to individual schools and colleges to decide which A level courses to offer, and as part of that they may wish to work together with other providers in the area to combine resources and maximise their offers.

In March 2021, the Department published the Model Music Curriculum, a detailed non-statutory music curriculum for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3, developed by an independent panel of experts and musicians, with the aim to refresh music lessons with rich and diverse content.

The teaching of a broad and ambitious music curriculum will form a key part of the refreshed National Plan for Music Education.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria was used to publish guidance on holding school sports days during the covid-19 outbreak in summer 2021; and what assessment he has made of whether that guidance is consistent with the guidance published for other larger sporting events.

Schools that are planning sports days this term should complete thorough risk assessments and ensure that they are run in line with their system of controls. These are the actions that have been in place since the autumn term and that all schools must take to reduce risks and create an inherently safer environment. The system of controls are set out in the Department’s guidance to schools, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls.

The Department for Education has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England (PHE) to develop guidance for schools. We work with PHE to continually review the measures, which are informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice, and update the guidance accordingly.

Pupils must remain grouped in their class or year-group ‘bubbles’ and sports equipment should be regularly cleaned throughout the event. Any spectators must adhere to current social distancing requirements. Where events take place outdoors, spectators can gather in separate groups of up to 30, which is the current legal gathering limit. Dependent on the size of the area available, multiple groups of 30 may attend as long as there is no mixing between groups at any stage.

Elite sporting competitions follow a protocol produced by a working group of leaders, Chief Medical Officers and partner organisations. This protocol is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/elite-sport-return-to-domestic-competition-guidance. A set of minimum standards must be in place for these events to go ahead and, while the Government works to ensure guidance is coherent between sectors, differences in approach are sometimes needed due to the different circumstances involved.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is his Department taking to ensure implementation of statutory relationships and sex education guidance in schools includes factual-based discussion of the full range of contraceptive options.

The Government wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe and to equip them for adult life.

From September 2020, relationships education became compulsory for all primary school pupils, relationships and sex education (RSE) became compulsory for all secondary school pupils, and health education became compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools. The statutory guidance sets out that as part of relationships, sex and health education, secondary pupils should be taught about contraception, wellbeing and the key facts about the menstrual cycle. The statutory guidance can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

Under the topic of intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health, secondary school pupils will be taught how the different sexually transmitted infections are transmitted, how risk can be reduced, and the importance of and facts about testing. Pupils should also know how to get further advice, including how and where to access confidential sexual and reproductive health advice and treatment.

The Department is committed to supporting schools to teach the new subjects and has published non-statutory implementation guidance titled ‘Plan your Relationships, Sex and Health Education Curriculum’, alongside teacher training materials. Both are designed to provide teachers with further clarity and practical advice on how to implement the RSHE curriculum, to help all teachers increase their confidence and quality of teaching. The support is available on a one-stop page for teachers on GOV.UK and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to implement sharia-compliant alternative finance product, first proposed by the Government in 2014.

I refer the right hon. Member for Kingston Upon Hull North to the answer I gave on 9 June 2021 to Question 10312.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating funding to the provision of additional therapies for disabled children.

We know how important access to therapy services are for pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), which is why we are clear in our guidance that specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff should provide interventions as usual. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

Additionally, in the Chief Nurse’s letter of 7 October 2020 to Directors of Nursing, she made it clear that maintaining support for families is a priority and that professionals supporting children and families should not be redeployed to other services.

We are committed to helping all children and young people with SEND and have prioritised those who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts both in the 2020 Catch-up Premium and in the 2021 Recovery Premium. They, along with the pupil premium funding, can be used to support disadvantaged children and young people’s wider needs if required, including the provision of therapies. Additionally, specialist settings will also receive an uplift to deliver summer schools and will have the flexibility to plan provision based on pupils need.

We continue to encourage schools and colleges to work collaboratively with their local authority, clinical commissioning group and health providers to ensure that children and young people with SEND have access to appropriate therapies and support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to invest in improving the (a) emotional well-being and (b) mental health of school children as part of the schools recovery plan.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is a priority for this government. The support schools are providing to their pupils following the return to face-to-face education should include time devoted to supporting mental health and wellbeing, which will play a fundamental part in supporting recovery. We want schools to have the freedom to decide what wider pastoral and extra-curricular activity to put in place, based on the needs of their pupils and drawing on evidence of effective practice. The return to education settings was supported by a £700 million package, which includes a new one-off Recovery Premium for state primary, secondary and special schools to use as they see best to support disadvantaged students. This will help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a one-off boost to the support, both academic and pastoral, that has been proved most effective in helping them recover from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and can be used for mental health and wellbeing support.

We have supported schools to put the right pastoral support in place through the Wellbeing for Education Return scheme in academic year 2020/21, which funded expert advisors in every English local authority to offer training, support and resources for staff dealing with children and young people experiencing additional pressures from the last year – including trauma, anxiety, or grief. Our Mental Health in Education Action Group highlighted that schools and colleges continue to need help to understand, navigate and access the range of provision available locally, so we provided an additional £7 million funding to local authorities to provide further expert support to do this through the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme.

On 10 May 2021 we confirmed that up to 7,800 schools and colleges in England will be offered funding worth £9.5 million to train a senior mental health lead from their staff in the next academic year, which is part of the government’s commitment to offering this training to all state schools and colleges by 2025. Training will provide senior leads with the knowledge and skills to develop or introduce a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing in their setting, which encourages staff to develop their own understanding of issues affecting their pupils, giving young people a voice in how their school or college addresses wellbeing and working with parents and monitoring pupils where appropriate. We will also fund an adapted ‘Link' programme which is designed to improve partnerships between health and education leaders in local areas, raise awareness of mental health concerns and improve referrals to specialist help when needed.

This is in addition to the £79 million funding boost for NHS England children and young people’s mental health support announced in March, which will include increasing the number of Mental Health Support Teams. The number of support teams will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children. This increase, on top of the investment in mental health services set out in the NHS 10-year plan, means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to help disabled children recover lost progress in managing their conditions as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s learning, health and wellbeing, particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We are committed to supporting them and their families.

On 2 June 2021 we announced £1.4 billion new funding in addition to the £1.7 billion already committed, bringing total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion.

We have consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts to these settings, both in the 2020 Catch-up Premium and in the 2021 Recovery Premium, where specialist settings will also receive an uplift to deliver summer schools, at 3 times the normal rate. In mainstream settings, school leaders are able to target these initiatives to vulnerable children and are able to use the recovery premium to meet wider non-academic needs.

New funding for school-led tutoring will provide greater flexibility to schools to take on local tutors or use existing staff to supplement those employed through the existing National Tutoring Programme. We anticipate that this will especially benefit children and young people with SEND in all settings, where tutors familiar to these children can support them to realise the benefits of tuition.

Additional funding for training will ensure that teachers in schools and early years settings are able to access high quality training and professional development, designed around how to support all pupils to succeed. This includes children and young people with SEND in all settings. We know that high quality teaching is the best way to support all students, including those with SEND.

The 16-19 Tuition Fund will continue to support students with SEND as at present through small group tuition. Pupils with SEND in year 13 with an education, health and care plan will also be eligible to repeat up to a year where they have missed out due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Given the importance of therapists (such as speech and language or occupational therapy) and other health professionals in supporting children and young people with SEND, we are reminding settings that specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils and students with SEND should provide interventions as usual.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of funding additional respite care for the families of disabled children to help alleviate exhaustion and social isolation.

I refer the right hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North to the answer I gave on 2 June 2021 to Question 7328.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when all university students will be able to return to campus and resume in-person teaching as lockdown restrictions are eased during the covid-19 outbreak.

Following the review into when the remaining higher education students can return to in-person teaching and learning, the government has announced that the remaining students should return to in-person teaching no earlier than 17 May 2021, alongside Step 3 of the roadmap. Students and institutions will be given at least a week’s notice of any further return in accordance with the timing of Step 3 of the roadmap.

The government roadmap is designed to maintain a cautious approach to the easing of restrictions to reduce public health risks and ensure that we can maintain progress towards full reopening. However, the government recognises the difficulties and disruption that this may cause for many students and their families and that is why the government is making a further £15 million of additional student hardship funding available for this academic year 2020/21. In total we have made an additional £85 million of funding available for student hardship.

We are supporting universities to provide regular twice weekly asymptomatic testing for all students and staff on-site and, from May, at home. This will help break chains of transmission of the virus.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many 16 to 19 year old students attracted (a) Disadvantage Block 1 funding, (b) Disadvantage Block 2 funding and (c) Disadvantage Block 1 and 2 funding in the latest year for which figures are available.

The table below sets out the number of funded 16-19 students attracting disadvantage block 1 and block 2 funding.

The numbers are taken from the latest full year data we hold (2019 to 2020 individualised learner record R14 and 2019 to 2020 school census).

16-19 students attracting Disadvantage Block 1 funding only

16-19 students attracting Disadvantage Block 2 funding only

16-19 students attracting both Disadvantage Block 1 & 2 funding

177,084

242,822

180,294

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 156534 on the 16 to 19 Tuition Fund, how many 16 to 19 year olds are studying in (a) further education colleges, (b) sixth form colleges, (c) 16 to 19 academies and free schools, (d) school and academy sixth forms and (e) other institutions in the 2020-21 academic year.

National statistics showing the numbers of young people aged 16 to 18 who are participating in education and training in 2020/21 are scheduled to be published at the end of June 2021, as part of a series on participation in education and training, and employment. More information can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/participation-in-education-and-training-and-employment.

The latest data published is for the academic year 2019/20:

Participation of 16 to 18 year olds in education by institution type, England, end 2019 (provisional)

Full- and part-time education

End 2019 (provisional)

State funded schools

450,200

Local Authority Maintained schools

78,000

Sponsor Academies and City Technology Colleges

52,800

Converter Academies

294,600

Free schools

24,100

Special schools

16,500

Independent schools

87,100

Sixth form colleges

109,100

General further education, tertiary and specialist colleges

515,300

Higher education institutions

219,400

Total

1,397,600

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 156534 on the 16 to 19 Tuition Fund, how much funding under the 16-19 Tuition Fund has been allocated to (a) further education colleges, (b) sixth form colleges, (c) 16 to 19 academies and free schools, (d) school and academy sixth forms and (e) other institutions for the academic year 2020-21.

We have made up to £96 million available for the 16 to 19 tuition fund enabling schools, colleges and other 16 to 19 providers to provide small group tuition for disadvantaged students whose learning has been disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Providers were required to opt-in to receive an allocation and need to comply with the guidance for the fund. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-funding-16-to-19-tuition-fund.

The attached table shows the data on the funding claimed and allocated. The data available shows the amounts for different kinds of academy, and for maintained schools, but does not consistently differentiate 16 to 19 only schools and academies from those with pre-16 as well as post-16 provision.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the provision of mental health services for students at university.

Protecting student and staff wellbeing is vital during these difficult times and it is important students can still access the mental health and wellbeing support they need. We recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is for higher education (HE) providers as autonomous bodies to identify and address the needs of their student body and decide what mental health and wellbeing support to put in place. HE providers have a duty of care towards their staff and students, including legal requirements under the Equality Act 2010, to take all reasonable steps to protect the health and safety and welfare of students to prevent harm. HE providers are best placed to understand and cater for their student body including providing mental health support for lower-level needs.

The Department of Health and Social Care has overall policy responsibility for young people’s mental health. We continue to work closely with them to take steps to develop mental health and wellbeing support.

The government is committed, through the NHS Long Term Plan, to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year into mental health services by financial year 2023-24. This will see an additional 345,000 children and young people, and adults, able to access support through NHS-funded services. This year the NHS will receive around an additional £500 million, to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need, and invest in the NHS workforce. More detail will be provided in due course.

We have also worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to provide Student Space, which has been funded by up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform designed to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and works alongside existing services. I am delighted they have extended the platform to support students for the whole 2020/21 academic year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the provision of tutors reaches all pupils that require additional tuition due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) has been developed to support some of our most disadvantaged children and young people who are at risk of falling further behind due to lost time in education.

Our delivery partner, the Education Endowment Foundation, has approved 33 Tuition Partners who offer high-quality, subsidised tuition to schools. There is a good blend of both national and regional providers that can offer support to schools across all regions in England and 16 of the Tuition Partners are national providers. The Tuition Partners offer a variety of tuition models for schools to choose from, including online, face-to-face, small-group and one-to-one tuition.

Schools in the most disadvantaged areas of England have also been supported by Teach First to employ in-house Academic Mentors to provide intensive small group and one-to-one tuition.

The Department has undergone an extensive communications and engagement process with schools to ensure that as many as possible know about the programme and understand how to apply.

Tuition has continued throughout the national lockdown, with the majority of Tuition Partners offering online tuition at home. Academic Mentors have also continued to work with pupils in line with their individual school policy. Where it has been appropriate to do so, support has also continued for vulnerable and critical worker children at the school.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that school pupils who have not had access to digital devices to learn from home are fairly graded in their (a) GCSE and (b) A-levels this year.

Given the ongoing disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department announced in January 2021 that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead as planned this summer. The Department and Ofqual launched a joint consultation on 15 January on how to award grades in 2021 so they are robust and fair. We received over 100,000 responses from pupils, parents, teachers, head teachers and other stakeholders. There was widespread support for our approach.  Pupils will receive grades determined by their teachers. Teachers have the flexibility to use a range of evidence, including the use of optional questions provided by exam boards, mock exams, non-examined assessment, or in-class tests set by the school which align closely with the specification.

We know there has been differential learning loss, as some pupils have suffered more disruption to their education than others. Because of this, pupils will only be assessed on the content they have been taught, and not what they have missed.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. To date, over 1.2 million laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools, academy trusts, local authorities and further education providers. The Government is providing this significant injection of laptops and tablets on top of an estimated 2.9 million already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Where remote education has been needed and pupils continued to experience barriers to digital remote education, we have expected schools and FE colleges to work to overcome these barriers. This could include distributing school or FE college-owned laptops or supplementing digital provision with different forms of remote education such as printed resources or textbooks. This should be supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils and students on track or answer questions about work.

Some pupils and students who have difficulty engaging in remote education may be considered to be vulnerable children and young people and therefore eligible to attend provision: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision#vulnerable-children-and-young-people. It is up to the child or young person’s education provider or local authority to make this decision. The decision would be based on the needs of the child or young person and their family, and a range of other factors, as set out in the guidance.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to reassure school pupils that the grading of GCSEs and A-levels will be fair and equitable.

On 25 February 2021 the Government confirmed this year's cohort of GCSE, AS and A level students will receive grades based on teachers’ judgements of their performance based on a range of evidence, details of which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awarding-qualifications-in-summer-2021. Fairness to young people is fundamental to the Department and Ofqual’s decision making. We want to ensure all young people have the confidence that, despite exams not going ahead, they will receive a grade that reflects their ability and enables them to progress.

Exam boards will provide teachers with a package of training and support materials in March 2021 on how to make judgements fairly. The guidance will also provide schools and colleges with support and training on how to minimise the risk of bias and malpractice.

Grades must reflect what a student knows, understands, and can do, and they must be widely understood and respected. Teachers will not be asked to judge the grade a student might have achieved had the COVID-19 outbreak not occurred or to measure potential. Exam boards will also provide grade descriptors, to help teachers to make accurate and fair judgements.

There will be a process to check teachers are doing what is needed and headteachers will have to confirm this to the exam boards. Exam boards will challenge schools where grades seem too low or too high. Every student who believes their grade does not reflect their performance or has not been properly determined will have a clear route to appeal this year.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that potential discrepancy between the grading of GCSE and A-level examinations by different schools is minimised.

On 25 February 2021 the Government confirmed this year's cohort of GCSE, AS and A level students will receive grades based on teachers’ judgements of their performance based on a range of evidence, details of which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awarding-qualifications-in-summer-2021. Fairness to young people is fundamental to the Department and Ofqual’s decision making. We want to ensure all young people have the confidence that, despite exams not going ahead, they will receive a grade that reflects their ability and enables them to progress.

Exam boards will provide teachers with a package of training and support materials in March 2021 on how to make judgements fairly. The guidance will also provide schools and colleges with support and training on how to minimise the risk of bias and malpractice.

Grades must reflect what a student knows, understands, and can do, and they must be widely understood and respected. Teachers will not be asked to judge the grade a student might have achieved had the COVID-19 outbreak not occurred or to measure potential. Exam boards will also provide grade descriptors, to help teachers to make accurate and fair judgements.

There will be a process to check teachers are doing what is needed and headteachers will have to confirm this to the exam boards. Exam boards will challenge schools where grades seem too low or too high. Every student who believes their grade does not reflect their performance or has not been properly determined will have a clear route to appeal this year.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that schools are adequately ventilated to make them covid-19-secure when school pupils return on 8 March 2021.

At each stage of the Department's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have listened to the latest medical and scientific advice. The Department has worked closely with other Government departments, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector, to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, and to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

It is important to ensure that schools are well ventilated and that a comfortable teaching environment is maintained.

Current evidence recommends that the way to control COVID-19 is the same, even with the current new variants. The PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ which have been in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak set out in our published guidance, which includes ventilation, continue to be the right measures to take. These measures create an inherently safer environment for children, young people, and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. PHE keeps all these controls under review, based on the latest evidence. Schools therefore need to continue to implement these controls to the fullest extent. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Our guidance signposts to further advice from the Health and Safety Executive on air conditioning and ventilation during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance can be found here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation.htm.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the evidential basis is for the decision to have all school pupils return on 8 March 2021 rather than a staggered approach.

The Government’s wider decision making is set out in the Government’s ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ Roadmap, where the step by step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously, starting with schools and colleges, is set out. It can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021.

SAGE regularly publishes minutes and papers, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19. In addition, a summary of the evidence in relation to children, young people and education settings is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evidence-summary-covid-19-children-young-people-and-education-settings.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that school pupils who are required to self-isolate due to the covid-19 outbreak do not fall behind at school.

We recognise teachers have been working exceptionally hard and making tremendous efforts to provide high quality remote education with much being achieved in recent months.

Until 8 March 2021, we continue to expect all primary and secondary schools in England to provide remote education for the majority of their pupils, with the exception of vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers, who can attend school in person. Where vulnerable children and young people and children of critical workers do not attend school, we expect schools to provide them with remote education.

From 8 March 2021, attendance will be mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age. Schools affected by the remote education temporary continuity direction are still required to provide remote education for pupils where their attendance would be contrary to government guidance or legislation around COVID-19. This includes, for example, where such guidance means that a class, group or small number of pupils need to self-isolate, or that clinically extremely vulnerable children need to shield.

Where secondary schools are operating a phased return of pupils during week commencing 8 March to allow for testing, we expect schools to provide remote education for all pupils not yet expected to attend on-site.

Where it is needed, both now and after 8 March, schools are expected to offer pupils 3 to 5 hours of remote education that includes time for independent study and also either recorded or live direct teaching. This includes either recorded or live direct teaching alongside time for pupils to work independently to complete assignments that have been set. Online video lessons do not necessarily need to be recorded by teaching staff at the school. Oak National Academy lessons, for example, can be provided in lieu of school-led video content.

Schools are expected to have a system in place for checking on a daily basis whether pupils are engaging actively with their work. Schools will need to work with families to swiftly identify where pupil engagement is a concern and find effective solutions. A comprehensive package of support continues to be available to schools to help them meet these expectations. Schools can find further support via the Get Help with Remote Education page on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education.

In January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, committed to working with parents, teachers and schools to develop a long-term plan to help support pupils make up their learning over the course of this parliament.

We also recognise that extended restrictions on attendance at schools and colleges have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education. The Department has appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner, to advise on this plan and will say more on this in due course. More immediately, we are making available £700 million to put in place a range of additional measures to give nurseries, schools and colleges the tools they need to target support to their pupils.

In addition, we announced a catch-up package on 24 February 2021 which will build on the £1 billion catch up package announced in June 2020 and form part of the wider response to help pupils make up their lost learning over the course of this Parliament.

Finally, a range of high-quality online resources will be available for all teachers and pupils, starting from the summer term and throughout summer holidays, provided by Oak National Academy, to help give pupils the confidence they are ready for the next academic year.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021, which closed on 15 January 2021, when he plans to publish the findings of that consultation.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Government considers that examinations cannot be held in a way which is fair. The Department has therefore announced that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead this summer as planned.

The Department has already confirmed that students taking GCSE, AS and A levels, regulated by Ofqual in the Summer 2021 series, should be awarded grades based on an assessment by their teachers.

To ensure that our approach is developed with the sector, Ofqual and the Department have now concluded a two week consultation on how to ensure all pupils are supported to move to the next stage of their lives. The Department is working at pace to provide further clarity of the sector and details of alternative arrangements to examinations will be confirmed in our response to the consultation, which will be published by the end of February 2021.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the provision of sex education for secondary school children who have learning disabilities.

In September 2020, relationships education became compulsory for all primary school pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for all secondary school pupils, and health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools. However, schools have flexibility up to the summer term 2021 before they start teaching the new subjects to accommodate school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We have not conducted a formal review of relationships, sex, and health education (RSHE) as it is too early to be able make an accurate assessment of the impact on pupils, including those with learning disabilities.

Those who teach pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are used to adapting materials to meet the varied needs of their pupils and the RSHE statutory guidance is clear that the curriculum must be accessible to all pupils. We recognise that some teachers may need additional support when covering sensitive topics in the RSHE curriculum and last summer the Department organised a webinar for teachers of pupils with SEND, teaching assistants and SEND coordinators. The webinar was attended by over 2400 people and covered an overview of the RSHE curriculum, SEND curriculum planning, relationships and sex education and mental wellbeing. It is available to view on the PSHE Association’s SEND Hub: https://www.pshe-association.org.uk/content/send-hub.

The Department is currently working with teachers, SEND subject experts and SEND stakeholders to support all schools to build their expertise and increase their confidence to deliver the curriculum to those with more complex needs. This work includes the development of a SEND-specific RSHE module that will sit alongside the other RSHE teacher training modules available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health and working with SEND stakeholders to run regional workshops to allow teachers and other practitioners to share best practice and provide peer support.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is going to give to students who will be taking exams in 2022.

The Government remains clear that exams are the fairest method to assess students. We know that students and teachers will be working hard in preparation for exams or assessments in 2022, and we will make sure that the interests of students are at the centre of our considerations. It is important that students in this cohort are able to obtain qualifications safely and fairly. We will continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on all students to ensure that those due to take exams in 2022 are supported to move to the next stage of their lives fairly.

To support students to catch up with their education, the Government has announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion to support children and young people. This includes a ‘Catch-up Premium’ worth £650 million and a £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. We have also announced that we will provide a further programme of catch-up over the next financial year. This will involve a further £300 million of new money to early years, schools and providers of 16-19 further education for tutoring and we will work in collaboration with the education sector to develop, as appropriate, specific initiatives for summer schools and a COVID premium to support catch-up.

We recognise that these extended school and college closures have had a huge impact on children and young people’s education, which will take more than a year to make up. We will work in collaboration with the wider education sector to develop a long-term plan to make sure children and young people have the chance to make up their education over the course of this Parliament.

We have also appointed an Education Recovery Commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins, who will advise Ministers on the approach for education recovery, with a particular focus on helping students catch up on learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 disruption is a key priority for the Government. The Department has commissioned an independent research agency to analyse catch-up needs and monitor progress over this academic year.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of whether exams will be able to take place in the 2021-22 academic year.

The Government remains clear that exams are the fairest method to assess students. We know that students and teachers will be working hard in preparation for exams or assessments in 2022, and we will make sure that the interests of students are at the centre of our considerations. It is important that students in this cohort are able to obtain qualifications safely and fairly. We will continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on all students to ensure that those due to take exams in 2022 are supported to move to the next stage of their lives fairly.

To support students to catch up with their education, the Government has announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion to support children and young people. This includes a ‘Catch-up Premium’ worth £650 million and a £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. We have also announced that we will provide a further programme of catch-up over the next financial year. This will involve a further £300 million of new money to early years, schools and providers of 16-19 further education for tutoring and we will work in collaboration with the education sector to develop, as appropriate, specific initiatives for summer schools and a COVID premium to support catch-up.

We recognise that these extended school and college closures have had a huge impact on children and young people’s education, which will take more than a year to make up. We will work in collaboration with the wider education sector to develop a long-term plan to make sure children and young people have the chance to make up their education over the course of this Parliament.

We have also appointed an Education Recovery Commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins, who will advise Ministers on the approach for education recovery, with a particular focus on helping students catch up on learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 disruption is a key priority for the Government. The Department has commissioned an independent research agency to analyse catch-up needs and monitor progress over this academic year.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has in place to make schools covid-19 secure when they reopen to students.

At each stage of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has listened to and acted on the latest medical and scientific advice. The Government has always been clear that it will not hesitate to take swift and decisive action to control the virus and save lives.

The way to control this virus is the same, even with the current new variants. Current evidence suggests that the Public Health England-endorsed ‘system of controls’, that has been in use throughout the autumn term and which is set out in guidance, continues to be the right measures to take. This includes minimising contact with individuals who are unwell, use of face coverings in corridors and communal areas, cleaning hands and good respiratory hygiene, regular thorough cleaning of the school, minimising contact, ventilation and use of personal protective equipment where specifically advised. The latest schools’ guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957766/Restricting_attendance_during_the_national_lockdown-_schools.pdf.

Schools will already be familiar with much of this guidance, which they have been implementing since the start of the autumn term. If schools continue to assess risk and implement the measures set out in the guidance, they will effectively reduce risks in their school and create an inherently safer environment.

The Department will continue to keep our guidance and advice to schools under review to help ensure they remain as safe as possible.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many dongles have been provided to secondary school children who are learning from home and require internet access in (a) Kingston upon Hull, (b) Hull City, (c) Yorkshire and the Humber and (d) England.

The Government has provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers across England, with free data for the academic year 2020-21, and continues to provide further 4G wireless routers where children need to access remote education. Data regarding the number of routers delivered will be published shortly.

In addition to providing wireless routers, we have partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.

We are grateful to EE, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, BT Mobile and Lycamobile for supporting this offer. We are continuing to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many dongles has been provided to primary school children who are learning from home and require internet access in (a) Kingston upon Hull North, (b) Hull City, (c) Yorkshire and the Humber and (d) nationally.

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

As of Monday 8 February 2021, this includes over 980,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities, who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Government is providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Figures on the number of devices already delivered are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data. This includes 1,749 delivered to the City of Hull local authority. The Department have also delivered devices to academy trusts, including schools in Yorkshire and the Humber, which are not included in this figure.

Regional figures for delivery of devices are currently not available for the period requested and figures by Parliamentary constituency are also not available.

Where schools need additional devices to support disadvantaged children, they should contact the Department for Education’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of pupils in Years 3 to 13 who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

To support access to the internet, the Department have partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online, as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home. The Department are grateful to EE, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, BT Mobile and Lycamobile for their collaboration. We are currently engaged with additional mobile network operators and continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of digital devices provided for secondary school pupils who are learning from home in (a) Kingston upon Hull North, (b) Hull City, (c) Yorkshire and the Humber and (d) nationally.

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

As of Monday 8 February 2021, this includes over 980,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities, who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Government is providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Figures on the number of devices already delivered are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data. This includes 1,749 delivered to the City of Hull local authority. The Department have also delivered devices to academy trusts, including schools in Yorkshire and the Humber, which are not included in this figure.

Regional figures for delivery of devices are currently not available for the period requested and figures by Parliamentary constituency are also not available.

Where schools need additional devices to support disadvantaged children, they should contact the Department for Education’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of pupils in Years 3 to 13 who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

To support access to the internet, the Department have partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online, as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home. The Department are grateful to EE, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, BT Mobile and Lycamobile for their collaboration. We are currently engaged with additional mobile network operators and continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of digital devices made available for primary school children who are learning at home in (a) Kingston upon Hull North, (b) Hull City, (c) Yorkshire and the Humber and (d) nationally.

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

As of Monday 8 February 2021, this includes over 980,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities, who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Government is providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Figures on the number of devices already delivered are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data. This includes 1,749 delivered to the City of Hull local authority. The Department have also delivered devices to academy trusts, including schools in Yorkshire and the Humber, which are not included in this figure.

Regional figures for delivery of devices are currently not available for the period requested and figures by Parliamentary constituency are also not available.

Where schools need additional devices to support disadvantaged children, they should contact the Department for Education’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of pupils in Years 3 to 13 who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

To support access to the internet, the Department have partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online, as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home. The Department are grateful to EE, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, BT Mobile and Lycamobile for their collaboration. We are currently engaged with additional mobile network operators and continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to increase the speed of the rollout of (a) digital devices and (b) access to the internet to children who are not in school as a result of the covid-19 outbreak in (a) Yorkshire and The Humber, (b) Kingston Upon Hull and (c) the UK.

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

As of Monday 25 January, this includes over 870,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most, during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Government is providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Figures on the number of devices already delivered is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-4. We have also delivered devices to academy trusts that include schools in Yorkshire and Humber, which are not included in this figure.

Regional figures for delivery of devices are currently not available for the period requested and figures by Parliamentary constituency are also not available.

Where schools need additional devices, in order to support disadvantaged children, they should contact the Department for Education’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of pupils in years 3-13 who require support and an explanation of how they’ve gathered this evidence.

To support access to the internet we have partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.

We are grateful to EE, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, BT Mobile and Lycamobile for their collaboration. We are currently engaged with additional mobile network operators and continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether dance schools can open for (a) training and rehearsal without an audience and (b) supervised activities for children during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Dance can be undertaken in schools that provide a full-time education, during the period of national restrictions, but safety precautions should be undertaken. Advice is provided in the actions for schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#music-dance-and-drama-in-school.

In addition, qualifications in dance can take place in England during this period provided they are conducted in line with the public health guidance on autumn exams: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/responsibility-for-autumn-gcse-as-and-a-level-exam-series/public-health-arrangements-for-autumn-exams.

Schools may also continue to offer before and after school educational provision to their pupils (including dance), to enable their parents or carers to work, seek work, attend education or training, or where the provision is to support respite care (for vulnerable children). Where schools are offering these activities, they should advise parents that they should only be using them for these purposes.

Providers of supervised activities for children, such as those providing out-of-school activities (including dance classes), may also continue to operate during the period of national restrictions, as outlined in the guidance for education and childcare settings on new national restrictions from 5 November: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020#ooss. However, providers of these activities should ensure they are only being accessed for face-to-face provision by parents if their primary purpose is registered childcare, or where they are providing other activities for children, where it is reasonably necessary to enable parents to work or search for work, or to undertake training or education; or for the purposes of respite care.

Providers that continue to operate face-to-face provision during this period should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in the protective measures for holiday clubs and after-school clubs and other out-of-school clubs for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

All other out-of-school activities, not being primarily used by parents for these purposes and that can offer remote education, should close for face-to-face provision for the duration of the national restrictions. This will minimise the amount of mixing between different groups of people and therefore reduce the risk of infection and transmission of the virus.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will publish data on the number of university students living in campus accommodation who have tested positive for covid-19 in each local authority area in England.

Universities are currently reporting to us on the number of positive student cases in their institutions and the numbers they are aware of that are self-isolating, and these are currently not broken down by local authority campus zones. From next week, the Office for Students will be gathering data on COVID-19 outbreaks and we will consider how best to report that information in line with data sharing protocols.


Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on steps the Government is taking to limit the spread of covid-19 on university campus grounds.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has regular discussions on minimising the transmission of COVID-19 within higher education (HE) providers with his Cabinet colleagues, including with my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Departmental officials and I have regular meetings and discussions with ministers and officials in the Department for Health and Social Care, and with sector representatives, on a range of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in HE is always our priority. The government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our HE institutions in this unprecedented situation, whilst mitigating the impact on education.

We have drawn on the expertise of the HE taskforce that we set up, and we have been providing robust public health advice and regular updates to the HE sector to help providers to plan carefully to keep students and staff as safe as possible. We issued updated guidance for providers on reopening campuses, which provides advice on teaching, accommodation and student services. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

Our system of HE tiers, as set out in guidance, intends to help universities identify the appropriate restrictions to impose on their educational provision in response to an outbreak. We have worked to ensure that all universities have outbreak plans. These plans have been shared with local Directors of Public Health and continue to be reviewed and updated based on emerging lessons and local situations.

The plans cover a range of scenarios and will ensure that HE providers are prepared to respond quickly to an outbreak in their educational setting or wider community. We are working with Public Health England to monitor those universities that have outbreaks and to make sure that universities and Directors of Public Health are working together to respond appropriately to any outbreaks.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many University of Hull students have tested positive for covid-19 since the academic year began on 14 September 2020.

In order to balance the need for accurate information with reducing data burdens on universities, we have asked for additional information only from universities with cumulative outbreaks of 25 or more positive student COVID-19 cases. We have received no response from the University of Hull and external sources indicate that there have been fewer than 25 positive student cases at the university so far.

From the week commencing 19 October 2020, the Office for Students will be gathering data on COVID-19 outbreaks, and we will consider how best to report that information in line with data-sharing protocols.


Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) laptops, (b) tablets and (c) 4G wireless routers were provided to children attending (i) Hull City Council schools or (ii) Kingston upon Hull academy trust schools through the Government since schools closed on 20 March 2020 due to the covid-19 outbreak.

In the summer term, the Department delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to children who would not have otherwise had online access, as part of over £100 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care. This information can be viewed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.

This includes information about devices delivered to Kingston upon Hull and academy trusts within Kingston upon Hull.

The laptops and tablets were an injection of support to help local authorities and academy trusts provide access to education and social care during COVID-19 restrictions.

Where devices were distributed to a local authority for disadvantaged year 10 pupils, the local authority was responsible for allocating and delivering devices to local authority maintained schools.

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure adequate supplies of covid-19 tests are available for students living in grouped university accommodation.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in higher education (HE) is always our priority. The government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our HE institutions in this unprecedented situation, whilst mitigating the impact on education.

Capacity for COVID-19 testing is the highest it has ever been and we are seeing significant demand. The department continues to work closely with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), and with sector representatives, to ensure that any students who display COVID-19 symptoms can have quick and easy access to testing.

The government has set a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October. Local testing sites will be most accessible to students and have the quickest test result turnaround. DHSC plan to increase the total number of sites to 150 by the end of October, and to 400 sites by the end of January 2021. Many of these new testing sites will be located near universities. In addition, there are 258 mobile testing units. Where there is a mobile testing unit in the vicinity of the university, students and staff will also be able book a test at one of these units. We are working closely with DHSC and NHS Test and Trace towards a position in which all universities have access to testing within 1.5 miles of their campus, where possible.

We have drawn on the expertise of the HE taskforce that we set up, and we have been providing robust public health advice and regular updates to the HE sector to help providers plan carefully to keep students and staff as safe as possible. We have updated our guidance for providers on reopening campuses, which provides advice on teaching, accommodation and student services. Our guidance takes account of the latest advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which has been considering the risks of reopening higher education providers. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses. As with all of our education settings, we continue to monitor the situation closely and follow the latest scientific advice, adapting policies as the situation changes.

We have worked with universities to ensure that they all have outbreak response plans. These have been or are being agreed with local Directors of Public Health. The plans cover a range of scenarios and will ensure providers are prepared to respond quickly to a COVID-19 outbreak in their educational setting or wider community. The situation is constantly changing, but we are working with Public Health England to monitor those universities that have COVID-19 outbreaks and to make sure universities and Directors of Public Health are working together to respond appropriately to any outbreaks.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to respond to covid-19 outbreaks in group university accommodation.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in higher education (HE) is always our priority. The government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our HE institutions in this unprecedented situation, whilst mitigating the impact on education.

Capacity for COVID-19 testing is the highest it has ever been and we are seeing significant demand. The department continues to work closely with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), and with sector representatives, to ensure that any students who display COVID-19 symptoms can have quick and easy access to testing.

The government has set a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October. Local testing sites will be most accessible to students and have the quickest test result turnaround. DHSC plan to increase the total number of sites to 150 by the end of October, and to 400 sites by the end of January 2021. Many of these new testing sites will be located near universities. In addition, there are 258 mobile testing units. Where there is a mobile testing unit in the vicinity of the university, students and staff will also be able book a test at one of these units. We are working closely with DHSC and NHS Test and Trace towards a position in which all universities have access to testing within 1.5 miles of their campus, where possible.

We have drawn on the expertise of the HE taskforce that we set up, and we have been providing robust public health advice and regular updates to the HE sector to help providers plan carefully to keep students and staff as safe as possible. We have updated our guidance for providers on reopening campuses, which provides advice on teaching, accommodation and student services. Our guidance takes account of the latest advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which has been considering the risks of reopening higher education providers. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses. As with all of our education settings, we continue to monitor the situation closely and follow the latest scientific advice, adapting policies as the situation changes.

We have worked with universities to ensure that they all have outbreak response plans. These have been or are being agreed with local Directors of Public Health. The plans cover a range of scenarios and will ensure providers are prepared to respond quickly to a COVID-19 outbreak in their educational setting or wider community. The situation is constantly changing, but we are working with Public Health England to monitor those universities that have COVID-19 outbreaks and to make sure universities and Directors of Public Health are working together to respond appropriately to any outbreaks.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many universities in England have reported covid-19 outbreaks on campus grounds.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in higher education (HE) is always our priority. The government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our HE institutions in this unprecedented situation, whilst mitigating the impact on education.

Capacity for COVID-19 testing is the highest it has ever been and we are seeing significant demand. The department continues to work closely with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), and with sector representatives, to ensure that any students who display COVID-19 symptoms can have quick and easy access to testing.

The government has set a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October. Local testing sites will be most accessible to students and have the quickest test result turnaround. DHSC plan to increase the total number of sites to 150 by the end of October, and to 400 sites by the end of January 2021. Many of these new testing sites will be located near universities. In addition, there are 258 mobile testing units. Where there is a mobile testing unit in the vicinity of the university, students and staff will also be able book a test at one of these units. We are working closely with DHSC and NHS Test and Trace towards a position in which all universities have access to testing within 1.5 miles of their campus, where possible.

We have drawn on the expertise of the HE taskforce that we set up, and we have been providing robust public health advice and regular updates to the HE sector to help providers plan carefully to keep students and staff as safe as possible. We have updated our guidance for providers on reopening campuses, which provides advice on teaching, accommodation and student services. Our guidance takes account of the latest advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which has been considering the risks of reopening higher education providers. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses. As with all of our education settings, we continue to monitor the situation closely and follow the latest scientific advice, adapting policies as the situation changes.

We have worked with universities to ensure that they all have outbreak response plans. These have been or are being agreed with local Directors of Public Health. The plans cover a range of scenarios and will ensure providers are prepared to respond quickly to a COVID-19 outbreak in their educational setting or wider community. The situation is constantly changing, but we are working with Public Health England to monitor those universities that have COVID-19 outbreaks and to make sure universities and Directors of Public Health are working together to respond appropriately to any outbreaks.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether private music teachers are able to resume working from (a) their home and (b) a student's homes with effect from 4 July 2020 if they comply with the covid-secure guidance.

As of 4 July, providers offering out-of-school activities to children, including private music teachers, have been able to open for both indoor and outdoor provision with safety measures in place. We have published guidance for providers of these activities on the measures they should put in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

If a private music teacher normally offers provision in their own home or students’ homes, they should also refer to the government guidance on working safely during COVID-19 in other people’s homes, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes.

Providers should note that there may be an additional risk of infection in environments where people are singing, chanting, playing wind or brass instruments or shouting. This applies even if individuals are at a distance.

As the risk of transmission is considerably lower outdoors, providers who normally run sessions indoors should consider whether they are able to do so safely outside. However, if this is not possible then private music teachers working from their own home should consider whether a specific, well-ventilated room could be designated for lessons.

Providers should also be aware that at this time they should not be permitting live performances, including music, to take place in front of a live audience.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of removing covid-19 lockdown restrictions for dance schools to resume teaching where there is capacity for social distancing.

A dance school which operates for fewer than 18 hours per week would generally be considered to be an out-of-school setting. As my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, confirmed in his announcement on 23 June, out-of-school settings which run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children can operate over the summer holiday, with safety measures in place. Providers of these activities have been able to open since 4 July, provided that they follow the protective measures set out by the Government. However, providers should check the latest Government guidelines on which businesses and venues can open and for which purposes as some premises may only be able to open for certain limited purposes:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance.

As announced on the 9 July, indoor gyms, sports courts and fitness and dance studios will be able to reopen from 25 July. They cannot be used for holiday clubs and activities for children until that point.

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

Providers who offer indoor sports activities for children should also refer to the guidance for keeping workers, volunteers and customers safe during COVID-19 for providers of grassroots sports and gym or leisure facilities:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/providers-of-grassroots-sport-and-gym-leisure-facilities.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Department for Education guidance on the reopening of after school clubs, including dance classes, published on 1 July 2020, what assessment he has made of the ability of dance schools to reopen safely as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

A dance school which operates for fewer than 18 hours per week would generally be considered to be an out-of-school setting. As my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, confirmed in his announcement on 23 June, out-of-school settings which run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children can operate over the summer holiday, with safety measures in place. Providers of these activities have been able to open since 4 July, provided that they follow the protective measures set out by the Government. However, providers should check the latest Government guidelines on which businesses and venues can open and for which purposes as some premises may only be able to open for certain limited purposes:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance.

As announced on the 9 July, indoor gyms, sports courts and fitness and dance studios will be able to reopen from 25 July. They cannot be used for holiday clubs and activities for children until that point.

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

Providers who offer indoor sports activities for children should also refer to the guidance for keeping workers, volunteers and customers safe during COVID-19 for providers of grassroots sports and gym or leisure facilities:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/providers-of-grassroots-sport-and-gym-leisure-facilities.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to Question 60723, tabled by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North on 17 June 2020.

Written parliamentary question 60723 was answered on 09 July 2020.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has published for universities on furloughing employees on zero hours contracts during the covid-19 outbreak.

During and after the COVID-19 outbreak, our aim is for higher education (HE) providers to continue to deliver HE provision and to support the needs of staff and students, both on-campus and off-campus.

The department issued guidance on 17 April for HE providers so that they are aware of the support available to them and can apply for it. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

This guidance confirms that HE providers can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help safeguard staff jobs. The linked guidance from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs confirms that employers can claim for employees on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts.

In developing this guidance, the department worked with trade unions as well as Universities UK and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. We continue to work with the sector to provide further clarification as necessary to help providers understand how they can access the range of measures on offer.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his oral statement of 12 May 2020 on the extension of the coronavirus job retention scheme, whether term-time workers in education are eligible for furlough during July and August.

State funded schools have continued to receive their budgets as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff, and meet their other regular financial commitments, as we move through these extraordinary times.

As public funds continue to be paid, HMRC‘s guidance for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme) states that public bodies, including schools, should not furlough staff via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if their wages are paid from public funds.

Staff in schools whose wages are not paid from public funds, and whose employer has already furloughed, may continue to be furloughed via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, subject to criteria set out here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care#state-funded-schools.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) education providers undertake appropriate risk assessments in relation to teaching music in education settings which are (i) shared with all staff and their representatives before any individual can be required to return to work during the covid-19 outbreak and (ii) take account of risks arising from (A) choirs and singing, (B) wind ensembles and (C) other circumstances specific to music teaching and (b) no music teacher is penalised or suffers detriment for raising or acting on health and safety concerns in respect of that outbreak.

On 2 July we published guidance to help schools plan for a full return of all pupils in September, which includes guidance on music lessons. Schools are advised to note that there may be an additional risk of infection in environments where individuals are singing, chanting, playing wind or brass instruments or shouting. This applies even if individuals are at a distance. Schools should consider how to reduce the risk, particularly when pupils are playing instruments or singing in small groups such as in music lessons by, for example, physical distancing and playing outside wherever possible, limiting group sizes to no more than 15, positioning pupils back-to-back or side-to-side, avoiding sharing of instruments, and ensuring good ventilation. Singing, wind and brass playing should not take place in larger groups such as school choirs and ensembles, or school assemblies. The Department plans to publish further guidance regarding music lessons shortly.

The guidance for full opening of schools in September can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#introduction.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 1 May 2020 to Question 40805, if he will provide a detailed update on the future of the National Plan for Music Education; and what steps he is taking to provide long-term financial support for music education hubs and peripatetic teachers who are dependent on funding via that plan which ends in 2020.

The Government believes all pupils should have access to an excellent, well-rounded education and the arts and music are central to this. The findings from the Call for Evidence on the National Plan for Music Education, which closed on 13 March 2020, will inform the development of proposals for the refreshed Plan. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the refresh of the Plan is on hold, but this position remains under review. Until the Plan is formally refreshed, Music Education Hubs will continue to fulfil their roles as set out in the existing Plan, taking into account current Government guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department is committed to the continuation of high-quality education for all pupils during this difficult time and it is supporting schools and parents through a number of initiatives. The Department’s published list of online resources is one such initiative and is intended to support parents and teachers to navigate through the wide range of online educational resources available so that they can identify the right tools and resources to meet their specific needs. For this reason, we have chosen to limit our list to include free online resources to the following: English, Mathematics, science, PE, mental wellbeing and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). These resources are available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

The online resources list forms part of a wider range of support available to support education at home including a package of support by the Oak National Academy and enhanced educational provision from the BBC, which both include content for music. Subject associations and professional bodies are also able to signpost to resources for a wider span of subjects. For music, Music Mark and the Incorporated Society of Musicians have done so already, and the Department has signposted to these organisations through social media.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason music and creative learning was not included in the online educational resources for schools and parents to help children to learn at home during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to promote online educational resources created by third sector organisations to support music learning during that outbreak.

The Government believes all pupils should have access to an excellent, well-rounded education and the arts and music are central to this. The findings from the Call for Evidence on the National Plan for Music Education, which closed on 13 March 2020, will inform the development of proposals for the refreshed Plan. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the refresh of the Plan is on hold, but this position remains under review. Until the Plan is formally refreshed, Music Education Hubs will continue to fulfil their roles as set out in the existing Plan, taking into account current Government guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department is committed to the continuation of high-quality education for all pupils during this difficult time and it is supporting schools and parents through a number of initiatives. The Department’s published list of online resources is one such initiative and is intended to support parents and teachers to navigate through the wide range of online educational resources available so that they can identify the right tools and resources to meet their specific needs. For this reason, we have chosen to limit our list to include free online resources to the following: English, Mathematics, science, PE, mental wellbeing and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). These resources are available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

The online resources list forms part of a wider range of support available to support education at home including a package of support by the Oak National Academy and enhanced educational provision from the BBC, which both include content for music. Subject associations and professional bodies are also able to signpost to resources for a wider span of subjects. For music, Music Mark and the Incorporated Society of Musicians have done so already, and the Department has signposted to these organisations through social media.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether visiting music teachers who receive income through public funds via the pupil premium can claim that part of their income through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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

State funded schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff, and meet their other regular financial commitments, as we move through these extraordinary times.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial support for education, early years and children’s social care guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care#state-funded-schools) states that if you have staff costs that are publicly funded, schools should use that money to continue paying staff, and not furlough them.

Where schools receive a mixture of private and public funds, schools can, subject to conditions set out in the guidance above, use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to claim grants for the proportion of its pay bill which could be considered to have been funded by the school’s private income.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that music teachers who work in state-funded schools and colleges but are paid through (a) parents' fees and (b) other private income are being furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; and if the Government will reconfirm to education providers that atypical workers who meet those conditions are eligible for such furlough payments.

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

State funded schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff, and meet their other regular financial commitments, as we move through these extraordinary times.

We do not, in general, expect schools to furlough staff. However, we understand that, in some instances, schools may have a separate private income such as music teachers paid through parent fees. Where this income has either stopped or been reduced and there are staff that are typically paid from those private income streams, it may be appropriate to furlough staff.

Schools should first seek to make the necessary savings from their existing budget or consider options to redeploy these staff before furloughing them. Only after all other potential options have been fully considered should schools furlough those members of staff and seek support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Further information on school’s accessing support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can be found in the publication:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care#state-funded-schools.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the future of the Primary PE & Sport Premium funding; and if he will make a statement.

The Government will confirm arrangements for the Primary PE and Sport Premium in the 2020-21 academic year as soon as possible. The position for the 2021-22 academic year and beyond will be considered at the forthcoming Spending Review.

17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to extend the funding of free school meals over the 2020 summer holiday to students studying in (a) sixth form colleges and (b) 16-19 academies.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government fully understands that children and parents face an unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a COVID Summer Food Fund which will enable families with school children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period.

Our guidance on the COVID Summer Food Fund is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-summer-food-fund.

More information on free school meals for students in 16 to 19 provision over the summer will be announced shortly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the letter of 7 April 2020 from the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North, on the University of Hull.

I can confirm that the letter, received into the Department on 8 April 2020, from the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North has been responded to.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the letter of 28 April 2020 from the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North, on student healthcare workers' student loans.

I can confirm that the letter, addressed to my right hon. Friends, the Secretary of State for Education and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, received into the Department on 28 April 2020, from the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North has been responded to.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support the families of pupils on free school meals in Kingston upon Hull North during the school summer holidays in 2020.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave on 23 June 2020 to Question 54195.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the protection and support of children known to be living in households affected by domestic abuse in the event of school closures during the covid-19 outbreak.

Domestic abuse is a devastating crime and we fully recognise the impact it has on children and young people who may feel even more vulnerable if they are unable to attend school.

We want to prioritise supporting those most in need at this very difficult time and ensuring that vulnerable children remain protected is a top priority for government. Schools have been asked to continue to provide care for vulnerable children including those who are supported by social work, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children, and those with education, health and care plans.

We will work with schools and local authorities to help identify the children who most need support at this time.

Local authorities have the key day-to-day responsibility for delivery of children’s social care. Social workers will continue to work with vulnerable children in this difficult period and support these children to access provision in schools, and any other support they require.

The latest guidance on vulnerable children and young people can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provided to the children's social services department at Kingston upon Hull City Council (a) during the period that those services were graded by Ofsted as requires improvement, (b) since those services were graded by Ofsted as inadequate in January 2019 and (c) since the monitoring visit by Ofsted on 14 January 2020.

Over the course of 2018, the Director of Children’s Services and the Assistant Director for Hull City Council met with the regional lead for Yorkshire and the Humber on several occasions to discuss support. During this time, Hull City Council was in receipt of support from North Yorkshire County Council as a Partner in Practice (PiP), funded by the Department for Education. In February 2019, Hull City Council had also paid for support from another PiP, Essex County Council.

In May 2019, the Department issued an improvement notice and appointed an improvement adviser, Paul Moffat, to support and challenge Hull City Council’s improvement journey in line with established policy set out in the ‘Putting Children First’ guidance, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/putting-children-first-our-vision-for-childrens-social-care.

Mr Moffat was previously the Chief Executive of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust. He has a strong background in improving children’s services, taking Doncaster’s Children’s Services Trust’s Ofsted rating from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Good’ in three years. The Department also funded North Yorkshire County Council and Essex County Council in 2019 to provide support to Hull City Council on a number of areas.

Since the monitoring visit in January 2020, Mr Moffat has continued to work closely with Hull City Council.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken in response to the outcome of the SEND local area inspection of Kingston upon Hull City Council by the CQC and Ofsted that took place in October 2019.

The joint Ofsted and Care Quality Commission special educational needs and disabilities local area revisit to Kingston upon Hull in October 2019, published on 23 December 2019, found that sufficient improvement had been made in two out of the four significant weaknesses identified in the October 2017 inspection.

The Department for Education is clear that progress with addressing the remaining weaknesses must be accelerated. The Department requested leaders of local areas to submit an updated action plan setting out how they will achieve this.

This action plan must be co-produced with partners. It should state how the local area will report on progress and impact, as well as how partners, including families, will be kept fully aware and informed of progress.

The Department will review the plan with partners, including NHS England, as part of our assessment of the most appropriate actions that will bring about the required improvement in services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the SEND local area inspection of Hull City Council by the CQC and Ofsted that took place in October 2019 and Ofsted's inspection of children’s social care services in Kingston upon Hull City Council published in May 2019, if he will make an assessment of the capacity of that local authority to improve the (a) SEND and (b) child protection services it provides.

In the ‘Putting Children First’ guidance, the department is clear that where failure occurs in children’s social care services we expect most councils to improve with support and challenge from experts, especially when failure is not persistent or systemic. It also highlights that we will review councils’ progress towards improvement. Where insufficient progress has been made, we have the right to appoint a commissioner to review whether services should remain in council control. The guidance is available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/putting-children-first-our-vision-for-childrens-social-care.

An Ofsted monitoring visit, published in February 2020, found that progress to improve children’s social care services in Hull has not been good enough to date. The department is aware the council has made changes to the leadership of its social care services and is considering the next steps in our intervention in Hull.

The joint Ofsted and Care Quality Commission SEND local area revisit to Kingston-upon-Hull in October 2019, published on 23 December 2019, found that sufficient improvement had been made in two out of the four significant weaknesses identified in the October 2017 inspection.

The department is clear that progress with addressing the remaining weaknesses must be accelerated, and has requested local area leaders submit an updated action plan setting out how they will achieve this. This action plan must be co-produced with partners and outline how the local area will report on progress and impact, as well as how partners, including families, will be kept fully aware and informed of progress.

The department will review the plan with partners, including NHS England, as part of our assessment of the most appropriate actions that will bring about the required improvement in services. We are working with the newly appointed leadership team at the City Council to establish a joint approach to driving improvement across both services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to appoint a Commissioner to oversee children’s services provision in Hull.

In the ‘Putting Children First’ guidance, the department is clear that where failure occurs in children’s social care services we expect most councils to improve with support and challenge from experts, especially when failure is not persistent or systemic. It also highlights that we will review councils’ progress towards improvement. Where insufficient progress has been made, we have the right to appoint a commissioner to review whether services should remain in council control. The guidance is available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/putting-children-first-our-vision-for-childrens-social-care.

An Ofsted monitoring visit, published in February 2020, found that progress to improve children’s social care services in Hull has not been good enough to date. The department is aware the council has made changes to the leadership of its social care services and is considering the next steps in our intervention in Hull.

The joint Ofsted and Care Quality Commission SEND local area revisit to Kingston-upon-Hull in October 2019, published on 23 December 2019, found that sufficient improvement had been made in two out of the four significant weaknesses identified in the October 2017 inspection.

The department is clear that progress with addressing the remaining weaknesses must be accelerated, and has requested local area leaders submit an updated action plan setting out how they will achieve this. This action plan must be co-produced with partners and outline how the local area will report on progress and impact, as well as how partners, including families, will be kept fully aware and informed of progress.

The department will review the plan with partners, including NHS England, as part of our assessment of the most appropriate actions that will bring about the required improvement in services. We are working with the newly appointed leadership team at the City Council to establish a joint approach to driving improvement across both services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what role his Department had in the appointment of the interim director of children’s services at Kingston upon Hull City Council.

Hull City Council took the decision to remove the Director of Children’s Services (DCS) from her post after the Ofsted monitoring visit in January 2020. It was also the Council’s decision to appoint a new leadership team. The Department had no role in the appointment of the interim DCS.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the outcomes of the SEND local area inspection and inspection of children’s social care services at Kingston upon Hull City Council, whether his Department has provided (a) staff and (b) financial support to that local authority to improve children’s services.

The government is providing local authorities with an additional £1 billion for adult and children’s social care in every year of this Parliament.

The Department for Education has not provided any funding directly to the local authority to improve Children’s Social Care. Prior to the May 2019 Ofsted inspection report, the regional lead for Yorkshire and the Humber met with Hull City Council on several occasions to discuss support. During this time, Hull City Council was in receipt of support from North Yorkshire County Council as a Partner in Practice (PiP), funded by the Department. In February 2019, Hull City Council also paid for support from another PiP, Essex County Council.

In May 2019, the Department issued an improvement notice and appointed an improvement adviser, Paul Moffat, to support and challenge Hull City Council’s improvement journey in line with established policy set out in the ‘Putting Children First’ guidance, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/putting-children-first-our-vision-for-childrens-social-care.

Mr Moffat was previously the Chief Executive of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust. He has a strong background in improving children’s services, taking Doncaster’s Children’s Services Trust’s Ofsted rating from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Good’ in three years. The Department also funded North Yorkshire County Council and Essex County Council to provide support to Hull City Council on a number of areas, equating to an investment of approximately £80,000 in 2019-20.

The joint Ofsted and CQC special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) local area revisit to Kingston upon Hull in October 2019, published on 23 December 2019, found that sufficient improvement had been made in two out of the four significant weaknesses identified in the October 2017 inspection. In 2018-19, the Department provided Kingston upon Hull with a SEND implementation grant of £140,968 to support the implementation of the SEND reforms. The Department has also funded training and resources from delivery partners, including Whole School SEND, Contact and the Council for Disabled Children, and a dedicated SEND adviser to provide support and challenge to the local area to improve their SEND services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on children in Hull of the findings of Ofsted's inspection of children’s social care services in Kingston upon Hull City Council published in May 2019.

Ofsted found children’s social care services in Hull to be inadequate in May 2019. Subsequently, a monitoring visit by Ofsted in January 2020 showed that services for children, young people and families in Hull were still in need of improvement.

Following the original inadequate judgement and in line with the department’s intervention policy set out in ‘Putting Children First’, we appointed an improvement adviser, Paul Moffatt. Paul Moffat reports regularly to ministers on progress in Hull and led a Department for Education review of progress in December 2019.

‘Putting Children First’ is available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/putting-children-first-our-vision-for-childrens-social-care.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the effect on the level of take-up of free school meals of linking that take-up to provision of the pupil premium.

We allocate pupil premium funding every year that a child is claiming a free school meal and for the following 6 years should they cease claiming free school meals, recognising the importance of continuing the additional investment for those that have experienced economic disadvantage.

Evidence proves economic deprivation is strongly consistently linked to under-achievement at school. Pupil eligibility for free school meals in the last 6 years (known as “Ever6 FSM”) remains the best available proxy measure of economic deprivation at individual pupil level.

We want to make sure as many eligible pupils as possible are claiming their free school meals, and to make it as simple as possible for schools and local authorities to determine eligibility. To support this, we provide an Eligibility Checking System to make the checking process as quick and straightforward as possible for schools and local authorities. We have also developed a model registration form to help schools encourage parents to sign up for free school meals, and we provide guidance to Jobcentre Plus advisers so that they can make Universal Credit recipients aware that they may also be entitled to wider benefits, including free school meals.

We will continue to look at what the most effective schools do and highlight and disseminate best practice. We are prepared to consider any further steps we can take to improve the take-up of free school meals.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce dedicated capital expansion and maintenance funds for sixth form providers in England.

Our ambition is to level up the skills of the entire nation and ensure that post-16 education providers are in a great shape to deliver this. The department is considering how best to achieve this ambition and will announce details of any future capital funding in due course. This will build on the significant uplift in recurrent funding for 16-19 education which we are putting in place for the next academic year, 2020-21.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to (a) set targets for the reduction of plastic pollution, (b) publish a strategy and annual reports on plastic pollution reduction and (c) establish an advisory committee on plastic pollution.

The Environment Bill requires the Government to set at least one long-term, legally binding target in four of the highest priority areas for environmental improvement, including Resource Efficiency and Waste Reduction. These targets will be set following a robust, evidence-led process that includes seeking independent expert advice, a role for stakeholders and the public, and approval from Parliament. We prefer to set a wider Resources and Waste target to ensure a holistic approach to all materials, not just plastics, to ensure we achieve the best environmental outcome.

As to a strategy, annual reports and an advisory committee on plastic pollution reduction, the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. In December 2018 we published the Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out how we want to achieve this and move towards a circular economy, effectively providing a strategy for plastic pollution reduction. The Environment Bill will enable us to significantly change the way that we manage our waste and take forward a number of the proposals from the Resources and Waste Strategy. The Bill contains powers to create extended producer responsibility schemes; introduce deposit return schemes; establish greater consistency in the recycling system; better control the export of plastic waste; and give us the power to set new charges for other single-use plastic items. All these measures will effectively contribute to reducing plastic pollution.

The Government are currently consulting on policy proposals for extended producer responsibility for packaging, a deposit return scheme and more consistency in recycling collections.

We also support the UK Plastics Pact (UKPP), which produces an annual report on the progress to plastic waste reduction targets in 2025. The Pact is a collaborative initiative of over 120 business members, representing retail, manufacturing, hospitality, the plastic supply sector, plastic recycling and resource management.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
What steps he is taking to secure long-term funding for nature-based flooding solutions.

This Government sees nature-based solutions playing an increasing role in our effort to reduce flood risk, alongside traditional flood defences, in our £5.2 billion capital flood defence programme as well as through the £200 million innovation programme. These will run for the next six years. In addition, the Government’s ongoing investment in the environment, such as the Nature for Climate Fund and our environmental land management schemes, will also support natural flood management measures.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the £63 million of local welfare assistance to be used by local authorities announced by the Prime Minister on 10 June 2020, how much of the £63 million (a) is new money and (b) has previously been announced and on what dates.

All of the £63 million is additional funding, sitting alongside the £6.5 billion of extra support the Government is providing through the benefits system to ensure the most vulnerable in our society are protected throughout this crisis.

We are currently finalising the amounts to be allocated to different local authorities.

The funding is not ring-fenced for children on free school meals. The Government has recently announced a further £120 million of funding to continue free school meals for children during the school holidays.

This funding is a one-off boost to local authorities in recognition that some people in our communities are facing sudden and severe financial difficulties.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the £63 million of local welfare assistance to be used by local authorities announced by the Prime Minister on 10 June 2020, what amount has been allocated to Hull City Council.

All of the £63 million is additional funding, sitting alongside the £6.5 billion of extra support the Government is providing through the benefits system to ensure the most vulnerable in our society are protected throughout this crisis.

We are currently finalising the amounts to be allocated to different local authorities.

The funding is not ring-fenced for children on free school meals. The Government has recently announced a further £120 million of funding to continue free school meals for children during the school holidays.

This funding is a one-off boost to local authorities in recognition that some people in our communities are facing sudden and severe financial difficulties.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the £63 million of local welfare assistance to be used by local authorities announced by the Prime Minister on 10 June 2020, whether this funding is ring-fenced for children on free school meals during the school holidays.

All of the £63 million is additional funding, sitting alongside the £6.5 billion of extra support the Government is providing through the benefits system to ensure the most vulnerable in our society are protected throughout this crisis.

We are currently finalising the amounts to be allocated to different local authorities.

The funding is not ring-fenced for children on free school meals. The Government has recently announced a further £120 million of funding to continue free school meals for children during the school holidays.

This funding is a one-off boost to local authorities in recognition that some people in our communities are facing sudden and severe financial difficulties.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect people on universal credit who live in flood risk areas and who may be unable to afford flood insurance premiums.

Flood Re, launched in 2016, is a joint initiative between Government and industry designed to improve the availability and affordability of flood insurance for households at high risk of flooding.

Flood Re allows insurance companies to pass on the flood risk element of household insurance policies to them for a below market rate set premium. Premiums charged by Flood Re to insurers are based on the Council Tax band of the property. This means that people on universal credit who live in flood risk areas will benefit from Flood Re. From May 2019, 99% of households with prior flood claims can now receive quotes from 5 or more insurers due to Flood Re. Four out of five householders with a prior flood claim saw price reductions of over 50%.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect people living in rented accommodation in flood-risk areas who cannot afford flood insurance premiums.

Flood Re, launched in 2016, is a joint initiative between Government and industry designed to improve the availability and affordability of flood insurance for households at high risk of flooding. Flood Re allows insurance companies to pass on the flood risk element of household insurance policies to them for a below market-rate set premium.

For renters, insurers can ask Flood Re to cover the flood risk part of a contents insurance policy, as long as the property meets certain criteria, including: being used for private; residential purposes; having a domestic Council Tax band A to H; being a single residential unit or building comprising two or three units; being insured on an individual basis; and being built before 01/01/2009.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office plans to maintain the expertise of staff relating to (a) development projects, (b) climate change emergencies and (b) other key policy issues of her Department after the merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with her Department.

Merging the departments will bring together the best of what we do in aid and diplomacy, and create new opportunities for staff. The ambition, vision and expertise of DFID and FCO staff will be at the heart of the new department – taking forward the work of UK aid, which will remain central to our mission.

We will continue to look at how our aid budget can be spent most effectively in our national interest, including through the Integrated Review – which will inform the priorities of the new Department.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what monitoring will be putin place after the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure that the 0.7% of UK GDP pledged for overseas development aid is used for that purpose and not for security and diplomatic aims.

Our commitment to spending 0.7 percent of our national income on aid is enshrined in law and the UK continues to abide by the OECD DAC rules for aid. All UK official development assistance (ODA) must meet OECD DAC criteria, and have the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its primary purpose. We will continue to look at how this money can be spent most effectively, taking into account our national interest, including through the Integrated Review – which will inform the priorities of the new Department.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answers of 21 June 2021 to Question 16807 on Trade Agreements: Australia and to Question 16808 on Livestock: Australia, what assessment she has made of whether Australian farmers would be allowed to export chickens reared using barren battery cages to the UK; and if she will make a statement.

The Department for International Trade has always been clear that the deal with Australia will not compromise the UK’s high standards. This agreement does not create new permissions for imports from Australia. Imports will continue to meet the same UK food safety and biosecurity import standards as they did before.

The Government has secured a comprehensive partnership to work with Australia, including internationally, to progress animal welfare in partnership with Australia. The Government has also agreed a non-regression clause on animal welfare - a first in a Free Trade Agreement. This commitment means that neither country can lower their animal welfare standards to undercut the other.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the legality of (a) barren battery cages, (b) sow stalls, (c) hormone-fed beef, (d) hot branding and (e) mulesing in Australia on (i) food and (ii) farming standards in the UK.

The Department for International Trade has always been clear that this deal will not compromise the UK’s high standards. Imports will still have to meet the same UK food safety and biosecurity import standards as they did before.

This deal will also not unfairly undercut UK farmers. The Government has agreed a ground-breaking non-regression clause on animal welfare, which means that neither country can lower their animal welfare standards to undercut the other. The Government has also agreed a general safeguard mechanism which will provide a safety net for industry if they face serious injury from increased imports as a direct consequence of the Free Trade Agreement.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department plans to take to ensure that the UK's (a) farming standards are upheld and (b) farmers are not undercut by imports of animal products produced with lower standards in Australia as part of the free trade agreement with that country.

The Department for International Trade has always been clear that this deal will not compromise the UK’s high standards. Imports will still have to meet the same UK food safety and biosecurity import standards as they did before.

This deal will also not unfairly undercut UK farmers. The Government hasagreed a ground-breaking non-regression clause on animal welfare, which means that neither country can lower their animal welfare standards to undercut the other. The Government hasalso agreed a general safeguard mechanism which will provide a safety net for industry if they face serious injury from increased imports as a direct consequence of the Free Trade Agreement.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of cyclist deaths per annum.

This Government is committed to increasing walking and cycling and making our roads safer for vulnerable road users including cyclists and pedestrians. The Government is investing £2bn of funding for cycling and walking over this Parliament to deliver the commitments outlined in the Prime Minister’s Gear Change Cycling and walking plan. These include providing hundreds of miles of new safe and fully segregated cycle routes as well as policy changes to improve safety for people cycling such as updating the Highway Code.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of trends in the number of deaths on the roads of under 16 year olds in (a) England and (b) the Humberside region.

The number of under 16 years old deaths in reported road accidents in England and Humberside police force between 2010 and 2020 can be found in the table below.

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Humberside

0

1

2

2

2

1

1

1

2

1

2

England

47

47

55

38

46

45

56

43

42

36

33

STATS19

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to restrict noise pollution created by modified exhaust pipes on (a) cars and (b) motorbikes.

The Government takes the impact of traffic noise on health, wellbeing and the natural environment seriously. Vehicles are required to meet strict noise limits before being placed on the market and police have powers to act if they suspect an exhaust has been modified to increase noise.

On 2nd August the Department published research into enforcement against excessive noise pollution from vehicles using acoustic cameras. Preliminary indications are that the technology has the potential to identify excessively noisy vehicles, however, there are still difficulties in measuring noise in uncontrolled environments. Further research is being commissioned to address these challenges.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Ryanair passengers are provided with refunds in the event of flight cancellations.

Government have published advice for claiming a cancelled flight refund in the Passenger COVID-19 Charter which sets out rights, responsibilities and reasonable expectations when booking and travelling during the pandemic.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reviewed airlines’ compliance on refunds last summer and worked collaboratively to improve their performance on consumer obligations. The majority of airlines now pay refunds within 7 days. The CAA regulates the compliance of airlines with aviation consumer law.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently investigating whether Ryanair has broken consumer law by failing to offer refunds to customers they could not legally take during lockdown in the UK. The government is not able to comment on this case as it is on-going.

Ryanair are also a member of Aviation ADR, an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) body, who can assist consumers to resolve disputes with the airline, including for cancelled flights.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the treatment by Ryanair in respect of refunds of passengers who have had their flights cancelled as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Government have published advice for claiming a cancelled flight refund in the Passenger COVID-19 Charter which sets out rights, responsibilities and reasonable expectations when booking and travelling during the pandemic.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reviewed airlines’ compliance on refunds last summer and worked collaboratively to improve their performance on consumer obligations. The majority of airlines now pay refunds within 7 days. The CAA regulates the compliance of airlines with aviation consumer law.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently investigating whether Ryanair has broken consumer law by failing to offer refunds to customers they could not legally take during lockdown in the UK. The government is not able to comment on this case as it is on-going.

Ryanair are also a member of Aviation ADR, an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) body, who can assist consumers to resolve disputes with the airline, including for cancelled flights.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 175755 on Transport for the North: Finance, whether that decision has any effect on the Government's allocation of funding to the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme.

The decision to reallocate costs from Transport for the North’s core budget to their Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) budget bears no relation to the Government’s overall allocation of funding to the NPR programme.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 175754 on Rolling Stock: Diesel Engines, what estimate his Department has made of the Government funding required to phase out diesel-only trains by 2040.

High-level estimates of the cost of decarbonising the railway made by Network Rail and the rail industry will inform the government's approach to rail decarbonisation, which will be set out in the Department’s forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan. The costs of individual schemes will be assessed separately to ensure value for money and affordability.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 175754 on Rolling Stock: Diesel Engines, how much funding the Government has allocated to deliver its commitment of a net-zero transport system by 2050.

Our forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP) will set out the scale and pace of rail decarbonisation necessary to deliver a net zero transport system by 2050. Decisions on funding for decarbonisation schemes and subsequent allocations will be made in the usual way to ensure that they are value for money and affordable.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 174771 on Railways: North of England, how many meetings the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Pendle has had on the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme since his appointment to that role.

As minister for Northern Powerhouse Rail, I attend regular meetings on this topic. Details of meetings with external organisations are routinely published on the GOV.UK website.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 174768 on Hull Paragon Station: Domestic Visits, whether the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Pendle has made any visits to Hull Paragon Station since February 2020.

I have not made any visits to Hull Paragon Station. I look forward to visiting many stations when circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 174770 on Passengers: North of England, if he will publish a list of stakeholders the Minister of State, the Hon. Member for Pendle has met since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

I have met with a large number of stakeholders since the start of covid-19 outbreak. The details of many of these can be found in the published Ministerial transparency returns on the GOV.UK website.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 14 April 2021 to Question 175757 on Transport for the North, what the dates were of those meetings held between the Minister of State of his Department and representatives of Transport for the North.

Departmental transparency returns will include the dates of ministerial meetings with Transport for the North (TfN) representatives. Ministerial colleagues and I frequently meet with northern stakeholders, including TfN Board members, on a range of matters.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 March 2021 to Question 172921 on Transport for the North: Finance, what assessment his Department made of the future spending plans and outgoing costs of Transport for the North as part of the decision to reduce its core funding allocation in response to Transport for the North having high reserves.

The decision to adjust Transport for the North’s core funding grant for 2020/21 and 2021/22 was based on an assessment of the funding required for them to effectively undertake their statutory functions.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 175761 on Department for Transport: Rail Delivery Group, if he will publish the minutes of meetings with representatives from the Rail Delivery Group.

While minutes of meetings are not published, to enable Ministers and stakeholders to have space to have free and open exchange of views about developing policy, you can find information on the meetings between Ministers and representatives from the Rail Delivery Group on in the transparency returns on Gov.UK.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 174765 on Ministers: Department for Transport, if he will publish minutes for the MPs surgery held by the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, on 24 March 2021.

The MP surgery held on 24 March 2021 was a follow-up to the parliamentary report published on 23 March 2021. All MPs who were interested were able to attend. While minutes of meetings are not published, to enable Ministers and stakeholders space to have full and frank discussions about developments on the project, I presented on the report and took questions from MPs in attendance.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 174767 on Railways: North of England, whether the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Pendle, has made any journeys on the TransPennine train from Manchester to Hull since February 2020.

I have not made any journeys on the TransPennine train from Manchester to Hull in my Ministerial capacity. I look forward to making many train journeys when restrictions ease.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of recent toilet improvements made at Hull Paragon Station.

The Department advised that the toilets are suitable for a transport interchange but due to their location, they are frequently used by other members of the public as well as passengers. The toilets have also become a target for vandalism and anti-social behaviour. Whilst TransPennine Express, which manages the station, covers the cost of repairs and has provided additional cleaning to meet the extra demand, this means that customers have reduced access to the facility whilst the toilets are being cleaned or repaired.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish minutes of meetings between the Minister of State in his Department and hon. Members representing constituencies in the North of England in each of the last 12 months.

I meet with MPs on a regular basis. Most recently, I held a MP surgery that all MPs were invited to on the 24th March. I am happy to engage with any MPs who request a meeting.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on what dates the Minister of State in his Department held discussions with hon. Members representing constituencies in the North of England in the last 12 months.

I meet with MPs on a regular basis. Most recently, I held a MP surgery that all MPs were invited to on the 24th March. I am happy to engage with any MPs who request a meeting.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State for Transport of 17 March 2021, Official Report, column 448, what his Department's definition is of a (a) budget reduction and (b) budget adjustment.

On this occasion, the terms ‘reduction’ and ‘adjustment’ were used interchangeably to refer to the change in Transport for the North’s core funding allocation for 2020/21 and 2021/22.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister of State for Transport of 17 March 2021, Official Report, column 448, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of Transport for the North's ability to charge £2.5 million of the costs that previously came from its core budget to the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme on improvements to the North’s rail network.

This decision has no impact on the Government’s ambitions to significantly improve the North’s rail network.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of diesel rolling stock on the environment.

Rail is a comparatively green mode of transport, but the Government is working to further reduce emissions and reduce the impact of air and noise pollution.

Diesel freight and passenger trains in Great Britain created 1,788 kilotonnes of CO2e last year (April 2019-April 2020). The Government will reduce these emissions through our ambition to phase out diesel-only trains by 2040 and deliver a net-zero transport system by 2050.

The Department is working to gain a more comprehensive understanding of air pollution in stations by funding a new £4.5 million air quality monitoring network. This will be rolled out over the next three years, with air quality monitors installed in around 100 stations across England and Wales from summer 2021. Once established, the network will help to identify priority locations where air quality improvement measures are most needed.

Noise from the railway can have an impact on the lives of the people who live along its routes, and the industry is working to minimise the impact of noise from the railway on its neighbours and on passengers. The Department supports periodic strategic noise mapping to identify the most sensitive areas on and around the rail network that are exposed to railway noise. We assess the sensitive areas as described in the Noise Action Plan: Railways - this plan is updated every 5 years and was last updated in 2019.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the (a) dates and (b) minutes of meetings between the Minister of State in his Department and representatives of National Rail in each of the last 12 months.

National Rail is a trading name licensed for use by the Rail Delivery Group used to promote passenger railway services. In line with their roles and portfolios, both Ministers of State have met with the Rail Delivery Group and their representatives when appropriate over the past year.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State in his Department plans to visit station operators at Darlington Station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Minister of State in his Department has to visit station operators at Leeds Railway Station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if the Minister of State in his Department will visit operators at Liverpool Lime Street Station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish minutes of meetings between the Minister of State in his Department and representatives of HS2 operators in each of the last 12 months.

The Department publishes information about ministerial meetings, including dates, who the meeting is with, and the purpose of the meeting. While minutes of meetings are not published, to enable Ministers and officials space to have full and frank discussions about developing policy, we are openly reporting progress on the project to Parliament twice-yearly. Our latest report can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/hs2-6-monthly-report-to-parliament-march-2021

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State in his Department has plans to visit and meet with TransPennine Express operators at Hull Station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish minutes of meetings between the Minister of State in his Department and representatives of Transport for the North in each of the last 12 months.

There has been regular engagement between ministers and Transport for the North over the last year. No formal minutes of these meetings were recorded to allow for a free and open exchange of views on key issues. However, issues raised by stakeholders are followed up and, where necessary, further meetings are held with officials.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State in his Department plans to visit station operators at Cleethorpes Railway Station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State in his Department plans to visit station operators at Scarborough Railway Station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State in his Department plans to visit station operators at Manchester Victoria Station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State in his Department plans to visit station operators at Sheffield Train Station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State in his Department plans to visit station operators at Manchester Piccadilly Train Station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State in his Department plans to visit station operators at Newcastle Station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has visited Manchester Piccadilly train station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has visited Hull Paragon station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has travelled on the TransPennine train from Manchester to Hull.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will publish a list of meetings the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has had with hon. Members representing constituencies in the North of England since his appointment.

I meet with MPs on a regular basis. Most recently, I held a MP surgery that all MPs were invited to on the 24th March. I am happy to engage with any MPs who request a meeting.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will list the Transport for the North board meetings attended by the Minister of State for Transport.

Neither of the Ministers of State for Transport have attended any Transport for the North Board meetings. The Department is represented at these meetings by Officials within the Department.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will provide the dates of meetings the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has had with hon. Members representing constituencies in the north of England since his taking up that post.

I meet with MPs on a regular basis. Most recently, I held a MP surgery that all MPs were invited to on the 24th March. I am happy to engage with any MPs who request a meeting.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will provide the minutes of the meetings the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has had with hon. Members representing constituencies in the north of England, since his taking up that post.

I meet with MPs on a regular basis. Most recently, I held a MP surgery that all MPs were invited to on the 24th March. I am happy to engage with any MPs who request a meeting.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what meetings the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has had with passenger groups based in the North of England since his appointment.

Ministers hold meetings with a wide range of stakeholders including operators and passenger groups. During the pandemic these meetings have been held virtually. I am the Minister responsible for HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Transpennine route upgrade, and skills. Chris Heaton-Harris MP is Minister of State and has responsibility for rail, Williams Review, Beeching, Crossrail 2, East West Rail, cycling and walking, accessibility and corporate.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what meetings the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has had with passenger groups representing disabled people based in the North of England since his appointment.

Ministers hold meetings with a wide range of stakeholders including operators and passenger groups. During the pandemic these meetings have been held virtually. I am the Minister responsible for HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Transpennine route upgrade, and skills. Chris Heaton-Harris MP is Minister of State and has responsibility for rail, Williams Review, Beeching, Crossrail 2, East West Rail, cycling and walking, accessibility and corporate.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will publish the minutes of all meetings the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has attended on the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme.

As part of my responsibilities as the Minister of State I have many meetings regarding the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will publish in full the Ministerial diary of the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, for each week since the week commencing 17 February 2020.

As part of my role as Minister of State for Transport, I regularly meet with departmental officials and external stakeholders. My meetings with many external organisations are routinely published on the GOV.UK website as part of transparency returns.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will publish in full the Ministerial diary of the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, for the week commencing 13 February 2020.

I was appointed as Minister of State for Transport on Thursday 13th February. I had no meetings with external organisations that week. I had introductory meetings with Officials within the Department.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has visited Liverpool Lime Street railway station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has visited Newcastle Central railway station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has visited Leeds railway station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has visited Sheffield train station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Pendle, has visited Darlington train station.

Ministers very much look forward to visiting a range of stations and locations in due course once circumstances allow.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the oral contribution by the Minister of State for Transport, Official Report, column 448 and with reference to his statement that the 40 per cent reduction in Transport for the North’s core funding will not take place until the next financial year, whether Transport for the North has been allocated £10 million in financial year 2020-21.

I refer the Right Honourable Member to my oral contribution to the House, Official Report, column 447; Transport for the North received a core funding settlement from the Department of £7 million for the current financial year (2020/21) and £6 million for the next (2021/22).

I also refer the hon Member to the answer I gave on 22 March 2021, to Question UIN 170563 https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-03-17/170563/.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State for Transport of 17 March 2021, Official Report, column 447 on Transport for the North: Funding, whether the £9.5 million referred to in that debate was earmarked expenditure.

Transport for the North (TfN) project that, had they received £10 million in core grant this financial year, their reserves would have risen to £9.5 million at the end of this financial year. It is for Transport for the North to manage their core funding allocation within the parameters set out in the Grant Funding Agreement between the Department and TfN, and therefore questions on the makeup of their projected reserves should be directed to TfN rather than the Department.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State for Transport of 17 March 2021, Official Report, column 447 on Transport for the North: Funding, what funding made up the £9.5 million in reserves.

Transport for the North (TfN) project that, had they received £10 million in core grant this financial year, their reserves would have risen to £9.5 million at the end of this financial year. It is for Transport for the North to manage their core funding allocation within the parameters set out in the Grant Funding Agreement between the Department and TfN, and therefore questions on the makeup of their projected reserves should be directed to TfN rather than the Department.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State for Transport of 17 March 2021, Official Report, column 448 on Transport for the North: Funding, whether Transport for the North was required to pay back the unspent £126 million to his Department.

TfN was allocated up to £150m at the 2015 Spending Review to support its Integrated and Smart Travel programme, with this multi-year funding allocation expiring at the end of the current financial year. Following the approval of business cases TfN utilised around £24m to enable the roll-out of smart ticketing across the north in addition to incurring development, business-case and other project costs of around £10 million but were unable to produce a business case for their ambitious multi modal project which was acceptable to all transport operators in the North.

As the £150m funding was not allocated as a lump sum, there is no need for TfN to pay back the balance.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State for Transport of 17 March 2021, Official Report, column 448 on Transport for the North: Funding, how the £150 million was made available to Transport for the North.

TfN was allocated up to £150m at the 2015 Spending Review to support its Integrated and Smart Travel programme, with this multi-year funding allocation expiring at the end of the current financial year. Following the approval of business cases TfN utilised around £24m to enable the roll-out of smart ticketing across the north in addition to incurring development, business-case and other project costs of around £10 million but were unable to produce a business case for their ambitious multi modal project which was acceptable to all transport operators in the North.

As the £150m funding was not allocated as a lump sum, there is no need for TfN to pay back the balance.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister of State of 17 March 2021, Official Report, column 447, that Transport for North’s budget was adjusted to ensure it did not build up unnecessarily large reserves, what Transport for North’s reserves were projected to be in 2020-21.

As I stated in the House on 17 March during the adjournment debate on this matter, Transport for the North’s reserves were projected to rise to £9.5m in 2020-21, had their core funding grant not been adjusted.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister of State of 17 March 2021, Official Report, column 447, that Transport for the North’s budget was adjusted to ensure it did not build up unnecessarily large reserves, what his estimate is of an acceptable reserve.

As I stated in the House during the adjournment debate on this subject on 17 March 2021, the Department for Transport and Transport for the North have an agreed minimum reserve level of £2 million.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of whether Transport for the North’s reserves were earmarked for anything.

Transport for the North is required to operate a reserves strategy, to enable the organisation to operate with a degree of flexibility, whilst also guarding against unexpected costs or cash flow fluctuations. It is for Transport for the North to manage their funding allocation, and reserves strategy, accordingly.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister of State of 17 March 2021, Official Report, column 447, that Transport for the North underspent its core grant, in which areas of that budget there was an underspend.

Transport for the North is allocated a core funding grant to enable them to carry out their statutory functions. It is a decision for Transport for the North Board as to how that grant is spent, subject to the conditions set out in the Grant Funding Agreement between the Department for Transport and Transport for the North.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether plans for a contactless ticketing scheme in the North of England have been cancelled as stated in a letter from the Department of Transport to Transport for the North, dated 4 January 2021.

Due to a forecast underspend and a significant build-up of reserves due to displaced activity in 2020/21, the core grant that Transport for the North (TfN) receives from the Department was set at £7 million for 2020/21 and £6 million for 2021/22. Furthermore, the Department has agreed to TfN charging £2.5 million of costs, previously from its core budget, to the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) programme for 2021/22. As I stated in the House in the adjournment debate on this subject of 17 March, “Taking into account all the funding streams available to Transport for the North, its budget has not been reduced by 40%.”

In the 2015 spending review, Transport for the North was allocated up to £150 million to support its integrated and smart travel programme. It has utilised only £24 million in the past five years to enable the roll-out of smart ticketing throughout the north. Additionally, it incurred development, business-case and other project costs of around £10 million but was unable to produce a business case for its ambitious multi-modal projects that was acceptable to all transport operators in the north. The multi-year funding for Transport for the North’s integrated and smart travel programme was always due to expire at the end of this financial year. We are considering how best to deliver more effectively the roll-out of smart ticketing to improve passenger services throughout the region.

The launch of the National Bus Strategy on 15 March 2021 outlined our ambition to see seamless, integrated ticketing between operators and to extend this across all types of transport and all regions of the country, including the North. We will work with transport technology providers, app developers, bus operators and LTAs to ensure that any technology to support this is developed strategically, and money is not wasted on different technology solutions for different places. As rail ticketing and fares systems are updated we will also consider opportunities for facilitating integrated electronic ticketing with buses.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the core budget of Transport for the North has been reduced from £10 million to £6 million for the financial year 2021-22 as stated in a letter from the Department for Transport to Transport for the North dated 4 January 2021.

Due to a forecast underspend and a significant build-up of reserves due to displaced activity in 2020/21, the core grant that Transport for the North (TfN) receives from the Department was set at £7 million for 2020/21 and £6 million for 2021/22. Furthermore, the Department has agreed to TfN charging £2.5 million of costs, previously from its core budget, to the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) programme for 2021/22. As I stated in the House in the adjournment debate on this subject of 17 March, “Taking into account all the funding streams available to Transport for the North, its budget has not been reduced by 40%.”

In the 2015 spending review, Transport for the North was allocated up to £150 million to support its integrated and smart travel programme. It has utilised only £24 million in the past five years to enable the roll-out of smart ticketing throughout the north. Additionally, it incurred development, business-case and other project costs of around £10 million but was unable to produce a business case for its ambitious multi-modal projects that was acceptable to all transport operators in the north. The multi-year funding for Transport for the North’s integrated and smart travel programme was always due to expire at the end of this financial year. We are considering how best to deliver more effectively the roll-out of smart ticketing to improve passenger services throughout the region.

The launch of the National Bus Strategy on 15 March 2021 outlined our ambition to see seamless, integrated ticketing between operators and to extend this across all types of transport and all regions of the country, including the North. We will work with transport technology providers, app developers, bus operators and LTAs to ensure that any technology to support this is developed strategically, and money is not wasted on different technology solutions for different places. As rail ticketing and fares systems are updated we will also consider opportunities for facilitating integrated electronic ticketing with buses.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what funding his Department has provided to Transport for the North in each of the last three years.

TfN have received £10m in core funding for the previous two financial years. In December 2020, TfN’s core budget for this financial year (20/21) was reduced to £7 million, in part due to TfN’s underspend this financial year and the maintenance of large reserves.

TfN have had access to £104 million of the £147m Northern Powerhouse Rail budget since FY18/19, broken down as follows: 2018/19 - £15 million; 2019/20 - £30 million; 2020/21 - £59 million.

TfN was allocated up to £150m at the 2015 Spending Review to support its Integrated and Smart Travel programme, with this multi-year funding allocation expiring at the end of the current financial year. TfN utilised around £24 million in the past five years to enable the roll-out of smart ticketing across the North.

Finally, TfN receive a grant from the Department for Transport as a contribution to funding the Rail North Partnership team which manages the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises on behalf of the Department for Transport and Transport for the North. For the last three years these amounts are 2018/19 - £388k, 2019/20 - £582k, 2020/21 - £680k.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of funding for Transport for the North.

In the next financial year, TfN will have access to over £70m of funding, the majority of which will enable further development of Northern Powerhouse Rail. To date, over £100m has been spent on Northern Powerhouse Rail development. TfN’s most recent core funding settlement is an appropriate settlement that enables the organisation to continue to deliver its statutory functions of developing a transport strategy for the region. The Rail North Partnership Grant that TfN receives from the Department will also continue unchanged in the next financial year. TfN was allocated up to £150m at the 2015 Spending Review to support its Integrated and Smart Travel programme, with this multi-year funding allocation expiring at the end of the current financial year. TfN utilised around £24m in the past five years to enable the roll-out of smart ticketing across the North and we are now considering how best to deliver more effectively the rollout of smart ticketing to improve passenger services across the region.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent representations he has received on changes in the level of funding for Transport for the North.

The Secretary of State has received correspondence on Transport for the North’s (TfN) recent funding settlement from a range of individuals and organisations. Aside from representations made by TfN Board members themselves, this correspondence includes from MPs, councillors, Combined Authority Mayors and the TUC. This is in addition to ongoing dialogue between TfN and Departmental officials.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 7 October 2020 to Question 98677 on Taxis: Protective Clothing, which organisation is responsible for ensuring that operators carry out those risk assessments; and what the penalty is in the event that operators do not complete those risk assessments to an adequate standard.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the enforcing authority responsible for ensuring taxi operators carry out risk assessments covering work activities away from the taxi office. The duty to carry out assessments is a legal requirement and if not completed, HSE can take enforcement action to require operators to comply. This includes the option of issuing an Improvement Notice which stipulates what is required in a given timeframe. Non-compliance with an Improvement Notice is an offence and carries potential financial penalties and / or imprisonment.

The HSE takes a proportionate approach to enforcement in line with their publicly available enforcement policy statement.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to Answer of 1 October 2020 to Question 96010 on Taxis: Protective Clothing, whether it is (a) his Department's or (b) another organisation's responsibility to ensure operators are carrying out adequate covid-19 risk assessments.

It is the operator's responsibility to follow Government Safer Transport Guidance for operators. This includes the recommendation to conduct risk assessments to ensure suitable protective measures are in place for both transport workers and passengers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 September 2020 to Question 93554, what the scientific basis is for his Department's decision not to enforce mandatory face coverings for taxi and private hire drivers.

The Department for Transport’s guidance for transport operators (Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators) advises that the risks of coronavirus should be identified through operator's conducting risk assessments. These inform decisions and measures to be put in place to protect both transport workers and customers. We continually review guidance for safer transport in line with scientific advice.

Evidence tells us that the most effective measures are social distancing, rigorous hand hygiene, not touching one’s face and good ventilation of fresh air. It is up to the operator to use their risk assessments to determine if face coverings are a practical and safe protective measure based upon specific job roles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 September 2020 to Question 90961 on Cars: Hire Services, and the Prime Minister's statement on covid-19 measures on 22 September 2020, whether it is now mandatory for private hire and taxi drivers to wear face coverings at all times when working.

Face coverings are now mandatory for customers using taxi and private hire vehicle services, unless they are exempt from wearing one. Face coverings are not mandatory for drivers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, in relation to the Government's covid-19 guidance on private hire cars, for what reason the wearing of face coverings is not mandatory in those vehicles; what the medical evidence is to support that decision; and what plans he has to review that decision.

The Government has published safer transport guidance on the safe provision of transport services during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance to passengers says that passengers should wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles. Taxi drivers are able to refuse carriage to passengers where it is reasonable to do so, and private hire vehicle operators can make wearing a face covering a condition of hiring. We are aware of private hire vehicle operators that are doing this and requiring the driver they work with to do the same. We continually review guidance for safer transport in line with scientific advice.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) financial and (b) non financial resources his Department has allocated to (a) Humber Ports and (b) other UK ports to prepare for the end of the transition period.

As part of the Port Infrastructure Resilience and Connectivity (PIRC) fund in 2019, the ports of Hull and Immingham successfully bid to receive £1.4m between them to support preparations for leaving the European Union. The total amount of funding to successful applicants through this fund was £10m, with a maximum of £1m to any single port.

As part of preparations for the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020, on 12 July the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster announced funding of up to £705m for new infrastructure, jobs and technology at the border. This includes up to £470m to build port and inland infrastructure needed for new customs procedures and controls. Further details of how ports can apply to access this funding will be provided in due course.

8th Nov 2021
What assessment she has made of the potential effect of ending the uplift to universal credit on (a) household budgets and (b) levels of poverty.

The uplift to Universal Credit was a temporary measure, that is why an assessment has not been completed on its withdrawal.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, and continues to do so through many measures. We expect to spend over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22.

Universal Credit recipients in work will soon benefit from a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, and increasing the work allowance by £500 per year means that 1.9m working households will be able to keep substantially more of what they earn. These changes represent an effective tax cut for low income working households in receipt of UC worth £2.2 billion a year in 2022-23, for the lowest paid in society, and are combined with a rise in the National Living Wage to £9.50 per hour.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the impact the end of the furlough scheme on the number of people claiming Universal Credit in (a) the UK, (b) Yorkshire and Humber and (c) Kingston upon Hull North.

No such assessment has been made. The Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme ended on 30 September 2021.

With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, and continues to do so through many measures, including by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22. This government is continuing to take action to support living standards by increasing the National Living Wage to £9.50 effective from April 1st 2022, as well as reducing the taper rate in Universal Credit from 63% to 55% and increasing the value of work allowances by £500 per year, meaning Universal Credit claimants will be able to keep more of their benefit payments when they increase their earnings.

The latest Universal Credit statistics are available to 9 September 2021 and the next release on 16 November 2021 will provide the statistics to 14 October 2021.

The number of people who are on Universal Credit in Great Britain each month, broken down by Region and Westminster Parliamentary Constituency, are published monthly, and can be found on Stat-Xplore: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk.

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 September 2021 to Question 48169 on universal credit, if she will revise the calculations for the National Living Wage to include the taper rate.

The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage are set annually on the basis of recommendations from the independent Low Pay Commission, an independent body of employers, unions and experts.

On 1 April 2021, following the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, workers on the National Living Wage saw a 2.2% pay increase to £8.91 an hour. The April 2021 increase in the National Living Wage represents an increase of over £345 to the annual gross earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage, equivalent to a total increase in annual gross earnings of around £4,030 since the introduction of the National Living Wage in April 2016.

The Government is committed to raising the National Living Wage through its long term target to reach two-thirds of median earnings, and extending to those aged 21 and over by 2024.

Universal Credit promotes work as an effective route out of poverty. The single universal credit taper means that as earnings increase, above any applicable work allowance, Universal Credit payments reduce by less than the earnings, meaning claimants can clearly understand the advantages of work.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 September 2021 to Question 48169, what percentage of universal credit claimants who are in work make the National Living Wage.

The requested information is not held as the level of detail to determine the percentage of Universal Credit claimants in work and on the National Living Wage is not available.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support universal credit beneficiaries to obtain employment that is sufficiently well-paid to enable them to offset the ending of the £20 uplift by working two additional hours each week.

Universal Credit is a benefit where the amount received by claimants and the way this fluctuates in line with earnings will depend on individual household circumstances. This range of circumstances will affect how increased earnings for entering or progressing in work will translate into a rise in net income.

The National Living Wage is currently £8.91 an hour for workers aged over 23, where 2 hours in work should mean gross earnings of nearly £20; many individuals will receive an hourly pay rate greater than this.

In Universal Credit, those with children or limited capability for work are entitled to a Work Allowance of either £293 or £515 a month. This means that the taper rate does not apply to their earnings below this level and they do not see any reduction in their Universal Credit award As a consequence, many claimants can keep all their earnings from their first several hours of work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of additional hours a person who is in work and claiming universal credit would need to work to make up for the removal of the £20 uplift to that benefit.

Universal Credit is a benefit where the amount received by claimants and the way this fluctuates in line with earnings will depend on individual household circumstances. This range of circumstances will affect how increased earnings for entering or progressing in work will translate into a rise in net income.

The National Living Wage is currently £8.91 an hour for workers aged over 23, where 2 hours in work should mean gross earnings of nearly £20; many individuals will receive an hourly pay rate greater than this.

In Universal Credit, those with children or limited capability for work are entitled to a Work Allowance of either £293 or £515 a month. This means that the taper rate does not apply to their earnings below this level and they do not see any reduction in their Universal Credit award As a consequence, many claimants can keep all their earnings from their first several hours of work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her comment on BBC Breakfast on 13 September 2021 that £20 a week is about 2 hours' extra work every week, how that calculation was made.

Universal Credit is a benefit where the amount received by claimants and the way this fluctuates in line with earnings will depend on individual household circumstances. This range of circumstances will affect how increased earnings for entering or progressing in work will translate into a rise in net income.

The National Living Wage is currently £8.91 an hour for workers aged over 23, where 2 hours in work should mean gross earnings of nearly £20; many individuals will receive an hourly pay rate greater than this.

In Universal Credit, those with children or limited capability for work are entitled to a Work Allowance of either £293 or £515 a month. This means that the taper rate does not apply to their earnings below this level and they do not see any reduction in their Universal Credit award As a consequence, many claimants can keep all their earnings from their first several hours of work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the planned end to the £20 per week uplift to universal credit on poverty levels in (a) Yorkshire and Humber and (b) Kingston upon Hull North constituency.

No such assessments have been made of the impact on poverty levels in those areas, on regional inequality or on educational outcomes, living standards and economic opportunities for children in low-income households.

The latest poverty figures (2019/20) demonstrate that absolute poverty rates (both before and after housing costs) for working-age adults in working families have fallen since 2009/10. In 2019/20, 8% of working age adults in working families were in absolute poverty (before housing costs), compared to 9% in 2009/10.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of the planned end to the £20 per week uplift to universal credit on regional inequality.

No such assessments have been made of the impact on poverty levels in those areas, on regional inequality or on educational outcomes, living standards and economic opportunities for children in low-income households.

The latest poverty figures (2019/20) demonstrate that absolute poverty rates (both before and after housing costs) for working-age adults in working families have fallen since 2009/10. In 2019/20, 8% of working age adults in working families were in absolute poverty (before housing costs), compared to 9% in 2009/10.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the planned end to the £20 per week uplift to universal credit on the (a) educational outcomes, (b) living standards and (c) economic opportunities for children in low-income households and deprived communities.

No such assessments have been made of the impact on poverty levels in those areas, on regional inequality or on educational outcomes, living standards and economic opportunities for children in low-income households.

The latest poverty figures (2019/20) demonstrate that absolute poverty rates (both before and after housing costs) for working-age adults in working families have fallen since 2009/10. In 2019/20, 8% of working age adults in working families were in absolute poverty (before housing costs), compared to 9% in 2009/10.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the findings of research conducted by Action for Children and Child Poverty Action Group on the effect of the £20 per week universal credit increase on recipient working families.

The latest poverty figures (2019/20) demonstrate that absolute poverty rates (both before and after housing costs) for working-age adults in working families have fallen since 2009/10. In 2019/20, 8% of working age adults in working families were in absolute poverty (before housing costs), compared to 9% in 2009/10.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year. JETS provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months; helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she will take to support people in food poverty following the removal of the £20 uplift to the standard allowance of universal credit.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, and continues to do so through many measures, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22.

This year, we are also investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children will benefit from a range of support, including a healthy and nutritious meal as well as fun and engaging activities covering the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021. We also increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April, which helps eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins.

As the economy recovers from the impact of the pandemic, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible, based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. Through our Plan for Jobs, the Government is investing over £33bn in measures to create, support and protect jobs. This includes over £2bn investment in the Kickstart programme and an additional 13,500 Work Coaches in our Jobcentres.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing the £20 Universal Credit uplift on levels of child poverty in (a) the Kingston upon Hull North constituency, (b) Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) England.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason carers of people with profound disabilities are required to complete the capability for work questionnaire on multiple occasions.

As part of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) most claimants are required to complete a health questionnaire which allows them (or the person completing it on their behalf) to explain the impact of their disability or health condition. It is also important in helping us to establish if they can be assessed solely on the available paper evidence. Where we can, we will always conduct an assessment based on the paper evidence provided by the claimant and their supporting professionals.

WCA reassessments are designed to ensure that claimants receive appropriate financial support and are set the appropriate level of work-related requirements, and take account of changes in how health conditions and disabilities affect people over time. We want to ensure claimants who can work are supported to do so, and reassessments are an important part of that process.

However, since September 2017 people found to have limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) who have the most severe and lifelong health conditions or disabilities, and whose level of function would always mean they are unlikely ever to be able to move into work, are no longer routinely reassessed.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps Department is taking with other Departmental colleagues to reduce the amount of paperwork required to be filled out by carers of people with profound disabilities.

The responsibility for unpaid carers sits across Government. DWP can provide support to eligible carers through the benefit system. The main benefit for unpaid carers is Carer’s Allowance, and we have already taken considerable steps to modernise and improve the way Carer’s Allowance can be claimed.

Carer’s Allowance can be applied for online and since this option was made available in October 2013 over 1.5 million people have applied that way. Since April 2020, over 90% of Carer’s Allowance applications have been made online and over 90% of those customers have said they are happy with the online service.

Going forward, the Department is planning further simplification of the online claim process and in the way claimants report changes online. We are also designing enhancements to support faster and more accurate decisions/payments. Where we already hold information claimants won’t be asked to provide it to us. And our online digital service will be fully compliant with Government accessibility standards to ensure it can be used by those with physical or cognitive impairments.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the 8.6 per cent claimant rate in Kingston upon Hull North constituency compared with the national average claimant rate of 6 per cent, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the Kickstart scheme on employment levels in (a) Kingston upon Hull North constituency, (b) Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) England.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart scheme throughout its implementation, and will continue to evaluate the longer term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month job placements. This will include an examination of the impact on employment.

For the most recent information on Kickstart job starts by location I refer the Honourable Member to PQ 11544.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 24 May 2021 to Question 2925 on Universal Credit: Domestic Abuse, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of turning the universal credit advance from a loan to a grant on the (a) levels of personal debt among universal credit claimants, (b) levels of personal debt among universal credit claimants who are fleeing domestic violence and (c) the cost to the public purse.

Advances are not loans. They are a claimant’s benefit entitlement paid early, allowing claimants to access 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. They ensure nobody has to wait for a payment in Universal Credit and those who need it are able to receive financial support as soon as possible. Claimants can receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit award if required, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period.

For (a) and (b), no such assessment has been made.

(c) We currently estimate the cost of non-repayable advances to be between £2bn - £2.7bn annually between 2020/21 and 2024/25. Even with a verification check two weeks after a claim has been made, the introduction of non-repayable advances would very likely lead to significantly increased fraud in the welfare system, as well as an administrative burden to carry out the extra verification checks.

We have numerous provisions available to support victims of abuse, for example urgent payments and referrals to expert organisations. We provide a tailored service that recognises those with complex needs at any point throughout their journey and ensures appropriate support is quickly made available: a fundamental principle in the delivery of Universal Credit

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 24 May 2021 to Question 2925 on Universal Credit: Domestic Abuse, whether her Department has made an assessment of the ease of access to information that universal credit claimants can request an urgent payment as a loan.

Advances are not loans. They are a claimant’s benefit entitlement paid early, allowing claimants to access 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. With an advance, claimants receive an additional UC payment, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period.

Universal Credit Work Coaches advise claimants on access to advances of monies from Universal Credit to support them pending their Universal Credit payment being received. A range of other support is available across the Department for those impacted by domestic abuse.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to tackle the problem of claimants of universal credit (a) having their application for that benefit delayed and (b) being unable to make that claim as a result of their abusers withholding required documentation.

Jobcentres have staff trained to support victims of abuse and can direct them to specialist organisations who can offer further support.

Claimants who are unable to provide documentary evidence can undergo a biographical test. Biographical questions are generated onto a BIO template using information held on the Customer Information System (Searchlight). This can be done by telephone or in person at a Jobcentre, and it does not cause any delay as it can be done within the first Assessment Period.

In addition, the Flexible Support Fund can be used to support the claimant obtain new ID in the form of duplicate driving licences, birth certificates etc, and can help with opening new bank accounts if necessary.

Claimants can also receive an urgent payment of their estimated Universal Credit award if required, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 24 May 2021 to Question 2925, whether his Department has made an assessment on how an urgent universal credit payment in the form of a loan affects (a) people who are already in debt and (b) domestic violence survivors who are often already in debt due to economic coercion by their abuser.

Advances are not loans. They are a claimant’s benefit entitlement paid early, allowing claimants to access 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. With an advance, claimants receive an additional UC payment, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period. We have also reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 30% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance enabling claimants to take home more of the award.

Where a partner in a joint benefit claim is being financially impacted as a result of coercive control, it may be possible to arrange for payments on a joint claim to be split between two parties. If a Universal Credit claimant has been forced into claiming an advance through domestic abuse, we would urge the claimant to talk to the Department about this.

A range of other support is available across the Department for those impacted by domestic abuse.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the levels of child poverty in (a) the Kingston upon Hull North constituency and (b) England.

This Government is wholly committed to tackling poverty. Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to support the most vulnerable including through spending an additional £7.4billion to strengthen the welfare system, taking our total expenditure on welfare support for people of working age to an estimated £112 billion in 2020/21. Additionally, in December 2020 we introduced our Covid Winter Grant Scheme, providing funding to Local Authorities in England to enable them to support people with food and essential utility bills during the coldest months. It will now run until June as the Covid Local Support Grant, with a total investment of £269m.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Data for Kingston upon Hull North is unavailable due to insufficient sample size.

Latest statistics for the levels of children who are in low income in England, covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020,“children-hbai-timeseries-1994-95-2019-20-tables” in table 4.16ts (relative low income, before and after housing costs) and in table 4.22ts (absolute low income, before and after housing costs).

In the three years to 2019/20, the absolute child poverty rate, before housing costs, in England was 18%, down 3 percentage points since the three years to 2009/10

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.

In 2019/20 the absolute levels of child poverty, before housing costs, in Kingston upon Hull North was 26%.The latest figures on the number of children who are in low income in in Kingston upon Hull North and in England, covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-2014-to-2020/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-fye-2015-to-fye-2020.

Due to methodological differences, the figures in these two publications are not comparable

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the £20 uplift in Universal Credit on levels of child poverty in (a) the Kingston upon Hull North constituency and (b) England.

No assessment has been made.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending an estimated £112 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

We introduced our Covid Winter Grant Scheme providing funding to Local Authorities in England to help the most vulnerable children and families stay warm and well fed during the coldest months. It will now until June as the Covid Local Support Grant, with a total investment of £269m.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the five week wait for universal credit claimants who are fleeing domestic violence.

Nobody has to wait for a payment in Universal Credit (UC). Urgent payments are available which allows claimants to receive up to 100% of their estimated UC payment upfront. These payments are designed to ensure that the most vulnerable claimants receive the money they need to live on during their transition to UC. Claimants have the option to spread twenty-five UC payments over twenty-four months, giving them more flexibility over the payments of their UC award.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government has taken to legally recognise British Sign Language.

On 18 March 2003 the UK government formally recognised that British Sign Language (BSL) is a language in its own right. Provision for accessing services by users of BSL are covered by the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Existing equality legislation already means employers, service providers and public bodies have to provide services in BSL and other formats when it is reasonable to do so. The Public Sector Equality Duty requires public bodies to have due regard to the needs of all those with protected characteristics.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the removal of the spare room subsidy on debt levels since the outbreak of covid-19.

No assessment has been made.

For those living in the Social Rented Sector, maximum housing costs support is based on actual rent and eligible service charges less any deductions for under-occupation.

The ‘Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy’ policy has helped to encourage mobility within the social rented sector, strengthen work incentives and make better use of available social housing.

The policy already allows for the provision of an additional bedroom for disabled people and carers, foster carers, parents who adopt, parents of service personnel, and people who have suffered a recent bereavement. Additionally, those in receipt of pension age housing benefit are exempt.

If a claimant’s ability to mitigate any shortfall between their housing support and rent has changed as a result of Covid-19, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. DHPs can be paid to those in receipt of Housing Benefit or support with housing costs in Universal Credit, who face a shortfall in meeting their rental housing costs. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in DHP funding.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether personal independence payment awarded on appeal will be extended in the same manner as awards secured on initial application.

I refer the Right Hon member to the answer I gave on 15 April 2021 to Question 179256.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of (a) suspending and (b) raising the benefit cap during the covid-19 outbreak to allow the uplift to reach a greater number of children at risk of poverty.

I refer the Rt. Hon Member to my response to question 182023.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of changing the universal credit childcare payments system to make it similar to Tax Free Childcare in allowing the top-up to be provided through a government account.

Universal Credit (UC) childcare costs is already a generous offer that pays up to 85% of registered childcare costs each month, up to £646.35 for one child aged up to 16, and £1,108.04 for two or more children aged up to 16. This could be worth up to £13,000.

For every £8 families pay in to their online Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) account, the Government will make a top-up payment of £2 up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year (or £4,000 a year for disabled children) aged up to 11.

By being different the two benefits provide a wider offer to parents and eligible claimants can choose which option suits their circumstances. In addition to accessing free childcare, parents can choose to move between TFC and UC, with good reason to do so, if their circumstances change.

Both UC and TFC childcare offers align with the free childcare offer that provides 15 hours a week of free childcare in England for all 3 and 4 year olds and disadvantaged 2 year olds, doubling for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours a week. The UC childcare costs element can be used to top up a claimant’s eligible free childcare hours if more hours are worked and childcare required. However, you cannot claim Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as claiming Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether personal independence payment awards made following a successful appeal will be extended in line with those payments that secured the correct award on application.

I refer the Right Honourable Member to the answer I gave on 12 April 2021 to Question UIN 179256.

16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of suspending, or raising, the benefit cap during the covid-19 outbreak to allow the uplift to reach a greater number of children at risk of poverty.

There are currently no plans to make changes to the benefit cap. The Benefit Cap restores fairness between those receiving out-of-work benefits and taxpayers in employment. Helping claimants back into work, including through delivery of our Plan for Jobs, remains a primary focus. Returning to employment will significantly increase the likelihood of a household not being affected by the cap, as it does not apply where households have monthly earnings of at least £617.

The Government firmly believes that it is in the best interests of children to be in working households where possible because work, particularly full time work, substantially reduces the likelihood of being in poverty.

Claimants can approach their Local Authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment if they need additional help to meet rental costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made on the effect of the Kickstart scheme on employment levels.

The Department of Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme is creating new, fully-funded, six- month jobs for young people at risk of long term unemployment. On Monday 8th March the Secretary of State announced that we have approved almost 150,000 jobs through the scheme, of which over 4,000 young people have started in and over 30,000 are currently being advertised. Kickstart is designed to improve the chances that young people who participate will find sustained employment following their Kickstart job and as the economy starts to recover from the pandemic.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect on the economy in (a) the UK and (b) Kingston upon Hull North constituency of removing the £20 uplift to universal credit.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this pandemic, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to improve guidance on claiming statutory sick pay.

Employers are legally required to pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to employees who are sick or incapable of work, where employees meet the qualifying conditions. It is paid in the same way as an employee’s salary.

Throughout the pandemic we have ensured the pages on Gov.UK relating to SSP have been regularly updated in line with changes affecting eligibility for SSP.

The pages on Gov.UK provide extensive information and support to employees regarding the circumstances in which they may be eligible for SSP and what evidence they need to provide to their employer. Additionally there is specific guidance for employers explaining which employees may be eligible for SSP and when employers should start paying SSP. There is a calculator to support employers to understand how much SSP to pay. There is also clear guidance on how small and medium employers can reclaim up to two weeks of coronavirus-related SSP.

If individuals think their employer’s decision not to pay SSP is wrong, or that they’re not getting the right amount of SSP, they can raise a dispute with HMRC.

Background

To be eligible for SSP, you must:

  • be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer;
  • earn an average of at least £120 per week;
  • have been ill, self-isolating or ‘shielding’ for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days).

To receive SSP employees must tell their employer that they are off sick before the deadline the employer has set (or within 7 days if they have not set one).

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department is providing for self-employed parents not able to work whilst schools are closed during covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The government have provided more than £280 billion of support to protect jobs and livelihoods. We have delivered extensive support packages for businesses and the self-employed, including SEISS, bounce back loans, and business interruption loans. In addition to this for self-employed people claiming Universal Credit, we have suspended the application of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) until April 2021. This means that that a drop in earnings due to sickness or self-isolation, or as a result of the impact of the outbreak, will be reflected in a claimant’s award.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative assessment her Department has made of the reasons for the change in the number of people claiming benefits in (a) Kingston upon Hull and (b) the UK in the latest period for which figures are available.

The Department regularly publishes statistics on the number of people claiming various benefits in Great Britain, and these are available by local authority here:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative estimate she has made of the number of children living in poverty in Kingston upon Hull at the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak and in January 2021.

No assessment has been made.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2020
What assessment she has made of the potential effect of reducing universal credit and working tax credit by £20 a week in April 2021 on (a) average working age and (b) levels of child poverty.

DWP is continuing to work with HMT and other Government Departments to monitor the evolving economic situation and identify the most effective ways to help people. There is a lot of uncertainty involved in projecting incomes and levels of poverty.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people with a main condition of epilepsy have found a long-term job through the Work and Health Programme in each of the last five years.

The information is unavailable because medical condition is only recorded for a limited number of people who participate and also there is no measure for long term job outcomes for participants on the Work and Health Programme. Job outcomes are defined as when a participant is classed as achieving a job outcome when they have reached a specified level of earnings once in employment, or reach six months of being in self-employment.

The available statistics on participants of the Work and Health Programme, which began in November 2017, are published at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/work-and-health-programme-statistics

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to implement the recommendations of the Seventh Report of the Work and Pensions Committee, PIP and ESA assessments, Session 2017–19, in relation to the issue of new guidance to ESA assessors.

The Department, in conjunction with the assessment provider (the Centre for Health & Disability Assessments (CHDA)), regularly reviews the guidance provided to Health Care Professionals (HCPs) conducting Work Capability Assessments. The guidance in place for HCPs, in relation to a request for a home visit, states that they can consider evidence from the claimant’s GP or from other health professionals involved in their care.

In addition, DWP has been working with CHDA to identify potential new approaches to determining home visit eligibility with the aim of reducing the need to request evidence from claimants in the future.

26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department plans to use to assess whether travel restrictions to a particular country are necessary to help prevent the spread of b.1.1.529 variant of covid-19.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendations in the report by the all-party Parliamentary group on Sexual and Reproductive Health, entitled Women’s lives, women’s rights, what steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Education to ensure that teachers are able to access a single national source of medically accurate, up-to-date and evidence-based information on contraception.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendations in the report by the all-party Parliamentary group on Sexual and Reproductive Health, entitled Women’s lives, women’s rights, whether the forthcoming Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy will consider the integration of sexual and reproductive health care into existing NHS women’s healthcare pathways.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendations in the report by the all-party Parliamentary group on Sexual and Reproductive Health, entitled Women’s lives, women’s rights, whether his Department has plans to evaluate data collection processes, including GUMCAD, SHRAD and routinely entered GP SNOMED data, to examine the use of contraception.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendations in the report by the all-party Parliamentary group on Sexual and Reproductive Health, entitled Women’s lives, women’s rights, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of (a) allocating funding to and (b) expanding the community sexual and reproductive health training programme to enable local areas to meet specialist and primary care contraceptive workforce needs.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure patients can access their GP.

On 14 October, we published ‘Our plan for improving access for patients and supporting general practice’ which included an additional investment of £250 million in a Winter Access Fund to improve the availability of general practitioner (GP) practices and increase the number of face-to-face appointments, while also investing in technology to make it easier for patients to see or speak to their GP.

We have committed additional funding to NHS England to implement the adoption of cloud-based telephony technology across all practices. These systems can benefit patients by making more phone lines available and providing automated queueing.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the increase in GP waiting times since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

No assessment has been made as data on waiting times for general practitioner appointments is not held centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact on people with chronic asthma of changes to the rules on receiving a booster covid-19 vaccination.

No such assessment has been made.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to mitigate the risk of covid-19 infection for people who received an early dose of the covid-19 vaccine but whose booster vaccinations have been delayed.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Strategy will be published.

The Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy will be published early next year.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendations in the APPG on Sexual and Reproductive Health’s report Women’s Lives, Women’s Rights, whether the forthcoming national Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy will incorporate all aspects of women’s sexual and reproductive health needs and recognise the changing needs of women throughout their lives.

The Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy will include women’s sexual health and related aspects of women’s reproductive health. The Department is also developing a new Women’s Health Strategy, which will also include women’s reproductive health, with a focus on reproductive wellbeing. Together, the two Strategies will cover all aspects of women’s reproductive health needs and recognise the changing needs of women throughout their lives.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendations in the APPG on Sexual and Reproductive Health’s report, Women’s Lives, Women’s Rights, whether the forthcoming national Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy will (a) recognise and (b) seek to tackle the reduction in contraception funding across (i) all areas of service provision and (ii) the most marginalised groups.

The Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy will include a focus on improving access to contraception across all areas of service provision, particularly for marginalised groups. The Spending Review 2021 maintains the Public Health Grant in real terms, enabling local authorities to continue to invest in prevention and essential services, including sexual and reproductive health services.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department's policy on emergency contraception is in line with the World Health Organization's position that emergency contraception is not considered to be an abortifacient and conscientious objection would therefore not apply in this instance.

The Department position is in line with that of the World Health Organization that any substance or device that prevents implantation is not an abortifacient. As emergency contraception is not a method of abortion, the conscientious objection exemption in the Abortion Act 1967 would not apply.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Women’s Health Strategy will be published.

We are currently analysing the responses to the call for evidence which will inform the priorities, content and actions of the new Women’s Health Strategy. We will publish the Strategy in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the latest covid-19 statistics which show that 6.2 per cent of 12 to 15 year old school pupils in Hull and East Yorkshire have had a covid-19 jab compared to the national average of 14.4 per cent, what steps he is taking to improve covid-19 vaccine uptake in Hull amongst that age group.

School children aged 12 to 15 years old in the Hull and East Yorkshire region, including those being home-schooled, were contacted before the October half-term offering a COVID-19 vaccination. Some schools in the region have already provided vaccination clinic dates to pupils and parents. In addition, the National Health Service is working with healthcare providers in all of the local authority areas of Humber Coast and Vale, including Hull, to prepare appointments for 12 to 15 year olds outside of school hours.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, ahead of World Contraception Day on 26 September, how many community pharmacies are commissioned to provide free emergency contraception.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that the needs of (a) all populations and (b) people from low income backgrounds are supported in the development of the sexual and reproductive healthcare strategy.

The Department is currently developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which is planned for publication later this year. The Strategy seeks to ensure that the sexual and reproductive health needs of all population groups are met, including people from low income backgrounds. We are engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure these populations are represented in the development process.

The new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will continue to monitor and publish data relating to inequalities in access to contraception and other sexual and reproductive health services, including how key indicators vary by Index of Multiple Deprivation. Public Health England has also recently published the Variation in Outcomes Toolkit that supports local and regional partners to address inequalities in sexual and reproductive health services.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to undertake public surveys on reproductive health in the future.

Public Health England commissioned the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to conduct a national Women’s Reproductive Health Experiences Survey. The survey responses will feed into the development of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which will be published later this year. The final survey will then be used nationally to understand more about women’s reproductive health experiences over time. The survey tool will be made available for use by partners across the system to analyse local reproductive health needs and preferences in their area.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities plans to take prioritise women’s sexual and reproductive healthcare, including tackling the unmet need for contraception.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) will be established on 1 October 2021. The OHID will develop a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy planned for publication later this year and will consider issues related to women’s sexual and reproductive healthcare, including addressing the unmet need for contraception.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, ahead of World Contraception Day on 26 September 2021, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that contraceptive consultations are patient-centred, with users feeling able to openly discuss their preferences and participate in decision-making effectively.

Contraception services will be a focus of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy planned for publication later this year. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare is responsible for providing clinical guidance for contraception services. The Faculty’s Service Standards for Consultations highlight that sexual and reproductive health consultations should provide safe, efficient and effective healthcare that is patient-centred and equitable.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many community pharmacies have been commissioned to provide free emergency contraception.

This information is not held centrally.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase access to contraceptive services among (a) people living with disabilities, (b) black people and people of colour and (c) ethnic minorities through targeted interventions.

The Department is currently developing a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which will be published later this year. We are considering issues related to equitable access to long-acting reversible contraception across both geographies and demographics and the potential use of targeted interventions as we develop the Strategy.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that access to long-acting reversible contraception is equitable across (a) geographies and (b) demographics.

The Department is currently developing a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which will be published later this year. We are considering issues related to equitable access to long-acting reversible contraception across both geographies and demographics and the potential use of targeted interventions as we develop the Strategy.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to mandate the NHS, integrated care systems and local authorities to (a) commission collaboratively and (b) adhere to nationally-recognised quality standards on sexual and reproductive health.

The Department is currently developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which is planned for publication later this year. The Strategy will consider issues related to collaborative commissioning and national sexual and reproductive health standards across the National Health Service and local authorities. The Health and Care Bill will facilitate collaborative commissioning by establishing statutory integrated care boards and requiring the creation of integrated care partnerships. The proposed legislation also seeks to remove barriers to collaborative commissioning by permitting a wider set of arrangements for joint commissioning, pooling of budgets and delegation of functions.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he made of the adequacy of contraceptive funding required to meet need (a) nationally and (b) in Kingston upon Hull North constituency.

No recent assessment has been made. In 2021/22 the national Public Health Grant to local authorities in England is £3.234 billion. The Grant supports the delivery of their public health functions, including contraceptive services. It is for individual local authorities to determine how funding is spent to meet local population health needs.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of removing the regulations that allow for home use of both pills for early medical abortion on (a) waiting times for an abortion, (b) gestation at the time of abortion, (c) the distance a women has to travel to access abortion services and (d) the capacity and ability of service providers to provide timely care.

The Government’s public consultation on whether to make permanent the temporary measure allowing for home use of both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation for all eligible women asked questions on accessibility, the impact on the provision of abortion services and socioeconomic considerations. The consultation has now closed and we are considering all evidence submitted and plan to publish our response later this year.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of including in his Department’s bid to the Treasury for the upcoming spending review recommendations for funding for (a) covid-19 recovery funds for disabled children’s health and care services, (b) a sustainable level of long-term investment in disabled children’s health and care services and (c) a disabled children’s innovation fund.

The forthcoming Spending Review will set out the Government’s spending plans for health and social care for future years. As part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health services to disabled children. The Government has allocated more than £6 billion in un-ringfenced funding directly to councils in 2020-21 and 2021-22 to support them with the impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including for children’s social care. We have also invested £6.6 billion from March to September 2021 to help National Health Service recovery and an additional £2 billion funding to the NHS in 2021-22 to reduce elective waiting times for patients, including disabled children.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to physiotherapy appointments for disabled children; and what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS Trust meet their targets for referrals to such appointments.

As part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health services, including therapies, to disabled children. In 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance making clear that restoration of essential community services, including therapeutic support, must be prioritised for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25 years old and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or are going through an assessment for one.

We have invested £6.6 billion from March to September 2021 to help National Health Service recovery and asked that systems ensure health inequalities are tackled in their recovery plans. We have also provided an additional £1 billion in 2021-22 to reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children, to access NHS services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Disabled Children’s Partnerships Left Behind report, what progress has been made on ensuring that every disabled child can access (a) physiotherapy, (b) occupational and speech and language and (c) other therapies therapies they need; and what steps he is taking to ensure that disabled children are able to catch-up on the therapies they missed during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health services, including therapies, to disabled children. In 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance making clear that restoration of essential community services, including therapeutic support, must be prioritised for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25 years old and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or are going through an assessment for one.

We have invested £6.6 billion from March to September 2021 to help National Health Service recovery and asked that systems ensure health inequalities are tackled in their recovery plans. We have also provided an additional £1 billion in 2021-22 to reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children, to access NHS services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Disabled Children’s Partnerships Left Behind report, what discussions he had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the ring-fenced funding of covid-19 recovery policies for disabled children, young people, and families to allow them to regain lost progress and improve their ability in managing their conditions.

We have had no specific discussions. However, as part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health and care services to disabled children. We have provided over £6 billion in un-ringfenced funding directly to councils to support them with the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including for children’s social care. Since 2019-2020, the Government has provided additional funding for adults’ and children’s social care via the social care grant and is allocated £1.7 billion in 2021-2022. To improve access to healthcare, including for disabled children, we have also invested £6.6 billion from March to September 2021 to ensure health inequalities are tackled in National Health Service recovery plans.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has a threshold for the (a) r rate, (b) number of covid-19 related hospitalisations and (c) number of covid-19 related deaths at which the Government would introduce covid-19 restrictions after 19 July 2021.

There are no defined thresholds for the R-rate, COVID-19 hospitalisations or COVID-19 deaths to trigger changes in restrictions after 19 July 2021.

The data assessment for moving to each step of the roadmap was based on the following four tests: the vaccine deployment programme continuing successfully; evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated; infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the National Health Service (NHS); and our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

The Government will continue to monitor the data to ensure that there is no danger of the NHS facing unsustainable pressure.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the threshold is of covid-19-related (a) cases, (b) hospitalisations and (c) deaths that would delay the removal of restrictions on 19 July 2021.

There are no defined thresholds for the R-rate, COVID-19 hospitalisations or COVID-19 deaths to trigger changes in restrictions after 19 July 2021.

The data assessment for moving to each step of the roadmap was based on the following four tests: the vaccine deployment programme continuing successfully; evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated; infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the National Health Service (NHS); and our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

The Government will continue to monitor the data to ensure that there is no danger of the NHS facing unsustainable pressure.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to help protect people from covid-19 infection in care home settings in the event that further easing of covid-19 restrictions is announced for the 19 July 2021.

On 27 June 2021, we announced a further £251 million of adult social care COVID-19 support through and extension of the Infection Control and Rapid Testing Fund. To prevent infections entering care homes, anyone who is likely to be infectious should continue to be discharged to a setting that meets a set of agreed standards to provide safe care for COVID-19 positive residents. The Government has extended the supply of free personal protective equipment for the adult social care sector until the end of March 2022.

Our guidance is kept under continuous review based on the emerging international and domestic evidence and we will continue to update our policies accordingly.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the vaccine take up rate in areas where it is lower than the national average.

Assessment of local vaccination rates is led by National Health Service teams. Data on uptake is being monitored and shared daily with local authority Directors of Public Health to enable them to see emerging trends and react to any developing inequalities. NHS England and NHS Improvement have developed a Vaccine Equalities Tool to support delivery and deployment models at national and local level. At a local level qualitative information about the reasons for vaccine refusal is collected.

The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England provide advice and information including a range of targeted activities and communications via TV, radio, and social media. We are also working closely with community and faith leaders to champion the vaccine, particularly in areas with lower uptake. On 25 January we released £23.75million funding to support our Community Champions Scheme. Funding has been allocated to 60 councils and voluntary groups across England to expand work to support those most at risk from COVID-19 and boost vaccine take up.

On 10 June, NHS England and NHS Improvement announced £20 million for vaccination sites across the country to increase staffing, boost uptake and ensure equal access.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of making masks voluntary on public transport and in shops on the (a) covid-19 r rate, (b) number of hospitalisations from covid-19 and (c) number of deaths from covid-19.

Vaccines have significantly impacted upon the relationship between increased infections and hospitalisations and deaths. By 19 July, all adults will have been offered a first dose of the vaccine, a second dose to those over 40 years old who a first dose by mid-May. This will suppress the spread of COVID-19 and help prevent hospitalisation.

We will continue to encourage the wearing of face coverings and highlight that wearing a face covering may still help to reduce risk of transmission, for example where people come into contact with others in enclosed and crowded indoor spaces. Emerging evidence and data is continually monitored and reviewed, and the guidance will be amended accordingly if needed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing carers who look after disabled people with (a) free prescriptions and (b) free further education and training once their caring responsibilities are over.

We have made no assessment. Approximately 89% of prescriptions are dispensed free of charge and to support those with the greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption, prescription pre-payment certificates allow the holder of a 12-month certificate to purchase the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week.

The Government is supporting any adult, including carers, who do not have A-levels or equivalent qualifications, to access almost 400 fully funded level 3 courses, with Free Courses for Jobs. In the first year, we are investing £95 million from the National Skills Fund to provide adults with this opportunity to gain their first level 3 qualification for free, which can also benefit carers.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the saving to the public purse resulting from care provided to disabled people by unpaid carers.

We have made no such assessment. We recognise the vital role all carers play, particularly during the pandemic.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) NHS and (b) social care staff have died from covid-19 since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Office for National Statistics’ data shows that 639 deaths among healthcare workers and 922 deaths among social care workers aged 20 to 64 years old, using last known occupation involved COVID-19 were registered between 9 March 2020 to 7 May 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure immediate postpartum contraception is made available in all maternity settings as part of service restoration in a covid-19 recovery context.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some maternity units introduced successful pilots of immediate postnatal contraception to support contraceptive choice and minimise the number of face-to-face appointments a woman receives. Public Health England has gathered evidence on these pilots, which is available at the following link:

https://phelibrary.koha-ptfs.co.uk/practice-examples/srhc19/

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the provisional national statistics for April to September 2020 on contraceptive provision in community sexual and reproductive health services that show a fall in the uptake of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that the full range of post-abortion contraceptive options including LARC are available via fully-funded services to all women.

Abortions provided by independent sector abortion providers must meet the Required Standard Operating Procedures (RSOPs). The Department’s RSOPs set out that abortion providers should be able to supply all reversible methods of contraception, including long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) and that before the woman is discharged, future contraception should have been discussed and, as far as possible, the chosen method should be initiated immediately. Failing this, an interim method should be provided. The RSOPs set out that particular attention should be given to the young and women who have had repeat conceptions and abortions and that women who choose not to start a contraception method immediately should be given information about local contraception providers in addition to their general practitioner. We expect that National Health Service trusts who provide abortion treatment will have similar arrangements in place.

A temporary measure allowing for home use of both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation for all eligible women has been put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have issued clinical guidelines for healthcare professionals ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

and abortion care. Information for healthcare professionals’ which is available at the following link:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/2020-07-31-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-and-abortion-care.pdf

The guidance sets out that women should be given the option to discuss contraceptive options and providers should offer to include a method of contraception in the treatment pack for home use of early medical abortion, especially when restrictions on available services will impact on a woman’s ability to access LARC.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the need for greater integration of reproductive health services and psychological therapy for women who experience mental health issues.

The Government launched a call for evidence to inform the development of the Women's Health Strategy, which asked for views on a range of issues including those related to reproductive health and mental health. The Department is analysing the responses and we aim to respond after the summer. The Strategy will be published by the end of the year.

The Department will also be developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which we plan to publish later this year. We will consider issues related to reproductive health, including access to contraception services in a range of settings. Departmental officials are ensuring coherence between the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Women’s Health Strategies.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to engage and consult members of LGBTQ+ community on issues in respect of access to contraception.

The Department is developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which will be published in 2021. We will consider issues related to equitable access contraception and geographical variations in access to contraception services, including access to contraception and contraception services for young people, as part of the Strategy’s development.

In 2021/22, Public Health England will publish an analysis of a survey of trans and non-binary people’s needs and experiences when accessing reproductive and sexual health services, including access to contraception.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle geographical variations in access to contraception in local settings for young people.

The Department is developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which will be published in 2021. We will consider issues related to equitable access contraception and geographical variations in access to contraception services, including access to contraception and contraception services for young people, as part of the Strategy’s development.

In 2021/22, Public Health England will publish an analysis of a survey of trans and non-binary people’s needs and experiences when accessing reproductive and sexual health services, including access to contraception.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all young people are able to access the full range of contraceptive options in a local setting.

The Department is developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which will be published in 2021. We will consider issues related to equitable access contraception and geographical variations in access to contraception services, including access to contraception and contraception services for young people, as part of the Strategy’s development.

In 2021/22, Public Health England will publish an analysis of a survey of trans and non-binary people’s needs and experiences when accessing reproductive and sexual health services, including access to contraception.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all pharmacies offer comprehensive factual information and advice on contraception.

When pharmacists supply ongoing or emergency hormonal contraception, they are required by their contractual arrangements to provide appropriate advice and information to the person to enable them to take their medicines as intended. When providing emergency hormonal contraception, over the counter, pharmacy teams will also have a discussion with an individual, for example, on the most effective method of contraception, safe sex use of condoms and encourage women to consider ongoing contraception.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that information on different methods of contraception is accessible to people who do not have easy access to the internet.

Public Health England works closely with the Family Planning Association (FPA) to ensure information on contraception is up to date and available in different formats, including posters and leaflets. The FPA produces leaflets on all methods of contraception that are in use across sexual health services and general practice surgeries throughout the United Kingdom.

Public Health England manages the free National Sexual Health Helpline which provides information about all methods of contraception, including how they can be accessed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish a decision in response to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's consultation on the reclassification of the Lovima and Hana progestogen-only contraceptive pills, to enable those pills to be sold over-the-counter in pharmacies.

The consultation exercise on the proposal to reclassify two medicines containing desogestrel from prescription only medicines to pharmacy medicines has closed. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is reviewing the large number of responses received and the outcome of consultation will be communicated as soon as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will undertake research on the demographic data his Department holds to make an assessment of the potential effect of (a) age and (b) deprivation on women accessing contraceptive services.

The Department is developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which we plan to publish in 2021. We will consider a range of data and evidence as part of the development of the Strategy, which will explore issues of health inequalities in accessing contraception services. We will also consider whether additional analysis of data or research is needed to help inform the Strategy as part of this process.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that information on different contraception methods is available in a range of languages and formats.

Public Health England provides comprehensive information on the full range of contraception methods at the following link:

www.sexwise.org.uk

This is accessible on a range of devices using formats such as text, graphics, comparison tables and downloadable leaflets. The website is in English and there are no plans at present to translate the information into other languages.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to tackle (a) pre- and (b) post- covid-19 inequalities and intersectional issues affecting adolescents and young women accessing sexual and reproductive health services; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is developing a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which will be published in 2021. We are considering issues relating to inequalities in access to sexual and reproductive health services as part of the process to develop the Strategy.

The recent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency reclassification of desogestrel means that women can now purchase a progestogen-only contraceptive from a pharmacy following a detailed consultation with a pharmacist. This reclassification is an important step towards improving women's health by widening access to sexual and reproductive health services and providing all women with more choice in the provision of safe and effective contraception. Progestogen-only contraception will continue to be available free from prescription charge from general practitioners and sexual and reproductive health services, as is the case for all prescribed contraception.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of not putting India on the red list until 23 April 2021 on the covid-19 infection rate in the UK.

All decisions on ‘red’, ‘amber’ or ‘green’ list assignment and our border regime are taken by Ministers, based on regular scrutiny of the latest scientific data, the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s risk assessment and wider public health factors. The decision to place India on the ‘red list’ on 23 April was made rapidly once it was known that the Delta variant had concerning properties and before it was formally classified as a variant of concern. All those returning from India have been required to self-isolate and more recently, to enter a managed quarantine service. We are working with local communities and authorities to take action to limit further spread.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2021 to Question 153166 on NHS and Social Services: Staff, what his Department's workforce priorities are for NHS and social care staff.

The Government is committed to expanding the National Health Service workforce and we are on track to deliver 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament. The health and wellbeing of NHS staff is also a priority, as reflected in the NHS People Plan. The Plan sets out practical support for wellbeing including more comprehensive occupational and mental health support for staff.

The Government is committed to the sustainable improvement of the adult social care system and will bring forward proposals for reform later in 2021. Our objectives for reform are to enable the highest standards of care and support the workforce to achieve their full potential through developing the skills of all staff working in the sector. We are working closely with local and national partners to ensure our approach to reform is informed by diverse perspectives, including of those with lived experience of the care sector.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 29 May 2020 to Question 30704, on HIV Infection, what steps he is taking in the forthcoming sexual and reproductive health strategy to (a) improve health-related quality of life, (b) tackle stigma and discrimination, (c) tackle inequalities in service provision and (d) support the mental health needs of people living with HIV.

The Government is committed to achieving zero new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. As part of this commitment, we are developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan on reaching the 2030 target, which we plan to publish in 2021. We will consider issues related to improving care and living well with HIV, tackling stigma and health inequalities and providing mental health support to people living with HIV as part of the development of both the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and the HIV Action Plan.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 638, on Independent Review, what assessment the Government has made of the causal association between (a) Thalidomide and (b) oral hormone pregnancy tests with congenital malformations; and what comparative assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of awarding financial support to people affected by (a) Thalidomide and (b) oral hormone pregnancy tests.

Thalidomide is a powerful human teratogen, inducing a high frequency of severe and life-threatening birth defects. Many lines of evidence have confirmed the causal link of exposure to thalidomide in pregnancy with congenital malformations. Consequently, thalidomide must never be used by women who are pregnant or by women who could become pregnant unless all the conditions of the Pregnancy Prevention Programme are met. The evidence for a possible causal association between hormone pregnancy tests (HPTs) and birth defects was considered by an Expert Working Group of the Commission on Human Medicines which published its findings on 15 November 2017. Based on this review, the Expert Working Group concluded that based on the totality of the data, the scientific evidence does not support a causal association between the use of HPTs and birth defects or miscarriage.

Work is ongoing to consider recommendation 4 of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report, which included a proposed redress scheme for hormone pregnancy tests. This work includes looking at a range of existing schemes, including for thalidomide.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to implement the nine recommendations of the the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report.

The recommendations are still under careful consideration.

The Government is committed to learning from this report and we currently plan to respond further to the report of the Review during 2021.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of localising contact tracing and giving local authorities control of covid-19 test and trace.

NHS Test and Trace and local authorities already work within a joint framework focussed on preventing, identifying and managing local outbreaks and engage with local communities to support effective testing, contact tracing and self-isolation. Within this framework, local public health teams have more control through community-led testing, expanded local tracing partnerships and the sharing of data, insight and analysis used to identify clusters of new infections and potential local outbreaks.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the current efficacy of the NHS Test and Trace scheme.

In February 2021, the Government published an assessment of the impact of testing, tracing and self-isolation on COVID-19 transmission.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-r-m-model-technical-annex

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to support NHS staff who contracted covid-19 while working and who are now unable to work as a result of developing long covid.

For National Health Service staff on national terms and conditions, sick pay support already provides up to six months full pay, followed by up to six months half pay depending on length of service. In addition, in March 2020 we introduced temporary COVID-19 full sick pay for NHS staff, subject to regular review, providing an additional level of support.

Staff experiencing the symptoms of ‘long’ COVID-19 will also be supported through NHS England and NHS Improvement’s 5-point plan which provides support for patients experiencing long-term effects of COVID-19. Further information on the plan is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/post-covid-syndrome-long-covid/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2021 to Question 154863 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including Registered Public Service Interpreters in the list of occupations the Government classes as key workers for the purposes of priority access to covid-19 vaccination.

Registered Public Service Interpreters working in healthcare settings are eligible for vaccination as frontline healthcare workers in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s advice. Registered Public Service Interpreters working in non-healthcare settings will be prioritised for vaccination according to their age and clinical risk, along with the rest of the population. They will not be prioritised based on their occupation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the closure of the Centene-owned surgery in Harlow in 2018, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of Centene's acquisition of GP surgeries in England on the provision of GP services.

No assessment has been made. It is for local commissioners to arrange the provision of appropriate services, by contracting with providers, in order to best serve the needs of their patient population.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the number of people who have died as a result of contaminated blood factor products in the (a) HIV and Hepatitis C (co-infected haemophiliacs), (b) Hepatitis C infected haemophiliacs excluding HIV and (c) HIV infected spouses/ partner categories since 2017.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing grants to pharmacies to help cover additional costs accrued during the covid-19 outbreak; and how much and what proportion of the £370m emergency cashflow loans has been allocated to (a) pharmacies and (b) other NHS services.



Discussions are ongoing with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee about additional funding for costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its ongoing assessment of COVID-19 costs incurred by the sector the Government will take account of the £370 million increased advance payments paid to community pharmacies.

The support package for community pharmacy also included general COVID-19 business support, funding for Bank Holiday openings, social distancing measures and the medicine delivery service to shielded patients, free personal protective equipment and non-monetary support including the removal of some administrative tasks, flexibility in opening hours and the delayed introduction of new services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the accessibility of £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.

The Government keeps all elements of its COVID-19 response under review, including the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. We have listened to feedback from charities and support groups and are now extending the scheme to summer 2021, increasing the amount of money available to local authorities to make discretionary payments to people not on means-tested benefits to £20 million per month and expanding eligibility for the scheme to cover parents and guardians who need to take time off work to care for a child who is self-isolating. We are working with all 314 district and unitary local authorities in England to implement these changes as soon as possible.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people affected by the contaminated blood inquiry are kept fully informed on developments in that inquiry.

The Infected Blood Inquiry is a statutory Inquiry sponsored by Cabinet Office. The Inquiry is independent of the Government, therefore we are unable to comment on the Inquiry's work.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2021 to Question 153163 on Coronavirus: Disability, with reference to finding by the Office of National Statistics that 60 per cent of deaths involving covid-19 between 24 January and 20 November 2020 were disabled people, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that disabled people are protected from covid-19 in the future.

The Government plans to publish a National Strategy for Disabled People later this spring to ensure that all disabled people can play a full role in society. The Strategy will take into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people and will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life.

Local authorities are working with other local partners including clinical commissioning groups, voluntary sector partners and community leaders, to identify the way in which COVID-19 has widened health inequalities and factor this into their recovery plans.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government plans to announce what progress has been made with the compensation framework review in relation to the contaminated blood inquiry.

The Government remains committed to considering a potential framework for compensation, as well as actions to address disparities in financial and non-financial support for people infected and affected across the United Kingdom.

Officials at the Cabinet Office are working with colleagues in HM Treasury, the Department of Health and Social Care and health departments in the devolved administrations on this review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that after the Inquiry into Contaminated Blood no beneficiary of the England Infected Blood Support Scheme will be financially worse off.

We will consider any recommendations when the Infected Blood Inquiry reports, including any around financial support.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to provide assurance to people receiving regular support through the England Infected Blood Support Scheme that they will not be forced to leave that scheme after the Inquiry.

We will consider any recommendations when the Infected Blood Inquiry reports, including any around financial support. There is no intention to reduce the amount of financial support given to beneficieries.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether prioritisation for the covid-19 vaccine within a priority group will be based on occupation; and if he will take steps to ensure that frontline workers are prioritised for that vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) did not advise prioritising within a priority group so we are vaccinating on the basis of age rather than occupation.

For Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, JCVI published its interim advice on 26 February, setting out that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age, rather than by occupation. This is because age is assessed to be the strongest factor linked to mortality, morbidity and hospitalisations, and because the speed of delivery is crucial as we provide more people with protection from COVID-19.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Feb 2021
What his Department's timeframe is for the publication of its response to the early medical abortions consultation on home use of both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation.

The consultation on whether to make permanent the current temporary measure allowing for home use of both pills for early medical abortion closes on 26 February.

We will carefully consider all of the responses received, and plan to publish the Government’s response later this year.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the risk of covid-19 to people with bleeding disorder; and what steps his Department is taking to prioritise people with bleeding disorders for covid-19 vaccination.

Individuals with bleeding disorders have not been prioritised for a vaccination in phase one.

Phase two of the vaccination programme will cover all adults under 50 years old not already included in phase one. Prioritisation for phase two has not yet been decided, but interim advice has been published by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommending an age-based approach.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including Registered Public Service Interpreters in the list of occupations the Government classes as key workers for the purposes of priority access to covid-19 vaccination.

No such assessment has been made. If Registered Public Service Interpreters are captured in phase one or two due to age or clinical need, then they will be vaccinated accordingly. However, there are currently no plans to vaccinate by occupation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the long-term effect of the covid-19 pandemic on mental health in the UK.

We continue to work with the National Health Service, Public Health England and others to consider the emerging evidence and what might need to be done to further support people’s mental health. A cross-Government group has been established to consider and respond to the longer term impacts of the pandemic on mental health and wellbeing and will set out its plans in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the additional support required by mental health services during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

We know that there is the potential for an increase in demand for mental health services. We are continuing to support the delivery of NHS mental health services to ensure support is available for those who need it.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support people's mental health during the covid-19 lockdown.

Mental health services have remained open for business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, providing support online, by phone and face to face where appropriate. All mental health trusts have established 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent mental health helplines where people with severe needs or experiencing a mental health crisis can access support and advice and resources are available to help people with their own mental health and wellbeing through GOV.UK and Every Mind Matters.

Our Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Plan for COVID-19 sets out the support available for people who are struggling, our commitments to ensure services are there to support those who need it and the provision in place to keep frontline workers well. The Government has also invested £5 million in national loneliness charities, raising awareness and providing advice through the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign and a new Tackling Loneliness Network, to support the wellbeing of those struggling with social isolation over the pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the accessibility of mental health provision for people during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

Mental health services have remained open for business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, providing support online, by phone and face to face where appropriate. All mental health trusts have established 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent mental health helplines where people with severe needs or experiencing a mental health crisis can access support and advice and resources are available to help people with their own mental health and wellbeing through GOV.UK and Every Mind Matters.

Our Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Plan for COVID-19 sets out the support available for people who are struggling, our commitments to ensure services are there to support those who need it and the provision in place to keep frontline workers well. The Government has also invested £5 million in national loneliness charities, raising awareness and providing advice through the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign and a new Tackling Loneliness Network, to support the wellbeing of those struggling with social isolation over the pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to fill nursing vacancies in the NHS.

We have set up a comprehensive work programme to improve retention and support return to practice, invest in and diversify our training pipeline and ethically recruit internationally. The number of nurses has increased by almost 11,100 (3.8%), between November 2019 and November 2020.

In September 2020, we introduced a new funding package of at least £5,000 per annum available to all eligible pre-registration nursing students at an English university. Health Education England is also continuing to work with NHS England and NHS Improvement on the ‘We are the NHS’ campaign which aims to increase applications for both degree courses and direct entry jobs.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to finding by the Office of National Statistics that 60 per cent of deaths involving covid-19 between 24 January and 20 November 2020 were disabled people, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that disabled people are protected from covid-19 in the future.

We are protecting disabled people through a range of actions. We are advising people with specific health conditions, who are deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, to shield and providing direct support to the shielded population. Local councils are also providing support to people shielding. We are prioritising vaccinations for those who are most at risk and those who care for them, following the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Many disabled people received social care. The Adult Social Care Winter Plan sets out our support to social care through the winter, so people can continue to receive care and be protected whilst protecting people from COVID-19. This includes providing free personal protective equipment to care homes and domiciliary care providers.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to create a workforce strategy for the NHS and social care.

The Government is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Health Education England, Skills for Care and employers to determine our workforce priorities for the NHS and social care beyond April 2021 and to support recovery.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the capacity of the NHS to tackle the backlog of patients on long waiting lists after the covid-19 outbreak.

As well as continuing to treat COVID-19 patients, hospitals across the country are systematically prioritising and treating patients according to clinical need and preparing to accelerate routine elective services. Local systems are also planning for the potential return of additional patients who may not have sought treatment during the pandemic but have subsequently come forward and will appear on waiting lists during the year ahead.

The National Health Service will be supported by the £1 billion of funding recently announced in the Spending Review 2020, which will help address backlogs and tackle long waiting lists and facilitate up to one million extra checks, scans and additional operations. This is part of a £3 billion, one-year package for 2021/22 to support the NHS in tackling the impact of COVID-19.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that hotel staff in the hotels used for covid-19 quarantine measures are kept safe.

All staff have been fully trained in COVID-19 secure practices and all contractors have been instructed to ensure their facilities and services are provided in a COVID-19 secure way, including plastic shields and personal protective equipment where necessary. Staff will be trained on how to handle medical emergencies that may involve close contact with guests and take appropriate COVID-19 safety steps.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the hotel capacity available for quarantine purposes.

Contracts have been signed for more than adequate capacity for current arrival numbers. We are keeping demand for managed quarantine facilities under close review and are ready to put in place arrangements for additional capacity should it be required.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the hotel covid-19 quarantine policy only applies to people travelling from 33 countries.

The managed quarantine measures apply to people travelling from the 33 ‘red list’ countries as these countries are judged to pose a risk to the United Kingdom from variants of concern and inbound international travel. The decision to add and remove countries from the red list is informed by the latest scientific data and public health advice from a world-leading range of experts.

The list of red list countries is kept consistently under review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect that introducing a hotel quarantine policy at the outset of the covid-19 pandemic would have had on the transmission of covid-19 in the UK.

We have made no such assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of its ability to reduce the number of people coming into the UK from the current figure of 20,000 to the current hotel capacity which will be used for quarantining people.

It is illegal to travel abroad without a legally permitted reason to do so. Police officers will be deployed at airports and ports to support the enforcement of these regulations, including checking the reason for passengers’ journeys.

We are keeping demand for managed quarantine facilities under close review and are ready to put in place arrangements for additional capacity should it be required.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will set out a timetable for the re-introduction of close contact care home visits in England.

In the face of a new variant of the virus we have acted to protect those most at risk in care homes and while advising how visits can go ahead safely in some form. As set out in updated visiting guidance, visits to care homes can continue to take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not currently advised. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, visits in exceptional circumstances including end of life should always be supported and enabled.

We recognise how important it is to allow care home residents to meet their loved ones safely. We are looking to enable a wider range of visiting arrangements available when it is safe to do so. We will publish updated guidance as this period of national restrictions ends.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the figures published by the Office for National Statistics that showed the number of care home residents who died from covid-19 increased to 1705 in the week ending 22 January 2021, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of those people who had received a covid-19 vaccination.

This information is not currently available in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the increased prescription of anti-psychotics to people with dementia during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor the monthly data published by NHS Digital on the prescribing of antipsychotic medication for people diagnosed with dementia. NHS England and NHS Improvement have regular conversations with regional clinical network leads and local services to understand the patterns in prescribing and potential reasons for any trends.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also disseminated good practices and resources to support the management of COVID-19 for people with dementia through the NHS Futures Collaboration Platform, fortnightly forums and webinars with Dementia Clinical Networks across England. This includes resources to support non-pharmacological approaches to manage behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia including adhering to public health advice for social distancing.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of which vaccine had been administered to people who have died from covid-19 after receiving a vaccine.

Episodes of possible vaccine failure, which includes those who have been vaccinated and subsequently die from COVID-19, are being recorded for each vaccine. Such episodes are being assessed and followed up through enhanced surveillance approaches. More information will be available in due course.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of care home (a) residents and (b) staff have (i) been offered each vaccine dose and (ii) refused the vaccine.

We are working with the vaccination programme in NHS England to monitor progress. NHS England now publishes weekly data on the vaccination of residents and staff in older adult care homes, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Data on vaccine refusals is not collected.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to protect people with learning disabilities from covid-19.

We have extended the Infection Control Fund until March 2021 with an extra £546 million; provided free personal protective equipment for adult social care providers until March 2021; extended testing to all care homes and domiciliary care staff; added people with Down’s syndrome to the shielded patient list; and launched of regular retesting for high risk supported living settings.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advise that clinically extremely vulnerable individuals including adults with Down's syndrome are in priority group four and people with a severe and profound learning disability are in group six for the COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on people with learning disabilities.

Research has also been commissioned by the Department from the University of Warwick and Manchester Metropolitan University to look at the impacts of COVID-19 and of the measures taken in response of the pandemic on the wellbeing and lives of people with learning disabilities. The results of this research will be published shortly.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plan to publish full details on funding allocations from the Spending Review 2020 for the (a) cancer workforce and (b) other workforce budgets.

The Spending Review 2020 provides £260 million to continue to grow the National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Full details on funding allocations towards NHS workforce budgets, including relating to cancer, in 2021-22 will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine after twelve weeks.

The Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) advises a two-dose vaccine schedule for the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines. The JCVI advises a maximum interval between the first and second doses of 12 weeks. The JCVI has considered published data on the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine, where follow up extended to around thirteen weeks after the second dose.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of women's experiences when receiving remote abortion care; and what weight he plans to give to women's experiences and preferences in the ongoing consultation on the permanent extension of the approval order to allow women to take both abortion pills at home.

We have now launched a three month consultation on whether to make permanent the current temporary measure allowing for home use of both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation for all eligible women. We welcome feedback from anyone with an interest or view on this subject, particularly from those who have been directly affected by the current temporary measure. The consultation asks a range of questions, including questions on whether the temporary measure has had an impact on the provision of abortion services for women and girls accessing these services, with a particular regard to safety; accessibility; and privacy and confidentiality of access.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has in place to consider the best interests of women when determining the future of Public Health England's reproductive and contraceptive care responsibilities.

The Department are currently considering a range of options for where Public Health England’s wider public heath functions, including supporting the commissioning and delivery of sexual and reproductive health services, could sit in the future as part of the reform to the public health system. We will be engaging in more detail on these issues and setting out next steps on the reform programme over the coming months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to undertake an assessment of the effectiveness of sexual and reproductive healthcare commissioning responsibilities concurrently with the reorganisation of Public Health England.

The Department are currently considering a range of options for where Public Health England’s wider public heath functions, including supporting the commissioning and delivery of sexual and reproductive health services, could sit in the future as part of the reform to the public health system. We will be engaging in more detail on these issues and setting out next steps on the reform programme over the coming months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will publish further guidance for joint-custody parents in the event that their child or children need to self-isolate due to a suspected or confirmed case of covid-19.

If a child has been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, their parents or guardians are responsible for ensuring they do so. Where possible, the parents or guardians should arrange for a child to remain at the same address during their period of self-isolation. There are a limited number of circumstances where an individual may leave self-isolation, including where there is a need to fulfil a legal obligation or it becomes impracticable to remain at the original address provided for self-isolation. These circumstances may apply where there are legal arrangements governing the time a child spends with each parent. We do not offer advice on specific circumstances as each scenario is different for every family.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) NHS and (b) social care staff have died from covid-19 since the start of the outbreak.

The Office for National Statistics publishes mortality data for deaths involving COVID-19 for healthcare workers and social care workers in England and Wales. The latest release showed that in England there were 305 deaths involving COVID-19 among healthcare workers and 307 deaths involving COVID-19 among social care workers registered between 9 March and 12 October 2020 in England, of those aged 20-64 years, using last known occupation. The definition of healthcare workers used will include not only those employed in the National Health Service but wider healthcare sector workers.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to implement a sexual and reproductive health strategy and HIV action plan.

Development of the sexual and reproductive health strategy and HIV action plan was paused at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, work on the strategy is now getting underway and we plan to publish this in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the four covid-19 mobile testing units operating in the Humber, (a) how many people in total are employed to operate those units, (b) what the (i) age and (ii) gender is of those people and (c) who the employer is of those people.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the four covid-19 mobile testing units operating in the Humber, how many members of staff working in those units have tested positive for covid-19 since those units began operating in April 2020; and if he will publish the number of those staff who have so tested positive for each month since April 2020.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the four covid-19 mobile testing units operating in the Humber, how many people are employed on (a) permanent and (b) agency contracts to operate those units; and which agencies are used to so employ those people.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the four covid-19 mobile testing units operating in the Humber, how many members of staff working in those units have received contractual sick pay for having tested positive for covid-19 or for having to self-isolate since those units began operating in April 2020.

This information is not held centrally. Test sites have clear guidance for treating suspected COVID-19 cases to ensure individuals are self-isolating whenever it is necessary to do so. Our commercial partners have their own measures in place to support staff members who are ill or otherwise unable to work.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the four covid-19 mobile testing units operating in the Humber, how many members of staff working in those units have had to self-isolate since those units began operating in April 2020.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are employed (a) in total and (b) in each (i) age and (ii) gender category at the NHS covid-19 testing site at the Humber Bridge car park; and who their employer is.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government plans to start the pilot scheme to allow family members to visit relatives resident in care homes during the covid-19 outbreak; and how the Government has identified the care homes that will be taking part in that pilot.

We want to bring an end to the pain of separation and help care homes bring families and loved ones together. The launch of visitor testing is a crucial step to making that happen.

Following a successful trial in 20 care homes, we have started the phased rollout of new rapid tests to all care homes across England to support visiting. The first 385 care homes are now able to begin testing visitors and we aim to roll this out to all care homes by Christmas.

Testing is only one way of minimising the risk of visiting a care home. If a visitor has a negative test, is wearing appropriate PPE, and following other infection control measures, then it will be possible for family and friends to have more meaningful visits to care homes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are employed on (a) permanent and (b) agency contracts at the NHS covid-19 testing site at the Humber Bridge car park; and which agencies are used for those contracts.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many staff working at the NHS covid-19 testing site at the Humber Bridge car park have tested positive for covid-19 in each month since April 2020.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many members of staff working at the NHS covid-19 testing site at the Humber Bridge car park have had to self isolate since the site opened in April 2020.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many members of staff working at the NHS covid-19 testing site at the Humber Bridge car park have received contractual sick pay as a result of (a) having to self-isolate and (b) testing positive for covid-19 since the site opened in April 2020.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic, published by the all party Parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health on 10 September 2020, what recent assessment his Department has made of the accessibility of remote contraceptive services to marginalised groups; and what steps he is planning to take to ensure that face-to-face contraceptive services continue for people who experience obstacles in accessing remote services.

Sexual and reproductive health services have remained open during the pandemic though some are temporarily reducing their face-to-face appointments and may only be able to see emergency or urgent cases in person. Services are maintaining access during this time through scaling up of online services including increasing eligibility through current provision or utilising a neighbours’ service for residents of another local authority. The provision of long acting reversible contraception services is particularly challenging due to access not being possible remotely.

Public Health England have recently launched the National Framework for e-Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. This new national framework will allow local authorities and service providers to purchase an expanded range of on-line services including emergency contraception and the contraceptive pill.

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare have published clinical advice to support ongoing provision of effective contraception which health professionals should work to, which is available at the following link:

https://www.fsrh.org/documents/fsrh-guidance-srh-services-second-wave-covid-october-2020/

Women need to be able to continue to access contraception during the pandemic and in line with these guidelines, where services should ensure that there is clear, up to date signposting for patients and partner services as to what local contraceptive services are currently available, how these can be accessed and where available, to national online services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to (a) patients and (b) NHS England of permanently reducing the number of doses of radiotherapy and cycles of adjuvant trastuzumab for breast cancer patients.

Breast cancer treatments are advancing all the time, and, despite the pandemic, this year is no exception with developments having been made in both radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments – both of which are likely to benefit breast cancer patients and the National Health Service as follows:

- The publication of the ten-year results of the FAST Trial, which looked at five fraction radiotherapy to treat early breast cancer, is an exciting breakthrough which enables people with breast cancer to be treated much more quickly and conveniently meaning fewer visits to hospital. All NHS radiotherapy providers in England are adopting this approach; and

- The PERSEPHONE trial evaluated the use of trastuzumab over a six month period versus a 12 month period to evaluate non-inferiority. In response to the pandemic, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence developed interim guidance which recommended the use of the six month schedule. This approach means that patients attend hospital for a shorter overall period in order to reduce the risk of infection to vulnerable patients.

How and if these treatments become part of the standard of care for breast cancer patients will be determined by the breast cancer clinical community, working in partnership with NHS England, and guided by research findings as they emerge.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic, published by the all party Parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health on 10 September 2020, what plans he has to support the provision of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) services in primary care during and after the covid-19 outbreak.

Sexual and reproductive health services have remained open during the pandemic though some are temporarily reducing their face-to-face appointments and may only be able to see emergency or urgent cases in person. Services are maintaining access during this time through scaling up of online services including increasing eligibility through current provision or utilising a neighbours’ service for residents of another local authority. The provision of long acting reversible contraception services is particularly challenging due to access not being possible remotely.

Public Health England have recently launched the National Framework for e-Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. This new national framework will allow local authorities and service providers to purchase an expanded range of on-line services including emergency contraception and the contraceptive pill.

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare have published clinical advice to support ongoing provision of effective contraception which health professionals should work to, which is available at the following link:

https://www.fsrh.org/documents/fsrh-guidance-srh-services-second-wave-covid-october-2020/

Women need to be able to continue to access contraception during the pandemic and in line with these guidelines, where services should ensure that there is clear, up to date signposting for patients and partner services as to what local contraceptive services are currently available, how these can be accessed and where available, to national online services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic, published by the all party Parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health on 10 September 2020, whether his Department has made a recent workforce needs analysis for the future of contraceptive provision based on population need.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health’s report, ‘Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic’, has raised a number of important issues. The recommendations including those relating to workforce, will be considered as part of our upcoming work to develop the sexual and reproductive health strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to local ambulance services and community teams for fall prevention work.

We are committed to providing high quality care in the most appropriate setting and recognise the important role that a range of community health services providers play in achieving this. Clinical commissioning groups commission most of the hospital and community NHS services in the local areas for which they are responsible. This includes fall prevention work, which will be commissioned based on the needs of the population they serve, and it is for local commissioners to take swift action where these services fall short.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of units of personal protective equipment in stockpile for use in (a) Hull and East Yorkshire and (b) England.

Since 25 February, the Department has distributed over 4 billion PPE items for use by health and social care services in England. We have over 32 billion PPE items on order and are building a stockpile equivalent to approximately four months PPE usage at COVID-19 usage levels.

As set out in our PPE Strategy, which was published on 28 September, we are confident in managing demand for PPE arising from any second spike and from the winter period.

The operational process to build stockpiles is supported by a range of detailed operational and management data. We are working with those data flows to produce figures that could be published as official statistics; making the information available in a fully validated and clear way that aids understanding.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional well-being and mental health support his Department will be providing to NHS staff as the UK enters a second wave of covid-19 in the winter period.

Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of National Health Service staff is a top priority for this Government. The national health and wellbeing offer, which includes a helpline and text service for counselling and support and access to free wellbeing apps, remains available for all NHS staff. This will be strengthened during winter in response to staff needs and in line with the commitments we made in July in the NHS People Plan. This includes setting up mental health hubs to provide proactive outreach and co-ordinate referrals to treatment, enhanced occupational health support and the introduction of Wellbeing Guardians on all boards. Support can be accessed via the following link:

https://people.nhs.uk/help/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the introduction of video triage at A&Es during the covid-19 outbreak; and what plans he has to promote that policy beyond the outbreak.

Video consultations are used primarily for elective and outpatient care rather than accident and emergency (A&E). However, Moorfields Hospital has successfully used video consultations for eye emergencies only.

The National Integrated Care and COVID Hospital Team is not aware of any assessment of the effectiveness of video consultation in A&E. The Improvement Directorate has been leading on video consultation work, but this is primarily within elective care.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on limiting the spread of covid-19 on university campus grounds.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has regular conversations with the Secretary of State for Education around the COVID-19 response. The Department for Education worked intensively with Public Health England to ensure that universities have drawn up plans for measures in the event of an outbreak on campus or in the local area.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of cancellations of elective surgeries in (a) England and (b) Hull; and what steps his Department is taking to develop post-covid-19 plans to reduce waiting times for elective surgeries.

Data is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the availability of tests for students at the University of Hull covid-19 testing site.

We are opening new test sites every week, particularly in and around university settings so that almost all universities are within one and a half miles of testing. The testing site at the Inglemire Lane Car Park in Hull has been operating since 22 September 2020.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the value is of the contracts awarded to (a) Deloitte and (b) G4S to run the covid-19 testing site at the University of Hull.

The Government does not publish this data in the format requested. All the Departmental COVID-19 contracts are, or will be, published on the GOV.UK Contract Finder service.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of stockpiling of medicines in preparation for (a) a second wave of covid-19 and (b) the end of the transition period, and if he will publish that assessment.

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to have access to COVID-19 medicines in all scenarios. This includes holding stockpiles of a variety of medicines currently and potentially used in treating patients with COVID-19, to help ensure there is uninterrupted supply over the coming months.

As set out in a letter from the Department to industry of 3 August, we are implementing a multi-layered approach to the end of the Transition Period, that involves asking suppliers of medicines and medical products to the United Kingdom from or via the European Union to get trader ready, reroute their supply chains away from any potential disruption and stockpiling to a target level of six weeks on UK soil where this is possible. The letter is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-medicines-and-medical-products-suppliers-3-august-2020/letter-to-medicine-suppliers-3-august-2020

Any information on suppliers’ stock levels that has been shared with the Department to support contingency planning is commercially sensitive and cannot be shared with third parties.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average NHS waiting times for (a) hospital appointments,(b) elective surgeries, (c) semi-elective surgeries and (d) non-elective surgeries have been during the covid-19 outbreak to date.

Data is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the NHS backlog in cancer (a) screening and (b) treatment.

Although some appointments for cancer screening have been rescheduled during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect vulnerable patients, NHS England and NHS Improvement have taken a robust approach to ensuring that people at highest risk are seen as a matter of priority. The backlog of people in these screening pathways is reducing, and there is a continued focus on sending out invites for routine screening appointments that were previously delayed.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have prioritised increasing the number of urgent cancer referrals, in order to reduce the number of patients waiting longer than 62 and 104 days for treatments or diagnostics, and ensuring capacity is in place for patients returning to the system in winter. The newly formed Cancer Recovery Taskforce will oversee the development of the cancer recovery plan and review progress against objectives.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients are waiting to be seen for cancer treatment in (a) Hull, (b) East Yorkshire and (c) England.

This information is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the time it will take to clear the breast screening backlog created by the covid-19 outbreak.

Although NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently unable to provide a time estimate, there has been good progress made in clearing the backlog of appointments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of women waiting to receive a breast screening invitation has decreased from 468,548 women on 1 June 2020 to 32,518 women on 5 October 2020.

All local National Health Service breast screening services are operational and are working to ensure that those still waiting for an invitation will receive one as quickly as possible. NHS England and NHS Improvement have also made funding available to trusts to support the adaptation of mobile breast screening units in order to enhance their safe use and so maximise the number of units available to screen women.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect a second wave of covid-19 infections on the waiting times for breast cancer (a) appointments and (b) diagnosis.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to increase the resilience of breast cancer screening and diagnosis during the ongoing COVID-19 response. Funding has been made available to support the adaptation of mobile breast screening units in order to enhance their safe use and so maximise the number of units available to screen women.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have prioritised increasing the number of urgent cancer referrals, in order to reduce the number of patients waiting longer than 62 and 104 days for treatments or diagnostics, and ensuring capacity is in place for patients returning to the system in winter. The newly formed Cancer Recovery Taskforce will oversee the development of the cancer recovery plan and review progress against objectives, including considering any impact of a “second wave” of COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)